LAC2013: Saturday 11th of May

Somehow I managed to arrive just in time to set everything up for my workshop, like always. I’m very good at stumbling in at the very last moment. The Nvidia binary blob didn’t like a beamer attached to it so I couldn’t properly display my slides. The well-filled room didn’t seem to care, they were more interested in what I had to say and the equipment I brought with me. I talked and talked and only briefly demonstrated the Raspberry Pi I brought with me. Guess I could’ve done a whole workshop about the RPi because apparently that little device caught most of the attention.

Right after my workshop I rushed to Rui’s intercalated workshop about the software he develops. I missed his first workshop which took place on Thursday. But since Rui had so much more to show after that initial workshop the LAC2013 organization decided to allot him more time for an extra workshop. But I also didn’t want to miss Jörn’s workshop so I decided I also wanted to see part of that workshop too. Even though I’ve been using Rui’s software for years (I’m a QA, Qtractor Afficionado) he showed things I had never seen before. And I probably attended one of the best parts of Jörn’s workshop where he showed and made us listen to what he did with a live recording. An ear opener, really, amazing what you can do with a good pair of ears, years of experience and the right tools.

Then it was lunchtime already. Missed out on the warm lunch but when that was all cleared the alternative food stand was set up again which had probably even better food. They had great salads, fruit juice, bread and other tasty things, all for free. Many, many thanks to the organization for setting this up, it really added up to the overall positive vibe of the conference.

Now I had a bit of a problem. I needed to go to the Forum Stadtpark to do a sound check for the Linux Sound Night. But walking was not an option with all my stuff and public transport would take too long as there was no direct connection. Luckily I could tag along with the guys from SuperDirt² so I hopped into their car and off we went. SuperDirt² had to play last so they did their sound check first. I watched their sound check in awe, these guys were good! I was up next. Everything went smooth, monitors were good, the sound guy was a really cool guy and so was the stage manager for the event. All omens were very positive!

We got back right on time for Albert Graef’s talk on creating LV2 plugins with Faust. We witnessed a glimpse of the future. If I got it right it will be extremely easy to create your own LV2 plugins in the near future. Just throw some Faust code against it and upload it with your browser and within moments you can download your own LV2 plugin! Time to learn some Faust I guess. One lightning talk later we witnessed another glimpse of the future. No, not my acrylic guitar in the hands of Bruno Gola but the world premiere of the MOD Quadra digital pedal board. The excitement was tangible. But the MOD guys quite easily redeemed the high expectations. The MOD Quadra is simply an amazing device, the web GUI looks stunning and it’s all so easy. And it runs on Linux people, using the LV2 framework. If this doesn’t propel LV2 into mass adoption then what?

For dinner we ended up in a nice Italian restaurant. The Gösser tasted good, same for the dish I ordered (Calamari alla griglia). After dinner we walked to the Forum Stadtpark where we were welcomed by the pleasant chaos of Android drummers. I installed the app and joined the concert. It was fun. Then the beamer got switched on showing us two terminal windows with vim on the right side and something compile-ish on the left. On stage a person in front of a notebook, coding live. The result? Really cool stuff if you ask me, just watch for yourself.

Algorave to the max all y’all!

Then it was time for something remotely dance related, namely me. Really enjoyed the gig even though my voice let me down after the third song. The guy that came after me unfortunately was a bit the odd one out so the contrast with the last act, SuperDirt², couldn’t have been bigger. As soon as Käpt’n Dirt hit the strings of his cello we knew this was going to be a blast. And when Ras Tilo kicked in the party was complete. What a great show!

After the encore of SuperDirt² it was time for the Open Jack Session. Not Jack as in JACK but Jack as in 3.5″ mini-jack. It was lying there on the table on stage and after ClaudiusMaximus Marije Baalman plugged in. Live coding in SuperCollider with every once in a while Marije stretching her arms because of the anti-RSI alarms that kept popping up. Great stuff, very enjoyable to listen to and the added humorous note of the anti-RSI alarms perfectly summed up what this conference was all about: having a great time. Despite the submerging inebriation I was enthralled.

We stayed until we got kicked out. That’s how it should be. Sole minor blemish: the beer. That Murauer stuff was close to undrinkable.

LAC2013: Saturday 11th of May

New notebook: BTO P•BOOK 17CL45-GT650 i7 QUAD

Yay, got a new notebook, a BTO P•BOOK 17CL45-GT650 i7 QUAD! I visited BTO last Tuesday and placed an order for a custom built notebook and it arrived yesterday. It’s quite a monster if you ask me:

  • Intel Core i7-3630QM Quad Core Processor (6MB Cache, 2.3 GHz, Turbo Mode 3.3GHz)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 120GN SSD
  • 1TB HDD
  • Nvidia GT650M

One of the reasons I chose BTO besides the fact that they offer custom built notebooks is that they also offer the choice to have your custom built notebook come without an OS. Unfortunately it came without a license, in other words, when I first started the notebook it booted into a Windows 7 installation procedure. No biggie, created a bootable USB stick with the Ubuntu 12.04 mini ISO and wiped all partitions. 20 minutes later I could boot into a fresh Lubuntu installation. And you know what? All the essential stuff worked out of the box! So far the following things just work:

  • Network, both WiFi and wired
  • Sound
  • Webcam
  • Fn buttons
  • Display
  • Suspend to RAM

The only real challenge is probably getting the Nvidia Optimus configuration to work but I already found some very specific documentation. Yes, the BTO is actually a Clevo W170ER housing with custom hardware.

text-align: center;

BTO P•BOOK 17CL45-GT650 i7 QUAD/Clevo W170ER

Other than that the BTO was a breeze to set up and it happily runs Lubuntu 12.04. Booting into a complete desktop takes less than 15 seconds at the moment. Next up is configuring it properly for real-time, low-latency audio. If I want to get the most out of it I’ll probably have to start looking for a decent USB2.0 audio interface. The BTO has no FireWire or PCI Express ports. A sign of the times, guess FireWire is basically dead technology.

