Ubuntu is the Linux distro ‘for human beings’. This means it’s easy to install, maintain and use by ‘real people’ for everyday tasks. It’s available free and supported on an open source license by a global community of developers (and commercially supported by Canonical Ubuntu’s founders). In practice it’s a joy to use – lightweight, responsive with an uncluttered GUI, it genuinely works ‘out of the box’ on even the most obscure hardware (almost), and, importantly, doesn’t further line the pockets of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I’ve been using Ubuntu for about a year with the aim of eventually liberating myself from the tyranny of Windows and OSX – yet however good the OS is, it’s only as useful as the software that runs on it. I would like to see a free, open-source professional set of music tools running on a freeopen-source professional platform; The latest version of Ubuntu (8.04 Long Term Support) has just been released so it’s a good time to review the feasibility of music making with open source only software. Most of the applications detailed here are bundled with Ubuntu Studio a ‘multimedia’ dreivative of Ubuntu – or can be installed separately via Synaptic Package Manager.

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