[linux-audio-user] Linux DAW FX box how to for noobs...New Link...

R Parker rtp405 at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 12 08:24:10 EDT 2004

Hi Russell,

> > > > Here's a link to the humble beginnings of this
> > >
> > > blurb.
> > >
> > > >
> http://hanaghan.mystarband.net/7397fxhowto.html
> > > >
> > > > Constructive critism invited

Writing useful documentation is very difficult. The
only reason that I'll offer any feedback is because I
appreciate the difficulty of the task and sympathize
with the feelings that you will experience. I'd love
to see you churn out a useful document. In a past
life, I studied a couple writing styles and reader
tendencies. I might be typical of the average reader
but it's possible I'm even less tolerant.

Here's a few thoughts that have been helpful in my
efforts to produce useful documentation.

1. If I write it in six words, they'll remember six.
If 12 words, they'll remember six. If 18 words, they
won't remember anything. 

2. Provide answers, not questions! There should not be
one single question in the entire document. No

3. Leave the humor to that dumbass Jay Leno.

4. Opinions must be supported with facts.

A format I believe is appropriate for this type of
document is Associated Press Style. Tell the entire
story in one very short introductory paragraph. Then
elaborate on each point within a new paragraph,
sub-section, chapter or whatever is required. The
format for presenting information is referred to as an
"inverted pyramid." The title for the document can be
drawn from the first paragraph.

Your title:
"Linux DAW fx box How to for Rookies" Having read the
title, I expect to find the information needed to
build a Linux effects box. You have to assume the
acronym DAW is unknown and will cause readers to
immediately wonder what you are talking about. The
same rule applies to "fx."

Here's my rewrite of your title.
Building Affordable Linux based Digital Audio

Let's examine your first paragraph:
So you dable with audio?

This is assumed and it's a question. Remove it!

 You play an instrument(s) and have a tight budget but
seem to have plenty of seemingly obsolete PC's laying
around and even one decent enough to read this article
somewhere out on the Internet? Not interested in
spending the big bux on buying proprietary programs
that are copyright protected, need a 'puter the size
of HAL to run well and midrange to expensive sound
cards to boot?? Read on...this might just be a
solution for YOU!

Having read the title, I expect a related introductory
paragraph but it doesn't exist. If you don't fulfill
the expectation of the title within the first
paragraph, I'll never read the document. You jump into
an unrelated topic about cheap computers and imply
that they can be used as digital audio workstations.

Here's a rough rewrite for the introductory paragraph,
based on the rewritten title:
If you need to build an affordable Digital Audio
Workstation then a Linux based solution is a
worthwhile consideration. There are customized
versions of Red Hat, Debian, Slackware and several
other linux based operating systems that specialize in
including any number of the hundreds of audio, midi,
sythesis and analysis applications that exist. A
community of 871 Linux audio users and 781 Linux audio
developers[1] subscribe to public mailing lists.

Subsequent Paragraph 1
This paragraph is about Alsa. It could include one
sentance about the 2.4 kernel status and one sentance
for the 2.6 kernel status. A comprehensive list of
supported audio cards and relative information is
located at

Subsequent Paragraph 2
This paragraph is pointers to Planet CCRMA, Demudi,

Subsequent Paragraph 3
This paragraph is about the Linux Audio community. How
many people. Who uses linux audio solutions. Include
specific examples and links to their websites.
Prospective users need facts and examples.

1. Statistics for subscribers to Linux audio mailing
lists http://www.linuxdj.com/audio/lad/subscribe.php3

The rest of the document can explore the details of
your personal endeavor; installation, use, etc.

Another point that you should be aware of. Paul Davis
the author of Ardour has requested that nobody write
user or developer documentation for Ardour. His
request is a little frustrating for many people but
everyone has honored his plea. You need to be very
aware of this issue prior to designing your document.

Russel, I admire your willingness to post your work
and to request feedback. It's fuckin' awesome that you
have the integrity to do this. The feedback I provided
might be total crap but what matters is that you've
created an opportunity for someone to strike the right
cord with you. I appreciate that. Don't stop!

OK, one last random thought. Ernest Hemingway is
considered by many to be a great American writer. He
had an editor and as a rule none of his first draft
material went to press. The same applies to music.
Without exception, every composition written by the
members of this mailing list can be improved upon by
anyone of us. Nobody I know produces great results
without alot of help. You happen to be the poor grunt
that has taken on the most important and demanding
task of producing something useful. 

I hope you find  something in my feedback that is
useful. I gotta go study the drums and


> > > > I basically want to know if the detail is too
> > >
> > > much...too
> > >
> > > > little...remember...I'm trying to attract
> people
> > >
> > > that may have never used
> > >
> > > > Linux before...
> > >
> > > And NOW with pretty pictures!! :)
> C'mon...someone
> > > get mom or Grandma to read
> > > this thing...see if she becomes a Linux God by
> the
> > > end!! :)

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