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Thread: Jack won't start

  1. #11
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by AutoStatic View Post
    The limitations are expected to exist. Ubuntu Studio is poorly optimized. . There are few distro's who get this right, I think atm only AV Linux and Tango Studio, maybe KX Studio.
    How 'poorly' do you mean? In the case of 10.10 I agree to an extent due to all those problems Quickscan reported, what about 10.04 with the linux-rt package? I ask that after inferring from the UbuntuStudioRealTimeKernel page that most audio users don't need extremely low latency except in a few cases, thus only a few audio-oriented distros resort to optimizing everything. So perhaps Ubuntu Studio can be considered only another 'moderately' optimized distro?


    Quote Originally Posted by AutoStatic View Post
    Performance-wise it is always better to disable CPU frequency scaling or set the governor to performance (even though recent versions of JACK cope better with CPU scaling). Lowering swappiness prevents your system from swapping too soon and too much. Not sure if raising inotify_max_user_watches boosts performance significantly. I don't think so, but the less overhead, the better. I've done some research on what inotify does exactly and it's still unclear to me how much overhead this stuff is causing. When it comes to the hardware timers and the clock frequency, this only matters when you do a lot of MIDI stuff. Adjusting these settings doesn't yield better performance. And don't worry about the tmpfs warning, recent JACK versions use a different temporary filesystem so this warning is a bit deprecated.
    I'm trying everything except for the kernel recompiling + setting clock to 1000Hz and will comment soon.
    BTW since the tmpfs warning is deprecated, shouldn't the script be doing something about this? Like checking the JACK version or something?
    Last edited by piovezan; February 4th, 2011 at 03:54 PM.

  2. #12
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    How 'poorly' do you mean? In the case of 10.10 I agree to an extent due to all those problems Quickscan reported, what about 10.04 with the linux-rt package? I ask that after inferring from the UbuntuStudioRealTimeKernel page that most audio users don't need extremely low latency except in a few cases, thus only a few audio-oriented distros resort to optimizing everything. So perhaps Ubuntu Studio can be considered only another 'moderately' optimized distro?
    I wasn't referring to latency, even though the lower the latency the more this demands from your system. With poorly optimized I mean that I personally think a default Ubuntu Studio installation is not optimized for serious music production. With or without -rt kernel. Besides, the 2.6.31-11-rt kernel for 10.04 is not the best -rt kernel ever either. If you just want to try out some music software or occasionally record something it's ok. But I wouldn't record/mix a 20+ track project on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    I'm trying everything except for the kernel recompiling + setting clock to 1000Hz and will comment soon.
    If you're using 10.04 grab the real-time kernel from Tango Studio and then there shouldn't be any need to recompile.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    BTW since the tmpfs warning is deprecated, shouldn't the script be doing something about this? Like checking the JACK version or something?
    Well, you could try contacting the author of the script. Haven't seen him (raboof) here in a while though He's on IRC, #opensourcemusicians on Freenode.

    Best,

    Jeremy
    Last edited by AutoStatic; February 4th, 2011 at 05:42 PM.

  3. #13
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by AutoStatic View Post
    I wasn't referring to latency, even though the lower the latency the more this demands from your system. With poorly optimized I mean that I personally think a default Ubuntu Studio installation is not optimized for serious music production. With or without -rt kernel. Besides, the 2.6.31-11-rt kernel for 10.04 is not the best -rt kernel ever either. If you just want to try out some music software or occasionally record something it's ok. But I wouldn't record/mix a 20+ track project on it.
    I see. And why in your opinion is so difficult for most audio-oriented distros to come up with the lowest latencies for both hobbyist and pro usage at once?

