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What's the current state of the art for Linux DAWs?
Old 10th July 2012
  #1
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What's the current state of the art for Linux DAWs?

I am wondering what, in your opinions and best educated guesses, is the state of the art for Linux DAWs?

By "state of the art", I mean:

-practical
-sustainable
-easy to configure
-supported
-compatible with modern tools and procedures for music-making and editing

Any ideas? I'm somewhat new to Linux, but not entirely.
I'm wondering which modern distros might be a good place to start for setting up two DAWs:

1) old, weak computer that is still sturdy and useful
2) less-old reasonably strong computer that is still sturdy and useful

I do electronic music with VST(i)'s in a highly customized Windows XP these days. My old, weak computer isn't strong enough for running Ubuntu and some of the music distros I found yet are just too old and incompatible. The type of DAW's I currently use are: MultitrackStudio Pro Plus, Cockos Reaper v4.x, FL Studio 10, and a bunch of portable freewares for utilities and desktop customizations.

It would be nice if something existed that was as easy to run as Puppy Linux 5.x, as sophisticated and stable and aesthetically/pragmatically clean as CentOS, and smooth enough to work with typical prosumer PCI soundcards and USB MIDI gear.

If I could still run VST(i)'s and use some Windows DAW's that would be awesome!

Does this exist yet?
Old 10th July 2012
  #2
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

No
Old 10th July 2012
  #3
Tui
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Linux > Audio > Yawn.
Old 10th July 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Linux > Audio > Yawn.
is that a "Yawn, it's too easy" or a "Yawn, it's too hard" answer?
Old 11th July 2012
  #5
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Three words: BitWig.
Old 11th July 2012
  #6
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonemaker View Post
is that a "Yawn, it's too easy" or a "Yawn, it's too hard" answer?
As in, why would anybody bother? Audio under Linux never lived up to the promises made by developers and geeks alike. Some amazing "breakthrough" has been around the corner, for the last ten years, though.

Excuse me, it's past my bedtime.
Old 11th July 2012
  #7
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Dave Phillips is somewhat of a leader in this area or at least was. I have not spoken with him in several years now but I used to jam with him occasionally. Check out some of his articles. You may find some answers there

Dave Phillips | Linux Journal
Old 11th July 2012
  #8
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Lets see how Bitwig actually works out in reality.

I am hoping but wont be disappointed too badly if it fails to deliver.

There is apparently a port of reaper in native form under way but again do not hold your breath, although many folks have it working OK in Linux, but using all those nasty linux to PC workarounds so common in these situations.
Old 11th July 2012
  #9
Ardour 3 is looking really nice, but the main problem with Linux DAW's are the lack of VSTi's. There are plugins, but it's more or less Meh

Still, a Linux DAW can work and there are professionals that use it for that. I've had chats with a GS member about his workflow under Linux in the Mixbus IRC.
Old 11th July 2012
  #10
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No driver support is killing it. I had Ubuntu studio all set up but there are hardly any interfaces that work with it. No vsts or vstis either. Sad really.
Old 12th July 2012
  #11
restpause 🎙️
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Wow, good replies; thanks.
I guess i'll keep waiting and keep my finger on the pulse of changes.
I just remembered I have EnergyXT also that I didn't fully experiment with for Linux.
Old 2nd May 2013
  #12
Gear Addict
 

The current state of Linux for audio is terminally dead. It's got no chance now. I used to use it but moved back to a Mac. There is no way whatsoever that linux can compete with Apple in particular.

As for linux is general as a desktop alternative to Windows or OSX, that's also pretty much dead at the moment. Apple are laughing all the way to the bank as the alternative to Windows.

I still use Linux for graphics but more and more hassles and issues. I use Arch Linux so I know a bit about installing and maintaining it. Now I can't even install Arch on a tablet computer I use because I can't see anything when booting into kernel to simply command line.

It just gets worse and worse. The arrogance of the Linux developers knows no bounds. They don't care about the users needs. It's just a playground for geeks and the user is guinea pig.

Linux had potential to be alternative desktop but not now.
Old 2nd May 2013
  #13
Here for the gear
 

FUD

I don't really understand efflux post on a year old thread with no facts to support any assertion regarding the state of linux audio and the arrogance of developers. efflux, you need to change your avatar, as you are performing a disservice to Debian.

I use Ardour and I've found the community on IRC to be quite friendly and helpful. The main developer, las, is quite an approachable human being. And the newest release of Ardour 3.1 seems to be quite capable. I'm a paid subscriber, but I like to download and compile my own version.

My hardware consists of a new AMD 6-core on a 990FX chipset motherboard, 8 gig RAM and a couple SSDs for boot and home. For audio capture I'm using a RME HDSP 9652. I am using the latest 64 bit ubuntustudio, raring.

