Thursday, September 8, 2011

Installing Renoise 2.7.2 on Ubuntu 11.04 first generation netbook

Ever since I was compelled to try and install Ubuntu onto one of my old Acer Aspire netbooks a long while back, I've been dying to try and install Renoise on Unbuntu ever since. Even though I am an avid Sonar user, I've been drawn to Renoise more and more on my Windows machine. I'm now on Ubuntu 11.4, but still no Renoise.

My stalling was definitely partly due to the fact that I I'm a newbie, and it didn't help that I'd forgotten everything I ever learned about the command line back in grad school in the late 80s/early 90s.

But, I finally decided it was time to try this out. And it turned out to be pretty much painless.


Warning: I DO NOT know what I am doing. This is probably not be the best way to install Renoise on Ubuntu. I'm sure over time I'll learn that. I'm just a guy with a bit of time on his hands.


I did the normal research first, which mostly meant reading the Renoise for Linux FAQ. But I'm a visual learner, so when I couldn't find a visual description of the installation for Ubuntu, I promised myself that if all this worked, I would make a blog post for others.

Honestly, as a linux newbie, this FAQ made me just a little bit nervous. I didn't understand 99.9% of the linux-talk, and it made it seem like someone needed to use Terminal quite a bit during installation, typing in archaic-looking commands.

But, at the top of the FAQ, it does say:
"Renoise for Linux should work just out-of-the-box by decompressing the archive in any correctly installed Linux-box where is installed and the sound playback thru ALSA work."
I figured that I could probably get away with using the Ubuntu GUI as much as possible. That's what Ubuntu is all about, right? RIGHT?


So, lets get started...

I had originally downloaded the Renoise tar.gz package from my Renoise Backstage account onto a USB stick. So, the first thing I did was copy the Tar archive file to my home directory - in this case '/dick' (um... er... don't ask  :)  .

I then double-clicked on the Tar archive, figuring that, like on Windows machines, this would decompress the files. Indeed, it opened up the Archive Manager program to extract the files. I then clicked on the "Extract" icon at the top of the window, which opened up the "Extract" screen.

Once the "Extract" screen opened, I clicked on the "Extract" button in the bottom right hand corner of the window.

This extracted the Renoise folder into the /dick directory.

I then opened up the Renoise folder (rns_2_7_2_reg_x86) to see what was in there, and, sure enough, all the files had been extracted into it. Nice.

I got very excited, so I double-clicked the Renoise icon to start the program. It started to load properly, but then suddenly stopped, popping-up a screen to warn me that it "failed to create a RealTime priority thread for ALSA". Since it only "highly recommended" me to use RealTime priority audio threads, I took that to mean that I could still proceed. So, I clicked on the OK button, and Renoise finished loading.

I loaded the first demo song and it played properly, except for a bit of audio clicking/distortion - that sound you always get when the buffer is too low. And when I tried a few of the other demos, I quickly ran out of CPU power.

Changing the buffer size in the preference/audio device settings helped quite a bit, but, the reality is that this is a first generation netbook (an N270 Atom chip maybe?). No very powerful.

But it definitely works. And I plan to use it.

In my next post, I'll explain how I got RealTime audio priority threads working (that *did* involve the command line), which not only stopped that annoying pop-up while loading Renoise, but also decreased the CPU load quite a bit.

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