If you want to use Linux for music production, you'll obviously have to know some important things about Linux as well. One of the most helpful things to keep in mind when using Linux is that there are almost always choices how to go about things. And this includes installing software. I realised that in my article about selecting Linux music production software I didn't mention how to actually install the software. And here you have lots of choices as well. As always, with choices come responsibilities, and the main responsibility here is understanding what's happening. Different distributions use different tools for this process, so I will use the Ubuntu tools as an example (but even in Ubuntu there are more ways than described here). Let's get started:
In Selecting Linux music production software I outlined several ways in which you can contribute to the software you use, and thus help Linux for music forward. But I forgot about one way that was brought to my attention a few days ago. Let me provide you with some background first: most open source initiatives are projects done by dedicated people with a passion for their project and who work on the projects whenever time permits. Quite a few projects are backed by universities and corporations, providing talents, resources and often money. Why do I bring this up? Read on to find out:
I discovered a handy guide for Ubuntu: the "Ubuntu pocket guide & reference". It's a nice little book (170 pages in pdf format), written by Keir Thomas who wrote several Ubuntu and Linux books. For musicians contemplating the transition to Linux for music it could be a very valuable download (especially since it is free!). Read on for a little review of this book:
(This post is geared towards musicians who are not yet familiar with using Linux for music production - or Linux in general for that matter.)
If you want to start working with Linux, it is important to realise that in most cases you don't install Linux itself. Instead you install a Linux distribution. A distribution is a 'package' containing a Linux kernel (the core of the system), device drivers, an installation utility, a graphical user interface, resources for installing applications, etc. Basically the creators of the distribution have made a lot of choices for you to make your life easier. And there are quite a few different distributions, hence the title of the article, which you can now read as: "Linux? Which distribution?" Here's how to go about selecting a distribution...