For desktop audio, I use the standard motherboard audio and pulse; so I can hear youtube videos and the like. For monitoring playback, I use the spdif out of the HDSP. For audio capture, I have two Alesis ADAT AIO3 on two of the input ADAT channels. I'm currently pondering which microphone pre-amp ADAT to procure for the other ADAT pair on the HDSP. Everything seems to work quite well. No complaints.

To dispel any more FUD, I'll try to answer any specific questions regarding my setup and performance.

Regards,
Old 5th May 2013
  #14
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I'm not actually basing Ardour developers as such. I know they are trying with limited resources but it can't possibly compete now. I know the MIDI is new but that part is pretty much useless at present and no other useable Linux MIDI app. You can't have any decent workflow on Ardour. You can't even save the project under a new name. I could go further but the list would be too vast to write here.

At base level Linux works well if you're soundcard supports it. I don't have any major issue with that part but the software it utterly feature crippled.

Currently I'm considering ditching Linux altogether after many years of use. I can't even use latest Kernels on one slate computer I have due to some kind of frame buffer fault which breaks my graphics. It's not solvable without compiling the kernel. This is one step too far. I need to get work done and although I like Inkscape, Gimp, Mypaint and Krita, I am considering moving to Photoshop on Windows. Windows 7 is sadly superior to Linux. This is a terrible state of affairs and a total failure of Linux to compete.

Apple and Adobe certainly have no worries.

Yes, my avatar is out of date. Had to ditch Debian, after Ubuntu and now Arch is on ropes.
Old 5th May 2013
  #15
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I've removed my Avatar. I can't promote Linux anymore unfortunately.
Old 5th May 2013
  #16
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Also, I did financially support the Ardour project for a while and I have Mixbus. Unfortunately very few peope are prepared to cough up any cash at all. This is just the sad reality so Ardour can't develop fast enough.

A mac Mini can handle audio with ease and it's quiet. Perfect for audio PC. Logic can be downloaded for £139.99. You're up and running with no hassles at all. How can Linux compete with this?
Old 7th May 2013
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by efflux View Post
Also, I did financially support the Ardour project for a while and I have Mixbus. Unfortunately very few peope are prepared to cough up any cash at all. This is just the sad reality so Ardour can't develop fast enough.

A mac Mini can handle audio with ease and it's quiet. Perfect for audio PC. Logic can be downloaded for £139.99. You're up and running with no hassles at all. How can Linux compete with this?
That's why I stopped running Linux and work in a Mac OSX environment with Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and Mixbus. I even got Ableton live! How can I possibly give up such great solutions for a workflow that is not optimal?! I understand that going with open standards is better, because they are not restricted to a IP licenses that destroy some creative flow, but Linux DSP needs a lot of work before it reaches the same level as a Mac or a PC.
Old 7th May 2013
  #18
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I've actually used Linux for many years. I'm typing this message from my Arch system. It's good for the net. Fast and no viruses etc. My Windows system on the same computer is poor for net but the sad fact is that I'm now having to shift over to Photoshop for graphics stuff after having ditched it for audio and moving that to a Mac. The Linux desktop has become a disaster area. Multitudes of various libraries for this app and that. My Wacom Cintiq works on Gimp and Mypaint but now doesn't in Krita. Some kind of QT problem. GTK is fine but apparently GTK is going to die off. Typical. Nothing ever gets to a stable mature point before it's ditched. I've got the new systemd on here, sure that's fast as hell but nowt I can do with this system now since too many people have just got sick of it and moved back to Windows or OSX and there is simply no desire to support this mess from third party developers.

In my personal opinion Linux as a desktop competitor to Windows and OSX is now completely dead. I don't mind tweaking a few things here and there but stuff is completely broken all the time.
Old 7th May 2013
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Another thing about Linux which makes no sense whatsoever is all the competing apps. What is the point of that with open source?

If you look at graphics apps for painting. There was Gimp. Sure, it lacked a few features for painting but was OK. It was comparable to Photoshop (at one time). Then we get Mypaint. That's still cool and I think the developers are doing a good job on that because it is good on small computers like tablets (as long as you have Wacom screen). However, then we get Krita which uses KDE. This app is pointless. Features could have been added to Gimp to make it better.

On the other hand the propietary Photoshop is a one stop for all now. Photoshop CS6 really kills off other painting apps such as Corel Painter.

There's also a bunch of different DAWs on Linux. All useless apart from Ardour which currently has a development rate ensuring it's eventual demise.
Old 11th May 2013
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by efflux View Post
Another thing about Linux which makes no sense whatsoever is all the competing apps. What is the point of that with open source?

If you look at graphics apps for painting. There was Gimp. Sure, it lacked a few features for painting but was OK. It was comparable to Photoshop (at one time). Then we get Mypaint. That's still cool and I think the developers are doing a good job on that because it is good on small computers like tablets (as long as you have Wacom screen). However, then we get Krita which uses KDE. This app is pointless. Features could have been added to Gimp to make it better.

