Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

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

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meinfretur
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Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby meinfretur » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:23 pm

I need to upgrade the OS on my desktop (currently it's Ubuntu Studio 16.04), and I'm confused about what the fact that 18.04 isn't LTS means. My most important question is, does this cause any security vulnerabilities due to lack of updates? And also, what are the drawbacks an average Ubuntu Studio user might experience with lack of LTS, given that the Ubuntu stack itself is supported? Most of the programs I use (e.g. Ardour, Audacity, Pd) serve my needs pretty stably at this point anyway, so I don't feel any urgent need for updates in terms of functionality, and I can probably compile/install from source if I do. I use Ubuntu Studio 18.04 on my laptop and like it, but my desktop is my base of operations, so I want to be sure that whatever I'm using will work in the long term. Thanks!

jonetsu
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby jonetsu » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:44 pm

It's a bit unclear. They say 5 years support for a 'Ubuntu stack' and they also say that it's not LTS.

In any case I'm very pleased with my Xubuntu 18.04 LTS, low latency kernel. It also comes with jackd. Although I don't use it, it has Ardour, calf plugins, and more in the repo, ready to be installed.

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bhilmers
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby bhilmers » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:04 am

I think I can answer this.

A normal Ubuntu LTS will have point releases, which are updates that include bugfixes and such. The Ubuntu Studio team is not part of Canonical and does not have the manpower to test every upstream point release of 18.04 and repackage it as a fresh Ubuntu Studio ISO (example: 18.04.2, 18.04.3...). There shouldn't be a security risk if you are getting upstream updates.

I lurk the Ubuntu Studio mailing list and things were sketchy there for a while, but they currently have a couple people putting in a lot of work to keep this flavor alive. However, they are seriously overwhelmed right now and are missing manpower in key positions. I don't think any Ubuntu Studio release should be considered LTS, in fact, the project could collapse at any moment. The good news is, they are making key changes in how they package and present Ubuntu Studio. The future plan is to make something that is Desktop agnostic and modular. It's a great OS and used to be my main workstation until my needs changed. I hope one day Ubuntu Studio can get some support or merge with another successful project.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:02 pm

bhilmers wrote:[...]in fact, the project could collapse at any moment.[...]

@topic starter: I think that you should ask yourself why you want to use Ubuntu Studio and specifically not Ubuntu. The downside of all the minor Linux distributions - as I've said before in this forum - is that they can collapse any moment. Major Linux distro's like Ubuntu, Debian, Suse and what have you not will be supported for years by professionals. I would argue that there can be nothing in the Ubuntu Studio distro that is not in regular Ubuntu or that cannot be installed/activated in regular Ubuntu. That's why I ask: what is it in Ubuntu Studio that attracted you? I'll bet you a million dollars that you can do that in regular Ubuntu too. Don't take this personal, just trying to help (my sincerest apologies to the Ubuntu Studio dev team who probably are doing their utter, utter best to deliver a nice distro). :)

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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby merlyn » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:38 pm

it's probably worth differentiating between 'Ubuntu' and 'Studio'. Ubuntu 18.04 is a long term support release. It's only the 'Studio' bit that won't get long term support. You could think on Ubuntu Studio as an Ubuntu spin.

If it was a car Ubuntu and Ubuntu Studio have the same engine, gearbox and chassis. Ubuntu Studio has different body work and a different steering wheel. The majority of the car will be supported in the long term.

Third party apps like Ardour and Audacity will continue to be updated so I wouldn't think there's anything to worry about.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:51 pm

merlyn wrote:[...]If it was a car Ubuntu and Ubuntu Studio have the same engine, gearbox and chassis. Ubuntu Studio has different body work and a different steering wheel. The majority of the car will be supported in the long term.

Yep. But what if you use that different steering wheel and it has to be updated? I'd rather use "regular" Ubuntu and a "not so special" steering wheel for years and years on end without problems than a great one that I have to throw away after a year because certain software packages require it to be updated. And I doubt that Ubuntu Studio even has different packages from Ubuntu, especially if you use Ubuntu in combination w/ the KXStudio repository. I wouldn't take the risk of using irregular distro's that might lose support from one day to another if you do not know what it is exactly that you want to use from U. Studio that is not in Ubuntu itself. Catch my drift? It's just not worth the risk.


