Dream beta release (Ubuntu Based Multimedia Distro with Ardour and ArdourVST 2.8.7)

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macinnisrr
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The first Beta release of Dream is here! Dream is an Ubuntu based OS with multimedia content creators in mind. Dream's goals are as follows:
1) to stay in sync with Ubuntu's regular releases (every 6 months)
2) to have up-to-date packages of the software that matters most to multimedia content creators, including
Ardour
Ladspa and LV2 plugins
Movie editing programs including Blender and Cinelerra
Graphics programs including Inkscape, The Gnu Image Manipulation Program, Scribus, and many, many, fonts
3) to offer a visually attractive alternative to other multimedia distributions (including matching themes for Ardour, GTK, QT, Cinelerra and others)
4) to include custom kernels for use in multimedia by default (with both Realtime capabilities AND support for more than 4GB of RAM in one, stable distribution), along with default access to realtime capabilities by all users AND default connections between Pulseaudio and JACK (including JACK autostart by default)

Dream will be the easiest to try/install/upgrade, the most multimedia-centric, and the most current OS to come out of the FOSS world in a very short time, after which, it will be available at the same time as regular Ubuntu releases. As well, it will be easy to add to exising Ubuntu installations, portable (on USB sticks, VMs, via Wubi, etc..), and more configurable than any existing distribution.

To get in on the action early, download and install or try:
http://dream.dickmacinnis.com/releases/dream_10.4_beta1.iso
and update often, as new features will be added DAILY before Dream's release in July of 2010.

DickMacInnis.com

Scary-Hallo
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This looks like the distro I'm always waiting for. I think I will test it this weekend.

S-H

AK65
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Hope you're also building for us 64 bitters as well. This seems great! I have found that the attitude of Ubuntu to bug reporting leaves a lot to be desired......

Great!

capitan mission
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Hi Dick, I create an account especially for this, but I hope it will make me play more with Ardour : )
I´ve just installed lucid a couple of days ago, so I will not install your ISO right now, but when I get the opportunity in another PC I will try it.
I'm curious about the installer, is like the Ubuntu installer? Or you used remastersys??
Besides that, my actual OS is similar to yours. I have pulsejack like a post-script in Jackcontrol, the little problem I found is that sometimes pulseaudio goes down and I need to ejecute the script in a terminal (without reinitializing Jack)

macinnisrr
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AK65: Unless you're using more than 64GB RAM (I don't know of a system that can even handle that), my distro will work just fine. Just install the rt-pae kernel (actually this is installed by default so you shouldn't have to do anything), and it should work just fine. I will be releasing an iso for those without PAE support in time for stable release (anything above a P4 supports this architechture, and will work with both more than and less than 4GB RAM).
No need for 64-bit support unless you have more than 64GB RAM, in which case you probably have dual or more cores on your CPU, and in that case, Ardour will not take advantage no matter what system you're using. Since 32bit is more stable (in Ubuntu at least), there is absolutely no reason to use 64bit unless you have more than 64GB RAM (which as I said earlier, is very, very, unlikely. And even if you DO use more than 64GB RAM, you probably know enough about computers to avoid linux/Ardour entirely.

No offense to Ardour devs, but multithreading in today's world is far more important that RAM (given the amount of RAM one can pack into a single core machine vs. threading on the same machine with >2 cores)

I realize that Ardour3 is addressing these issues. As such, I will have an Ardour3 build ready for Dream/Ubuntu as soon as it is available as a stable release on these forums.

DickMacInnis.com

macinnisrr
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P.S. report all bugs with my distro to me (dick@dickmacinnis.com). That way, I can fix what is my problem, and forward upstream problems to the proper people ( as opposed to filing all bugs upstream ). Also, my pulseaudio->jack script (called pulsejack) seems to work well on my system , but let me know if it has problems, as stated above. And as far as AK65's comments go: the fact that UbuntuStudio Dev's don't "respond/fix what you would want them to" is exactly the reason I started Dream to begin with ( and also because UbuntuStudio is even uglier that Ubuntu by default, if you can believe that ;-). I have joined the ubuntustudio-devel forum, irc chat, and left numerous feature requests, but to no avail. Their team seems to be either to busy (with other projects) to care, or only concerned with their own projects (which makes them appear either backward or terribly old fashioned. Reminds me of GCC devels.) Anyway, I WOULD like to thank UbuntuStudio for giving me a stable base to work from, and would also like to thank 64Studio and AVlinux for giving me a list of standard packages that people like to use, to choose from. I have both been inspired by, and expanded on all three of the aforementioned distributions.

