From Fedora Project Wiki
This Is out of Date
The most recent revisions of the Musicians' Guide are now available from the git repository.
Please dont shoot me!
Im trying to convey important information, and I want to be sure that my readers will understand. If you think the tone of this document is unsuitable, please lend a hand to help improve it!

Planet CCRMA at Home

As stated on the project's home page, it is the goal of Planet CCRMA at Home to provide packages which will transform a Fedora Linux-based computer into an audio workstation. What this means is that, while the Fedora Project does an excellent job of providing a general-purpose operating system, a general purpose operating system is insufficient for audio work of the highest quality. The contributors to Planet CCRMA at Home provide software packages which can tune your system specifically for audio work.

Users of GNU Solfege and LilyPond should not concern themselves with Planet CCRMA at Home, unless they also user other audio software. Neither Solfege nor LilyPond would benefit from a computer optimzed for audio production.


CCRMA stands for "Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics," which is the name of an academic research initiative and music computing facility at Stanford University, located in Stanford, California. Its initiatives help scholars to understand the effects and possibilities of computers and technology in various musical contexts. They offer academic courses, hold workshops and concerts, and try to incorporate the work of many highly-specialized fields.

The Software

The Planet CCRMA at Home website suggests that they provide most of the software used on the computers in CCRMA's computing facilities. Much of this software is highly advanced and complex, and not intended for everyday use. More adventurous users are encouraged to explore Planet CCRMA's website, and investigate the software for themselves.

Knowing Wheter You Should Use Planet CCRMA at Home

Do You Need Exclusive Software?

The only useful reason to install an additional repository is if you intend to install and use its software. The only software application covered in this guide, which is available exclusively from the Planet CCRMA at Home repository, is "SuperCollider". The Planet CCRMA repository also offers many other audio-related software applications, many of which are available from the default Fedora Project repositories.

Do You Need Updated Software Versions?

Most of the audio software currently available in the default Fedora repositories was initially available in Fedora from the Planet CCRMA at Home repository. Sometimes, an updated version of an application is available from the Planet CCRMA repository before it is available from the Fedora Updates repository. If you need the newer software version, then you should install the Planet CCRMA repository.

This is also a potential security weakness, for users who install the Planet CCRMA repository, but do not install any of its software. When "yum" finds a newer version of an installed application, it will be installed, regardless of the repository. This may happen to you without you noticing, so that you begin using Planet CCRMA software without knowing it.

Security and Stability

The biggest reason that you should avoid installing the Planet CCRMA at Home repository unless you need its software is security. There are two main security issues with using the Planet CCRMA repositories:

  1. Planet CCRMA is intended for specialized audio workstations. The software is packaged in such a way that creates potential (and unknown) security threats caused by the optimizations necessary to prepare a computer system for use in audio work. Furthermore, these optimizations may reveal software bugs present in non-Planet CCRMA software, and allow them to do more damage than on a non-optimized system. Finally, a computer system's "stability" (its ability to run without trouble) may be compromised by audio optimizations. Regular desktop applications may perform less well on audio-optimized systems, if the optimization process unintentionally un-optimized some other process.
  2. CCRMA is not a large, Linux-focussed organization. It is an academic organization, and its primary intention with the Planet CCRMA at Home repository is to allow anybody with a computer to do the same kind of work that they do. The Fedora Project is a relatively large organization, backed by one of the world's largest commercial Linux providers, which is focussed on creating a stable and secure operating system for daily use. Furthermore, thousands of people around the world are working for the Fedora Project or its corporate sponsor, and it is their responsibility to proactively solve problems. CCRMA has the same responsibility, but they do not have the dedicated resources of the Fedora Project, it would be naive(???) to think that they would be capable of providing the same level of support.

Recommended Solution ("The Bottom Line")

All Fedora Linux users should be grateful to the people working at CCRMA, who help to provide the Planet CCRMA at Home repository. Their work has been instrumental in allowing Fedora to provide the amount of high-quality audio software that it does. Furthermore, the availability of many of CCRMA's highly-specialized software applications through the Planet CCRMA at Home repository is an invaluable resource to audio and music enthusiasts.

On the other hand, Fedora users cannot expect that Planet CCRMA software is going to meet the same standards as Fedora software. While the Fedora Project's primary goal is to provide Linux software, CCRMA's main goal is to advance the state of knowledge of computer-based music and audio research and art.

