Best distro for making music?

Which distro do you use, and why?

I use Ubuntu Studio. I used to always use Redhat and Fedora, but when I found Ubuntu Studio, it worked perfectly with my hardware, even less setup than FC6 (the last version I used), and already came with some of the sound programs pre-installed (plus it uses apt instead of yum, which seems to be a lot better).

Gentoo. It’s geared towards those who want to roll up their sleeves and see what’s under the hood, but it’s rewarding.

  1. The standard package repository for Gentoo is very complete and up-to-date. For example, the ardour 2.3 release was announced on this site on 7 Feb. It appeared in the standard Gentoo repository on 9 Feb! Another example: I’ve used Gentoo for a few years and I’ve NEVER had to install packages manually using the “config; make; make install” method (nothing wrong with this method per se, but keeping track of dependencies can be a nightmare if you don’t let the standard package management tools do all the work).

  2. It’s easy to optimise and fine-tune software (including the kernel, e.g. for realtime) for your needs and hardware.

  3. Upgrades are easy. There’s no concept of a Gentoo release version. You just install it once and then do incremental upgrades whenever you want (to be sure, upgrades are not 100% straight forward, but OK once you get the hang of it and if you don’t leave it too long between upgrades).

  4. The user community is awesome. In fact if I ever have a generic Linux query I add “gentoo” to me Google search to narrow it down to more helpful stuff. Loads of howtos and wikis as well.

…and of course I make music with it, and other multimedia: ardour, jack, lilypond, timidity, mythtv, gimp, kino, etc, etc,

debian sid.
why ? habit. I tried other distros. Came back to debian sid. I have a sense of control over my PC with it. It does not try to outsmart me, it does the job proper and the debian community is great. And I like the debian spirit or philosophy :
And most of all : I am able to make the music I want with it :slight_smile:


I would have to say for the same reason as thorgal. I was brought up on redhat since my linux infancy, and have been using redhat and fedora ever since.

I have tried using Ubuntu once, and it definitely has some nice features and all, but I don’t like how they don’t want you to roll your own kernels, and not being used to more Debian-like systems, a lot of the configuration files are in places I’m not used to.

ubuntu studio MAY be great - but I use the standard, debian based ubuntu distribution. I can do without the low latency kernel and my “trusty rusty” Ardour 2.0.5 just works like a dream. What more can I ask?

Next to that, it’s like with grfpopl and his Fedora distribution. I was raised on debian based Linux and ubuntu is the most comfy debian distribution, so I never really tried another one. It’s just like a no-brainer for me. Making music is the hard part - the computer should make things easy, not challenging :o)


Arch Linux is my distro of choice. Nice simple install for a base system and great package management. All the apps and rt kernel builds are packed up and ready to go. Or you can easily build them all up from source with ABS/makepkg if thats your style. I tried a few of the studio distros but don’t see the point of the bloat. Our audio community is becoming more active so check us out if you are distro shopping.

I use an old stripped down Slackware for gateway/router/firewall (Pentium 75), because it’s simple and it runs for years.

I use Fedora Core on a terminal server at home for basic web/docs/email, because it’s reliable, and my wife likes it.

I use Sidux for my work laptop and for network security testing, because it’s bleeding edge, great package management and very reliable.

I keep Linux Mint on one machine, because it’s the “guest” machine at my house, and it confuses Windows users less (plus it comes with the Win32 Codecs). My Mac friends like it also.

I use a custom Ubuntu at work for development, because my boss tells me to.

I use 64Studio for music, because I’d rather just have this one work without me futzing with it all the time. When I want to work on music, I am done working on computers.

I use Mandriva 2008, because it does all the hard stuff for me. In many respects I think it’s the polar opposite of Gentoo; you can still roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty but it’s almost always never necessary. But it is still a simple matter to build your own kernel (you can get the sources from the Mandriva software management tool and building/installing couldn’t be easier). For most of the time, it ‘just works’ and as picothinker says, when I’m working on music the computer is just a tool.

Probably if you want to fine tune your system for ultimate performance, Gentoo would be the way to go. But for me a stock Mandriva setup worked “straight out of the box”.

