Monday, July 30, 2007

Ubuntu Studio

One of my projects for this summer is to get my guitar (1995 Fender Standard Telecaster) and amplifier (1976 Fender Vibrolux Reverb) fixed and to do some home recording. I did a few recordings about 6 years ago on a Tascam 4 track tape recorder (you can find them on my UMD web page if you're interested, but bear in mind that I suck). However, audio production on Linux has progressed significantly in recent years---e.g., Ardour---so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

I despise compiling and configuring software by hand, so I was thrilled to discover the existence of Ubuntu Studio. The current release, 7.04, is essentially Feisty Fawn with a low-latency kernel and prebuilt binaries for all of the major audio/video/graphics applications, plus some cool new desktop themes. Through the magic of apt-get, it was a matter of three shell commands to upgrade my home machine to Ubuntu Studio. (Plus 400 MB of downloads through my DSL connection, of course.) The only hitch was breaking X because I didn't get the restricted binary kernel modules for the new kernel (nvidia drivers, alas). Once that was fixed I was in business. People talk about whether or not Linux is ready for the desktop. I think Ubuntu has not only answered this question with a resounding yes, but proven that it is a better desktop system than Windows many times over.

I haven't tried out Ardour yet, since I'm still waiting for my guitar and amp to come back from the shop, and also for the soundcard (M-Audio Delta 1010LT) I won on ebay to arrive. Thanks to Ubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, I'll be ready when they all arrive.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Visual Studio 2005 works in VMWare Player

Since I had no luck getting WinXP/Visual Studio working in VirtualBox, I decided to try VMWare Player. Long story short, it works! I followed the instructions an a VMWare Player HOWTO at ubuntuforums, and a couple hours later I have a full WinXP VM in which Visual Studio is (apparently) running quite happily. Got TortoiseSVN installed as well. Whee! Networking works just dandy through the NAT'ed virtual ethernet device.

My initial impressions is that VMWare Player gets extremely bogged down by disk I/O. Double clicking a program icon can send it off into space for minutes. It kinda seems to be a one-time hit, though. Maybe I just need more RAM.

Other than the disk I/O problem, responsiveness seems acceptable.

Now I can engage in some Windows development without leaving the cozy womb of Linuxdom.

Can't run Visual Studio 2005 within VirtualBox?

I tried today to get VirtualBox set up on my Linux (Ubuntu 7.04) box at work. WinXP installed without a hitch, but it refuses to install Visual Studio 2005, which is the only reason I wanted to run WinXP in the first place!

Here's a screenshot of the error


A google search on the text of the error message returned no hits. The Properties menu says I have 14.6 GB of space left on my (virtual) hard drive, and Linux has plenty of real disk space left, so I don't think that's the problem.

VirtualBox seems like an excellent product, and responsiveness within the guest OS seems quite snappy, so my current state of affairs is disappointing.