Which distro is best for Ardour in the long term?

And maybe I’m sensitive to this, because like when someone accuses Ardour of not working right, when it’s actually Pipewire (or something else), I am reminded of when I used to support an IBM mainframe, and would have to deal with young developers who would complain that they couldn’t do something, and I would have to show them that, yes, yes you can. :slight_smile:


Another note about PipeWire on Debian, specifically the just released Debian 12 ‘Bookworm’. Pipewire in Debian 12 is already an outdated version that has known deficits for Pro Audio work and that is what you will get out of the box if you insist on PipeWire… This IS NOT the fault of Debian or the PipeWire developer, they do things the way they always have and Pipewire is too fast a moving development target right now and also nowhere near ‘finished’ which makes Debian’s decision to make it the default sound server for Bookworm dubious and very ‘un-Debian’ imho… Now of course Debian backports and probably even MX Linux will provide updates to current PipeWire versions but let me be clear what comes stock in Debian Bookworm is already too stale for Pro Audio performance that can rival a pure JACK/ALSA system.

When AV Linux moves to Bookworm in the near future I will be keeping it’s existing proven JACK/PulseAudio/pajackconnect default setup. It’s not perfect either but I know it’s flaws and at the time of this writing it will definitely outperform PipeWire as it currently sits and it will definitely outperform what Debian Bookworm is providing by default. I have not seen any persuasive reason to make such a radical change simply because PipeWire is newer and makes a few minor gains on PulseAudio which is of peripheral concern anyway for dedicated Audio work.


This is very good statement. Stability is always more important than the latest innovations. The resulting broken tools can destroy the entire studio’s operation at worst. That’s why always stability above all else. Likewise, back up and back up the backup as well


I just realized I got a reply from the developer of AVL! Thank you so much for your insightful comment, and thank you for developing AVL. I have lots to learn about recording in Linux (and Ardour), but it feels great to know that there is such a knowledgable community. It looks very much like I’m going to go with AVL. Cheers!

1 Like

Hi @punranger

I should add… I make AV Linux primarily for my own uses and simply undertake a couple of extra steps to make it available to others who may find it useful. I’m not really competing with anyone nor do I have any real target aspirations to make it into a ‘thing’… Many people try it, some stay and some go and that is the beauty of choice in the Linux world… At the very least if it has any primary redeeming quality I think it gives people a taste of the potential to produce Audio and Video with a turnkey system that works. It is my sense that a large number of people once they get a look at what is needed and how things are supposed to work are then often motivated to do their own thing with whatever Linux amenities and other Distros and Desktop Environments are out there and that is all fine with me. As far as being a ‘one-person’ thing… :man_shrugging: The Linux graveyard is full of abandoned projects by both teams and individuals so a team is no guarantee of anything in the FLOSS world, even Ubuntu Studio has scraped bottom a couple of times and sent out desperate pleas for assistance and apart from Ubuntu Studio I have been around the longest at roughly 15 years. I don’t make any future promises but as long as Linux is being used under my fingertips for production I will share what I’m using for others to try…


You’re welcome - I believe one of the problems of spreading linux is the diversity of the distros, so I wanted to advice on that. I am convinced that for long term use smooth distro upgrades are much more important than LTS.

1 Like

Hi Glen, and thanks for your reply! My apologies if you took offense at my comment, that was not the intention! (If I had known you were a member here, I would perhaps have expressed myself in a different way.) Let me try to clarify - You are absolutely right that releases by teams go into the graveyard as well. But it is my experience that team efforts get abandoned for other reasons. Much like a guitar player rarely quits playing just because the band breaks up (although that does happen too). And my worry is that the guitar player quits playing, more than that the band breaks up, if that analogy makes sense at all. (English is not my first language.) The point is I’m rather new to the idea of abandoning Win & Mac completely, and I’m trying to orient myself in a new world.

Regarding Ubuntu Studio: I noticed that in the excellent series of responses I’ve got to my question, nobody suggested US. And now I see why that could be.

Let me add that the decision to convert came after the announcement that Bandlab will for all intents and purposes discontinue their free version of Cakewalk. I thought Cakewalk was (and is) a great program. If anything, it’s actually a little too complex for my use. I had converted a few years ago, and if I’m forced to convert again, I want to think in the long term. This comes on top of the frustrations with Microsoft and Apple, which I won’t bore you with. I’m really just trying to figure out what the best bet for the future is, weighing the perceived pros and cons. At the moment, it seems that the best bet is Ardour on AV Linux.

In my opinion, the best way to support these excellent tools is to become a monthly donor. the amount doesn’t have to be impossibly large if everyone who is capable of it can give a few coins. These humble maintainers don’t ask for it out loud, but I know that the price of a cup of coffee alone cheers up the mood.

But everything is voluntary, both using and donating. At least in my world, it’s fair to offer coffee or beer to a friend, even though he might be on the other side of the globe.

So help them help you. And tomorrow the world will be a little better again for all of us.

But remember that free will. You can use it, but you don’t have to. You can donate, but you don’t have to.


So, seems that I’m the only one on UbuntuStudio, for many years now. Works for me out of the box mostly, no major tweaks required for me kind of reliable. No reason to change, want to spend my time making music, not customising a system.
Using a HP 250 8G w. 32 GB and 1 TB SSD

1 Like

I’m on Ubuntu Studio as well. 22.04 LTS.