On the other hand the propietary Photoshop is a one stop for all now. Photoshop CS6 really kills off other painting apps such as Corel Painter.

There's also a bunch of different DAWs on Linux. All useless apart from Ardour which currently has a development rate ensuring it's eventual demise.
Ardour is crossplatform so I don't understand what you mean about its demise?! Also, it's financially backed by Harrison, so once more what are you talking about?

About Apps competing, well it's a free world and everybody has an idea and since they do it for free, well you can't really make them do anything.

Linux is pretty important. My friend has a small graphics render farm with 3 Intel 3770 based machines all in a beer crate running a Linux OS off of a USB stick, linked together via CAT 6 to a Mac Mini which is connected to their main workstations. Without Linux this would be a little more complicated.
Old 16th May 2013
  #21
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frankvg's Avatar
 

Today Tracktion started their Linux Beta:

http://www.tracktion.com/linux
Old 13th June 2013
  #22
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uOpt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankvg View Post
Today Tracktion started their Linux Beta:

Linux | Tracktion
Does this import/export to Ardour?
Old 5th November 2015
  #23
Lives for gear
As of early November 2015, LMMS has recently been updated.

Inside of Ubuntu Studio v14.04.3 LTS (long-term supported):

FL Studio 12.1.3 and Reaper v5.1 run alright in Wine 1.7.55 ...Installing FL Studio is still a bit uneasy though since you have to install the Microsoft Windows Core Fonts first. Both programs are useable though and both support VST instruments and Effects. Image-Line VSTi's such as Harmor and Toxic Biohazard install OK. Vember Surge installs OK also. Poise VSTi sampler installs OK, but loses it's drag and drop functionality somewhat so the hotkeys need to be used to load samples onto the pads.

EDIT: One problem with FL Studio in Wine is that the program sometimes doesn't quit entirely so you have to kill it from the process manager.
FL.exe shows up in the list a few different times still running

But you can create a launcher to the command: killall FL.exe

Last edited by Nystagmus; 24th November 2015 at 10:14 AM..
Old 11th November 2015
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
Does this import/export to Ardour?
Bump for this question.
Old 13th August 2016
  #25
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Just posting to let y'all know that the Ardour 5.0 was released today. I don't have much experience with other DAWs but I like working in Ardour and it is nice to see steady updates.

https://ardour.org/whatsnew.html
Old 24th January 2018
  #26
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I use LMMS and is so much better then Ardour. I have an EP completely done in LMMS.
Old 23rd February 2020
  #27
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PascalC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by efflux View Post
The current state of Linux for audio is terminally dead. It's got no chance now. I used to use it but moved back to a Mac. There is no way whatsoever that linux can compete with Apple in particular.

As for linux is general as a desktop alternative to Windows or OSX, that's also pretty much dead at the moment. Apple are laughing all the way to the bank as the alternative to Windows.

I still use Linux for graphics but more and more hassles and issues. I use Arch Linux so I know a bit about installing and maintaining it. Now I can't even install Arch on a tablet computer I use because I can't see anything when booting into kernel to simply command line.

It just gets worse and worse. The arrogance of the Linux developers knows no bounds. They don't care about the users needs. It's just a playground for geeks and the user is guinea pig.

Linux had potential to be alternative desktop but not now
.
this
Old 15th March 2020
  #28
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The current state of Linux for audio is terminally dead. It's got no chance now. I used to use it but moved back to a Mac. There is no way whatsoever that linux can compete with Apple in particular.

>> depends on your needs.



As for linux is general as a desktop alternative to Windows or OSX, that's also pretty much dead at the moment.

>> let's talk about audio, but even if talking about desktop alternatives: wrong.



Apple are laughing all the way to the bank as the alternative to Windows.

>> wrong. Ask Mac users and let them explain why they want to switch to W10.



I still use Linux for graphics but more and more hassles and issues. I use Arch Linux so I know a bit about installing and maintaining it. Now I can't even install Arch on a tablet computer I use because I can't see anything when booting into kernel to simply command line.

>> you got that one right: YOU can't install Arch on a tablet...



It just gets worse and worse. The arrogance of the Linux developers knows no bounds. They don't care about the users needs. It's just a playground for geeks and the user is guinea pig.

>> Go and try the Steinberg forum. Good luck, and have fun. If I need answers with regards to Ardour I'm in touch with the Ardour Developers within a minute on IRC, even with Paul himself who is the mastermind of Ardour. Same for REAPER, just talk to Justin. Your argument = kid stuff. And, yeah, please ask Steinberg where you can have a look at the list on open bugs. Then ask the Ardour Team and be surprised. Or Reaper team... Or Renoise, which b.t.w. is a hell of a lot of fun if you are into trackers (I still am). Then go and ask around in Hollywood why they are running DaVinci Resolve on big Linux rigs?



