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Linux for sound?

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
Hey guys. I know that it's difficult to find drivers for Linux for some sound cards. I have an X-Fi Prelude and was wondering if I went to Linux on my main desktop computer that I listen to music on, will I be able to find adequate drivers to listen to music and get good quality? It'll be the Ubuntu flavor, if that matters. Also, any recommendations for a good player? Will I lose the creative control panel in Linux as opposed to Windows?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 102
Linux doesn't use drivers. Support for specific hardware is either built into the kernel or loaded into the kernel as a module. If I'm not mistaken, the X-fi is supported by the standard linux kernel. Therefore, any distribution should work with your X-fi. I always used XMMS when I used Linux as a desktop. It's a wonderful media player similar in functionality to the old Winamp releases.

You will lose the creative control panel unless Creative is releasing one for Linux (which chances are they are not and even if they did, it would be for a proprietary kernel module, not the one built into the distribution you are using).

I must ask though. Why would you go to Linux at this point? Linux makes a great server operating system, but as a desktop it just isn't as mature as Windows is anymore.
post #3 of 102
Thread Starter 
Well, I had been dual booting with Windows 7 for some time, and the ability to do a lot of things at once seemed easier in Linux. I have noticed that Windows has come a long way, but Linux is still really attractive to me.

What are your thoughts on Linux for desktop or laptop use?
post #4 of 102
Yes, windows is so mature it still has nested application menus and desktop icons, two of the worst user interface designs ever invented.

Linux can handle desktop audio fine. Plenty of players exist, from full-blown iTunes-like apps to minimal server/cli apps, like mpd+client, and everything in between. Ubuntu will probably load the modules (drivers) you need automatically, so you likely won't even have to worry about any of that. If you've already been dual booting, then you're probably familiar enough to make an easy transition.
post #5 of 102
Thread Starter 
Will the full effects from my Prelude transition over into Linux? Will sound quality be the same?
post #6 of 102
I don't know what you mean by "full effects", but you shouldn't expect to have more than just standard audio functionality. X-fi compatibility has only existed on linux for less than a year (in a production version).

Sound quality should be unaffected since it all happens in hardware.

Rather than asking all these questions, I recommend you grab the latest Ubuntu CD and go ahead and run it for a while off the CD. You can run it from the cd without installing anything and only install it once you are sure you want it.

I used a Linux desktop exclusively for about a decade. Back then it made sense because Windows was not very robust. Nowadays Windows is fairly solid and there are few reasons left for anyone to use Linux as a desktop. I still have Linux at home (and in fact, I am tunneling through that box right now), but it's on a headless box with no desktop. Just about the only reason I could see ever recommending a Linux desktop is in order to learn to be comfortable with Unix environments if you are entering a career in IT.
post #7 of 102
a friend of mine posted his thought about linux for audio here: http://sites.google.com/site/compute...inux-for-audio
post #8 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torr View Post
I don't know what you mean by "full effects", but you shouldn't expect to have more than just standard audio functionality. X-fi compatibility has only existed on linux for less than a year (in a production version).

Sound quality should be unaffected since it all happens in hardware.

Rather than asking all these questions, I recommend you grab the latest Ubuntu CD and go ahead and run it for a while off the CD. You can run it from the cd without installing anything and only install it once you are sure you want it.

I used a Linux desktop exclusively for about a decade. Back then it made sense because Windows was not very robust. Nowadays Windows is fairly solid and there are few reasons left for anyone to use Linux as a desktop. I still have Linux at home (and in fact, I am tunneling through that box right now), but it's on a headless box with no desktop. Just about the only reason I could see ever recommending a Linux desktop is in order to learn to be comfortable with Unix environments if you are entering a career in IT.
Stating things that way - that there are "few reasons for anyone to use a linux desktop - is more than a little extreme. How about: "a lot of people just PREFER linux." Go into some screenshot threads and compare windows to linux. All windows screenshots are basically the same: a different wallpaper, with different icons (if some application isn't covering them up, requiring you to close/move the application to be able to get to them ). Everything is the same. Unless you buy some add on programs, you are basically stuck with whatever microsoft tells you your desktop should look like and how it should work.