It’s disappointing to see, a few posts above, that its grandparent, Debian, has included an outdated, buggy, version of PipeWire as its default audio server, which will probably propagate through to all of its children, including *buntu and its derivatives, Mint, and probably a few others.

I guess it kinda fits their mindset of using older, non-bleeding-edge versions of things, but in this case, the intent to make things absolutely stable has backfired, by jumping on the bandwagon too early and blindly applying that policy.

I like to stick with the LTS versions, and was disappointed at first, to see that this one just barely missed PipeWire, as it promised to fix a lot of problems with trying to make JACK and PulseAudio work together. But now I’m glad I missed it. I wonder if the next LTS - 24.04 - will have a good version?

1 Like

I’m on Kubuntu (23.04) with this buggy PW, this is ofc different topic, but I think we must, I don’t know how, enforce updating PW package in official repo.
Thankfully there is an unofficial PW repo: pipewire-debian/pipewire-upstream which contains updated PW (at this moment: v0.3.71 - this is the bugfixed version).

1 Like

Actually for my workflows I’m perfectly happy with ALSA, so I don’t care about pipewire until it is stable and usable.

P.S.: You might be laughing but if I need to watch e. g. a tutorial on YT for some subject, I temporarily stop the engine in Ardour ( < 5 secs.) and re-start it when I’m done (< 5sec). gives me a 10 secs penalty.

So, as said, for my work flows it’s fine and anybody else’s mileage might vary


Those are all good points. And if you started out with Linux and Ardour, your statement makes a lot of sense. I’m coming at it from another point of view: It’s time for me to ditch MS and Apple and venture into another realm. I need to become comfortable there, and not least, I need to be able to make plans for the longer term. Until I’ve got a system up and running that works the way I want it, I’m not really ready to start making donations. But your point is duly noted.

1 Like

Ubuntu (and children) doesn’t use Debian ‘Stable’ it uses Debian Testing and Sid mostly so this is not really a concern… Any distro releasing today will be shipping an outdated PipeWire because it’s a rapidly moving target so the only solution will be to either add an external Repo like @skygge said, or hope that your Distro does timely PipeWire updates internally…

For the record I’m puzzled as well that there aren’t more UBStu recommendations, it’s a fine project and has really improved in the last few versions from what I’ve seen.


Hey, Chromeguy, which configuration do you have with Mint, ALSA, JACK, Pulse? Realtime, Lowlatency kernel? Mint version?

edrickblade4 - Mint, using Jack and Carla. Lowlatency kernal. Mint version is 19.3.

I use pulseaudio with jack : How use PulseAudio and JACK? | JACK Audio Connection Kit

Works good. Can view youtube videos or whatever while jack is running, etc. It can be a hassle at first unless you have the pulseaudio w/jack installed. Ardour would play fine but youtube and other videos wouldn’t work at the same time. This fixed it.

I came from a Mac environment. Wanted to get rid of Apple years ago. I was with them since 1989, but the constant having to buy new computer and software costs every year or two was getting old.

Bought used older PC, slapped some linux on it and runs faster than would ever imagine. Quad Core model: Intel Core i7-3770 running at around 3.5ghz or whatever. Paid $120 bucks for it about 4 years ago. Only thing I really did was install a couple of solid state drives SSD. Made a big difference in speed as well. Using old graphic cards that came with the PC. Should upgrade them really, but not really a need to.

If you have any questions on getting up and running I may be able to offer some help. It was a process for me and a learning experience. But what I have now works, and works good.

1 Like

Great, I would like a setup with Mint because runs better with my AMD Athlon Gold 3150U CPU Integrated Radeon Graphics, but no matter the setup, it always have a noticeable audio latency delay with any DAW, even with my Steinberg UR12 USB Audio

I’d like to know your configuration to try it and see if my system runs better.

Ubuntu has these versions: Ubuntu – Package Search Results -- pipewire
And Debian has these: Debian -- Package Search Results -- pipewire

Which shows that Debian Bookworm (the current stable) has a newer pipewire than Ubuntu 22.04LTS aka jammy. Their newest and upcoming version is and will be the same as in Debian Sid.

Btw: on my Debian Bookworm installation the standard pipewire runs just fine, same as the newer one on Arch. I haven’t searched for errors and bugs, just using these both without problems.


PIPEWIRE_LATENCY=128/48000 pw-jack ardour

(on Debian; on Arch it would be ardour7 instead) which works just fine for what I’m doing with Ardour (mostly audio with not too many tracks anyway).

Hope that helps?

For me personally, it’s Debian.

Reasons: I used to recommend Ubuntu to newcomers, but nowadays they seem to be a bit too “enterprise” orientated to me, with offering “pro support” and such. Same for Red Hat (bought by my former employer) - I don’t like and trust these bigtech companies which simply force some things not only onto their workforce but also onto their customers. So what I now recommend to both family and friends is Debian.

That said, if you can install Arch, that’s also a great option. Just installed everything needed for music production there with a one-liner, like:

sudo pacman -S pro-audio

I think others here said it already, but the best way to make sure that Ardour (and also really free projects like Debian) will be around in the future is to support them. I’m really poor now as a retiree, but still can afford 1$/month for Ardour support, and I’ve supported Debian as well.

Hope that helps?