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Ubuntu Studio Released!
May 10, 2007 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Ubuntu Studio is a Linux distribution focused on creative audiovisual pursuits.
posted by phrontist (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, the Firefox has all the porn extensions installed?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:05 PM on May 10, 2007


SCDB: Metafilter is a musical community largely sympathetic to open source and creative commons. This lies at the intersection of some group interests I've observed around here.
posted by phrontist at 10:15 PM on May 10, 2007


I have really been looking forward to this for months - but it comes out and i find no amd64 support. :( I guess I will either set up dual-boot or just wipe the workstation and start over, since I can't afford yet another spare computer.
posted by thedaniel at 10:23 PM on May 10, 2007


You know, as a musician, open source user and MeFite, I should be interested in this.

However, historically I've had so little luck with audio applications (and drivers) on Linux -- heck, I just had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get my Debian Etch audio working in Firefox again! -- that it greatly impedes my attempts to be creative.

I mean, everything has a learning curve, but the audio apps on Linux have UIs that are painfully obtuse, a distinct lack of useful plugins for my purposes, and no simple, quality emulator like Reason. I use Debian every day, for work and play, but when it's time to record I keep a Windows partition around -- and likely will for some time to come.

Then again, I can't even record with GarageBand because the latencies are too high and my M-Audio midi adapter causes system freezes if I press too many piano keys at once -- so perhaps I'm just a magnet for bad luck when it comes to non-Windows audio.
posted by davejay at 10:25 PM on May 10, 2007


davejay: I think the promise of Ubuntu Studio is that it potentially solves all those problems. I'll know tomorrow!
posted by phrontist at 10:30 PM on May 10, 2007


No, I'm with davejay. Looking through the list of installed packages, it doesn't even include lmms, which is the closest thing on Linux to FL Studio. Most of the audio applications it does include are fairly basic, isolated, amatuer pieces of software that I doubt are much use to anyone but the original author (freebirth, hydrogen).

Which isn't to say this is the fault of the people who put together Ubuntu Studio. It isn't anyone's fault, really, but it always depresses me that the lack of decent music software is what's making me keep a Windows partition on my PCs. I blame the lack of intersection in the population of people who are electronic musicians, and the population of people who are open source programmers. I mean, if you look at professional musical software like Reason or FruityLoops or MaxMSP, I assume they have on their staff people who are good at interface design, and people who are musicians, as well as programmers, so they can produce software that's actually useful to a non-geek musician.

To be honest, the best luck I've had making music in Linux is with old-style tracker sequencers, which can be a lot of fun. I notice, again, that none of these are actually included in this distribution. There's shaketracker, but as far as I know, that's for MIDI sequencing, not for sequencing samples.

I'll wait and see what the next version offers.
posted by Jimbob at 10:34 PM on May 10, 2007


shoutout to reaper (awesome shareware music editor) Windows, OS X (in beta) ...Linux?
posted by acro at 10:35 PM on May 10, 2007


Thanks a lot, Jessamyn.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:39 PM on May 10, 2007


Jimbob: The individual applications don't compete with their proprietary counterparts... that's not really the point. With JACK, the idea is for each application to do it's bit well, and route MIDI and audio between them. Hydrogen, for example, does what it does very well. I haven't used Freebirth much (I like AMS), but I'd hardly call it amateur. With a few bits of software a sequencer like Rosegarden or Seq24, you're good to go.

It should be easy to install LMMS on Ubuntu Studio... easier than on any other distro.
posted by phrontist at 10:46 PM on May 10, 2007


This is the homepage for the included Freebirth. I don't know if it's been 1337-h4x0r3d or what, but the future doesn't look promising for that particular piece of software, in any case...and Ubuntu Studio is supposed to include "the best open source software available".
posted by Jimbob at 10:47 PM on May 10, 2007


Freebirth sourceforge page: Updated: Tue, Jan 30th 2001 06:12 PDT (6 years, 3 months ago)

I'll stop complaining now.
posted by Jimbob at 10:49 PM on May 10, 2007


While I have versions of the same reservations others have expressed... I reckon it could well be worth the price of admission.