    You see, I'm still unsure that Ubuntu Studio isn't suited for 20+ track projects because I'm a novice computer audio user. So perhaps I simply have a wrong idea of what the limitations of computer-aided composition are. I do have previous composing experience with different approaches on Windows (MIDI sequencing + soundfonts, MOD tracking, wave editing), and I believe I can use either Rosegarden or a DAW such as Ardour to integrate MIDI and audio recording, along with extra stuff like a software drum machine and some kind of real-time effect software, both of which can be pipelined into the whole process (though the integration details are not quite clear to me yet). I have a notion that certain steps are stronger candidates to cause bottlenecks than others, such as processing real-time effects and software synthesis, besides the track mixing itself. For now I don't have equipment that could reduce the system load (e.g. a dedicated soundcard or external synthesizer), and, since the paradigm is computer-centered, I doubt external hardware can play a huge role in reducing the system load (but I might be assuming wrong). I don't think 20+ track compositions will be too uncommon, based both on MIDI and audio recording. And I think it's only natural for a novice like me to expect that any audio-oriented low latency distro flavor will do, and that for such systems a 'heavy' project would have a far bigger track count than 20+, perhaps 40+ or 50+.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutoStatic View Post
    Well, you could try contacting the author of the script. Haven't seen him (raboof) here in a while though He's on IRC, #opensourcemusicians on Freenode.
    Great, I'll be glad to get involved!
    Last edited by piovezan; February 5th, 2011 at 01:44 AM.

  4. #14
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    And why in your opinion is so difficult for most audio-oriented distros to come up with the lowest latencies for both hobbyist and pro usage at once?
    Because you can't focus on both groups at once, they have totally different demands. And add to this that some simply are less knowledgeable about optimizing the system for real-time low latency work.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    You see, I'm still unsure that Ubuntu Studio isn't suited for 20+ track projects because I'm a novice computer audio user. So perhaps I simply have a wrong idea of what the limitations of computer-aided composition are.
    No you don't. I've been there too. I've come to realize that the computer, the OS and the software are all tools for a musician, just like instruments. If you get to know these tools better you will get better results. With GNU/Linux the learning is indeed steeper than with a Macbook and ProTools (but even then it really helps if you know what you're doing) but I've decided to choose GNU/Linux as my OS of choice so I had to deal with its drawbacks and hop on the rollercoaster ride. I'm almost at the end of the ride. And I didn't get sick yet, I really enjoyed it so far actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    I have a notion that certain steps are stronger candidates to cause bottlenecks than others, such as processing real-time effects and software synthesis, besides the track mixing itself.
    Well, you're actually spot on

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    For now I don't have equipment that could reduce the system load (e.g. a dedicated soundcard or external synthesizer), and, since the paradigm is computer-centered, I doubt external hardware can play a huge role in reducing the system load (but I might be assuming wrong).
    You're spot on again For me, it's all about a clean and well configured system. With such a system you can even do what you just described by using your onboard card.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    I don't think 20+ track compositions will be too uncommon, based both on MIDI and audio recording.
    No, you'll easily get there. And I should differentiate a bit here, 20+ audio and MIDI tracks shouldn't be an issue, but as soon as you'll start adding plug-ins to those tracks and maybe hook up some softsynths via inserts then you will most certainly run into problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by piovezan View Post
    And I think it's only natural for a novice like me to expect that any audio-oriented low latency distro flavor will do, and that for such systems a 'heavy' project would have a far bigger track count than 20+, perhaps 40+ or 50+.
    True. And this is where Ubuntu Studio should work on, to come up to that expectation. At the moment I really doubt that. As a novice with such an expectation you're better off with Tango Studio or a bit more hardcore, AV Linux or 64 Studio (when the new version will be released). Mind you though that I've never used those distro's myself, I only use plain Ubuntu and modify it to my likings. So if I make any false assumptions here I stand corrected beforehand.

    Best,

    Jeremy
    Last edited by AutoStatic; February 5th, 2011 at 08:45 PM.

  5. #15
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    Re: Jack won't start

    x
    Last edited by dawiba; February 6th, 2012 at 12:21 AM.

  6. #16
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by AutoStatic View Post
    don't worry about the tmpfs warning, recent JACK versions use a different temporary filesystem so this warning is a bit deprecated.
    Yeah, jack moved to /dev/shm. Are there still other applications that use /tmp for storing realtime temporary data? if not that check should be removed i guess.

  7. #17
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    Re: Jack won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by dawiba View Post
    I don't follow why you can't do this. How are the demands totally different?
    What do you consider a hobbyist and what a pro user? I don't think a hobbyist has two daisy-chained FireWire cards, a decent collection of microphones, studio monitors, a DAW controller and a good pair of headphones.

    Quote Originally Posted by dawiba View Post
    All the more reason a system (particularly one which calls itself a Studio distro) should be properly configured OOTB, surely?
    Yes, and they're working on it if I look at the IRC channels and the mailing lists. But it's hard for such an official project to exceed the boundaries. Stuff like adding lines to /etc/sysctl.conf, adding options to /etc/fstab, not shipping packages like apt-xapian-index, adding udev rules for hardware timers, adding/removing init.d scripts, maintaining real-time kernel packages etc. If you're running your own project you don't have to go through all the Ubuntu bureaucracy to get things done, you just do it and release a new version. So maybe in the case of Ubuntu Studio it's not about being knowledgeable actually even though I do think there's room for improvement. But then some people are good at running a project and others are better at tweaking their systems. You have to find ways to get those people to communicate and find them willing to cooperate on a joined project.

    Best,

    Jeremy

  8. #18
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    Re: Jack won't start

    There he comes, thanks raboof for reading

    Quote Originally Posted by raboofje View Post
    Yeah, jack moved to /dev/shm. Are there still other applications that use /tmp for storing realtime temporary data? if not that check should be removed i guess.
    Perhaps this check is not as obsolete as I first thought The /tmp dir is a global temporary folder used by a lot of Linux applications. I suppose almost any system or non-system application uses it to keep temporary data that is not expected to be preserved between reboots.

    After reading this piece of documentation regarding Linux tmpfs 2.6.37 I understand that, benefits to jack aside, pointing /tmp to a tmpfs such as /dev/shm can in most cases represent a general improvement to system performance, since temporary data can be handled faster by a primarily memory-based file system such as tmpfs (the same principle could be applied to virtualize /var or any other temporary data storage, although /tmp is probably the only 'safe' place to virtualize, due to the completely transient nature of its contents). The Linux system itself takes some advantage of tmpfs with /dev/shm and also its own internal tmpfs mount, which is invisible to users.

    It would require further investigation before guaranteeing that a user-mounted tmpfs improves performance in every single case. First, the /tmp check must include an upper bound check in the tmpfs mount, otherwise the tmpfs may eat all the memory and cause a sudden kill of whichever the most memory-demanding application is. And considering the low latency requirement, I suspect that depending on a number of conditions, including RAM size and how much of it the loaded audio applications demand, sharing the available memory with one or more additional tmpfs mounts may actually lead to a performance decrease somewhere.

    So I believe that asking the user to mount /tmp on a tmpfs could lead in some cases to an eventual problem, while for most cases it will be a useful check resulting in a system performance boost. This probably has been extensively discussed before; perhaps one should consider how those tmpfs optimizations are handled in one or more reference implementations of a safe low latency distro (not only Ubuntu Studio) before deciding what to do about this check. http://lowlatency.linuxaudio.org recommends it.

    BTW, has the /tmp check been created for jack in the first place?
    Last edited by piovezan; February 5th, 2011 at 10:53 PM.

  9. #19
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    Re: Jack won't start

    x
    Last edited by dawiba; February 6th, 2012 at 12:22 AM.

  10. #20
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    Re: Jack won't start

    I find this discussion very enlightening, and I'm sure we can benefit from continuing it, either here or in a new topic. I too have an expectation that a single distro tuning could work for both moderately and strongly demanding audio projects, and that any possible impediments to achieving this would fall mostly into "short blanket" technical choices (e.g. favoring an optimization that is too restrictive to other parts of the system).

    Although I'm not familiar to open source projects I believe AutoStatic has been in the front-line long enough to have a sharper sense of how the (limited) development resources are distributed, in practice, to cover the roadmap of an official distro, as well as drained to make up for other forces involved, which of course contributes to drive priorities off the path. I think it makes a lot of sense -- although hardware compatibility for the video and graphics fronts of the 'Studio' is achieved more easily, being a different flavor of an official distro (which comes from another distro) has a cost to audio support, which is to deal with stuff such as unwelcome package updates that constantly threaten system responsiveness, additional bug tracking, etc. Yet considering Ubuntu Studio's current status as a whole and also the feedback from the forums I think the team has been doing pretty well and all these expectations can be achieved in due time. The only picky people are us audio users anyway.

    In my personal opinion, if the technical limitations can be surpassed, the job of providing a real low latency kernel specific to audio production demands (and shared by as many audio-oriented distros as possible) should be left to a higher-level, separate group. I'm not familiar to the linux audio development community but I think such group exists.

    BTW AutoStatic, how responsive to audio production you consider the Ubuntu kernel you are currently using? (I intend to compare it to the most responsive Ubuntu Studio kernel you mentioned).
    Last edited by piovezan; February 6th, 2011 at 04:12 AM.

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