Where do these two goals meet?

If you want to use your computer for both day-to-day desktop tasks and high-quality audio production, one good solution is to "dual-boot" your computer. This involves installing Fedora Linux twice on the same physical computer, but it will allow you to keep an entirely separate operating system environment for the Planet CCRMA at Home software. Not only will this allow you to safely and securely run Planet CCRMA applications in their most-optimized state, but you can help to further optimize your system by turning off and even removing some system services that you do not need for audio work. For example, a GNOME or KDE user might choose to install only "Openbox" for their audio-optimized installation.

Alternatively, there is the possibility of going half-way: installing only some Planet CCRMA applications, but not the fully-optimized kernel and system components. This would be more suitable for a computer used most often for typical day-to-day operations (email, word processing, web browsing, etc.) If you wanted to use SuperCollider, but did not require other audio software, for example, then this might be the best solution for you.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your computer and its data is kept safely and securely. You will need to find the best solution for your own work patterns and desires.

Using Planet CCRMA at Home Software

The Planet CCRMA at Home software is hosted (stored) on a server at Stanford University. It is separate from the Fedora Linux servers, so "yum" (the command-line utility used by PackageKit and KPackageKit) must be made aware that you wish to use it. After installing the repository, Planet CCRMA at Home software can be installed through "yum", PackageKit, or KPackageKit just as easily as any other software.

Address: User:Crantila/FSC/CCRMA/Repositories

Installing the Repository

The following steps will install the Planet CCRMA at Home repository, intended only for Fedora Linux-based computers.

  1. Update your computer with PackageKit, KPackageKit, or by running su -c 'yum update' and approving the installation.
  2. You will have to use a terminal window for the next portion.
  3. Run the following commands: su -c 'rpm -Uvh'
    • This will work for Fedora 12, 13, and 14.
    • This will work for both x86 and x86-64 computers.
  4. Update your computer again.
    • You may receive a warning that the RPM database was altered outside of "yum". This is normal.
    • Your repository definition will automatically be updated.
    • Some packages are available from Fedora repositories in addition to other repositories (like Planet CCRMA at Home). If the Planet CCRMA repository has a newer version of something than the other repositories that you have installed, then the Planet CCRMA version will be installed at this point.

Although it is necessary to use the "rpm" program directly, all other Planet CCRMA software can be installed through "yum", like all other applications. Here is an explanation of the command-line options used above:

  • -U means "upgrade," which will install the specified package, and remove any previously-installed version
  • -v means "verbose," which will print additional information meessages
  • -h means "hash," which will display hash marks (these: #) showing the progress of installation.

Setting Repository Priorities

This is optional, and recommended only for advanced users. Normally, "yum" will install the latest version of a package, regardless of which repository provides it. Using this plugin will change this behaviour, so that yum will choose package versions primarily based on which repository provides it. If a newer version is available at a repository with lower priority, yum will not upgrade the package. If you simply wish to prevent a particular package from being updated, the instructions in "Preventing LINK LINK" are better-suited to your needs.

  1. Install the "yum-plugin-priorities" package.
  2. Use a text editor or the "cat" or "less" command to verify that /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/priorities.conf exists, and contains the following text:
    enabled = 1
    If you want to stop using the plugin, you can edit this file so that enabled = 0. This allows you to keep the priorities as set in the repository configuration files.
  3. You can set priorities for some or all repositories. To add a priority to a repository, edit its respective file in the /etc/yum.repos.d/* directory, adding a line like:
    priority = N
    where N is a number from 1 to 99, inclusive. A priority of 1 is the highest setting, and 99 is the lowest. You will need to set priorities of at least two repositories before this becomes useful.

Preventing a Package from Being Updated

This is optional, and recommended only for advanced users. Normally, "yum" will install the latest version of a package. Using this plugin will allow you to prevent certain packages from being updated. If you wish to prevent packages from a particular repository from being used, then THIS SECTION is better-suited to your needs.

  1. Install the "yum-plugin-versionlock" package.
  2. Use a text editor or the "cat" or "less" command to verify that /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/versionlock.conf exists, and contains the following text:
    enabled = 1
  3. Add the list of packages which you do not want to be updated to /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/versionlock.list. Each package should go on its own line. For example: