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Re: Running Mathematica under Linux Red Hat

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg20939] Re: Running Mathematica under Linux Red Hat
  • From: paulh at (P.J. Hinton)
  • Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 01:50:07 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • References: <819l8o$3j9$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <819l8o$3j9$1 at>, sprawlsr at (Robert J. Sprawls) writes:

>>It's true that sound is not supported directly under Linux. Nevertheless
>>you can use the new features of the Export command to export sounds to
>>some formats. So far I've checked only exporting to wav which works very

There needs to be some clarification of what is meant by "support for
sound."  When it is said that "sound is not supported directly under
Linux", that means that the front end does not have the built-in 
capability to play sounds based on the PostScript description of the
wave form that is generated by the Mathematica kernel.

The kernel can still generate Sound objects, and you can redefine
the $SoundDisplayFunction to handle your own playback mechanism.

Play[Sin[2 Pi 440 t], {t, 0, 1}, 
  DisplayFunction :> (Export["!cat - > /dev/audio", #, "AU"] &)]

You can even evaluate this without the assistance of a front end.
On the downside, if someone sends you a notebook with just the 
PostScript graphic of the sound, there is no simple way to recover
the Sound object. 

In order to do these types of operations, your operating system
kernel must be compiled to support sound.  Most Linux 2.2-based
distributions come with sound drivers supplied as pre-compiled 
loadable kernel modules to spare the user the task of recompiling.
The Open Sound System from 4Front provides a commercial product
for adding sound support for Linux.  See your distribution's 
documentation, the Sound-HOWTO, and the Sound-Playing-HOWTO for 
more information.

>How much of a part does sound play in Mathematica? It is really needed?

Sound is not an absolutely critical feature of Mathematica, but 
some find it to be a useful tool for teaching and gaining insight
into the waveforms.

P.J. Hinton
Mathematica Programming Group           paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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