DickMacInnis.com

macinnisrr
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Also to Captianmission: Install the following file:
http://dream.dickmacinnis.com/pool/main/d/dream-repository/dream-repository_1.0_all.deb
and you will be able to get all the Dream packages for your standard Ubuntu Lucid install.

Also, it's the same installer as Ubuntu. I used a combination of UCK and manual configuration, but my DVD is simply an expanded version of the standard Ubuntu, and in final release will also include a WUBI installer for windows users (it's almost done right now).

DickMacInnis.com

capitan mission
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Sorry, I forgot to mention, I´m JM Jones, I´ve already have your repos : )
Now I´m testing pulsejack in a RT kernel (I have both, Dream & RT ). In the standard Ubuntu kernel pulsejack goes down sometimes.

metaldefektor
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hi,
I have just installed Ardour/ubuntu hours ago and still have some problems. These are the following prompts I get when trying to start the audio engine.
Ardour could not start Jack.
1) You selected audio parameters that are not supported. or
2) Jack is running as another usrer.
and also another prompt says:
art shell not found-
could not connect to Jack server as client. Overall operation failed.

macinnisrr
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metaldefektor: have you tried to start jack with qjackctl? If so, what does it say in the message window when you try to start jack?

metaldefektor
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i start qjacktl first then I run Ardour. the two error messages I get say Ardour may be running as another user -or- it says that I should try different parameters. I have rebooted my computer's osl=/linux-ubuntu 3 times already and had managed to get the whole program running but for the life of me this time I can not.

linuxdsp
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On ubuntu 10.04 I couldn't get reliable audio to work at all until I removed PulseAudio and added myself to the audio group. Adding yourself to the audio group might help fix problems with JACK not starting properly. The default settings for JACK used to be that it would start in 'non-realtime' mode which meant that even if you didn't have the correct permissions or were not added to the right group, at least it would start even though there might be x-runs. Unfortunately the default JACK configuration seems now to be to try and start in realtime mode, which means that when ubuntu screw up the permissions again it just fails to start and you sometimes get strange messages from ardour or jack depending upon how you started them and in what order etc. In my experience PulseAudio is generally not compatible with a pro-audio setup either, and is best removed.

GMaq
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@linuxdsp,

I couldn't agree more, I also have a Lucid install here (it's best to know the enemy...JK..lol) and my inaugural act was to immediately remove pulseaudio. Since AV Linux has never used pulseaudio I'm a little baffled why pulseaudio is needed in the first place, all the movie and music players don't seem to care if it's there or not and most of them will work with JACK if wanted. So why does there need to be any other audio server running when pretty much every major app will use ALSA or JACK? I'm curious to know, unless I'm missing something here.

All in all once you get Pulseaudio out of the picture Lucid is a really nice OS. I'm sure DreamOS takes it to the next level, Great Work Dick!

paul
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GMaq: the moment that someone wants sound from their web browser while their music player is also running is the moment that they discover why pulseaudio is useful.

thorgal
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@paul: not even sure about that.

I never used PA, just pure ALSA in general and never had problems with a player running concurrently with a youtube video or mythtv or another audio app with an ALSA backend.
I have lately patched this "ALSA only" environment to the jack graph in my DAW PC for precisely getting these apps useful on my RME based system. Just using the ALSA loopback virtual card and alsa_in / alsa_out was enough. alsa_in and alsa_out in this case have a similar purpose as the PA jack module sink and source.

It may look a bit hackish but it works cool for the limited purpose of straight playback and capture with an ALSA only app (aka non jackified app). I believe this bridge / patch thingy could turn out useful as well for prod boxes running jack with a firewire backend on a permanent basis.

http://alsa.opensrc.org/index.php/Jack_and_Loopback_device_as_Alsa-to-Jack_bridge

vervelover
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I don't understand why people are having so many issues with Lucid, I got jack to work realiably in realtime (with some setting up, of course not out of the box) without much trouble, and with pulseaudio enabled. The thing that I was missing was a proper rt-pae kernel, and the Dream repo is just what I needed! Thanks a lot!

linuxdsp
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@vervelover: "I got jack to work realiably in realtime (with some setting up, of course not out of the box) " That's the key thing - "not out of the box" - I'm disappointed that some very simple things still don't get configured properly. I was really hoping that by the time Ubuntu lucid was released it would provide a really good "straight out of the box" experience for people who want to try ardour and the frustrating thing is that it so nearly does... Obviously I realise that setting up a PC for pro-audio does require some tweaking - regardless of the OS - but it's just such a shame that such great software as Ardour and the amazing work that goes into it can be undermined by some simple config issues not being right in the distro. In many cases the user just sees that Ardour doesn't start - and I'm sure a percentage of would-be users give up at that point. It would be so good to never see any more "I can't start JACK' threads on this forum... :) - JACK is such a great system for audio - I just want more people to be able to use it without having to edit config files (which keep changing location too!)...

As regards PulseAudio - I understand the issues it set out to address (and it does work for me sometimes - I used the lucid netbook remix on my netbook and it just worked..) - but its rare that it will co-exist happily for me with JACK. I never really found I needed it before it was invented.... If that makes sense... On an old Mandriva 2007.0 box I can play mp3s, get sounds out of firefox and do all kinds of other audio stuff simultaneously just using ALSA - it just worked...)

macinnisrr
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CaptainMission: Thanks for telling me about the pulsejack issue. It seems to be fixed if you set the "timeout" to a higher value in qjackctl (I was getting the same issue in a VM, but not on real hardware). I've since fixed this in the next beta release which will be up by tomorrow morning.

Metaldefektor: Does jack start up okay when you start it with qjackctl (before you start Ardour)?

LinuxDSP, GMaq, Paul: I have had some issues with desktop software not working at the same time (like Paul said; although not always) when pulseaudio is removed. Not to mention that Ubuntu's default sound control app is Pulseaudio based. As I have always admired Ubuntu's approach to making things easier for first time users, I want to stay as much inline with Ubuntu as possible, and only to ADD software/features, and never to take away. As such, I'll do everything I can to make pulseaudio play nice, but will probably not remove it. There are other distros out there without pulse if that's what people need. The other reason I don't want to remove pulse is that Dream is focused on multimedia in general. Some people may only use it for graphics, or for video, or for webdesign. Either way, staying in line with stock Ubuntu while at the same time making it easy for first time users to make whatever multimedia creations they can imagine (including audio recording); will ultimately remain Dream's goals. Also, Dream automatically adds all users to the audio group and gives the audio group realtime permissions.

Thorgal: very interesting approach! This requires Jack to be running though, and as I mentioned above, some people may not be using this distribution for pro audio.

I'd like to thank EVERYONE for mentioning your issues not only with my packages, but also with stock Ubuntu, as these comments are enormously helpful in perfecting my distribution before I make a "final" release. As most of the packages I've created are meta-packages (or minor variations of stock packages), once this debut release is finalized, it should be no problem to release at the same time as Ubuntu in the future (starting with Maverick Meercat in October).

As I've mentioned above, keep your eyes peeled for the next beta due sometime tomorrow morning.

capitan mission
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Wich kernel is the default in Dream: RT or Dream? (both are in the repos)
Besides that with the Dream kernel the boot splash don't work, I get better performance with the RT kernel (less xruns, and no glitches)

macinnisrr
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Actually the RT kernel is the default. The Dream kernel is an old one I use for karmic. I should probably remove it.

beejunk
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I was just planning to upgrade my audio machine to Lucid now that I've finished my current major project. I think I'll give Dream a shot instead and see how it goes.

