I just don’t get them. I really don’t. For years, the perceived wisdom has been that if you want to record audio on Linux, you need a low-latency kernel, real-time kernel. The technical description is a kernel with real-time pre-emption, and the stock kernel that comes with most distros does not have this lovely goodness included. So, you need to grab a vanilla kernel, apply some real-time patches and then you should be up and running. Now, this begs the questions:

  • Why does the kernel that comes with most distros not include the patch?
  • If the real-time patch conflicts with other things (I have been informed it could conflict with RAID), why can’t the support be switched on at boot?
  • If both of the above don’t apply, why can’t I just install kernel-realtime and it installs something that hot-rods my kernel for real-time pre-emption or even an entirely new kernel with the patch?

So, after reading into this a little, I learned that the real-time patch could conflict with other parts of the kernel sub-system, such as the RAID example I gave above. Then, I read this and it seems that the stock kernel is going the real-time way anyway. Oh, the confusion. 😛

While musicians have to even know what a real-time kernel is, it just makes Linux harder and harder to push as a system for producing audio with. We are building Jokosher to make the multi-tracking experience easier, the GStreamer team are making the multimedia framework side easier, now it is the turn of the kernel hackers – please, please solve these problems! :)

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