On the Web - Multimedia
Our new products mailbox has been receiving a lot of press releases introducing new workstations designed specifically for high-end audio and graphic needs. If you're an animator, filmmaker or a recording engineer who uses Linux, hardware and software companies are very interested in getting your business. But, even if you're a regular desktop user, Linux developments in audio and video matter, because at least some of them eventually will make their way into a desktop distribution. So this month, we're going to point you to some LJ Web articles that discuss what is going on in the Linux multimedia world.
If you're interested in a sound card that lets you do more complicated audio tasks, such as recording and mixing music, Peter Todd discusses “Using the Hammerfall HDSP on Linux” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/7024). The Hammerfall is a professional-grade sound card used in studios all over the world; it also happens to run under Linux, thanks to the ALSA Project drivers. It consists of an external module called the Multiface coupled to an internal PCI card. Peter explains that the big difference between the Hammerfall and regular sound cards is that the HDSP “is designed as a sound I/O device. It has inputs and outputs, and you can route sound between them arbitrarily.” The article also explains how to use advanced features such as an external time code source, a must for the studio.
In the early spring of 2003, Dave Phillips, author of The Linux Book of Music & Sound, attended the first conference held specifically for Linux audio developers. The report he wrote for us, “Linux Audio Development: A Report from Karlsruhe” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6762), provides an overview of the main issues discussed at the conference, as well as the directions Linux audio development is taking. Among the topics discussed was JACK, the software toolkit that “provides a professional-grade audio server in a low-latency environment, making arbitrary audio signal routing possible, without dropouts or distortion.”
Moving on to the video portion of our presentation, Roberto de Leo's article “Self-Hosting Movies with MoviX” (/article/6474) explains how de Leo came to start the MoviX Project for a self-hosting movie—“a Linux CD mini-distribution that is able to boot and play automatically all audio/video files on the CD.” The main point of the article, however, is to walk users through the process of building their own mini-distributions, whether for playing a movie or some other application.
Finally, Geoff Draper wrote an article for us, “The Art of Rewriting Old Games” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/7083), in which he recounts how nostalgia for an old favorite, Nellan Is Thirsty, led him to rewrite the old 8-bit text game. The new version, Thirsty Nellan, “replaces the command-line parser interface of the original game with a point-and-click GUI environment.” He also used Alias|Wavefront for the scenery, which we must admit, is some of the cutest penguin artwork we've ever seen. Because many of these old 8-bit games are in the public domain, they too can be re-created for another generation of gamers. Read the article to learn exactly what Draper did, and then go rescue your own old favorite.
If you do rewrite an old game, set up a music studio or edit films on your Linux machines, drop us a line and let us know how you're doing it. And, be sure to check the Linux Journal Web site often. New articles are posted daily.
Heather Mead is senior editor of Linux Journal.