January 2014
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An open message to Linux

Tux, courtesy of  Larry Ewing and Linux

Tux, courtesy of Larry Ewing and Linux

Linux, oh Linux! Where have you been all my (adult) life? I know, I know, you have been right there all long, just waiting for me to get out of my Microsoft phase. Day after day, year after year, you have been sitting there thinking; when? When? When will he pay attention to me?  Well, I tell you I am through with that old, expensive habit. Sure, Microsoft has Windows and all that, but you have GUI’s too. Not to mention the wonderful open office suit.  Then there is the back end, I have always been a sucker for back ends. Yours is wide open, no inhibitions, no problems, no hangups. Microsoft? You can’t even look at their back end without an army of lawyers descending upon you with malice and litigation on their mind.

Up front, you seem complicated and high maintenance.  But once I got to know you, I found it is just the opposite; so simple and easy to get along with.

No, my Microsoft days are over, over I tell you.  I feel secure with you Linux, like you will adapt to my needs and communicate with me when troubles arise.  You won’t let malicious code get in the way of what could be a wonderful relationship.  What’s more, there are so many different versions of you, I feel like I can pick and choose operating systems based on what my needs are.  Finally, a computer that does what I want it to.


Paul Thurst

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9 comments to An open message to Linux

  • Alan

    For the past 22 years, I’ve been a speaker/panelist/”expert” for the annual IBS college radio convention held in NYC. For the past 8 years there, I’ve done a workshop called “Run Your Entire Station on Free Software”, and Im doing it again this March.

    I describe how it’s possible to do word processing, budgeting and office scheduling with Open Office and Libre Office; multitrack production with Ardour and Audacity and all the LADSPA plugins out there; video editing of wacky DJ stunts and shows with OpenShot, Cinelerra and KDEnLive; on-air automation with Rivendell; and really creative animated cartoons of their own radio station on the web with Synfig and Blender. Except for any kind of traffic and billing software (for a college station?), its all free stuff.

    Add to that the fact that most colleges have pallets of “obsolete” computers stored away, which still pack a punch if loaded with Linux software. A few phone calls could result in a dozen of those clunkers freed up to the radio station for new duties.

    Linux is definitely a great way to go. It may lack the sparkly schmutz found in much of today’s commercial software, but man, it gets the job done.

    (disclaimer: I use Rivendell at my day job. If any of you work with a Radio America Network affiliate station, you’re hearing Rivendell in operation 24/7)

  • Alen has just convinced me to look at Rivendell for my LPFM.

  • Lorne

    I have to agree, Linux has a lot to offer to the radio business

    Rivendell is a great automation system
    OpenOB works as well as many of the IP-based STL products and / or remote broadcasts
    Rotter for audio logging
    SilentJack or Liquidsoap for silence detection
    Liquidsoap (again) for stream generation and software-based audio processing
    JackAudio for all the things it can do (or that it can help you do)

    I’ve been able to restore quite a few “clunkers” to use that would otherwise have gone to the electronic recycling scrap-heap by installing Linux.

  • Paul Thurst

    That is a good list of programs. I downloaded the Rivendell RRAbutu .iso and have been fooling around with it on my experimental machine. I have to say, it is pretty slick. I would say for somebody that knows a little bit about Linux, Rivendell would be a great automation system.

  • Alan

    A few folks have put up YouTube vids showing Rivendell in action. Worth a look.

    Some folks have created dedicated “distros” of Linux that contain piles of multimedia software. If you go looking for MUSIX, AVLINUX, ARTISTX or UBUNTU STUDIO, you will have an out-of-the-box-ready multimedia studio on a single computer.

    One program I forgot to suggest was MIXXX — a “dual-player” deejay rig that runs on all 3 major OS’s, rivaling any commercial program out there. If you need something to allow live jocks a twin-turntable experience, this comes closest for free.

  • Steve

    I think Lorne’s been peeking at one of my stations! We’re using everything in that list bar OpenOB (for which we run our own, Linux based solution). There’s a steep learning curve with some of these apps but it’s well worth the effort.

  • Lorne


    You caught me! I was hiding behind the console to peek at what Linux apps you are running!

    In all seriousness, I think it does say something positive when multiple stations find the same open source solutions. I agree there is a learning curve to get them up and running, however in my experience once they are up and running they just plain work.

  • WITR-FM uses Rivendell 24/7, it works great. We use Icecast for streaming, and all Axia stuff, which runs on Linux. It’s good fun!

  • I would just like to make the point that — at this level of application power and complexity — there is a learning curve, from dead scratch, for *anything* you pick.

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