"Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

What other apps and distros do you use to round out your studio?

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om3
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"Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by om3 »

Hi out there!

Recently I've read a lot about "studio" distros, but I'm still full of questions...
  • What is the actual difference between a "studio" (like Ubuntu Studio, 64 Studio, AVLinux) and a normal desktop distribution, except for the software selection? Is it really only the realtime-kernel, or is there some additional help such a distribution offers?
  • How crucial is the realtime-kernel actually? I've read, that nowadays even the generic-kernel is capable of working with pretty low latency, but I haven't found any numbers... does anyone know about tests/benchmarks?
  • How difficult is it to install a realtime-kernel by yourself? Is it really as easy as selecting it in Synaptic in Mint/Ubuntu/Debian?
  • What are the differences between the studio-distros? Has anyone compared them directly?
Best regards,
Daniel / om3

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Louigi Verona
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by Louigi Verona »

Howdy!


1. Apart from rt kernel and software selection, the distro may be fine tuned, so instead of you tinkering with configs they might find the best configuration for that rt kernel and the software installed.
2. In my experience, you can work fine without an rt kernel, but when you need JACK Transport or playing a midi keyboard, it is very unlikely the result will be satisfactory even with a very powerful computer. Latencies might be low but the amount of xruns will be huge. But if you are just tinkering inside apps like LMMS - it would not matter. My advice - get rt kernel.
3. In my experience it was running three deb packages. Then reboot. Very easy. You also need to edit one config file (Google smth like "config rt kernel", its somewhere on Ubuntu site actually), this is also very easy.
4. This is a tough question. I compared Ubuntu Karmic on rt kernel with Ubuntu Jaunty on rt kernel and AVLinux 2 on rt kernel. Out of these three AV Linux2 was the best, but it is a fine tuned distro. Two others were just me installing the rt kernel myself. I am not sure it has got to do with it though.

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spm_gl
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by spm_gl »

I didn't really notice any difference between Ubuntu Studio and vanilla. Actually, the normal Ubuntu was a lot more stable on my systems.
The point in having an rt kernel is simply that you have a guaranteed latency. That means, even if your usb port and your hard drive and all the background daemons decide to want to use your cpu at the same time, your audio has its allocated time slots. A bit simplified, but I hope you get the picture. With a normal kernel, a background process can really mess up your audio stream.
The real magic actually lies in irq priorities, search the forum on that.
--- Spreemusik ---
Jan Fuchsmann, Audio Engineer
Check our blog at http://www.spreemusik.com/blog

om3
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by om3 »

Hi again and thanks for your answers!

The reason I was asking these question is that I was running Ubuntu Studio on my Computer and couldn't get almost anything to work. On another partition, I used (and still use) Linux Mint 8, which runs nicely, but isn't really tuned for audio, and I didn't really want to risk to spoil my system by installing rt-kernels. Yesterday evening I finally replaced Ubuntu Studio by AVLinux 4, and: up to now it seems to run perfectly fine. :D

That was a huge surprise for me, cause Ubuntu Studio really got me mad. Since I shared the idea, that Ubuntu should be the easiest way to go because it's "Ubuntu", and it has reputation of being extremely "n00b-friendly", I started thinking that configuring Linux to work with audio requires (at least) mad geek skills.
First of all, with the fresh "studio" install I didn't have any network-manager running and I couldn't install it from dvd, since apt somehow wouldn't accept the studio dvd as a repository. So I had to pass a cable through the entire flat to access the internet, download network-manager to use my wifi connection. Then, Studio was extremely resource hungry. Although I replaced the desktop by "xubuntu", it still ate up over 50% of my (512 MB) RAM just after the boot. Okay, maybe I should buy more RAM to use the latest stuff, but I've been running some old audio applications under M$ XP without ever feeling the need of it. Then, half of the huge list of applications in the "audio" folder didn't even think of running. I couldn't get jack to work. I couldn't get the timidity-daemon to work properly (except once, but after reboot it ceased again), although I tried really hard. I suspected that all these complications might have been caused by "pulseaudio", but trying to de-install it via synaptic (as the Ubuntu-wiki explains) just resulted in having no audio at all, so I reinstalled it. Trying to install "Impro-Visor" was complicated by first having to install Sun Java. Well then, it was all in vain, because the midi-output via timidity-daemon didn't work. And so on, and so on....
So then, after seeing some people recommending "AVLinux" on this forum I decided to try my luck with it. Basically, I was expecting nothing, since it is a very small project and it didn't claim anywhere to be extremely newbie-friendly or whatever, so it must be even harder to make it work. However, I read that it runs without pulse-audio, so I hoped the audio-system could be easier to understand, and uses LXDE, being a bit lighter on resources. I decided to give it a try.
What I got is really amazing. It immediately recognised my wifi card and I could connect to the internet. It takes only about half the memory Ubuntu studio took, even with the xubuntu desktop, so I think audio applications should run fine without having to buy new ram. Jack runs immediately. The menu is well organised and all applications in there seem to run, look nice and tempting. Media-codecs and Sun Java are pre-installed (okay, that might be kind of an ideological question and I know how to install it by myself, but it makes it much more usable out of the box). The best media players (Exaile, VLC) are pre-installed. Wow! Many thanks to the developer(s) (?) of this splendid distribution! You absolutely saved my linux-audio-live!

