Turn Ubuntu 12.10 into a multimedia authoring distro

As I said in a previous post, multimedia distros install a lot of software that does not have to be of our interest, so when we have worked with some of them for a few months we can realize that we do not need so much.

In this post I will discuss the fundamental steps to prepare a clean installation of Ubuntu 12.10 and make it ready to work with the audio applications that you should already know.

Why Ubuntu?

The first reason is you. Right now I only have a test team, which keeps an AvLinux 6 (because of having a Debian always at hand), and my work team. By proxy, you can do it with a Slackware, as described in this video.

The one who writes here is very comfortable with Ubuntu and Unity, but you are free to use any variant of this with a lighter graphical environment. LXDE or XFCE are very good, but I prefer to sacrifice a little performance of this machine (still solvent to spare) in exchange for some benefits that Unity adds to the way I work. On the other hand, working under Ubuntu makes it easier for us to have access to a lot of repositories and / or PPAs with many "bleeding edge" applications. And here's a problem, kids. The "novelty" is always expensive in terms of stability. I have to tell you about news, but you don't have to use them. I just want to make it clear that you can use an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (or another distro) and try to avoid very experimental repositories, with which you will achieve a safe and stable production environment. I'm going to get wet, because here we are anything but cowards ...

Despite this, my statement of intent, I am a Debian junkie, so with the release of Debian Wheezy I will adapt everything to this distro as soon as I have a suitable team. 

KxStudio repositories

http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/KXStudio:Repositories In these repositories we will find the largest number of applications and multimedia utilities for GNU / Linux. Visiting this page you will see that they are very well organized, so we can add the newest and most unstable software, drivers, kernels, updates ... Everything at will.


If you are Ubuntu users you will already know that a PPA can be imported from the terminal with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: kxstudio-team / ppa

If you are more of a «lazy genre» you will use «Software Origins» (accessible from DASH or from the Software Center).

And we will have available a good amount of the software that we have already talked about. 😉

User for Audio creation

Your system user should belong to the "audio" group. To know if you are in it or not:

groups "username"

To add yourself to the «audio» group:

sudo usermod -a -G audio "username"


Memory priorities

Although it is supposed to be a minor or non-existent problem today, it does not hurt to try to avoid problems by setting somewhat beastly limits. In Ubuntu there are two possible files: 'limits.conf' and 'audio.conf', which you can edit as administrators from the terminal with "nano" or graphically with "gedit" (the latter is better to launch with gksu instead of sudo) .

sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf
sudo nano /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf

You must add the following lines to the file in question (as they are, without the tabs of the lines already in the file).

@audio - rtprio 95
@audio - memlock unlimited

Finally, you can check that priority "realtime" = 95 with the following command:

ulimit -r -l

This is what the end of my 'limits.conf' looks like

Monitor CPU performance

This was a message Ardor gave me for months until I found out. With laptops it is more than normal, although it has never caused me any problems (or at least I have not realized it). The full explanation is in the Debian Wiki, but we are only interested in making the equipment we want to dedicate to audio work at full power. The first thing will be to install the 'cpufrequtils' package:

sudo apt-get install cpufrequtils

Generally, the CPU / s will work in "ondemand" (higher or lower performance as necessary). We can see it using the command 'cpufreq-info'. In case the equipment is not in "performance" (performance), we will create a configuration file to load at startup and manage the CPU:

sudo nano / etc / default / cpufrequtils

File in which we will paste the following lines:

# valid values: userspace conservative powersave ondemand performance
# get them from cat / sys / devices / system / cpu / cpu0 / cpufreq / scaling_available_governors
GOVERNOR = "performance"

Et voila!

The system is ready. The next thing will be to install the audio server and the basic programs (in addition to certain problems that could occur with very different cards, USB or firewire ...) but that is another story. 😉

4 comments, leave yours

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  1.   Gaius baltar said

    That is beyond me… have you read the entire debian wiki article? You may be able to enable / disable freqscaling in the BIOS and it may be disabled, or you may not need to do this step.

  2.   heavymetalmixer said

    I just installed Ubuntu Studio 12.10, and I added 3 of the KXStudio repositories (Main, Plugins and Music), and at the moment the number of packages they offer is quite interesting (including the new 3: D ardor)

  3.   Gaius baltar said

    Ubuntu Studio is a very good distro. On my YouTube channel there are several screencasts made with him. I stopped using it because I didn't need as much software, and even though XFCE is a good environment, I'm more comfortable with Unity, so I also had plenty of it.

  4.   carlesa25 said

    Hi: Well cpufrequtils does not seem to work with AMD 8150 CPU in Ubuntu 12.10.

    The following message appears: »analyzing CPU 0:
    no or unknown cpufreq driver is active on this CPU
    maximum transition latency: 4294.55 ms. »In response to the command» cpufreq-info «