[linux-audio-dev] Old hat - comparison against windows

Michael Ost most at museresearch.com
Wed Jan 31 14:32:30 EST 2007


> On Tue, 2007-01-30 at 21:05 +0000, Bob Ham wrote:
> Further to that, something constructive: perhaps you could try telling
> your customers why *you* chose linux, rather than trying to find reasons
> to tell them *they* should.

My reasons, from back in about 2000, were "cost" and "interesting".

First off the license costs were not hard to sell. And secondly that I 
personally wanted to program in Linux. I thought it would be interesting 
--- and it has been fun. Also the company was kind of a crapshoot and I 
wanted the professional experience on my resume if I needed to go get 
another job. Embedded Linux sounded good to me.

I want to stick with Linux and hoped there were some measurable 
performance differences to tout. Sounds like there aren't, really.

And now for some more kind of Dilbert-esque background for the curious...

A couple of years ago, we tried answering this question by measuring the 
time between a midi impulse on a rigged midi cable and audio output on 
an oscilloscope. We tested Receptor vs Windows 2000 running VStack. The 
Receptor was not more responsive but was less jittery in its reponse.

We engineers didn't feel that the results were carefully enough 
generated to be publicly announced, but we felt that our hunch was being 
confirmed.

Then I made some perhaps loose comments about how Linux is less bloated 
than Windows. True, but not quantifiable.

Then there is the general (and vague) perception among many in the music 
biz that Windows is not for pro audio.

All of these factors led our non-tech people here to start saying that 
our OS was better. Being an engineer, and not being able to quantify 
"better", I would cringe when they would say that and qualify endlessly. 
But I also couldn't prove anything either way, so I kind of left it.

As time has passed, I have found that I was naive about the costs of 
Wine (VST compatibility, Linux (hardware compatibility, especially USB 
and firewire audio/midi devices) and the costs of getting programmers 
productive on Linux as a development platform.

Now it is time for a leap to a newer OS --- 2.4 isn't giving us SATA 
drive support and our Wine is getting old (vinegar? %). Our code could 
do Windows pretty easily. Should I push for that, or move to a newer Linux?

There you have it. Life in the software business.

By the way, I appreciate all of the comments. I expected it might be a 
loaded question! ... mo


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