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Here is a summary of most of the mail that I got back
on my summary of Linux and sound cards:

For reference, my original message was:

Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 12:47:56 -0400
From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>

You might look at http://lusk1.mines.edu/hjjou/linux_prg.html
for an extensive summary of commercial and free
software for Linux. In case you dont already know,
Linux is a free Unix that runs on Intel hardware, and is
written by people of the Internet, who use it for their work.
Unix (in the form of Linux) has come a long way over the years
in terms of ease of use. If you liked the NEXT box, you will love
LINUX.  It takes more effort to install and get it working,
but once it is set up, it is much "nicer" than, well
you know the alternative. If you are totally happy
with your present environment, Linux is not for you.
But if you miss that old command line, and a good
script now and then, check it out. It typically costs about
$40 for a set of CDs, or if you have a lot of free time on your
hands, you can download it free from the internet.

I switched from a DOS/WIN 3.11 environment to Linux last
November, and I for MY needs, Linux is MUCH better.
In the past, I was never a big fan of Unix because of small inconsistences
and problems, but now that I took the time to learn the Linux shell (BASH)
useage, those old problems are gone.

Linux comes with all the standard unix commands, a good C++ compiler (GNU),
Fortran (f2c), Perl, pkzip (zip), X windows, Ghostview, LaTex,
and many different very good MSWORD-like word processing programs.
*** SOUND CARD *** driver's source code is also provided.
This means that you can have do not need to depend
on some commerical vendor for these critical modules. I use LINUX on
a notebook PC, and it supports PCMCIA "card services" very nicely.
I just plug in a modem, scsi card (to use a cdrom drive), or my ethernet
PCMCIA card, and it beeps to let me know it sees the card.
I am presently looking at possible 16-bit sound-cards for my PCMCIA slot.
DOS and Windows can co-exist on these systems very nicely, if you have the
disk space, as you are only a reboot away from these old favorites.

I got get help from others on the internet when I ran into problems
during the setup. It took me about 1 full day to get X windows working,
and a couple of weeks of fiddling with the installation of different
programs I wanted, setting up the printer daemon, ethernet setup,
modem setup, etc. Once it is working it is literally bug free!
The NETACAPE browser is available for Linux (free of course).

I have been using Matlab, and I think that it works much better than
under the windows environment.  I dont do it often, but I can
also bring up a DOS prompt from Linux, and run DOS programs.
However, DOS isn't very friendly in a multitasking OS like
UNIX, and it eats lots of memory cycles when it is running a program.

Please, no flames.

Jont Allen

Thanks to Dr. Carlo Nervi in Italy, the popular web page about
Scientific Applications now has a mirror in Italy to help out
people in Europe to retrieve this big service (~97K in total).

The original site (in USA) URL is

The new mirrored site URL is

The page actually contains:
- - Commercial Scientific Software
- - MatLab Alike and Related Packages
- - Mathematics and Statistics
- - Signal, Communication, Data and Image Processing
- - Finite or Boundary Element
- - Numerical Analysis
- - CAD, Graph and Visualization
- - Scientific Data Plotting Packages
- - Scientific Data Plotting Libraries
- - General Purpose Graphic Libraries
- - Word Processing or Typesetting
- - X-Window GUI Builder
- - Misc Scientific Packages or Libraries
- - Other Links

Comments, corrections, contributions welcome.
Please contact Herng-Jeng Jou at hjjou@lusk1.mines.edu

- ------------------
Herng-Jeng Jou
Engineering Division
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401                hjjou@lusk1.mines.edu
(303) 384-2119                  http://lusk1.mines.edu/hjjou/

From: Robert Irie <irie@ai.mit.edu>
Date: Tue Jun 11 15:42:33 1996
To: AUDITORY@mcgill1.bitnet, jba@research.att.com
Subject: Re:  Nice linux software summary

No flames, and thanks for the excellent summary for linux. I too have
been trying to decide between linux and the "other" solution, which
in my case is Windows NT 3.51. I eventually decided to use Windows NT,
though I have used linux and love command lines more than GUIs.
The factor that tipped me over to the commercial OS solution is the
availability of good development environments and  volumes of
texts of programming techniques, source code, etc. that is available
now for Win32. There is nothing (yet) in the linux/unix world that
compares to the ease of use and power of Visual C++ (or Borland, or Symantec,
etc.) in terms of project management and source level debugging.
Sound card interfacing has stabilized and the MultiMedia extensions are
standard in Win32. You can access sound cards at the most simplistic
(MCI) level or deal with them at the lowest level.

