asked Apr 12 at 18:38 by cjb3549 (52)

edited Apr 12 at 18:39

I am using bitwig on both windows and mac. As we know people rarely use Linux for music production. But I am curious what are the advantages using Linux? I want to try Linux if there are some advantages. One more thing I am really curious about Linux is it can be used for live performance I mean is it stable like mac? Please leave your experience on Linux freely :)

I prefer to use Linux whenever possible, including for Bitwig and other audio applications.

Bitwig does not yet support Linux's native LV2 format (they may in the future), and while you can use 90% of Windows VSTs in Linux via Carla, doing so adds a somewhat significant layer of complexity that you don't have when using OSX or Windows. And while there are native Linux VSTs they are very few at this point. And then there is hardware compatibility: not all audio interfaces will work in Linux (though many will, and work well) so you always have to do your homework. Many USB2 interfaces work great. Firewire, Thunderbolt and USB-C? Not so much.

So, why bother running Linux? For myself, I really can't stand Linux or OSX. There are plenty of times things don't "just work" on these platforms as well, and my ability to tweak and resolve things in Linux is vastly better. I also hate rebooting into Windows just to run one or two things. I'm able to achieve everything I want in Linux for my audio needs using Bitwig, Ardour, Guitarix, Musescore, Audacity, Rosegarden, the Calf Studio Gear plugins, and the Windows VSTs I use. Reaper is also available for Linux, though I've not used it. This puts everything under one OS which I have deep control and "tweakability" of.

Audio routing in Linux is (usually) done using the Jack audio system. The functionality, options and latency with Jackd can be very cool. It can also be daunting to familiarize yourself with it. Top tip: the Patchage and Cadence applications provide "visual patch bay" control of Jack and are very helpful. Still, you will have to wrap your head around Linux audio. The good and the bad. Some people feel Jack is the best part of Linux audio. Personally, I found it to be an acquired taste.

Stability of any operating system can be a bit ephemeral and vary through it's lifecycle as changes are made, software installed and removed, OS and applications updated, and as you upgrade to newer versions as the OS evolves. Having used Linux, personally and professionally for 15+ years, I would offer that Linux can potentially be more stable than OSX or Windows, but maximizing performance and long term stability on any platform requires developing a significant understanding of it. With Linux you (can) have an extremely fine level of control over precisely what updates are applied, and from where. When things go wrong there is a wealth of information to help resolve it -- but a wealth of time in learning and developing expertise.

That's not to say that you could not rather quickly and easily install a Linux based audio distro like Ubuntu Studio or KXStudio and be up and running with Bitwig is short order, and avoid many common pitfalls as these are optimized for audio applications out of the box. You would also gain easy access to a variety of open source music software to explore. A good place to start might be to explore http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/

While there are many Linux "live" environments, where you can test drive running the OS from a CD, these will not be satisfactory for running audio applications. Same for trying to run Linux as a VM - skip it. The best thing is to install it on your system. Adding an SSD to a desktop computer and installing to it is usually straight forward.

My needs are pretty simple honestly. I'm not professionally producing, but I'm very happy with my setup. I'm looking to record more of my work, and expect to do so exclusively in Linux. The Bitwig team seems to be treating Linux as a first class citizen, and it's great that the company provides such a great product for Linux users - and that's the main reason I use Bitwig. I have Mac and Windows systems - I run Bitwig on my Linux box.

Cheers, and above all - have fun.

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answered Apr 16 at 01:30 by RelativePrime (44)

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. It is very impressive what you said, 'With Linux you (can) have an extremely fine level of control over precisely what updates are applied, and from where. '. It was really hard to tweak windows audio system so it will be the reason why I will try Linux. Also thanks for the link it will definitely help me a lot

  — (Apr 16 at 11:30) cjb3549

I've been now pretty actively writing music on Linux, and I'm mostly happy. Setting up the system was a pain though, but that was mostly because my firewire interface required some tweaking. Also getting Windows VSTs to work is a chore, but I have the most important ones now running, and anyway I mostly use native BW stuff these days.

