Sunday, April 18, 2010

Explanation Of My Problems With 64Studio

Well, I guess 64Studio is one of the Linux music production distros I won't be writing a real review for. It turns out that the problem is my reliance on virtualization. This is too bad as I suspect 64Studio is probably quite good.

64Studio isn't just another .deb Linux with a few multimedia packages bolted on. It runs a real-time version of the Linux Kernel. This is a great idea for a music production system as it directly addresses the problem of latency in digital recording and monitoring.

The problem is that 64Studio's real-time kernel doesn't like to have its access to hardware mediated[1][2]. Now that I think about it, I can hardly blame it. If your purpose in existing is to execute certain tasks before all others without fail (that's a heavily simplified view of real-time computing, but you get the idea) having other software threatening to make you wait your turn isn't acceptable. That's exactly what virtualization software does to allow one or more virtual machines to use the same computer hardware as the host OS.

I had 64Studio going in VMWare Fusion for a short time but now that I'm using VirtualBox it won't even install. I'm curious what sweet little lies Fusion whispered in 64Studio's ear to make it think it had sole and unfettered access, but now that I understand the problem I'm satisfied that I'm just not the target user for that system.

Stay tuned. I'm getting settled in with Linux as my main OS. I'll have more to say about Linux and music production shortly.

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