As an OS, Win NT is fully 32 bit and thus is much more stable than 3.11
or 95, though I have managed to crash it a couple of times. It is not
really multi-user, and certain features are definitely not as clean
or simple as unix, but I am still quite happy with NT. I will be willing
to compile a FAQ for sound programming in NT if there is enough interest.

Robert Irie

From: malcolm@interval.com Tue Jun 11 15:52:12 1996
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 12:46:33 -0700
To: Jont Allen <jba@research.att.com>
Subject: Re: Nice linux software summary

Linux now also runs on Apple hardware.

>When we met at ARO you told me that Apple was going to do this.
>It didnt take long. Thats great. I dont have any religion about
>Intel. I dont understand why Apple would port linux to their hardware.
>The great thing about the Apple is the software, no?
>Explain the reasoning to me.

I think its just a matter of giving people a choice.  As you well know,
some things are easier on Unix.  Some Mac customers feel the same and I
think Apple just wants to keep them happy.

Besides, the hardware is really solid and I can buy a four processor Mac,
but only a two processor Pentium Pro.

But then in six years at Apple, I never did really understand them.

-- Malcolm

From: Larry Feth <feth.1@osu.edu>
Date: Tue Jun 11 16:47:17 1996
To: Jont Allen <jba@research.att.com>
Subject: Re: Nice linux software summary


Thanks for the timely review - my new pentium box arrives this week and the
only decision I've made is too NOT run windows 95.  Are you running the
newest version of Linux (2.? I think)


From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>
Date: Wed Jun 12 11:06:29 1996
To: feth.1@osu.edu (Larry Feth)
Subject: Re: Nice linux software summary
Cc: jba@sear.research.att.com

I am using the slackware 3.0 version. That has 1.2.13, as the
standard version. THe latest version will be out soon, and is 2. something.
It is 1.3.99 right now. I dont know the exact release date, but I am
sure the linux home page would give an estimate.

From: Hugh Secker-Walker <hugh@hodain.ci.net>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 96 16:50:18 -0400
Cc: Jont Allen <jba@research.att.com>
Subject: Re: Nice linux software summary
Reply-To: hugh@hodain.ci.net

   Jont Allen <jba@RESEARCH.ATT.COM> wrote:
>  In case you dont already know,
>  Linux is a free Unix that runs on Intel hardware....

Linux runs on:

 Platform    Status
  Intel     very stable distributions
  Alpha     stable distribution
  Sparc     kernel Beta, user-level Alpha
  PPC       port underway
  Mips      port underway
  Mac       port underway

>  It typically costs about $40 for a set of CDs

MicroCenter sells a multi-CD Intel kit for $15.

For a general starting point on Linux, try

>  If you liked the NEXT box, you will love LINUX.

Er.... If you love NEXTSTEP, you may find Linux tolerable :)

Hugh Secker-Walker   |   hugh@hodain.ci.net
(NeXTmail ok)        |   hugh@ear-ache.mit.edu

From: Judith Brown <brown@media.mit.edu>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 07:26:05 -0400
To: jba@research.att.com
Subject: Re: Nice linux software summary

I've been planning (sometime) to change my HDD and install linux on my
compaq aero so was very interested in your msg and pleased to see how
well it worked for you.
| I got get help from others on the internet when I ran into problems
| during the setup.

What groups did you use?

thanks and congratulations on getting all this going,

From: Regis Rossi Alves Faria <regis@LSI.USP.BR>
Subject:      On Lynux sound support...

At my lab we are used to working with SGI machines, as well as with
PC's. Unix machines are very stable and more understandable on
account of its C-like codes. For a long time now I have been
considering installing Lynux on my PC, but lack of audio support
disencouraged me...

All this activity around Lynux ignited me to reply asking for an
important issue: which sound cards are supported under a Lynux
running on a PC?  I have quickly navigated through some of the
links that were posted here, and couldn't find accurate info
clearing this up!  It seems that Lynux, although more stable
than Win 3.1 or 3.11, can't offer much to those working with
musical production.

Any contrary evidence, please let me know.