Like some others I tried Kubuntu, but had real trouble getting stuff to work with it and found the ubuntu philosophy of trying to prevent you from doing the ‘hard stuff’ was a real pain.

To be honest, with the power of good quality modern hardware, just about any Linux distro will do the job fine. The thing is to find the one that suits your own tastes and preferences, and then to learn how to configure it properly. I tried about 5 before I settled on Mandriva.

I’ve used Ubuntu for about a year now. Before that I was on Debian for several years. The main selling point for Ubuntu for me is the steady release cycle. With Debian I was either stuck with two year old versions of programs (stable) or package deps constantly breaking (sid) and I spent a lot of time compiling and configuring stuff. With Ubuntu everything just works. And when there’s a new release of my favorite tool I don’t have to run out and compile because I know it will probably be in the next Ubuntu release that is never more then six months away.

Ok, every now and then with some tools, I get a little over excited and install something from source. Ardour actually falls in that category.

The “only” thing I really miss with Debian is the knowledgeable community. The people on the Debian mailing lists know their stuff. The folks that hang out on the Ubuntu forums are cheerful but often quite clueless.

I have tried using Ubuntu once, and it definitely has some nice features and all, but I don’t like how they don’t want you to roll your own kernels,

There’s no problem compiling your own kernel in Ubuntu. You just use kernel-package, like under Debian. This builds you a custom .deb file that you can install and remove like any other package. It’s actually very smooth. And great for cross compiling! You can build your kernel on a ritzy new machine in ten minutes and install it on the old 386 you have sitting in the basement as a file server, a box that would probably take 24 hours to compile a kernel.

I haven’t used Redhat (or derivatives thereof) for an eternity but when I last did compiling kernels was a lot more difficult with Redhat then with Debian.

64Studio because its lean.
I also use UbuntuStudio for testing and as my desktop/office.

Both with XFCE and with Ardour built from SVN ongoing.

64Studio is the most snappy and trustworthy distro for audio I ever have used (Mandrake/Suse/Ubuntu/JAD have come before). Its a bit oldish to some extent and I fail to build Rosegarden on it but for the real work I need stability and in this 64Studio failed me very very seldom (about 1000 takes recorded with one case of a crash while recording…)

The first distro to properly support my hardware for audio, and very reliable. It keeps on the cutting edge of all things audio (and stable). Did not get a crash while recording yet. Had some issues (cutting edge ardour related) but thanks to the ardour team that is being sorted out.


i also just can underline what qharley and zettberlin said. 64studio is the best distribution which i’ve seen for audio work. stable, actual, fine.

And Now?

I d recommend exactly the same distros as leatuspenguin, I run avlinux and dreamstudio as dualboot, using avlinux for 80% of the work i m doing,

Gentoo is my friend :wink:

kx studio seems to be the best for me so far.

Ubuntu Studio too bloated didnt seem to be as stable with jack.

AV-linux nice but majour problems trying to install some stuff from soarce or daily builds due to dependancies that wernt in the repositories but are in ubuntus and kx studios.

64 studio, i got as far as booting the live CD first problem there was a root password set, and no notes about it. 2nd problem, i use tethering for my internet, phone tethered to PC. AV linux doesnt have whatever it is installed that gets that working, ubuntu have had that going for quite a quile now as does kx studio builds, mint linux does aswell, and so does AV-linux.

Without access to synaptic (due to not knowing the root password) i gave up.

For me, i think KX studio is probably the best, most configured and nice looking for my needs.

I’d have loved to stay with AV-linux but not being able to use kdenlives daily builds is the breaker for me, there the only builds that work properly, whats inlcuded in av linux (its the same for ubuntu, ubuntu studio and kx studio) gives me headaches with poor playback performance until i download a daily build then it just works fine.

I’ve not tried mint yet, cant get it too download (due to tmobile being dicks and resetting my connection)

once i get linux mint downloaded im gonna try building a personalised setup.

64Studio has been abandoned for a long time now unless there is something I don’t know. The name has nostalgia value for many of us.

That explains why the interface is pretty basic. I thought it looked like old gnome.

well that was a waste of a download.

also explains why i cant regester for the forums them~?