Project update

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Thanks to TC Applied Technologies, I have the opportunity again this year to go to the Musikmesse in Frankfurt later this week. This gives me the opportunity to meet vendors face-to-face, which might help getting some extra support. Many thanks to TCAT (especially Steven) for this.

The main goal of this trip is to meet with the people behind the TC Konnekt interfaces to discuss support for their devices. I'm very interested in this meeting, and will definitely keep you posted on how things evolve. On the 'convince-a-sceptic' quest my first priorities will be Presonus and Alesis, but the more the merrier I'd say.

Being at the Musikmesse anyway, I will also try and meet up with the other vendors of FireWire devices. I will definitely drop by the Focusrite stand to thank them for the support, and show off our support for their devices. The same scenario will bring me to the Musonic stand (former Terratec Producer), ESI (if present) and Mackie (if I can find a FireWire rep). The ECHO people have already informed me that they won't be there. Before people start suggesting it, I'll even drop by at the RME stand, although I'm not going to be too persistent. They know the deal. Hey, I might even drop by the MotU stand and give them an opportunity to do what they like... laugh at open source. In any case, it is important not to forget who pays my visit, which means that vendors using DICE have priority.

It has been almost one year since the FFADO project was launched, and people increasingly wonder when we are going to release. A very valid question indeed, but let me first make some remarks on this. First of all, consider the fact that we are a very small group of developers (about 3 core developers) that all have a daytime job and some sort of 'other' life. That certainly doesn't speed up the development process. A second issue is that we feel that for this type of project one should be very careful about the quality of the released code. There are a lot of variables that are out of our control (distribution configuration, interrupt sharing, firewire controller, cables, ...), meaning that we'd better make sure that our code works. The FreeBoB project learned us that releasing quality code will give you less support work afterwards, and that's what we'd like to achieve with FFADO too.

That's for the disclaimer, now let's get to the point: the code currently in the development repository is functional for all supported devices, except for the reverse engineered MOTU code. The latter should be working, but hasn't been verified thoroughly yet. The performance of the current codebase is comparable to the FreeBoB code, both in CPU usage, reliability as latency. The main issues that still have to be resolved are mainly related to aesthetics, distribution and installation. What this means is that you can expect a beta version pretty soon. Maybe even before FFADO's first anniversary?

Greets,

Pieter Palmers
(on behalf of the FFADO team)

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good luck

Hi Pieter,

I came to know about your teams project since I own a Motu Ultralite MKIII Hybrid.

The FFADO project saved my live, on Linux and audio.

I send an email to Motu but customer service responds with the same standard answer in par with the older responses.

you could try to get in contact with the right people at Motu because customer service is not forwarding any of the information requests.

they don’t even really read the emails.

I want to thank the FFado project including you a lot for your effort.

Anyway good luck with your trip and may the source be with you ;)

Kindest regards,

Tim (a very happy user of FFADo)

-----Original Message-----
Hi Dave,

I am not asking for Motu to develop anything for Linux.
But only to provide some technical documents which can help the Linux community.
Can you please forward this message to Bennett Sikes?

Thanks in advance,

-----Original Message-----

Tim,
Thank you for your interest.
MOTU does not currently develop products for Linux OS. MOTU interfaces are supported under Windows and Mac OS.
Dave - MOTU

> Dear Motu Team,
>
> I am the proud owner of a Motu Ultralite MK3 hybrid audio interface.
>
> This interface is currently unsupported in Linux.
>
> Which I don’t understand. And is a big disappointment for many Linux users.
>
> The Linux community is putting a lot of effort to create working drivers for your devices based on reversed engineering.
>
> Why doesn’t Motu release at least some documentation on how the interfaces work ?
>
> This way the amount of effort needed by the Linux community to create a stable driver is reduced and when more Motu devices are working on Linux more users will choose Motu.
>
> Why doesn’t Motu release at least some documentation on how the interfaces work ?
>
>
> The alsa project which support USB connected devices only supports the MOTU FastLane.
>
> The FFADo project which supports Firewire connected devices supports:
>
> MOTU
> Traveler
>
> MOTU
> 828mkII
>
> MOTU
> 896HD
>
> MOTU
> 8pre
>
> MOTU
> Ultralite
>
> MOTU
> 828mkI
> MOTU
> MOTU "mark 3" devices
> Planned
>
> The problem with the newer Mk3 devices is that the control protocol changed and we would like to have some documentation on this.
>
> Any help in providing documentation will be appreciated a lot.
>
> Kindest Regards \ Met vriendelijke groet,
>
>
> Tim

Re: good luck

Hi Tim

Thanks for taking the time to write to MOTU to explain that supporting Linux in general (and FFADO in particular) would be a good thing. It is disappointing - although sadly predictable - that the response you received was almost a carbon copy of a response I received close on 5 years ago when I first approached them. Unfortunately it seems that nothing has changed at MOTU in the intervening time.

As you have discovered, it is impossible to get past the so-called "customer service" people. These people don't really understand what's being asked for, and are blindly following a company directive when it comes to all requests associated with Linux and their device's interface to the operating system. Probably due to the same company policy, they simply refuse to forward the email on to someone who would be in a position to objectively evaluate what's being asked for. So we hit a brick wall.

I am increasingly convinced that the only way MOTU will see the light is if by chance we happen to make personal contact with someone who lives on the other side of the brick wall. This has happened with another company in the past and resulted in the support of their devices in FFADO. Until that happens we really have no other options to try. Dave and the others who answer customer emails implement an impenetrable wall around the technical folks, which makes it impossible for us to access the people we need to.

It should also be mentioned that MOTU actually subcontract out the design and manufacture of their firewire devices to a third party (at least this was the case 4 years ago, and I have seen nothing to suggest that it's any different now). This means that it is quite likely that there is no one at MOTU who would be in a position to understand what we need. The third party would be under an NDA so there's no way they would ever release information, even though they could quite possibly understand that it won't hurt MOTU. MOTU would have to authorise it but this will never happen because no one at MOTU understands what's being discussed. In other words, there's every likelihood that we have an endless loop of inaction in operation here.

In the meantime, I will continue to support the MOTU devices as best I can for the benefit of those who come to Linux having previously purchased a MOTU interface. As time allows I will also try to integrate support for the mk3 devices into FFADO (I determined most of the protocol details a while ago when I had brief access to an 896mk3, but without a mk3 device to debug against the task will be difficult). For others looking to purchase an interface for use with Linux, the best advice remains to avoid MOTU due to their open hostility towards Linux and its users.

Thank you also for your kind words about the FFADO project.

TC electronic Studio Konnekt48

I tried avlinux6 on a audioworkstation of a friend equipped with TC electronic Studio Konnekt48 and we could record and play tracks! visibly no xruns! Test was for just a little time. Many channels appeared in the qjackctl. Just to say that. if you want i can ask my friend (windows) for more tries but it is about his kindness!

Re: TC electronic Studio Konnekt48

Thanks for your comments and the confirmation that the audio components of this interface work with FFADO. As far as I know, no active FFADO developers have access to any of the TC interfaces, which means that development of TC-specific features in FFADO is not currently happening. As a result, there are no specific tests I can think of which would be useful to run.

If circumstances allow I would encourage you to continue to use the Konnekt48 with FFADO - the more people testing the code the more likely we are to identify and fix any bugs which might be present. This is especially true for interfaces which we as developers do not have personal access to. If bugs are discovered please feel free to report them on the ffado-devel mailing list (see Contact page) or our bug tracker.

Thank you again for trying FFADO and reporting the outcome.