Now look at linux screenshots: the vast majority of them are totally different. There are dozens of window manager choices, including traditional or tiling managers, two or three major desktop environment choices, infinite variation in taskbars, docks, window and widget designs, number of desktops, and on and on and on. I'd say that in itself was a good reason to prefer linux. The UI of windows is substandard, inefficient, and non-user friendly. Again, nested menus and dialog boxes are *poor* user interface design (if you've ever studied GUI design, as I have). More often than not they set up barriers to getting your task done, like the example I just gave of having to move windows to get to application icons. That's poor design.

Aside from UI reasons, even with window's "improvements," linux is still arguably more stable and robust than windows. Linux is also much less susceptible to spyware, viruses, and malware of all kinds. It's also free, in both senses of the word, there is no DRM, no "genuine advantage" crap, and no privacy concerns from being beholden to a major corporation. In short, there are MANY reasons to recommend linux over windows, not few, regardless of whether the person is "entering a career in IT."
post #9 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
Stating things that way - that there are "few reasons for anyone to use a linux desktop - is more than a little extreme. How about: "a lot of people just PREFER linux." Go into some screenshot threads and compare windows to linux. All windows screenshots are basically the same: a different wallpaper, with different icons (if some application isn't covering them up, requiring you to close/move the application to be able to get to them ). Everything is the same. Unless you buy some add on programs, you are basically stuck with whatever microsoft tells you your desktop should look like and how it should work.

Now look at linux screenshots: the vast majority of them are totally different. There are dozens of window manager choices, including traditional or tiling managers, two or three major desktop environment choices, infinite variation in taskbars, docks, window and widget designs, number of desktops, and on and on and on. I'd say that in itself was a good reason to prefer linux. The UI of windows is substandard, inefficient, and non-user friendly. Again, nested menus and dialog boxes are *poor* user interface design (if you've ever studied GUI design, as I have). More often than not they set up barriers to getting your task done, like the example I just gave of having to move windows to get to application icons. That's poor design.

Aside from UI reasons, even with window's "improvements," linux is still arguably more stable and robust than windows. Linux is also much less susceptible to spyware, viruses, and malware of all kinds. It's also free, in both senses of the word, there is no DRM, no "genuine advantage" crap, and no privacy concerns from being beholden to a major corporation. In short, there are MANY reasons to recommend linux over windows, not few, regardless of whether the person is "entering a career in IT."
A Linux user who bought an X-fi when it was first released would have had to wait almost 5 years before being able to use it.

Playing a blu-ray disc on linux requires complicated procedures that involve ripping the disc to your hard drive and using copy protection removal tools that aren't even legal in some jurisdictions and not all discs are even supported.

For most people, such hassles far outweigh the benefits.
post #10 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torr View Post
A Linux user who bought an X-fi when it was first released would have had to wait almost 5 years before being able to use it.
So the manufacturer sucks, and doesn't care enough about its users to provide drivers. What does that have to do with linux?

Quote:
Playing a blu-ray disc on linux requires complicated procedures that involve ripping the disc to your hard drive and using copy protection removal tools that aren't even legal in some jurisdictions and not all discs are even supported.

For most people, such hassles far outweigh the benefits.
Once again, that has less to do with linux than it does with the paranoid, draconian, and control-freak practices of corporate-created DRM. They've made a lot of people's lives more inconvenient who don't even use linux.
post #11 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
So the manufacturer sucks, and doesn't care enough about its users to provide drivers. What does that have to do with linux?



Once again, that has less to do with linux than it does with the paranoid, draconian, and control-freak practices of corporate-created DRM. They've made a lot of people's lives more inconvenient who don't even use linux.
I never claimed the blame lies with Linux. I only claimed that most people are (rightfully) unwilling to put up with such hassles and thus a Linux desktop is not right for them.
post #12 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torr View Post
I never claimed the blame lies with Linux. I only claimed that most people are (rightfully) unwilling to put up with such hassles and thus a Linux desktop is not right for them.
You stated that there were "few reasons" to use linux as a desktop, which is far from the truth. Then you went on to imply that it was some shortcoming of linux that a manufacturer hadn't provided drivers for their product, while in fact that's the shortcoming of the manufacturer.