(Also, I know I've got a spare partition on the desktop just sitting about)
posted by pompomtom at 10:52 PM on May 10, 2007


/IANAAE From the forums at reaper, it sounds like a problem for linux audio is lack of solid support of asio -- similar product to JACK, as an OS level digital switch for audio.
posted by acro at 10:53 PM on May 10, 2007


Jimbob: Okay, so freebirth is old and not that great. I get it. Check out AMS.
posted by phrontist at 10:54 PM on May 10, 2007


Is lmms better than Hydrogen?
posted by jiawen at 11:01 PM on May 10, 2007


thedaniel: You can run the 32-bit version on an AMD64 CPU. That's what I'm doing with the standard Ubuntu distro right now, because I didn't feel like downloading separate ISOs for my desktop and my SO's laptop.
posted by Spike at 11:38 PM on May 10, 2007


jiawen, I'll admit that hydrogen appears to have improved a great, great deal since I last used it, based on those screenshots, so I'll have to eat my words about it being amature. I'll have to download it and give it a try.

I've found LMMS to be half-decent - it's very obviously modelled on Fruity Loops, but at the moment not quite as polished. And it can use VST plugins, which is nice.
posted by Jimbob at 11:43 PM on May 10, 2007


I distrust Linux after my last attempt at using it, but I'm curious; is there a "virtual patch-chord" framework like ReWire available for Linux? Individual apps are all very well and good, but they need to be able to be synced in order to be really useful.

That said, I'd love to see a music-centric OS evolve, something streamlined and slick.
posted by lekvar at 12:16 AM on May 11, 2007


Given the direction this discussion has turned, I feel like it bears reinforcing that this isn't just for musicians. It's for graphic artists and video producers, as well.

As I see it, Ubuntu Studio is aiming for the Mac crowd, while standard Ubuntu is aiming for the Windows crowd. Penguins for everyone!
posted by Spike at 12:23 AM on May 11, 2007


is there a "virtual patch-chord" framework like ReWire available for Linux? Individual apps are all very well and good, but they need to be able to be synced in order to be really useful.

Yes, that's exactly what JACK is! That is why Linux audio is so great in the first place.
posted by phrontist at 12:27 AM on May 11, 2007


dyne:bolic is a live cd / distro that's been doing a similar thing for a few years now. Its emphasis is running on older, castoff computers.

Audio editing:
Ardour
Audacity
Rezound
Time machine
Jack
Hydrogen
Freewheeling
PD

Video capture and editing:
freeJ,
cinelerra,

Graphics:
inkscape,
gimp,
blender,
imagemagick

plus an office clone, web browser, email, etc...
posted by gemini at 4:56 AM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


With JACK, the idea is for each application to do it's bit well, and route MIDI and audio between them.

I can't count the number of times I tried to get JACK installed and working on different distros. It has never happened, and I can't bring myself to think this time will be different.

If someone out there manages to install this and get JACK (among other things) working on an NForce-chipset board, please let me know. Until then, I've been burned too many times.
posted by davejay at 6:23 AM on May 11, 2007


This is good, but after a year of Ubuntu before switching to OSX, I'd have a hard time going back. Having said that, Ubuntu is the future of desktops.

Freebirth sounds like it was still-born.
posted by furtive at 7:32 AM on May 11, 2007


And it's foh-oh-foh. How am I supposed to snark when the single link is busted?

What the hell, I'll give it a go!

This is good news for free-source zealots who happen to be home-studio tinkerers and for no-one else. And it's probably not even that good news for them! They already found the apps they need to do their artistic work.

If you're serious about media production, you want the most predictable and comfortable tools available. That's a huge part of why Mac ruled the roost for so long on artistic desktops, and linux is still light years away.
posted by mzurer at 7:33 AM on May 11, 2007


Is there a community where people just make shit up out of their ass and speak with great authority on every possible subject? 'Cause you'd be great for that community, Den Beste. Why are you on Metafilter?

THIS is that community. Netcraft confirms it. Bill O'Reilley affirms it. Hartz Mountain deworms it.
posted by quonsar at 8:21 AM on May 11, 2007


Den Beste. Why are you on Metafilter?

To be the primary Microsoft apologist, it would seem.
posted by milovoo at 8:35 AM on May 11, 2007


now redirecting to imdb. apparently, ubuntu studio does not care for us.
posted by quonsar at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2007


so that site's pretty fucking busted.

question, since I can't look at it myself: is there anything remotely worth exploring about this distro's video editing capabilities?
posted by shmegegge at 8:49 AM on May 11, 2007


Can anyone think of why I'm being redirected to nowhere.com?
posted by Deathalicious at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2007


On postview: Oh, because ubuntu studio does not care for us.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:08 AM on May 11, 2007


I use FreeBSD for most surfing and email, but for music production, I need an OS that can run Cubase, Reason and various VSTs, as well as an outboard sound interface. I don't expect *nix to be able to do this anytime soon, and that's OK with me, as commercial sound production software takes years to create, and my music production box has to be a separate machine.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2007


krinklyfig: that's what OS X is for, a unix that actually works and has a community of both open source and commercial software.

And this Ubuntu Studio crap? The link is down, and who cares? The world didn't need yet another fork of Ubuntu. Why the fuck they don't just make it a meta-package in apt, I don't know. It's just Ubuntu with more shit installed by default. I don't know why the fuck people feel they need to do this kind of highly-hyped, minimal-effort, digg-fodder bullshit.
posted by blasdelf at 10:47 AM on May 11, 2007


blasdelf writes "krinklyfig: that's what OS X is for, a unix that actually works and has a community of both open source and commercial software."

Well, yes, except it's not completely UNIX, to be pedantic. I like it and prefer it as a commercial OS, don't get me wrong, but it's a lot more than BSD userland tools and NEXTSTEP. But, yeah, I like it. My music box is currently XP Pro, but I'm probably migrating to OS X sometime this year, especially now that it's Intel-based. The only tough thing will be replacing some of the Windows-only VSTs ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:23 AM on May 11, 2007


If you're serious about media production, you want the most predictable and comfortable tools available. That's a huge part of why Mac ruled the roost for so long on artistic desktops, and linux is still light years away.

I hate Mac fanboys telling me this. I can't afford your beautiful and overpriced hardware.
posted by phrontist at 11:43 AM on May 11, 2007


The website is trying to avoid the 'just released' traffic. From the IRC channel title, there are torrents available, and some serious mirrors out there.

If you're really down on Ubuntu, you can still try the previously mentioned dyne:bolic, Studio to Go, 64 Studio (which has a 32-bit version), Planet CCRMA, Agnula (no, it's not dead, just changed from a .org to a .info), and probably a host of other distributions/customizations of which I am forgetful/ignorant.

Linux is very ready for prime-time as a media development environment.
posted by eclectist at 11:51 AM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


by what definition of prime-time? i'm not going to be cutting any tv show on it any time soon.
posted by shmegegge at 11:55 AM on May 11, 2007


I hate Mac fanboys telling me this. I can't afford your beautiful and overpriced hardware.

Do you hate that you can't afford it? Do you hate that there is a lot of design work put into Macs as compared to grey-box PC's? You can buy an expensive but ugly Windows machine to do a lot media work if you prefer that, I guess. Or you can pretend that the tools available on Ubuntu Studio afford a creative professional (or even a hobbyist) a comparable experience to what is available commercially.
posted by mzurer at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2007


Do you hate that you can't afford it? Do you hate that there is a lot of design work put into Macs as compared to grey-box PC's?

Oh dear. You can't feel superior enough by saying you have better creative apps than Windows or Linux (though the gap between Windows apps and Mac apps continues to close), so you have to trot out the "it's better designed" canard?

But I guess if I make the argument that I'd rather pay for actual performance than shiny metal enclosures, you'd have some other bullshit argument for me like "it just works" or something, right?

</mac-holy-war-rant>
posted by chrominance at 12:23 PM on May 11, 2007


I hate Mac fanboys telling me this. I can't afford your beautiful and overpriced hardware.

The price thing is a strawman. I've owned Macs, I've owned PCs, and the cost is the same. Want a cheap computer? A bare-bones PC costs about the same as a Mini.

C'mon. Admit it. Price isn't what's holding you back.
posted by lekvar at 12:23 PM on May 11, 2007


Actually chrominance, I didn't say it was better designed than anything - I said there was a lot design work put into them. And I'm actually not talking only about the aesthetics. I've been inside of computers for twenty years, and I've always found that Apple does a hell of a better job for access to components (on the systems with expansion capability, anyway - the iMac is another story) than any other case I've had the displeasure of cracking.
posted by mzurer at 12:29 PM on May 11, 2007


I hate Mac fanboys telling me this. I can't afford your beautiful and overpriced hardware.

As others have pointed out, you can get reasonably powerful macs for not a particularly large sum of money. If you're insisting on buying the pro workstations, they're definitely expensive, but you can do an awful lot with a Mini.

I find that for me, however, that's not the most important factor mitigating the above-commodity pricing Macs sometimes have. The thing that keeps me buying Macs is that by and large it seems to me I spend less time doing system administration.

More time using the computer as a tool, and less time having to set up the computer as a tool... that's worth a bit of extra money sometimes.

If you're already a pro at Windows or Linux system administration, some of this advantage goes away, and Macs look less appealing. Nothing wrong with this. But especially in the area of audio/video, system setup headaches seem to multiply. And they become more frustrating, too -- when I'm banging on a web app and have to look at tuning Apache, that's more or less OK with me, because it's part of the whole geeky kit and kaboodle. When I'm working on a piece of music, if I have to figure out what magic parameter values to feed to some dialogue box or text file in order to stop the audio from going snap-crackle-pop or to play at all, I get grumpy much more quickly because, dammit, I want to work on the music, not frob about with extraneous bit-manipulation arcana.

To quote Miller Puckette:
We speak of "playing" a violin, not "working" it. While music making entails a tremendous amount of work, it has to look like play, even to feel like play, if the musician is ever to survive the ordeals of practice and rehearsal (not to mention the privation of working for little or no pay). If using a computer program feels like working in a bank or a hamburger chain restaurant, musicians won't (and shouldn't be asked to) do it.
My general sense is that Macs as a platform tend to facilitate that goal just a bit better than Windows, and in general, better than Linux. But, YMMV, as perspectives on the playability of an instrument often do.
posted by weston at 1:20 PM on May 11, 2007


Well, I've got it installed, and I'm totally floored. Far exceeds my expectations. Jack and realtime audio (2ms latency!) worked immediately, recognized my weird monitor and graphics card. Realtime worked out of the box.

Price isn't what's holding you back.

I'm fairly sure that I can get better hardware specs for my money on the PC side of things. Mac has made many gains in this respect, but I don't see this changing any time soon.

Regardless, it's the software licenses that would really kill me. Sure, OSS audio tools are rarely as full featured as their proprietary counterparts, but they are totally free. If I have a problem with them, I can add to them (and learn something along the way). Cubase costs $400-$700. A Pro Tools system can cost thousands (I have access to one at the radio station I work for).
posted by phrontist at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2007


Oh, and for those of you who have tried Linux audio/video/graphisc in the past - try this out before you give up on it.
posted by phrontist at 2:41 PM on May 11, 2007


This is good news for free-source zealots who happen to be home-studio tinkerers and for no-one else.

Or the many thousands of schools and universities around the world with media curricula but without the cash for licenses.
posted by signal at 2:51 PM on May 11, 2007


Jimbob, that actually was a real question, no snark intended. I'm trying out LMMS again (I tried it under Mandrake a couple years ago, and it didn't work very well), and it looks better than Hydrogen by quite a bit.
posted by jiawen at 3:13 PM on May 11, 2007


Realtime worked out of the box.

Sold! I've played around with AGNULA and Planet CCRMA before, and the royal pain involved with getting the thing to simply record 8 tracks for 1 hour without hiccups on modest hardware kept me rebooting into my trusty Win98/CoolEdit partition for rehearsal. Now I'm kind of excited :)
posted by waxboy at 3:20 PM on May 11, 2007


The "403 Forbidden" error I'm getting when going to the provided URL doesn't inspire confidence, but the "works out of the box" posts offset that.

And I agree... the software licensing costs are murder for the good programs. It's one reason I bought G4 laptop to replace a broken G4 laptop recently, when Intel would have made sense strictly on processor power -- I couldn't afford the upgrades (and they're still working out the bugs anyway).
posted by weston at 4:00 PM on May 11, 2007


Is there anything in Ubuntu studio that you can't just apt-get on a standard Feisty Fawn install?
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:58 PM on May 11, 2007


Is there anything in Ubuntu studio that you can't just apt-get on a standard Feisty Fawn install?

No. See here.
posted by Jimbob at 5:14 PM on May 11, 2007


I've owned Macs, I've owned PCs, and the cost is the same.

So have I and that's flatly untrue. You can build, or buy, boxes with the exact same hardware as a mac nowadays, and they'll cost significantly less than purchasing a mac, even if you buy a full retail install of Windows Vista Home Professional with it. There are pcs that cost as much, and some of them cost more, than a mac, but those are outliers and the simple fact is that someone with a mind towards budget computing can work out a solution to fit their budget without sacrificing hardware quality if they build it themselves which simply isn't possible with a mac. saying mac's cost the same because the mini is cheap is simply disinenuous.

A bare-bones PC costs about the same as a Mini.

You can get bare-bones pcs that serve as media centers that hook up to your tv via component, composite or even hdmi cable. the mini does nothing of the kind. they are not equivalent. shit, i happen to love my mac, but loving a mac doesn't mean you have to say it's the best at everything, or delude yourself on their prices.
posted by shmegegge at 10:19 AM on May 12, 2007


jesus, that was a typo mess. i need a proofreader.
posted by shmegegge at 10:20 AM on May 12, 2007


You can build, or buy, boxes with the exact same hardware as a mac nowadays, and they'll cost significantly less than purchasing a mac

I've seen this argument again and again, and I've seen the number add up higher and lower, usually depending on whether or not Dell is trying to offload some old Celeron components.

You can get bare-bones pcs that serve as media centers that hook up to your tv via component

Yes, but we're talking about workstations here, not media centers. If we were discussing media centers, I probably would have brought up the AppleTV, which is even cheaper than the Mini.

oving a mac doesn't mean you have to say it's the best at everything, or delude yourself on their prices.

If you look very, very carefully, you'll see that I never said that Macs are better. And I'm basing my "delusion" about the price on recent comparison shopping, direct personal experience. Of course you can just as easily come back and tell me that your direct personal experience has shown you exactly the opposite.
posted by lekvar at 12:02 PM on May 12, 2007


I've seen this argument again and again, and I've seen the number add up higher and lower, usually depending on whether or not Dell is trying to offload some old Celeron components.

This would be why I said "with the exact same parts." and also why I said "There are pcs that cost as much, and some of them cost more, than a mac, but those are outliers and the simple fact is that someone with a mind towards budget computing can work out a solution to fit their budget without sacrificing hardware quality if they build it themselves which simply isn't possible with a mac."

I'm basing my "delusion" about the price on recent comparison shopping, direct personal experience. Of course you can just as easily come back and tell me that your direct personal experience has shown you exactly the opposite.

This is not anecdotal. It is a fact. If you've found some way to purchase this hardware for more than a mac costs, that doesn't change the fact that it can be done, and easily, at almost half the cost of a mac. If you look very very carefully you'll see I already pointed out that it's possible to buy pcs that are more expensive than macs, and that those are outliers. your direct personal experience simply does not reflect the range of possibilities out there for purchasing a pc.
posted by shmegegge at 10:39 AM on May 13, 2007


also, apple tv is not a computer. if we're only talking about workstations, btw, we're not talking about the mac mini anyway. media centers pcs are computers that happen to have windows media center installed. it still has windows, and still functions as a pc. there ARE ones that only have media center and no full windows, but most of them do not work that way.
posted by shmegegge at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2007


I installed studio the other day. Ummm... amateurish?
posted by popcassady at 9:37 AM on May 28, 2007


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