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Ardour 2.0 : A Brief Practical Introduction

The eagerly-awaited Ubuntu Studio has been released, adding another entry into the expanding list of multimedia-optimized Linux distributions. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but interested readers can peruse some installation screenshots or check out the latest news and information on the Ubuntu Studio Wiki. I plan to review the distro in a future column, along with an update on the latest version of the venerable PlanetCCRMA, but in this entry I'm focused on another very exciting new release.

Ardour 2.0 is now available for download. This version is a significant improvement over the 0.99 series (1.0 was never released), with many new features and enhancements to performance and stability. The following article profiles the new Ardour as I employed it for three projects, all involving the program in the processes of composition and arranging as well as the more typical tasks of recording and editing. I've described each project in some detail, and each description includes a link to the final audio output.

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Remembering Progeny

Two weeks ago, I heard that Progeny Linux Systems of Indianapolis had closed its doors for the last time. The end was a long time coming – in fact, six years longer than I predicted. All the same, I paused last week for a bit of nostalgia. Working for the company in 2000-01 gave me my first sense of my potential and gave me a sense of self-worth at a time when I badly needed it. more>>

The Microsoft FUD Campaign vs. the Customer

Almost everything that can be said has been said about the latest moves by Microsoft to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about Linux. Countless pundits and analysts have pointed out that Microsoft threats are toothless. Some have noted that Microsoft has singled out Linux and OpenOffice, the biggest threats to its monopoly on operating systems and office suites. Surely Microsoft could claim that the *BSDs infringe on similar patents if not the same ones. But the *BSDs do not pose as great a threat to the company. Others have pointed out that Microsoft would be insane to pull an SCO and sue its own customers. Still others have noted that IBM and/or OIN could respond to a patent war with a massive retaliation in patent infringement claims. I have no doubt that Microsoft has lifted a lot of GPL code (more likely algorithms) for Windows, which would prevent Microsoft from following through with its threats. To do so would require that Microsoft open its own code to scrutiny. The list goes on, and others have covered the angles very well. There is one perspective I haven't yet seen, at least not the way I propose to deal with it. This perspective follows below. more>>

Meeting Microsoft's Patent Threat

So, the shape of the Great Battle begins to emerge. As reported by Fortune magazine, Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, reckons free software infringes on no less than 235 of the company's patents: more>>

Where is Phil Hughes?

Well, that's easy to answer but, more important what is he doing? And why? Well, here is a not so quick update. more>>

The Rise of Functional Languages

Functional Languages seem to be pushing for the title of the next cool thing. Talks and tutorials about them are starting to show up in conferences and conventions, books about them are hitting the shelves, people are even asking about talking about them in blogs and mailing lists devoted to some of the current hot languages. more>>

Something's Happening Here

It's a relaxed entry this time, an update on some recent happenings in the Linux audio world. Without further preamble, let's take a look at some of the good things going on there.

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LDAP -Time to Leave Home, Young Man

If you have followed my articles on LDAP, you know we began looking at objectClasses in the last installment back in March. Since that time, I haven't written much more about directory servers. I began contemplating whether or not to continue the LDAP series because things have changed. Let me explain: more>>

OpenOffice.org Calc function tools

Once you are comfortable with inputting functions and formulas, the next step is to learn how to automate the processes. Calc includes over half a dozen tools to help you manipulate functions and formulas, ranging from features for copying and reusing data to creating subtotals automatically to ones for varying information to help you find the answers that you need. These tools are divided between the Tools and Data menus, according to no apparent logic. more>>

Show Us the Code

As I've noted before, I am something of a connoisseur of Microsoft's FUD against open source, in part because I believe each successive FUD-flavour of the month gives important hints about the evolution of the thinking and strategy within the company. The latest development in this area, which revolves around patents, is no exception – not least because I think people are drawing the wrong conclusions from it. more>>

Mike and Tux, sitting in a tree...

