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

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

gentoo stage 1 is still possible, but not recommended, and the documentation is probably a bit hidden. but there is no functional difference if you do a stage 3 and a world rebuild, which is the recommended way.

the problem with gentoo is (and i say this as a former gentoo dev and enthusiast) that there is a lot missing on the audio side. last i looked (about a year ago) there was no ebuild for vcv rack, and a lot of other relevant packages were spottily available and maintained. i was thinking of becoming an active contributor again, but decided it would take too much time that i would rather spend on making music. there is no structural way in which packages get maintained in gentoo. you are dependent on the interest of individual volunteer devs, who come and go, or you need to learn how to do it yourself.

That’s very useful. One question - you recommend using a lean window manager, but isn’t KDE hardware accelerated? I was thinking maybe XUbuntu myself because XFCE is not.

in my experience Xubuntu is the best, I m not using it because is terrible ugly. (KDE is a wonderful modern desktop)

if you will use ubuntu (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, etc) the most important advice is it:

you can make a simple script like this

echo performance | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_governor

take a look at how the µs decreases


has anyone tried PopOs? System76 laptops look like they might be pretty cool to try out

I’m on Fedora 26 at the moment, which is fine, but I don’t have anything to compare it with. I have used Lubuntu and Xubuntu in the past and I would be fine with either of those. Basically I’m looking for the lowest overhead, reliable system to run VCV Rack. I have done music live and know what can happen. I work as a Linux systems admin and I know what can happen. Not planning to run anything else on it. Basically a VCV Rack server. Whats the best distro?

I’ve also been impressed in the past by Puppy Linux and I just heard about Alpine Linux today. Are those contenders?

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OpenSuSE Tumbleweed here. Works fine.

What is the tool that shows you the microseconds on the screen? I just loaded a system with Xubuntu 18.08 LTS (I think). It would be nice to be able to monitor performance. Is there a better tool?

Run this in the terminal in Xubuntu (also other Ubuntu variants likely), and it will install a menu on the top right to switch between performance and powersave

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq


is in the rack menu “toggle power meter” in the V 0.6 and “Engine / CPU Timer” in the V1

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I’m still pretty much a VCV Rack newbie. Did not know about any of this. Thanks.


I have been using Ubuntu Budgie and Solus (with Budgie desktop) for many years. Linux is not my main OS for audio, but with some of the tips found in @David list my computer runs great.

On the GUI side I picked Budgie because is minimalistic, nice looking and fast. My second favorite is Xubuntu but it does not look modern and I feel it lacks easy access to some features. I hate bloated desktop environments with unnecessary information onscreen or animations.

Solus looks very slick, but I read people are having a hard time getting JACK working and configured. Did you experience this problem/got it solved?

I don’t use Jack si I cannot give you any feedback. I tend to work with one program at the time… well, in Linux I only use Rack.

As in JACK doesn’t work in Solus, or JACK isn’t working with Rack?

Aha okay. For me it would be to make it the center of my live performance setup so connectivity and low latency are key. I’m trying out kxstudio now.

It would be nice to see rack get included in some of the musical linux distros

Might be a lot less likely to happen post license switch. Lot of the repos shy away from even stuff like Ardour.

I think kxstudio does let them in where it’s allowed; they had pianoteq in one of them.

Yes I’m seeing Ardour here, non-sequencer etc, rosegarden, hydrogen, muse. VCV would fit right in :slight_smile: