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Topic: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

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  1. #1

    Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Hi,
    I'd like to hear your thoughts about legacy Windows operating systems that are still used in the audio/sampling domain.

    Is in your opinion Windows 98 still in use by some percentage of (pro) audio users ?

    I'm asking this from an audio application developer point of view. Windows 2000/XP introduced new functions in the operating system which can help improve performance of audio related applications (eg apps that are CPU, memory, disk hungry).
    So to provide optimal support of all Windows operating systems one would probably need to make multiple versions of the application but, not so much work but I'm asking myself if it really pays off.
    Audio sw vendors like NI and others seem to focus on the Windows XP and OS X, providing less and less support for older operating systems. I think they are doing the right thing because supporting too many OSes is a bit cumbersome and usually newer OSes provide more performance, and since audio users need high powered machines they are probably running their P4s , Athlon64 CPUs on XP and not Windows95/98. (as far as I know Win98 without patches does not even run correctly on the latest CPUs and was discontinued some time ago, so don't expect updates for newer CPUs)

    thanks,
    Benno
    http://www.linuxsampler.org

  2. #2

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Hi Benno.
    I use win XP since last two years. Win 98 was a very stable system, but ALL people I know with PC use XP now.
    Eduardo Tarilonte |Sample Library Developer
    SampleLibraries |MyWeb

  3. #3

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    It's a bit of a generalisation, but hardware / software developers on the whole are sheep, herded by the big guns. Yes Microsoft want everyone to upgrade, and we're all told that it's better, bigger, faster, shinier etc.

    In terms of musical production, the controlling factor I would have thought would be the sequencer/DAW software - and the most recent iterations of Cubase SX / inNuendo and Cakewalk Sonar have been Windows XP only, so following the assumption that the majority of their target market will have upgraded, sample library and VSTi developers would be making business sense to follow suit..... yet again, we're all playing catch up just to use the bits we want.

    The exception to the rule inevitably is Tascam who still can't get Gigastudio to be bug free and totally stable under Dos 3.1, let alone WinXP! Interestingly enough, GS users are in much the same boat - waiting for v3 to be stable enough to upgrade or mixing installs of 2 and 3 across several machines - all well and good, but an increasing number of libraries are appearing in GS3 versions only.... here we go again!

  4. #4

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Well I would like to still use 98 for a few things. Like I'm not prepared to update GRM Tools, at the ludicrous prices they expect. And Granulab works better under 98 than XP, and the guy who wrote it seems to have vanished. But there aren't enough applications that I've had to dump to persuade me to have even a dual boot, let alone a 98 machine.

  5. #5
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    I still use Win98 on my DAW. Reason?
    • Ability to fine tune my boot.
    • All my freeware and shareware migration would have been a PITA.
    • Upgrading my other software for functionality I dont use would have been a waste of money.
    Downside:
    • 1 gig memory limitation. I have 2 in the machine, but Win98 only can access 1 gig.
    Would I upgrade?

    Only when 64 bit windows and dual processors come along, and seriously considering laptop + external RAID 0 configurations as I am tired of being locked to a room and mega machines for composing. Probably in the end will be a mix of things. 1 server + 1or2 laptops (server + DAW).

    Would I consider LINUX?

    Yes, if I could run Kontack under it with something akin to FX-Teleport (or better yet if I could just have a simple MIDI/AUDIO link W/O the VSTi capabiliy to a sequencer that would be fantastic because I could run anything). I doubt I would use a sequencer under Linux as I don't think there is enough offered there yet.

    Maybe WINE will let me do this?

    Whats you ideal setup?

    A laptop running Finale, possibly also CUBASE or SONAR, using 64 bit Dual core and 16 gig of memory. Also, Kontack running GPOA, EWQLSO Platinum Pro, and a decent piano. Streaming DFD off a quad RAID 0 SATA II mini stack + PCMCIA quad channel that I could also take on the road.

    An additional server for GigaStudio and my legacy samples, an additional laptop for running supporting samples + FX if I actually needed it.

    MmmmMMmmmmGoooood

  6. #6

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    I still have Win98 running on one PC that is dedicated to running Sound Forge and Vegas. It's a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" sort of thing. But the other two workstations (runiing Sonar and Giga) are both running XP and they are as stable as anything you could ask for.

  7. #7

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    RedLeicester, I agree with what you said. MS is trying to force everyone to the latest OS in order to make more money and software developers are trying to avoid supporting too much old legacy cruft so they are following suit, therefore the upgrading pressure on users is even bigger.