LSI - Integrated Systems Laboratory
Computer Music Group
University of Sao Paulo

From: Regis Rossi Alves Faria <regis@usp.br>
To: Jont Allen <jba@research.att.com>
Subject: Re: On Lynux sound support...

On Wed, 12 Jun 1996, Jont Allen wrote:

> I'm not sure what you have in mind when you say "working with
> musical production."? What card do you want to use? How many
> bits, how many cards?

When I say 'working with musical production' I mean a couple of
(at first sight) different applications, but somehow inter-related:

First of all I need an audio digital environment where I can
analyse sound patterns, musical phrases, particularly using
signal digital processing. This is basically what I need to match
my current work/research (I am working with wavelets).

Then, employing relevant (of musical value) sonic material I also have
intention to produce musical pieces using them, and want also to
have a system where I can process, add effects, analyse, synthesize,
edit and record the final results.

You were right: "working with musical production" sounded

Thanks for the link.


From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>
To: regis@usp.br
Subject: audio

Also look at

From: Regis Rossi Alves Faria <regis@usp.br>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 00:15:42 -0300 (GRNLNDST)
To: Jont Allen <jba@research.att.com>
Subject: Re: audio

Thanks Jont for your kind attention, and for the links.
I have also found out some interesting links.

I was considering using this OS due to its higher stability,
but I've been reading about how low is the interest from
professional audio hard/soft manufacturers in supporting
drivers and technical guidance...

Do you run Linux on your daw?


From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 16:12:24 -0400
To: Regis Rossi Alves Faria <regis@usp.br>
Subject: Re: audio

Yes I run Linux. I dont think it is a problem about the manufacturers.
They will come around once they find out what is going on here.
This is a little bit of a revolution. Some people would rather stay
out of it, for professional reasons. Those that really depend on
good hardware and software however, cant deal with the flakey MS
software, and they need something that really works.

As more people switch (and not everybody will) the manufacturers will
see the need to play ball. Many of them dont like the concept of an open
system. They hide behind the curtain because they dont have the best
product, and that would become clear if people knew what was under the
hoods of their products.

In my view, there is much more technical software, that works,
in the Unix world than in the MS world. This is because Unix has been
around longer, and is a true OS.

From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 14:50:03 -0400
To: seltzer@hogpa.ho.att.com
Subject: Re:  Linux

>Jont, why not just use an SUN/SGI.
>Linda Seltzer

Hi Linda,
It is a matter of cost, and weight. The 4.5 notebook goes with
me, and my INDY stays in my office. Portability goes a long way
with me. When I come into the office, I put my notebook on the
net with an ethernet card. All my mail is taken via the indy.

I guess it is about choice. SUN/SGI is not the issue for most
people. It is Win95 vs NT.

On a slightly different topic, I thought I would throw this in:

Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 17:34:54 -0400

UMSDOS is an option that allows you to share the DOS file system
so that the Linux filesystem is part of the 16 bit DOS
FAT table, rather than a real unix file system (its own partion).
It seems like a nice idea, and it is how I set up my notbook, but I ran
into a minor problem, and sometimes the disk access is slow.
Jacques@solucorp.qc.ca wrote this optional file system. Below
is some mail I sent to him re that program.

I have not seen this problem on system that dont use the UMSDOS filesystem.

From: Jont Allen <jba@ipr.research.att.com>
To: jacques@solucorp.qc.ca
Subject: A serious problem -- Help
Cc: jba@sear.research.att.com

I have been using umsdos since November, and I have a problem
that is somewhat subtle. I dont know that the problem is UMSDOS,
but I suspect it.

Here is the problem. When ever I run one big job in an X window,
the file system can become very slow, and the disk thrashes about
on another program, or a shell command, in another X window.
For example, if I run ghostview, and then try to run latex, when
it gets to the fonts, it can take up to a min reading in all
the font files. If I kill the ghostview, then it only takes seconds
reading in those same files.

Is UMSDOS my problem? Have you ever heard of this problem before?
I have a second Linux system, and it does not have this problem.
That system has disk partitions.  I fear UMSDOS has a bad flaw.

Please help,
Jont Allen

From: malcolm@interval.com (Malcolm Slaney)
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 22:51:24 -0700
To: jba@research.att.com
Subject: Sound on Linux

Jont, I never heard any responses to the guy's question about sound support
under Linux.  Do you have any information?  We're thinking about buying some
Pentium Pro machines and would need to have sound support.


-- Malcolm