P.S. It's also very difficult and frustrating for the community - like people in this forum - to support distro's like that. I, for instance, will not take the trouble to support a distro like this. I've no idea if problems might be caused by the distro or not, or might be solved by "standard" solutions. So choose wisely: want to get support from the community? Then choose a distro that a lot of people use.

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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby merlyn » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:36 pm

@Linuxmusician01 Taking a vanilla Ubuntu and optimising it for audio takes some work. Installing a low latency kernel, installing JACK, creating an audio group, editing limits.conf ... It's not difficult but it takes a while. So if all that has been done already in a 'spin' I would think that's helpful to a lot of people who want to use Linux for music.

Does Ubuntu Studio really qualify as a separate 'distro'? It's Ubuntu 18.04 with a few audio specific apps.

meinfretur
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby meinfretur » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:09 pm

Thanks for all the great responses; they were exactly what I was looking for!

And @Linuxmusician01, re: being able to do everything in regular Ubuntu that I can in Ubuntu Studio, that's probably true at this point -- at least for Xubuntu with a low-latency kernel and the programs I regularly use -- and I might very well try that. I admit that my distribution choice is at least partially the completely irrational force of habit, because when I first installed Linux many years ago, I was attracted to all the Ubuntu Studio meta packages, since at the time it was much easier for me than manually installing all the packages and a real-time kernel. Convenience of installation and consistency/predictability of experience are still draws for me, but if the Ubuntu Studio project ends completely, I'm sure I can manage fine without it.

You and merlyn are both raising some great points -- some I hadn't considered -- about the pros/cons of using small Linux distributions.

merlyn
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby merlyn » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:42 pm

William Shakespeare wrote:To update or not to update: that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to use stale software, or by updating completely wreck the system.

There's not an easy answer to this. Solutions range from Debian Stable's never change anything to Arch's never have an old version of anything. Security fixes are considered essential so Debian has 'backports', which kind of shows that never change anything is an ideal, rather than a practical solution.

When I've had vanilla Ubuntu on non-audio machines it seems a bit update happy. A new version comes out and Software Updater springs into life like an excited puppy, proclaiming the good news. I've gone along with it to see what happens and the updates are relentless. I could turn it off but I wanted to see what vanilla Ubuntu is like without messing about with it. I've also used Fedora and it is also update happy. So you can see why Debian Stable doesn't do that.

AV Linux has a good approach where it's possible to update Firefox without updating the whole system.

My main system was KX Studio and this needed updating. I realised that when it told me that Kdenlive 0.9 'is the newest version'. I've been using Arch since October 2018, and haven't had an update wreck the system yet.

So I would think a system based on Ubuntu 18.04 is a good bet as it won't need updated for a few years.

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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby jonetsu » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:17 pm

Again, very pleased with Xubuntu 18.04 LTS, with repo-included low latency kernel. Why Xubuntu ? Lightweight. I ran LM for many years and the difference is clear with Xubuntu: crispier, snappier. I gave regular Ubuntu a spin but weasn't so pleased.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:45 pm

meinfretur wrote:[...] @Linuxmusician01, re: being able to do everything in regular Ubuntu that I can in Ubuntu Studio, that's probably true at this point -- at least for Xubuntu with a low-latency kernel and the programs I regularly use -- and I might very well try that. [...]

Most people say that you do not need a special low latency kernel anymore. The kernel as it is now a days is pretty low latency already (I cant remember where, but some say that low latency is already standard compiled in the kernel). I'd try a vanilla kernel. If you have latency issues then maybe your PC is a bit old. Am I right in assuming that you use an old computer for Linux and a new one for Windows (or Mac)? You use XUbuntu which has the lightweight Xfce desktop environment. Nothing wrong with that but if you can't run "regular" Ubuntu and need XUbuntu then I think your PC might be a bit old. Nothing wrong with that either, but it can make things a bit more complicated.

I have the cheapest PC I could find a few years ago: 2.7 GHz dual core CPU and only 4 GB of RAM. I use the onboard Intel video card. Everything runs fine. I use Linux Mint w/ the (heavyweight) Cinnamon desktop environment. My next distro is going to be Ubuntu LTS because they finally ditched the Unity desktop environment a few tears ago.

