Trying to give up Windows... except for music creation


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May 3, 2023
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Originally I was going to refer to this topic:

"Why did I abandon Windows for good?"

But decided to start a new one on this sub-forum because it's one of my favorite subjects.

I'm trying to abandon Windows for good. But there are a couple of music-creation applications that I like using and occupy the rest of the time I use the computer offline. I wish one of the apps could become multi-platform. I like using freeware trackers, especially OpenMPT, with 32-bit VST plug-ins.

Yes I suppose I could use Schism Tracker but it apes the ancient program too much. In the least it could support customizable keystroke shortcuts. There is one guy working on Lua scripting ability which I don't think would be "officially" supported, which is a shame. Other people requesting SF2 support and repackaging as VST plug-in... just get a life please.

There exists an Impulse-Tracker-compatible VST instrument called ReViSiT but it's payware, for Windows only and it's not known if the author ported it to VST3. It looks like it was last updated in 2018. The v0.9x free beta is quite usable but is very buggy. The freeware version cannot trigger patterns with MIDI, doesn't have "zoomable" pattern lines, doesn't have multiple outputs and doesn't support surround-sound. It does come with a bare host to run it like independent program. The keystrokes I think could be reassigned because they are too weird, but it could conflict with the hosting application. It's recommended to create IT files instead in OpenMPT or Schism Tracker.

I also use Sunvox but not as much. Great program but cannot get a fast workflow from it. I can't do "chiptunes" like everyone else, and otherwise only using this program would make me sound like all other people using it. I really do like the note randomization from patterns. What a shame RENOISE is payware and still can't do it.

MilkyTracker is a good program, impressed it was bulletproof on Windows, and this was the old v0.90 that stayed not updated for a fairly long time. Recently I picked up a v1.03 in source code and compiled it successfully on Debian "Bullseye". Now have to rummage through my backups to find it LOL. Good program but it's another one that I would never be physically comfortable using. It cannot render to WAV in tight sync, like Schism Tracker. In other words, create a song which is 96 bars long at 120 beats per minute, and render the whole thing and dump the result into Ardour. The late end of the audio clip should hit bar #97 straight on. It doesn't, it falls short. A much longer project will have to be time-stretched. Could do it in Audacity now which is nice but it's not preferable for the sake of sound quality.

I do have the last registered copy of RENOISE which is v2.8, could do a lot of things with it with the Lua scripting device. Once I ran the 32-bit Windows version on Solus, was getting fancy about it until an OS update broke it. Then it was downhill for me with that distro and wound up wiping it away in favor of Spiral KDE 64-bit and Slackware 32-bit.

I have created thousands of tracker-instrument files (with XRNI file suffix) out of my BASIC and Lua programming abilities. Just really random junk you wouldn't understand. But I would have been bewildered by v3.0 and later, if I could pay the high cost of registration. Anyway their Redux plug-in is getting more attention because it offers XRNI functionality outside RENOISE.

There's nothing else only for Linux that satisfies me. Ardour is maddeningly counterintuitive to me. It arranges audio well but so could REAPER v2.57. I want to get away from relying on REAPER in particular but to me there's no better program for what I'm doing. It wins hands down time-stretching audio... unless somebody here knows how to do the same thing in MusE. MusE rendering audio in real time is a deal-breaker for me. LMMS is OK, could use Soundfonts (SF2) there but I wish it were more flexible about the beat box. Don't want to be like other people overdoing it with Zynaddsubfx! Qtractor is something else entirely that I choose to avoid. I don't like how MIDI files are needed to automate VST parameters and that sort of thing, in which 128 values is just too coarse eg. for Hertz needed for filter frequency, or to set a delay/echo time. One day I loaded AMSynth into it and the stupid app kept preferring a preset and bank for it when I wanted to choose a different one. Couldn't render from it how I wanted.

(sigh) Audacity really is something that I wish I could set aside for good. I only use the AppImage. It is still buggy, carrying issues since Mazzini worked on it. It ignores keystroke commands sometimes, especially to activate the menus. Cannot easily use the arrow keys anymore on this thing; I wonder what the developers are trying to accomplish about it. It has had a bug for a long time, at least since v2, where the user just cannot choose "New Document" option to have two instances of it. It's because the menu could stop responding totally even to mouse gestures. It cannot be used to record long minutes of audio unless the user saves that session and quits it, then starts it up again to record another session. And it does take a really long time to start, inexcusable in 2023. On the plus side, it supports plug-ins although in its way. Someone should not load instrument plug-ins, it's an audio editor not a full-blown DAW. It saves to its own native format much faster than earlier versions which is appreciated, thanks to that bug I described. It has a pretty good time-stretching function but the user must know the original tempo of the audio source. I like the new beat-lock feature it gained in v3.3.