I didn't yet play live with Linux (my laptop has Win10 for now), otherwise Linux is stable, but I've had some issues with JACK (the audio system that is a bit like ASIO under Windows) hanging so badly sometimes that I need to do a hard restart, which would be stressing in the middle of a live set.

The main benefits? I guess the warm nice feeling you'll get from using a free, open source, community created OS with no strings attached to big corporations. I personally could live with Win7, but Win10 feels somehow really annoying. Linux allows also total customisation of everything, if you're into that kind of things.

One main benefit is CPU management, I get much better performance under Linux than with Win7 with the same project. I didn't benchmark against Win10 though since I don't want to install it on my desktop. On the other hand, the user interface seems to lag more under Linux with big projects that use a lot of devices. This is annoying, but the problem is there with Windows too. Some UI optimizations are coming at some point in the future, I hope they remedy the issue...

You can buy a cheap used 120gb SSD drive for a few euros, and do a test install. Creating a dual boot system is automatic, but getting rid of the bootloader will take some tinkering if you want to remove Linux and want to boot straight into Windows without going through the boot loader menu. There's some options to go around this, I made a separate installation without multiboot, I boot into Linux by default, and if I need Windows, I need to change the boot drive in BIOS. It's not really an issue, since I almost never need to boot into Windows anymore. The benefit of doing things this way is, that if I want to get rid of Linux, I can just disconnect the drive, change the default boot drive to the one that has Windows in BIOS, and that's it.

My personal opinion is, that you should not try Linux unless you are pretty comfortable editing configuration files by hand, using the terminal, etc. There's lots of small things that you might need to do by hand, like setting the CPU and chassis fan scheduling, CPU governors (by default Ubuntu at least runs with a throttling scheme, and there's no way to change to full speed mode via the GUI). And so on and on... It took be several evenings of full time work to get all things going. But luckily after that things have been working pretty much as I like.

I am currently housing all my sample content as well as the project directory on a Windows NTFS partition, I haven't had problems with this at all.

One big problem is copy protections that often don't work under Linux. I needed to use pirated versions on NI software for example even though I own Komplete, because their license manager does not work under Linux. And some things, like the East West Play (because of Ilok) is impossible to get to work, since no pirated versions exist. So, now my subscription of Composer Cloud is sitting unused. Still such things can be used on another computer via MIDI over Ethernet, but I have no experience of that. It's kind of annoying, I really like the Composer Cloud stuff, but would not want to boot into Windows just because of them :/

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answered May 03 at 02:23 by Taika-Kim (71)

Hi, I'm using Linux professionally as a computer programmer since kernel 0.98... and currently driving my company based on it as a development platform. I'm using UbunbuStudio to run my musical applications just because it's easier for me to manage it, I have a better and deeper control on the visual aspects of my Desktop and a very flexible management of audio and midi routing via Jack (using QJackControl mainly). I'm forced to revert to Windows only to upgrade the firmware of some of my keyboards or effects, just because some companies are still reluctant to offer a Linux porting of their products and all the times I regret to have been forced to do it (hours of my precious time waiting for unknown necessary upgrades, updates, upsomething). I'm currently using a Behringher XR18 mixer which works out-of-the-box with acceptable latency, at least for my current use, which works flawlessly with Bitwig. What can I say... I use Linux just because it works allways, in the same way, every day, no time wasted in stupid tasks like virus scanning, strange updates for hours, strange behaviours I can't understand. I'm at your service for any help, Fabrizio

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answered Apr 16 at 10:18 by fsciarra62 (11)

Thanks for the reply. I agree with you, in windows and macOS always other things are running on background. I don't know how many things Linux can do but It is good to hear that Linux can only focus on audio not other things you said. I will soon try Linux to know about that.

  — (Apr 16 at 11:35) cjb3549

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Asked: Apr 12 at 18:38

Seen: 670 times

Last updated: May 03 at 02:23