Current best live Linux distro for audio/studio enviroment: thoughts?

Hi all,

Which Linux distro is currently best suited for audio production?

I hear good stuff about Ubuntu Studio.
Any other good or better?
Preferably one that will boot up from usb drive, until i am certain enough to make a dual boot.

personally i wouldn’t go with a live distro unless you can customize it and it offers persistent storage. best would be to go with whatever distro you are most comfortable with and tweak that as needed. that said, i would seriously look into kxstudio.

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Thanks i understand, but i won’t install anything unless i tried and tested it over time with a live version first.

Kx studio, will look at it, cheers!

KXStudio is the one debian-based music makers seem to go to. The dev is very active in the community!

You can install any linux to a usb drive and run a proper linux installation from the drive but that will not be ideal. It’s totally doable with the correct hardware (good drive write speeds). I did it for years, it works fine.

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whichever, take a look of this brief guide that I m writing to setup your distro
is a work in progress but perhaps could be useful to you
(I ll appreciate comments to improve the guide)


you dont need install kxstudio, you can install only the repos in your favorite distro (kxstudio is on break the actual version is a quite old)


Arch if you are feeling very brave. You can get AUR packages for almost everything people are still using, sometimes stuff that they aren’t. (I used to maintain the ingen-git repo there; ingen is basically Rack but with LV2 and without the nice UIs.) Expect to either update the system never or be prepared to pull down gigabytes of updates a week that either break everything or change very little. You can however easily have the latest version of everything available, usually without much more than installing an AUR helper and using those. I used Arch on a daily basis for over two years.

Ubuntu, Mint and Debian are fine but packaging for them sucks. Launchpad for Ubuntu is maybe your best bet. They all seem to want you to migrate to Snap or Flatpaks for non-mainline software though.

I use OpenSuSE now without many issues. There are a couple cases of broken packages in the recommended areas (ex. calf that depends on a fluidsynth that has been withdrawn) but can be worked around by pulling those from the open build service. I wish SuSE had something like the AUR; open build is close but there is a lot higher degree of multiple maintainers working on variants of the same package. Expect to spend a few gigabytes a month for updates. Tumbleweed doesn’t update as aggressively as Arch and passes through slightly more testing and QA. Make sure you do not use BTRFS or if you do, turn off snapshots during setup. SuSE likes to make a ton of snapshots and clean them up in the background, which means you will get slapped with random periods of terrible performance.


thanks all for your thoughts :+1::notes::coffee:

arch is really all or nothing. that’s why i (used to) prefer gentoo. it is much more flexible (which is why google used it as base for chrome os) but also more hands-on.


i’m using Librazik since 1 years, and it is also a very good distribution, debian-based.
There is a good community, but more for french people :

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What’s the latest thoughts here?

I read elsewhere that Ubuntu & flavours 16.04 (not 18.04 or 19.04) is required to build Rack, but 16.04 is no longer LTS. I also read in another current thread that there is a problem with 16.04, cmake and rtaudio.

I am tempted by Manjaro. I haven’t used Linux in anger since 2006 so am too rusty to take on arch as is.

Here though I am concerned that it may not run Bitwig 3.0 when it comes out as Bitwig only support it on Ubuntu I think.

What will give me both easy Rack compilation, Rack plugins compilation and Bitwig ?

I m using kubuntu 18.04 without troubles compiling the 0.6 and the rack V1 and pluggins


I’m using Neon with the kxstudio repo added, no real issues with Rack so far.


gentoo stage 1 or go home…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I use ubuntustudio (latest, i don’t bother with LTS, but music is just my hobby and I use Linux in my day job, so I’m competant enough at fixing it when things to arwy). and then pull in all my audio things and jack control stuff from the kxstudio repos.


Gentoo is actually a good call. If you have a lot of free time to learn.


I’m not even sure if stage 1 is still a thing (and I wouldn’t want to do a stage 1 ever again) but I did see this and wondered about how painful it may or may not be. I’ve always enjoyed gentoo when I have enough free time lol

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Thanks for all the replies.

I’m leaning back towards an Ubuntu flavour given @David’s report of no problems compiling for Rack 1.0 and given that Bitwig is supported on it.

I can run Bitwig also in Ubuntustudio.
Don’t know about compiling for Rack, I don’t have that setup.
Maybe someone else knows.

Ubuntu Mate is my favourite flavour if that helps :slight_smile:
Very intuitive and customizable