    But newer OSes from MS (and Apple etc) do have some technical merits. Windows 2000 Introduced NTFS which supports files bigger than 2GB, journaling (which greatly reduces the risk of data corruption if there's a power/OS failure during disk writes etc), better memory management etc.
    Very important things for audio users.

    Gigastudio managed to achieve good performance on Win98 due to its low level hacks, but it has backfired. They struggled with the port to Windows 2000/XP and meanwhile Kontakt ate their lunch.

    Writing clean code that does not depend on low level hacks in the operating system has the advantage that it's much easier to adapt to never versions of the operating system, port it to other platform etc.

    cheers,
    Benno

  8. #8

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Quote Originally Posted by newmewzikboy
    A laptop running Finale, possibly also CUBASE or SONAR, using 64 bit Dual core and 16 gig of memory.
    The fact that such machines are on the foreseeable horizon is very exciting... with 16 gigs of ram and GS3, you can even have the better part of the Symphonic Cube "To go".

  9. #9

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbenno
    RedLeicester, I agree with what you said. MS is trying to force everyone to the latest OS in order to make more money and software developers are trying to avoid supporting too much old legacy cruft so they are following suit, therefore the upgrading pressure on users is even bigger.

    But newer OSes from MS (and Apple etc) do have some technical merits. Windows 2000 Introduced NTFS which supports files bigger than 2GB, journaling (which greatly reduces the risk of data corruption if there's a power/OS failure during disk writes etc), better memory management etc.
    Very important things for audio users.
    Agree entirely Benno, and I realise my post was a tad negative (Mondy morning ffs!)

    Therein lies the quandary - modern, better facilities and bells and whistles up at the bleeding edge, or four steps behind but with a system you know inside and out.

    Suffice to say I ran all my systems on NT for years, my laptops had brief daliiances with 98/ME and then everything moved to Win2k. Now I have XP Pro across the board (with the obvious exception of servers) and have no immediate intention to upgrade - currently 64bit holds no overbearing attraction, and my main four XP installs have been up and stable for 18 months. Thus it age old adage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it comes to mind. However, the day that my DAW or audio systems offer me a suitable incentive will be the day I reach for my moth-eaten wallet again!

  10. #10

    Re: Is Windows 98 still heavily used in the audio domain ?

    Benno,

    I use win98 for music a lot still, I'd be surprised if there aren't a ton of people in the same boat. There was so much good win98 software programmed down to the metal that can't be easily reproduced now, and tons of cool stuff never came over to win2k.

    Things I use: First of all, Korg Oasys. One the best sounding hardware synths ever, will never work in win2k. Has 5 DSP's, phenominally alive physically modeled instruments, some of the nicest sounding FX chains.

    Seer Reality. Obsolete, but an excellent synthesizer & sample player, very resource efficient. I have some great instruments that use a ton of synthesis and modulation, some of my best drum kits. I could migrate these to something like Reaktor with a ton of work but it aint gonna happen.

    Nord Modular - I could probably get this working, but I still use the version 2 software which has the best interface and most efficient DSP algorithms. A lot of my patches will not come over to version 3 since they will be over 100% DSP usage.

    Opcode 128x midi interface - a fine unit, but the timing is way tighter under win98 (the win2k drivers use the older win32 APIs) and important features didn't get ported, like the midi patchbay.

    For a long time GS worked better under win98...

    MidiOx, Hubi midi cables & loopback - again, the win98 midi code is way tighter; the pre DirectX win2k (and XP) midi code which most stuff uses is not so good.

    The list goes on & on. Patch librarians, patch editors, arpeggiators, etc etc, tons of freeware utilities, so much great stuff only exists for win98, and it works better now than it ever did back when all you could get was a 100 (or 500 or whatever) MHz machine.

    I would never say that there also is not superior stuff that is win2k (& XP) only, because clearly there is so much great stuff now that is worth upgrading for. That's why all my machines dual-boot and I use a lot of win98 stuff as outboard gear. But there's also a ton of bloatware out there, shiny graphics and interfaces done in frikken JAVA, but with poorer filters and sloppier timing than I had when my music box was 166MHz with 128 megs of RAM, and it ran cubase and gigasampler together just fine. Back then I could only dream of putting that software on the kind of DAW and studio I have now! Let others whine about the early adopter blues and pushing the envelope.

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