[linux-audio-user] some thoughts about Linux audio software documentation

Russell Hanaghan hanaghan at starband.net
Thu Aug 12 21:00:25 EDT 2004

On Thu, 2004-08-12 at 11:14, John Check wrote:
> On Thursday 12 August 2004 10:58 am, Russell Hanaghan wrote:
> > I care Dammit!  :)
> >
> > I think this is a valid point {& click).
> >
> > As a relative greeny to most things linux, I have found the vortex of
> > info out there on some apps to be a show stopper many times. And then on
> > ones that do have documentation...does it tell me the things need to
> > actually know to make the software work?
> >
> Ah, synchronicity.
> > It seems that most that can write code or develop applications aim at an
> > audience that should "understand where to look for a problem" and while
> > that's all okey dokey, especially since they ARE doing it for free in
> > most cases, it does not speak to attracting the masses to what has
> > become a formidable adversary to MS in more ways than just server
> > application! {at least that's what my ignorant perception of Linux was}
> >
> > The forums and wikis are good...they help a lot. And folks in general
> > are just so very cool about helping. {quote: Jack_fst for e.g....not to
> > mention dozens of other things I got help with here for other stuff) but
> > they don't cover everything by a long shot. Sometimes I wont ask on here
> > because humble is not my best suite! :) And I can't figure it out in
> > many cases so It don't get to work! Who knows if that piece of software
> > wouldn't have changed the world!!! :) Or at the least, it might have
> > changed my world! And frankly many of these linux audio apps have done
> > just that...rock my freakin' world at a great rate of knots! And I get
> > out and gig at least a couple of times a month and get a LOT of interest
> > over the PC stuff...I have the best seat in the house to push this out
> > there...but we can make their journey easier today...
> Oh boy - get ready for the shit storm....
> All pronouns are in the editorial sense.
> Before anybody jumps on me, they should take a deep breath, put aside their 
> pride and seriously consider what I'm about to say instead of just reacting.
> One act gigging with this stuff is worth a dozen coders when it comes to
> legitimizing the platform. There's so much potential with what's here today
> that it blows my mind, but if it's "by geeks, for geeks" it really limits were 
> we can go. There are some very fine pieces of free audio software now, but
> the S/N ratio of good to not good would have made TA Edison grimace.
> All you have to do is consider how much time it takes to evaluate
> a package coming out of CVS vs studio rates vs cost to do it with commercial 
> software to see what I mean. 
> Did somebody say "Use an audio distro"? I say "That's a good start, but not 
> all the programs are up to date, so if something looks potentially 
> interesting but it's stale and buggy, one has to look at the project 
> site/Wiki/lists and doco before deciding to build from source and even @ 
> $30/hr it's cheaper to buy a Dell and get cakewalk bundled. 
> Sure, a high end studio isn't going to use that, but high end studios, or even 
> small fulltime going facilities aren't going to use anything free. Why?
> When it comes to cost, you can't write off "free", or a programmers salary on 
> you taxes (and studios need programmers like programmers need consoles), but 
> you can write off much of the cost of say, a ProTools set up. Competing on 
> price alone isn't enough. 
> The upshot of this is there is a potential R&D funding bonanza that not too 
> many people seem to be aware of. 
> Okay, I've got things to do but I'd appreciate any feedback (DOH!) on this 
> being well considered and objective. I'd rather spend the energy making the 
> situation better, so consider these words in the spirit which I offer them, 
> which is positive. 

Whut _he_ said!  :)

> >
> > {quote: "ah grasshopper, when you have crossed the rice paper without
> > tearing it you will have learned" unquote}
> >
> > On Thu, 2004-08-12 at 06:13, Dave Phillips wrote:
> > > Greetings:
> > >
> > >   Recently I received a letter from a fellow who civilly noted how
> > > atrocious is so much of the documentation for Linux audio software.
> > > While that may be generally true it is also easy to point out specific
> > > excellent docos, e.g., Snd, Csound, LilyPond, Rosegarden, etc., though
> > > too at the same time it must be admitted that even those docs are not
> > > necessarily the most well-organized. Perhaps this fellow's most damning
> > > statement was made re: the HOWTOs available from the Linux Documentation
> > > Project (LDP). I decided to check out the situation myself, and here's
> > > what I found (the doc is followed by its last revision date):
> > >
> > > Linux Sound HOWTO   July 2001
> > > ALSA Sound mini-HOWTO    November 1999
> > > Linux MIDI HOWTO    May 2002
> > > Linux MP3 HOWTO   December 2001
> > >
> > >   Worse, the LDP's own documentation refers back to these out-of-date
> > > pieces, making sure that readers continue to be misinformed. I mean no
> > > critique of the excellent LPD, but it seems to me that as a community we
> > > have an obligation to correct this situation. For all the talk about
> > > improving documentation, here's a chance for anyone to get directly
> > > involved. The format for these HOWTOs is simple and already laid out:
> > > what's needed is currency, someone to correct and update the basic sound
> > > & music oriented HOWTOs. Otherwise it might be better if we asked the
> > > LDP to remove the docs in order to mitigate confusion.
> > >
> > >   Any comments ? Any takers ? Does anyone care ?
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > >
> > > dp

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