Only on Salix was I able to get LMMS cooperating with Carla so I could have Linux VST plug-ins like u-He's Triple Cheese, because otherwise I couldn't have "multilib" and Wine. Soon got tired of that OS and replaced it with something else. I have also tried "Liveslak DAW" which probably works better than Ubuntu Studio. On my computer especially it was quite good starting with Qjackctl enabled. Never tried Fedora Labs "Jam". Do it on a different D.E. However I was turned off with AV Linux for many reasons, especially RENOISE unable to run on their pre-installed version of Wine for some reason. IINM it refused to run the Linux executable for RENOISE v2.8 as well, like Debian complaining about ALSA drivers. That ran without problems for me on Fedora 36 MATE. (scratch head)

I'm wasting too much time online instead of using Csound LOL. Instead of Cabbage, I opted for programming antics with CSD files and sample-based business. I know there's a version of PureData for Linux but it's too primitive for my taste. For modular synthesis I much prefer something like Cardinal which has another problem: it's a memory hog because of how the authors put it together. Cardinal is a freeware re-implementation of VCV Rack. The standalone VCV Rack could be downloaded for free but a "subscription" is required to get the VST3 plug-in version and exclusive modules to use with it. I had bought the AAS Modeling Collection which came with Tassman v4 but sadly I ran out of activations for Windows. That one is no longer being developed, they didn't even port it to 64-bit. Especially to do drums and other business, IMHO Tassman was still a hair better than Cardinal. Both are an organizational mess, however: one uses SQL which was buggy at times, and the other has an incomplete search function were text entries get cut off by the bottom of the screen. I cannot use the Linux version of REAPER because it has become confusing bloatware. I have a registered copy of v3 for Windows but don't care about it, the v2.57 is good enough and runs very well on outdated Wine on my Debians.

I also like Furnace but it's too CPU intensive and limited for cheap sound and I can't figure out how to get instruments to sound in stereo without fiddling too deeply with the properties. The "Texas Instruments/Sega Genesis" pulse generator is too limited, maybe I need to increase my knowledge about it. Also the FM generator mode, otherwise kewl, is unstable sometimes. I wrote a Lua script which creates "random presets" for the FM generator. So it could create some weird tones that react differently when a note-off is issued, or when an NNA has to be done on the same track. It's not consistent about it, however.

LOL I would like to share that Lua script and this other one I wrote for the "zero" generator of "1bitr", but I refuse to create an account with Github only to contribute like that. I have written dozens of Lua scripts and QB64 programs to re-create pattern data in OpenMPT, because the clipboard format is plain text. Could do it also for volume, pan and pitch/filter envelopes. On Windows I combined it with AutoHotKey to automatically load in samples as well as patterns and save a lot of time in my music production. Yeah lazy I know LOL.

I don't like plug-in bridgers. The one 64-bit OpenMPT has really sucks, prefers to be used in Windows because through Wine it refuses to show GUI's for 32-bit plug-ins. Ran across another forum having praise about "yabridge" but I am unwilling to have such a thing. Carla was bad enough and it was one thing I hated about Ubuntu Studio -- because it was buggy. I was just lucky to install Carla and get it working on Salix but that's all, I'd avoid it if I could. Kushview Element crashed trying to start it on Manjaro KDE, which means unless I buy Bitwig Studio or such other program, I cannot have Windows VST3 plug-ins anyhow away from Windows. But I don't care about that format. I cannot care neither about CLAP.

I'm trying to abandon Windows because of the forced updates while online. Because of it I cannot play MMORPG, especially one I really wanted to go back to after eight years. Even though back then a Chinese company had it but then sold it to an American company, and it seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. I have a slow Internet connection and periodically run into a wall with the Cloudflare or whatever it is that deals with DNS. For the first six months of Internet subscription, almost exclusively on Linux I almost didn't have issues. Then the junk repo servers began to annoy me. This year more often the "502 bad gateway" errors are becoming more frequent. Updating a Linux distro gave the appearance that all the problems were fixed for a few hours, then those inconsistences took on a new ferocity. I'm not going to have Internet for much longer because I cannot pay for it beyond this year.