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mixtape
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by mixtape »

Congrats on finding a distro that works for you. I've heard great things about AV Linux, but haven't tried it yet myself. I think Louigi and Jan have already answered your questions, but I thought I'd chime in since a lot of them are still fresh in my mind (I'm still something of a newb).

One of the reasons that many of the Ubuntu Multimedia apps wouldn't launch for you is because you didn't have JACK running. Many apps rely on it to work properly. JACK can seem hard to understand at first, but it pays huge dividends to configure it properly--especially on a system with a small amount of RAM (you're not the only one running 512MB of memory).

The best how-to I've found for JACK is at:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w ... ITuchZlFow

Also, if you're interested in seeing some of the optimizations that go into a Studio Distro, check out:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ubunt ... m%20Ubuntu

As far as whether The RT kernel is worth it, my vote is yes! I've tried both, and my low-powered system performs much better in real-time.

om3
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by om3 »

Hi mixtape and thanks! I was so busy, that I've seen your answer just now. You're probably right that my trouble with ubuntu studio was mainly because jack didn't run, but I had no idea of how I could make it work and I didn't find any real help on that topic from ubuntu. I now do think that the trouble was probably due to pulseaudio, something that has caused only trouble for me so far. For a desktop system running the common multimedia apps like mplayer, banshee, skype and friends it is fine, but trying to make it work properly with something like jack or timidity is pure pain in the state it is now.

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oNNogitaar
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by oNNogitaar »

Louigi Verona wrote:My advice - get rt kernel.
...okay, but why do, for exemple, Ubuntustudio "generic kernel will be installed as default" and AVLinux "i686 2.6.36-2.dmz.5 Liquorix Kernel" come without one?

oskar48
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by oskar48 »

I was using rt kernel in the past. For a year or so I use stock, vanilla kernel without any patches. I play guitar through the pc, using amp modelling so low latency is the crucial factor for me. On my old pc (Athlon 1700XP) with Audiophile card I can get unnoticable latencies even under serious load (70%) without any xruns, rock solid. I see no reason to patch the kernel with rt patch these days ;)

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autostatic
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by autostatic »

Code: Select all

cat /proc/interrupts | grep 1394
 16:       8201     318657   IO-APIC-fasteoi   uhci_hcd:usb3, ohci1394, mmc0, eth1, jmb38x_ms:slot0, nvidia
Which means I can't use my FireWire controller without the help of the rtirq-init script which only works with a real-time kernel.
So I do see reason to patch the kernel with rt these days ;)

Best,

Jeremy

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Capoeira
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by Capoeira »

AutoStatic wrote:

Code: Select all

cat /proc/interrupts | grep 1394
 16:       8201     318657   IO-APIC-fasteoi   uhci_hcd:usb3, ohci1394, mmc0, eth1, jmb38x_ms:slot0, nvidia
thats a real busy irq-port ..... lol

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maghoxfr
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by maghoxfr »

The system is beating me so far because I never really could achieve a great stability. So I'm about to format and reinstall everything. I'm too used to ubuntu but ubuntustudio hasn't been a great experience on my side, maybe is because I made many mistakes or maybe because my hardware has given me problems but I think I'm going to try KXstudio ( http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/ ).

Anyone has experience with it? I know that trying is free and is the best one could do, decide for himself, but I'm asking because it takes time to format and do all the procedure of downloading (I have a very slow ADSL), and I'm very short on time this days.

Thanks a lot

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autostatic
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by autostatic »

If you're used to Ubuntu/Ubuntu Studio I wouldn't switch DE (Desktop Environment) from Gnome to KDE. I'd recommend Tango Studio: http://tangostudio.tuxfamily.org/en/tangostudio
Or a plain vanilla Ubuntu and configure it the way you like, that's what I prefer.

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maghoxfr
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by maghoxfr »

Thanks for the recommendation! I have to decide what to do on the next few days. But Tangostudio looks cool. Taking into account my experience tweaking the system I have to say that I failed big time, but maybe I could try one more time from the scratch.

Thanks

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Capoeira
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by Capoeira »

maghoxfr wrote:Taking into account my experience tweaking the system I have to say that I failed big time, but maybe I could try one more time from the scratch.

Thanks
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... /MinimalCD
It's not that dificult, after instalation instal X (xorg), a Displaymanager (gdm for Gnome) and a windowmanager or Desktop-Environment

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maghoxfr
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Re: "Studio" vs. Normal Distributions

Post by maghoxfr »

I will gove it a shot on the next few days then! Thanks

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