New notebook: BTO P•BOOK 17CL45-GT650 i7 QUAD

Frisse start

Eindelijk mijn muziek PC gemigreerd naar Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. Van de week is mijn nieuwe geluidskaart binnengekomen (een Focusrite Saffire Pro 40) en Jof van Tango Studio schoot me aan op IRC met de vraag of ik zijn real-time 2.6.33 kernel wilde proberen. Twee goeie redenen om te switchen. Ten eerste omdat ik de Saffire Pro 40 al uitgebreid heb kunnen testen onder 10.04 met mijn eigen FFADO pakketjes en ten tweede omdat ik met de kernel van Tango Studio de beschikking heb over de nouveau drivers voor mijn Nvidia kaart. Ben nu dus niet meer afhankelijk van die closed source drivers van Nvidia die de laatste tijd nogal wat problemen schijnen te geven in combinatie met recentere real-time kernels. Ook heb ik nu geen last meer van de devtmpfs bug die toch niet opgelost gaat worden aangezien de maintainer van de Ubuntu real-time kernel er mee gaat stoppen.

Had nog wel een raar probleempje met JACK. Kreeg iedere keer als ik bijv. Yoshimi of PHASEX opstartte de volgende melding:

ports used in attemped connection are not of the same data type

Dacht eerst dat het misschien aan JACK lag maar na op de LAU mailinglist gevraagd te hebben wat deze melding nou precies betekende had ik al snel een vermoeden dat het waarschijnlijk aan a2jmidid lag. De Saffire Pro 40 doet er namelijk een stuk langer over om op te komen dan de Pro 10 van de band. En met de Pro 10 werkt mijn a2jmidid opstartscriptje wel goed maar met de Pro 40 start a2jmidid op voordat de audio poorten opkomen. Dit heeft als gevolg dat veel applicaties die met de eerst twee beschikbare audio JACK input poorten willen verbinden (normaliter dus ook audio poorten) nu aan de a2jmidid JACK MIDI poorten worden geknoopt (dat zijn immers de als eerste aangemaakte input poorten). Oftewel, de applicatie probeert audio poorten met MIDI poorten te verbinden en vandaar de melding. Mijn opstartscriptje voor a2jmidid ziet er nu als volgt uit:


while [ "$JACK_TEST" != "system" ]
JACK_TEST=$(jack_lsp 2>/dev/null | grep -m1 -e "system" | cut -d ":" -f 1)
sleep 2

a2jmidid -e &


Werkt weer prima. Kan nog beter uiteraard want QjackCtl blijft nu hangen zo lang de while loop actief is, maar daar vind ik nog wel een elegantere oplossing voor.

Frisse start

Lucid Lynx Appreciation Blog

Van de week Lucid Lynx op mijn PC op het werk geïnstalleerd in plaats van Fedora 12. Had er ook Fedora 13 op kunnen zetten maar heb toch besloten om voor Ubuntu te gaan. De Linux mensen van de ICT afdeling op mijn werk hebben een voorkeur voor Red Hat (dus ook Cent OS en Fedora) en ik wilde een beetje bijblijven, heb zelfs een RHCE cursus gedaan, maar Ubuntu werkt voor mij gewoon lekkerder. Dus helaas, exit Fedora.

Tot nu toe ben ik erg enthousiast. De installatie verliep soepeltjes en ook de boel instellen kostte me niet al teveel tijd. Active Directory authenticatie was nog een kluifje maar dat heb ik nu ook aan de gang. Ik kan weer printen, kan bij al m’n shares, mail via Exchange werkt ook en van een aantal Fedora onhebbelijkheidjes ben ik nu eindelijk af (haperende NetworkManager, Place Windows plugin van Compiz die het niet deed).

Na alles geïnstalleerd en ingesteld te hebben, inclusief de onmisbare PPA’s (falkTX en philip5), mistte ik nog wel het nodige dus ben gelijk maar gaan packagen voor Lucid in mijn PPA. Ook liep ik na het installeren van de gesloten Nvidia drivers tegen een bug in Plymouth maar na wat aanpassingen had ik weer een slick opstartscherm. En uiteraard meteen de vensterknopjes weer rechts gezet. Dat soort dingen lijken kleine aanpassingen maar als je al meer dan 15 jaar gewend bent om de knopjes rechts te hebben en ze staan ineens links dan krijg ik een enorme error. En ook heb ik het niet zo op Apple (in Mac OS X staan de knopjes ook links) dus hup, knopjes naar rechts.

Dus ik heb weer een lekker fris en fruitig OS op mijn werk PC staan wat draait als een speer. En ik kan later naar mijn werk, zo ontiegelijk snel start de boel op. Ja, 10.04 lijkt me voor zover weer een goeie release, chapeau Ubuntu!

Lucid Lynx Appreciation Blog