A user who bought some device that didn't run on windows because there were no drivers would have had to wait, too - as wasn't so uncommon with Vista, for example. And in that case, you couldn't even do anything about it but wait. At least in linux you'd have a chance to write your own or have the community help out.
post #13 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
Then you went on to imply that it was some shortcoming of linux that a manufacturer hadn't provided drivers for their product, while in fact that's the shortcoming of the manufacturer.
I did not imply such a thing. You chose to read it that way.

I have no interest in laying blame since that ultimately has no bearing on the decision. The fact is these issues exist and why they exist is irrelevant to this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
A user who bought some device that didn't run on windows because there were no drivers would have had to wait, too
Right, but the overwhelming majority of devices are created for Windows, thus this situation is extremely rare in Windows whereas it is commonplace in Linux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
- as wasn't so uncommon with Vista, for example.
I would not have recommended being an early adopter of Vista either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
And in that case, you couldn't even do anything about it but wait. At least in linux you'd have a chance to write your own or have the community help out.
If you have enough information about the hardware to write a driver for Linux, you also have enough to write a driver for Windows. The Windows Driver Kit, which includes all the tools needed to write a driver for Windows is a free download. But then, what difference does this make for most people?
post #14 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torr View Post
I did not imply such a thing. You chose to read it that way.

I have no interest in laying blame since that ultimately has no bearing on the decision. The fact is these issues exist and why they exist is irrelevant to this discussion.



Right, but the overwhelming majority of devices are created for Windows, thus this situation is extremely rare in Windows whereas it is commonplace in Linux.



I would not have recommended being an early adopter of Vista either.



If you have enough information about the hardware to write a driver for Linux, you also have enough to write a driver for Windows. The Windows Driver Kit, which includes all the tools needed to write a driver for Windows is a free download. But then, what difference does this make for most people?
Your presentation is just completely biased, regardless of where you are placing any blame.

You never say how inconvenient it is to have to download/buy scores of antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malware programs and have them continually running, using resources. You never mention what a "hassle" it is to have to reboot 4 times everytime you install a driver or for whatever windows decides, you never mention the user interface shortcomings of windows that make it inconvenient to use, you never mention all the "confirmation" dialogs that continually pop-up, and on and on. You just choose to say linux is a "hassle" because five years ago there were no drivers for a consumer audio card. No - you weren't implying anything, of course not. There's no reason to infer anything negative about linux from your biased presentation, right.

Same with all this b.s about blu-ray. The OP didn't even mention anything about blu-ray. And yet here you are telling him not to use it because of DRM crap in blu-ray. No - nothing to infer there, either. Okay, sure.
post #15 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
Your presentation is just completely biased, regardless of where you are placing any blame.

You never say how inconvenient it is to have to download/buy scores of antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malware programs and have them continually running, using resources. You never mention what a "hassle" it is to have to reboot 4 times everytime you install a driver or for whatever windows decides, you never mention the user interface shortcomings of windows that make it inconvenient to use, you never mention all the "confirmation" dialogs that continually pop-up, and on and on. You just choose to say linux is a "hassle" because five years ago there were no drivers for a consumer audio card. No - you weren't implying anything, of course not. There's no reason to infer anything negative about linux from your biased presentation, right.

Same with all this b.s about blu-ray. The OP didn't even mention anything about blu-ray. And yet here you are telling him not to use it because of DRM crap in blu-ray. No - nothing to infer there, either. Okay, sure.
I also said I've used it as a desktop for over a decade and continue to use it as a server to this day. Obviously, I have nothing against it. Perhaps the fact you see honest discussion about the drawbacks of using it as a desktop as an attack on Linux says more about your own point of view than about my intentions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by userlander View Post
And yet here you are telling him not to use it because of DRM crap in blu-ray.
Actually, I did the exact opposite. I encouraged him to download the live cd and give it a shot.


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