Michael Dell Runs Ubuntu, Jim Thompson reports. Sure 'nuff:

The key excerpt... more>>

OpenOffice.org Calc functions, part 2: Working with formulas

A formula is a spreadsheet function entered in a cell, complete with its arguments. They're one of the two or three major applications that first spearheaded the acceptance of the personal computer in the 1980s, and the main tools of advanced spreadsheet use. more>>

Thinking Past Platforms: the Next Challenge for Linux

In my first SuitWatch Newsletter, on September 5, 2002, I wrote this: "A funny thing happened to Linux on the way to World Domination: it succeeded. That's the good news; the bad news is its success has hit a few hitches, and it's unclear how long those hitches will last."

The biggest hitch — dominating PCs the way Linux has dominated servers and embedded devices — is still around, almost five years later. And it will remain a hitch as long as hardware OEMs continue to follow Microsoft rather than lead the marketplace.

That's the gauntlet I threw down last Wednesday, in my last SuitWatch. And now I'm throwing it down here. I want to challenge the big hardware OEMs — Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony and the rest of them — to break free of the only form factors Microsoft will let them make, and start leading the marketplace by making make cool, interesting, fun and useful stuff that isn't limited by any one company's catalog of possibilities. Stop making generic stuff. Grow greener grass beyond the Windows fences. Stop thinking of Linux as "generic" and "a commodity". Start looking at how building only Windows PCs forces you to make generic, commodity products. more>>

Programmer Deathmatch II

Last fall, Berkeley Data Systems ran a "Programmer Deathmatch", offering a $10,000 prize to the one programmer who successfully navigated 3 timed rounds of programming competition. (You can read my write up of the event here and here.) more>>

I'm JADed !

In my apparently never-ending quest to revive and refresh my aging 32-bit box I decided to try installing the JAD (JackLab Audio Distribution) system. To recapitulate the source of woe with this particular machine, I'll remind readers that its PS2 ports are physically damaged, forcing me to switch my mouse and keyboard to the USB ports. Under normal circumstances this switch wouldn't be a problem, but many contemporary distros and live discs cause the keyboard to vanish from recognition by the system, leaving me with an unusable machine (the problem has something to do with the HID module). Regular readers of this blog may recall that I've been using the excellent Dynebolic on this hardware, and that it's worked wonderfully well. However, I thought I'd take a chance with the JAD distribution, and I must say that I've been very pleased with it. The installation and configuration went smoothly, the system is happy with my USB keyboard, and the old box now has a new lease on life, with a shiny new 2.6.19 Linux kernel optimized for realtime performance.

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The newly updated 1994-2006 Linux Journal Archive CD-ROM is here!

(And for a limited time, available for only $26.95.)

In easy-to-use HTML format, this space-saving archive CD-ROM offers users the advantage of immediate access to the essential Linux resource: Linux Journal. The Archive CD-ROM contains every issue of Linux Journal, from the premiere March 1994 issue through December 2006. Order before May 15, 2007, and save 10% off the regular list price of $29.95! (ISBN: 978-0-9793220-0-6)

Buy! Buy! Buy! - into Openness

One of the core problems for open source has always been that as a radical force outside the mainstream it is hard for its supporters to influence conventional players there. In part, this was what made Dell's Ideastorm so important: it gave a voice to those hitherto unable to communicate usefully with the company. The effects have been dramatic, with Dell now promising to sell systems with pre-installed GNU/Linux. The question then must be, how can we build on that success to achieve maximum impact? more>>

CAN-SPAM Act - Is it working? You Decide.

As I delete spam from my Gmail spam folder, I notice the volumes increasing. A year ago, I would see about five to ten emails a day in that folder. This morning, I woke up to 56 items. The volume of spam has grown, no doubt. more>>

OpenOffice.org Calc functions, part 1: Understanding functions

A function is a pre-defined calculation entered in a cell to help you analyze or manipulate data in a spreadsheet. All you have to do is add the arguments, and the calculation is automatically made for you. Beginners might be content to use Calc for lists, but, for advanced users, functions are the main reason for spreadsheets. If you understand functions, then you can start to use the real power of a spreadsheet. more>>

Linux 's Missing Manual Coming to a User's Group Near You

Would you like to get your hands on "Linux System Administration" and have Bill Lubanovic or me show up to your local LUG or UNIX User group meeting? Then you should contact Marsee Henon at O'Reilly. Of course, if you would rather have another author and another book she can handle that too. Marsee works with various groups around the country to make sure they have books and speakers. more>>

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