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Ok so many people are commenting that this article is out of date. I've been searching for what the best out-of-the-box music Linux distro would be, so I can dual boot that for any music work. Namely it must have:

- jack set up and default for everything

- complete DAW solution: synth set up etc

- updated, stable software

- MIDI set up fully

- real time kernel is definitely a plus

- acceptable performance on modest hardware

A lot of the recommendations online like Musix are not current at all! I wonder if Ubuntu Studio is the answer, just purely based on the website being updated and professional-looking. I've considered KXstudio but cannot confirm that it is a distro rather than a software repo. AVLinux?

Any firsthand experience? I will test Ubuntu Studio today and report back






So after trialing a few of the "audio-centric" distro-flavours I couldn't find any that were particularly compelling (most, Ubuntu Studio included, were installing huge quantities of tools that I was never likely to explore).

I've ended up using Manjaro, with Jack, Reaper, Renoise, Airwindows plugins, a real-time kernel and very little else. It's pretty good.

I found this guide was helpful https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Professional_audio


ArchLinux has a pro-audio package group which does some system setup IIRC : https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Professional_audio ; of course software is up-to-date.

I know that more and more Linux audio devs are using Arch as main OS also, so things may be a bit better tested there :)


KXstudio is now a software repo only for "Any Debian or Ubuntu based system, running GNU/Linux. For Debian, version 10 (Buster) is required; on Ubuntu, 18.04 (Bionic)." https://kx.studio/Repositories:FAQ

I was able to use the KXstudio repos on Devuan ASCII 2.0, if anyone is wondering about Devuan compatibility.

KXstudio used to also have their own distro, based on Ubuntu, but the last release was based on Ubuntu 14.04, based on my memory and the DistroWatch page. The ISOs are still on GitHub, but, it goes without saying, are no longer supported. https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=kxstudio https://github.com/KXStudio/KXStudio/releases/


Here's some thoughts: The current resources aren't entirely better but you can absolutely get things done now. There's more software choices than offered here and more developers willing to build worthy native plugins for the platform, Bitwig is absolutely comparable to Ableton with the addition of various modular tools that wipe the need for at least a few plugins a lot of my EDM buds rely on, and on the more unstable end of things, Wine + LinVST does work. Spire works, Serum works, Omnisphere works, NI Reaktor and Kontakt 'works' (it's painful), there's a decent list of VSTs that are either performing near-natively or just 'works' using frameworks like LinVST and Airwave. Midi works like any OS and you actually do not need the use of a real time kernel these days from my own usage. it all bubbles down to a decently useful workstation.

Distro wise, I've hopped from 'media' centric distros, Arch to Pop-OS and now considering Kubuntu, and my experience has been fairly the same:

- Install the KxStudio package repo - Install cadence and it's dependencies which includes jack2 from the repo (I'm not going to go into the mess between choosing jack1 and jack2) - Install Bitwig - Install Wine and LinVST to my binaries

which alone is more system fiddling than macOS, but I think you just simply expect it though. Cadence and it's suite of routing and config tools would help make up the loss of any ASIO panel, it's more in line with how audio setup on macOS is.

Biggest problem right now to me is hardware support, and Linux support goes from cheap and not enough, to really expensive and not specific towards me. Finding an interface to fit my eventual needs... 6+ ins and 6+ DC coupled outs, 2 XLR ins, possibly some type of ADAT, and maybe a word clock... these are Universal Audio or Focusrite type of needs. I own a MOTU Traveler and I'm lucky that the built in MOTU driver 'works' but it's sort of messy. MOTU's lack of interest in sharing the interfaces' beans doesn't help and it's nearly the same story for every interface manufacturer: it's a trade secret risk to let the community build a driver, and or there's just no money to come out of allocating resource towards an official driver. It sucks, but with my Traveler, I've managed to have some fun when everything is stable which is at least more than I expect. There's days where I look at Universal Audio hardware and want to end up buying a Mac and a UA interface.

I wouldn't recommend it because workspace and consistent stability is incredibly important if you're full time, but you CAN make it work if you're curious like me and be fun. I've managed to cut a few dance records for some labels on my build but issues do arise which I think may get in the way in the moment my workload would have to speed up or expand to recording more than a microKorg and using native vsts and Wine, and for that moment I'm always down to Hackintosh or just buy a real Mac. I love linux development and making music on it feels nice until those issues arise.




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