Linux had potential to be alternative desktop but not now.

>> wrong. And what you should know is that most PC magazines are being sponsored by the big ones. Numbers of Linux users in magazines is wrong by gorillions. Go figure. Same with big software companies. Ask Native Instruments about Linux. Then ask Steinberg why they don't have Halion available on Linux. Ask all of them and you will get the same stupid answer. Then call Urs at U-HE and ask him, how a small company like U-HE managed to have all synths available across all platforms including Linux of course.

Surfing the net? Virus? W10? Well...
Updates forced on you, W10 AND Apple? Well...
Security? Hardened system? TOR anyone, it's 2020...
Want a longer list? go figure.

--

Here is my take:
If you want all the bells and whistles a DAW like Cubase gives you, well, then just use Cubase or any other DAW. I'm using Cubase on powerful PC and Logic, REAPER and DP10 on an older Mac.

And I'm using REAPER on MX-Linux (out of the box, no tuning whatsoever, no realtime kernel, not even JACK just ALSA) on a stupid PC with 4 GB RAM and Atom processor, on the very same PC I'm writing this message. In one recent song I'm running 19 audio tracks at 17.5 % CPU. Get yourself some U-HE stuff like Diva or Zebra and have fun.

If you want to try Linux just dl MX Linux or Ubuntu Studio or Debian or whatever and give it a try. Try it yourself. Try REAPER, Bitwig Studio (which is fantastic on Linux), and Ardour. Even Tracktion / Waveform, try the demo versions. I did, and I find myself using Linux Audio more and more.


If you want all the bull**** that big companies throw at you, well, your decision. Remember, in the latest version of Cubase which is 10.5 you can even colour your track channels in mixer view. Wow...

And to me a general statement like "The arrogance of the Linux developers knows no bounds. They don't care about the users needs." is also kid stuff. Go and try the Steinberg forum. Good luck and have fun. If I need answers with regards to Ardour I'm in touch with the Ardour developers within a minute on IRC, even with Paul himself who is the mastermind of Ardour. Same for REAPER, Justin will answer you.


And one last thing: Most people that have an opinion on Linux havn't even bothered trying it. Most users on Apple or Windows don't know much about Linux. Trust me on this one.

And yes, ARCH is a bit special, but prbly the fastest system I've ever seen. Needs some attention though.

Sorry if bad English, no native speaker here.

Have fun.
Old 2nd May 2020
  #29
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PascalC's Avatar
Linux is the best OS out there, but "It just gets worse and worse. The arrogance of the Linux developers (and the linux users) knows no bounds. They don't care about the users needs. It's just a playground for geeks and the user is guinea pig." Linux zealots killed Linux. This great OS can't compete with win10 or macos it's over. Best linux native apps exists for mac and Win (harrison mixbus reaper bitwig da vinci resolve) so we don't need Linux anymore. a pity and a shame cause I'm a real fan of Linux. But I stopped Linux twice because of.. linux zealots.

thay can bash me i don't care
ity's easy to install a full deb10 + RT kernel on my computers but I w'onty do it anymore... because I make music. not coding.

no VSTI no kontakt on linux no reaktor (zynaddsubfx ams are a pity)
no protools no fruity loops no cubase no samplitude .
you can not make serious projects on linux audio.

And YA I was one of the 1rst users of linux audio with Agnula Demudi but i'm done with those 300 distros, distro watch, clanic wars between arch and debian mint versus ubuntu it's over over i'm DONE.
Ardour is NOT a pro daw. tried and tried and tried, thought 10 years ago we could have "our protools" its a joke. it's a labo for harisson for sure, not a prodaw. Harrison mixbus 32C is great but it's more expansive tant... Logic proX !

try to make music with ardour, then go to a pro studio with waves sonnox slate plugins.... it's not the same world.
and you'll see.

for 60 dolls you can have reaper
for 17 per month you can have Studio one
for 27 per month you can have protools 2020. who seriously cares about linux audio on 2020 ?

WIn10 is unbreakable if you have a decent computer (you need a decent one for music)
i'm done with those sudo apt-get install+ synaptic + broken packages. DONE. da vinci works great on my WIN10, but i have pbs on linux with the same software...
on audio sessions I have a lot of XRUNS on linux, NOT EVEN a pb on the same PC under WIN10 + Asio soundcard.
unusable for audio

Linux is PERFECT choice for servers
not for front office
not for music.
Old 2nd May 2020
  #30
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uOpt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PascalC View Post
Linux is PERFECT choice for servers
Hey now. FreeBSD is the perfect choice for servers

Bitwig isn't all that hot, is it?
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