EDIT: got caught by the "quote" forum code again.

I have a synth, sampler, drum machine, amps, mixer/recorder, various MIDI devices, etc. I have not used them in years. (The MIDI interfaces are the ones with the large round 5 pin connectors.) The equipment dates back to the 1980s.

I read @wendy-lebaron's post above in its entirety. Twice.

Sad to say, the only non-Linux term that I recognized was "Audacity". :-(
@wendy-lebaron :-

There is of course Reaper, which I believe ticks many of the above boxes. Certainly it'll function with VST plug-ins, and is totally cross-platform to boot.


I'm no music-creation guru, but we have a few on the Puppy Forums that are. We also used to have among our number 10wt3ch, the creator of Studio 13.37.....originally built around Slackware 13.37-based Puppies, but latterly built around 'buntu releases. It's a Puppy-based, fully-functional & fully-operational DAW, utilising a real-time kernel and a whole host of music applications; many native, but where they're not, then running successfully under WINE.

I believe this can truthfully lay claim to being the only completely self-contained Linux DAW that you can carry around in your pocket on a flash drive.....even keeping your work files with you if it's of large enough capacity.

10wt3ch used to have his own web-site, selling it just for the cost of the flash-drives it came on. He eventually lost the hosting for this and finally just gave Studio 13.37 away for free.

He's a long-term, fully paid-up member of, and has for years been fairly active in that community.

Studio 1337 is no longer available from his Google Drive, but I've mirrored a copy on mine if anyone's interested.

Mike. ;)
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Before v5 there was no Linux version of REAPER, and it has become too bloated for my taste at that point, let alone today which is just beginning to have CLAP support and sharpen the existing VST3 support.

I would have settled for MusE, if it weren't for two things that my outdated copy of REAPER through Wine could do better:
(1) REAPER renders to WAV faster offline. MusE has to do it in real time.
(2) REAPER has Elastique Efficient and Pro routines for high-quality time-stretching audio. (Although later versions of REAPER have v2 of Elastique Pro but I found it buggy and doesn't necessarily give better results.) I haven't figured out how to do the same thing in MusE if it's possible. I have to use Audacity instead because there at least I could type in the original tempo of the whole audio file, and the tempo I want to time-stretch it to.

I am using REAPER v2.57 on Spiral Linux KDE through Wine v5. It works nearly as well as it did on WindowsXP. It has less features than later versions of REAPER but it's good enough for what I do. It supports 32-bit VST plug-ins better than almost all other competitors at the time, during the late decade-2000's.

Ardour is probably as good on the Linux side with LV2 and VST3 but I'm never going to get used to it. I think I need an external MIDI keyboard to record MIDI and get along better with it. Pretty much I'm using Ardour only to load in Cardinal because that synth is cool.

I don't like what Ardour does for song projects. It leaves an impressive mess of a folder structure which has to be cleaned up sometimes because it could waste a lot of disk space. This is all right for people who record guitar, piano or such other real instrument, or a vocalist but I don't do that, I play with virtual instruments and samples. It would take more maintenance effort from me than using an outdated copy of REAPER for Windows.

I have tried Rosegarden for a short time but I believe MusE is better. There were a couple others in the article arochester posted a link to above, like Aria Maestosa. I used Musescore on Ubuntu Studio 32-bit which was pretty good, but for what I do with Soundfonts I bought, I have to use LMMS. A long time has passed since I did that.
This is where Virtualbox comes in handy...I have win 7 as a VM because Wine...Playonlinux and Bottles don't work very well.
Deeply disappointed with OpenMPT v1.31. This program is an evolution like GNOME. It might be a sign that I really should give up Windows. I have been composing with music trackers for almost 20 years and might have to give that up as well.

LOL only two persons in the known universe have Internet toward Windows Vista and 7 to enjoy automatic updates for that program, way to go "M6"! Also while they make one exception after another for hundreds of unique cases of ancient modules, so slowly and steadily the program becomes bloated. Also telling the luddite: don't try to run the standard version anymore on the earliest Windows10 you're salvaging with your life, like I did before I wiped it for Spiral Linux KDE. Now if your release of Windows is earlier than 21H2 you will have to use the "legacy" version! Whoops!

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