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bhilmers
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby bhilmers » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:50 pm

merlyn wrote:Does Ubuntu Studio really qualify as a separate 'distro'? It's Ubuntu 18.04 with a few audio specific apps.

It's a little bit more than just audio and I feel it probably qualifies as a separate distro. They have a custom installer that lets users pick different creative setups (audio/music production, graphics, photography, video, etc...) and there are some OS tweaks that are helpful for new people (it helped me when I was new). Granted, a lot of the custom environments are basically ~# tasksel <option>, but the average creative type doesn't want to be bothered with the command line -- they just want to make stuff and need a good out-of-box experience, which Ubuntu Studio does a good job of.

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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby merlyn » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:10 pm

bhilmers wrote:It's a little bit more than just audio and I feel it probably qualifies as a separate distro.

Thanks for your reply. The question Linuxmusician01 was raising was around support. Is it different enough from Ubuntu to mean that the usual approaches to de-bugging an Ubuntu audio system wouldn't work? Does it have its own way of doing things that require familiarity with Ubuntu Studio rather than just Ubuntu?

It's probably worth clearing that up for anyone thinking about installing it.

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bhilmers
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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby bhilmers » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:27 pm

merlyn wrote:Is it different enough from Ubuntu to mean that the usual approaches to de-bugging an Ubuntu audio system wouldn't work? Does it have its own way of doing things that require familiarity with Ubuntu Studio rather than just Ubuntu?

Not terribly different. I think the main thing Ubuntu Studio does is ensure certain upstream packages are kept back and others are included. There is a kind of dependency hell when it comes to audio in the Ubuntu repos and Ubuntu Studio manages that for the end user. For instance, LMMS and MUSE were basically broken in Ubuntu 16 but worked fine in Ubuntu Studio, IIRC. So no, there is nothing fundamentally different, but Ubuntu Studio does a lot of work so users don't have to.

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Re: Drawbacks of installing Ubuntu Studio 18.04?

Postby meinfretur » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:59 am

Linuxmusician01 wrote:If you have latency issues then maybe your PC is a bit old. Am I right in assuming that you use an old computer for Linux and a new one for Windows (or Mac)? You use XUbuntu which has the lightweight Xfce desktop environment. Nothing wrong with that but if you can't run "regular" Ubuntu and need XUbuntu then I think your PC might be a bit old. Nothing wrong with that either, but it can make things a bit more complicated.
Yeah, it's a little old, but it works for the most part. And I've never had a Mac, and couldn't stand using Windows once I got into Linux!

I hadn't noticed that recent Ubuntu releases ditched Unity -- that's why I mentioned Xubuntu, because I seem to remember hating Unity when I tried it (and of course, since Ubuntu Studio has been XFCE for a while, now I'm used to most of the standard XFCE programs and behaviors, so why not stick with it?).

I just saw the other day that Ubuntu Studio 18.04 is now being supported for another year through their backports PPA. I'm thinking for now I'll upgrade it, and meanwhile look into other distributions (or compare the vanilla versions of Ubuntu and Xubuntu) on live USB in case the Studio project collapses, or for when I do my next hardware upgrade. At the moment I'm thinking vanilla Xubuntu would be my first choice, simply because it's a familiar environment. But judging from the gist of people's responses here, and my experience with different Linux installations, anything based on Ubuntu or Debian is probably fine nowadays.

But I do agree with bhilmers: I don't want to be bothered with doing a lot of tweaking involving configuration files, command lines, etc., nor have I ever enjoyed dependency hell. I've gotten to the point where I can dabble in Bash scripts and such, but I prefer a distribution that does the under-the-hood stuff for me to one where I have to do it myself. Again, from what people have said in this thread, most of those user tweaks may not be necessary these days, but (at least discounting other factors like whether the Studio project will contiinue) my instinct is to stick with what works rather than find out a few days or weeks into using an OS that I need to edit some arcane setting.

As for merlyn's question about support, I was wondering the same thing. I could be wrong, but I would think it would be easier to answer questions from average users who have a system that installs a standard set of tweaks rather than ones who tweaked settings themselves, sometimes using outdated tutorials and possibly breaking things in the process. That's not really a big deciding factor for me personally since I rarely find myself needing to ask questions on forums these days, but it could be for others.


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