You should have come to the Dyson talk. It had empty seats.
I think that you're being too harsh on incompetent teenagers. Many of these people are incompetent 20 and 30 year-olds.
Not sure if it'll do what you need, but Nicecast is an OS X based front end to Icecast that works extremely well. It's not free, but reasonably priced. Rogue Amoeba's other stuff like Audio Hijack and such is worth looking into also, if you need that sort of thing.
None of the problems I've ever had with Icecast could be described as "not having a fancy GUI."
eh, Nicecast seems to be a lot more than just a fancy GUI. But whatever. Maybe it'd be helpful, maybe not.
There seems to be an irresistable urge in the open source community to continually reachitecture to fix small "problems". Every time a system is found to be slightly substandard it must be rewritten. Usually a few ugly hacks would fix the problem and no one would notice. But we can't have ugly hacks, that would be wrong!
Have you thought of switching those machines to CentOS? You wouldn't get surprised by sneaky updates that way. Of course, this idea only makes sense if the time required to move the OS over is less than cumulative fixing-shit time.
Perhaps the right idea is actually to fix small "problems" like these, except then also provide either backward compatibility or an "update" script that converts old config files into new ones. Or maybe not.
As usual, I haven't actually done this, so skip if you like.
If you prefer Apple over Linux on the desktop, maybe you should try it on the server side?
First is a free download, second is a part of OSX Server (which is about 500$, dunno if you can find it cheaper), and of course only runs on a Mac (you know the prices of the consumer machines -- XServes start at 3k$ and go up from there).
Note that this isn't necessarily a recommendation -- but if you found that giving Apple money solved your desktop woes, consider whether they might do the same for your server situation.
(If you want to mix this with the way of pain, if you can find a mac to run the broadcaster, or figure out how to make a different box come up with the same stuff, the core of the Quicktime Streaming Server is just the Darwin Streaming Server, and the latter is a free download. No shiny GUI, but that would probably not be a problem for you.)
(I looked into some of this a while ago, but decided that it was more trouble and/or money than my casual experimentation warranted.)
Finally, if you want to stick with the Linux server solution, consider using updates just against security-sensitive components (being the kernel, ssh, httpd, MTA, etc). Erf, having written that, I now realize that ALSA is a part of the kernel. Ouch. :(
Someone else already pointed out CentOS; any of the various "enterprise linux" variants might be less fragile than FC4 (which is designed to be more bleeding-edge, but they release it often enough that a breakage-inducing ALSA update could have waited).
It's so weird hearing about the DNA lounge. I had friends that went there in '87 but I was still underage. Is the Paradise Lounge still around? My roommate used to work there and I could hang out there despite being underage. No such luck at DNA.
The other suggestions are good but I have to toss this in:Why don't you have a test server? One where you test the updates on that first and if everything comes out clean, then run the updates on your production servers.
Sidenote: I agree with the incompetent teenagers part..
During my brief time in the "industry" I gained a very valuable lesson in business continuance:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
While I can understand your desire to have security updates, you should be able to get those without having to update the rest of your OS. If your OS "vendor" doesn't provide that option, perhaps you should consider switching vendors.
Fedora Core is not really a stable OS. I'm sure you could get by perfectly well with Debian, SuSE, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and with any of them you would not be forced to sacrifice stability for security.
If you want a cheap Mac X-Serve, just let me know.
"DNA Software" -- useful and entertaining shit that Just Works.
The last time I dist-upgraded Debian (I run unstable, it's my own fault), it left me without a working dhcp client. And here I thought dhcp was a solved problem.
I learned the hard way that once I set up a machine to do something, I shrinkwrap it and never install another damn thing. No matter how innocuous or unrelated, I don't install it, recompile it, or change the configuration. If I want to change something, I build a second box, get *it* set up the new way, prove it works, and switch over. Then I can play leapfrog with the two boxes if necessary.
Of course, being occasionally stupid or lapsed of memory, I have to teach myself this lesson again from time to time. But I think it's sinking in.
This is exactly the kind of time-wasting bullshit that caused me to give up on running Unix as my home desktop.
*puts on yoda hat*"Linux, this causes your problems, yes"
I love how there's no obvious way to save those alsa mixer settings within the app itself. You know, something like oh, I dunno...pressing "s" maybe?
Oh dear GOD I want to steal that icon.
I would bet solid money that you thought about this back at day one, and you probably even ranted about it somewhere, but...
Isn't there some kind of all-in-one, warm and fuzzy hardware solution that could solve this problem for you so you would never again have to upgrade/re-install/re-configure anything? I mean, someone must have created some kind of frigging box thingy with an input labeled "Audio Goes In Here" and an output that says "Ethernet Connection Goes In Here" and just works, right? I mean, aren't webcasts common enough that someone has created an appliance that takes care of all this shit?
Sadly, appliances that high in the network stack these days still require software upgrades. A lot of them run J. Rnadom Linux.
But there is a business there, sorta, if you can convince investors that somehow your particular yet-another-trivial-"specialization" warrants a few gazillion bucks.
God, stuff sucks.
You seem to be very positive overall on the whole OS X user experience; have you delved into the dev side yet? (Or are you still basking in the glow of working sound and video)
I haven't done much Mac-specific programming yet, except the occasional short perl and applescript hack. This is good, because it means I haven't needed to. Shit just works.
If anyone is aware of any alternatives to icecast, then please enlighten us as well.