I've developed a very specific process for setting up Ubuntu for pro-audio, and while the end result is a nicely running machine, I'll agree with those who say that this is far from ideal if we hope to get more new users on board the Linux audio bandwagon. Also, to add to the discussion about setting up Ubuntu, in addition to the now standard editing of the limits.conf file (as well as the 50-udev-default.rules file if you want easy access to firewire devices) and putting the user in the Audio group, I've found that since Intrepid I've needed to create an init script that sets specific thread priorities. The process is described at this link-

http://bugtrack.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Low_latency_howto

-under the 'Thread Priorities' section. If I do not do this, then i get an unworkable amount of x-runs. For some reason, this process was not necessary in Hardy.

macinnisrr
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beejunk: what do you have to do with 50-udev-default-rules? I suppose I can search around, but I have no firewire devices so I hadn't heard of that before. The init script you described secondly is available from standard ubuntu repos in a package called "rtirq-init". I have included this package by default.

thorgal
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@macinnisrr:

Thorgal: very interesting approach! This requires Jack to be running though, and as I mentioned above, some people may not be using this distribution for pro audio.

actually, not really, I also use this ALSA loopback trick on my old laptop when I use jack on it but this is quite rare. The trick is to add another initialization command in qjackctl during jack server startup, namely :

cp /home/thorgal/.asoundrc_loopback /home/thorgal/.asoundrc

So the original .asoundrc is temporarily overwritten

of course, the assumption is that you are the only user here but this could also be made to work in distributed environments by temporarily changing /etc/asound.conf or whatever it is called.

After the jack server shutdown, I restore the original .asoundrc (automated from the qjackctl options). So I do not have to starve ALSA apps from processing audio while jack is also sometimes running on this laptop :)

GMaq
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macinnisrr,

If Ubuntu is the same as Debian in this regard then you need the user to be a member of the "disk" group to use any firewire device since Linux still regards firewire primarily as a disk i/o, this also goes for DV video camcorders. I'm not sure if that is what beejunk is referring to but a simple 'sudo adduser USERNAME disk' is all that is required post install to get firewire going assuming of course that ffado and jack-firewire support are already installed.

**EDIT**
This appears to no longer be the case for Lucid, although it still is for Debian, my apologies for any confusion.

macinnisrr
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GMaq: Ah, I see. Well that makes sense. I'll add this capability (to add all users to the disk group) to dream-default-settings package, which is what I currently use to add users to the audio group. Any users already installed, however, will have to be added manually.

Thorgal: That's very clever! I will likely not be removing pulseaudio as I've mentioned (or perhaps might with a pro-audio package as an option), but I will certainly keep that in mind.

beejunk
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GMaqs technique may very well work, and I'll give it a try since it would be easier, but what the Ubuntu Studio people have been doing (which is where I got this particular trick) is to edit the /lib/udev/rules.d/50-udev-default.rules and add the line:

KERNEL=="raw1394", GROUP="video"

Of course, you'll need to add yourself to the "video" group now to get permission, but it works. I suppose you can just change the group to 'audio' to get all these permissions in one spot.

Without this trick, firewire devices will not work with JACK unless you chang the ownership of /dev/raw1394 every time you start up.

Also, I had no idea that script was in the repos. That's awesome.

didgewind
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Hi there, lately i've got this message when updating my sources: A error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used.GPG error: http://www.dickmacinnis.com lucid Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY...

Any idea what's going on?

tx

didgewind
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Also, as i am working with lucid and ubuntu studio, if installing dream versions for jack, ardour, etc.., will the dream versions upgrade the old versions or should i uninstall the old versions once the dream versions are installed?

just waiting for the issue with the public key to be fixed.

tx

macinnisrr
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didjewind (and anyone else using the Dream repository): You'll need to install this package manually: http://dickmacinnis.com/dream/pool/main/d/dream-repository/dream-repository_1.1_all.deb in order to get the repository working again. The original key was lost, so the only way to get the repo up and running again was to create a new one. Once you've installed this package, you'll find many upgrades and changes ready to install (and the error message you mentioned will go away)

Also, any packages which conflict with existing ones are marked as such in the packages, so dream packages will automatically warn you if they will cause a conflict, and will mark the offending original packages for removal. If a package will conflict and is not packaged correctly as such, you will still get a warning when you try to install it, but in this case please let me know so I can fix it.

Beejunk: I noticed that the script you're describing is in the Ubuntustudio-controls package, but their script for adding/modifying realtime permissions works on the wrong file (/etc/security/limits.conf as opposed to /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf), and in addition, Ubuntu's stock jackd package formats those same settings in a way that isn't currently readable by ubuntustudio-controls. I'm working to fix this (you may notice a package in the repo called realtime-audio-controls, but I haven't worked all the bugs out), but even in its current state, you can add the aforementioned modifications for firewire support. As well, since this allows members of the "video" group to access firewire devices, anybody who installs Dream from the standard installation disk will already be a member of this group, and therefore will simply need to click the option in question in realtime-audio-controls. This program will be installed by default once it's in slightly better shape.

macinnisrr
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didjewind (and anyone else using the Dream repository): You'll need to install this package manually: http://dickmacinnis.com/dream/pool/main/d/dream-repository/dream-repository_1.1_all.deb in order to get the repository working again. The original key was lost, so the only way to get the repo up and running again was to create a new one. Once you've installed this package, you'll find many upgrades and changes ready to install (and the error message you mentioned will go away)

Also, any packages which conflict with existing ones are marked as such in the packages, so dream packages will automatically warn you if they will cause a conflict, and will mark the offending original packages for removal. If a package will conflict and is not packaged correctly as such, you will still get a warning when you try to install it, but in this case please let me know so I can fix it.

Beejunk: I noticed that the script you're describing is in the Ubuntustudio-controls package, but their script for adding/modifying realtime permissions works on the wrong file (/etc/security/limits.conf as opposed to /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf), and in addition, Ubuntu's stock jackd package formats those same settings in a way that isn't currently readable by ubuntustudio-controls. I'm working to fix this (you may notice a package in the repo called realtime-audio-controls, but I haven't worked all the bugs out), but even in its current state, you can add the aforementioned modifications for firewire support. As well, since this allows members of the "video" group to access firewire devices, anybody who installs Dream from the standard installation disk will already be a member of this group, and therefore will simply need to click the option in question in realtime-audio-controls. This program will be installed by default once it's in slightly better shape.

beejunk
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Macinnisrr: I attempted to try out Dream, but ran into some problems. The CD drive on my main computer is busted, so I've been installing Ubuntu via USB start-up disks. The first problem I ran into was that I was unable to install Dream onto a USB stick using the standard Lucid start-up disk creator. Everything would seem to be going fine, until I reached about 98% when copying the files, at which point the program would simply stop and not recover.

I was, however, able to create a Dream start-up disk using UNetBootin. I was even able to start a live session using this disk, and from what I could tell, Dream seemed to be running well (nice menu layout, btw, and I like how qjackctl starts up right away). However, when I tried to fully install Dream, I would once again reach about the 90% point, and then get an 'input/output' error that would end the installation process. I was unable to figure out why, and so sadly I have yet to give Dream a real shot.

I then installed standard Lucid, and discovered that what you are saying concerning Ubuntu Studio controls is correct, in that it does not edit the audio.conf file (which I believe is new with this release. Or, at least, I have never had to deal with this file before. I've always edited limits.conf). It also seems that Ubuntu Studio Controls no longer edits the 50-udev-default.rules file, or at least, not in the way I previously described. It is doing something that is required to get firewire support, I'm just not sure what, I'll have to look into it further. Also, I tried GMaqs suggestion of justing adding myself to the 'disk' group, and this did not seem to work. At this point, it appears that getting firewire support in Lucid involved doing whatever it is that Ubuntu Studio Controls is doing, and adding myself to the 'video' group. But, once this is done, it does seem that Lucid runs very well under the standard RT kernel. At least, for me.

I would really like to try Dream, though, so if you have suggestions on what might be causing my USB stick problems, let me know.