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Ubuntu's A Fading Memory, PCLinuxOS and 64 Studio Are Fab. So Far.

64 Studio Has Speed and Elegance

June 19, 2009

As I wrote a few days ago, I replaced Kubuntu and Ubuntu on several of my home PCs with PCLinuxOS and 64 Studio. I was intending to wait a couple of months to post a followup because long-term performance is what matters. But a few things have impressed me so much these two newcomers to my little computing empire deserve an extra mention. recording with Audacity
recording with Audacity

 

64 Studio Has Speed and Elegance

64 Studio is a highly-regarded Debian- and Ubuntu-compatible multimedia-creation distribution. It's rock-solid stable and usable out of the box, without any special tweaks. I tried Ubuntu Studio first because I'm writing a book on audio production using Audacity, and since Ubuntu has so much name recognition that seemed like the obvious choice to base the book's examples on. But Ubuntu Studio proved to be nearly unusable for me, and it required numerous post-installation tweaks to make it suitable for multimedia production. I thought the idea of a special Studio distribution was for all the necessary customizations to be the default. Stock Ubuntu and Kubuntu with the same tweaks were more stable.

But after many months of struggling to make K/Ubuntu perform satisfactorily enough was enough. First I tried Fedora 10 with the Planet CCRMA packages, and it was all right but still a slowpoke. My studio PC has an Athlon 64 CPU, two GB RAM, and nice SATA 3.0 hard disks. Quite a respectable amount of horsepower that should not be bogging down on routine operations such as changing views in Audacity, scrolling, opening files, and such. It's had all the usual tweaks to improve performance: unnecessary services turned off, no screensaver, real-time kernel, and so on.

Not only that, but Fedora STILL reeks at multi-booting-- it barely recognizes other Linux installations, and offers only a rudimentary chainloader setup that does not work. It sees Windows just fine. Color me still confused, as it's been this way since I can remember. Linux installers that painlessly set up multiboot have been around since forever-- here's a hint, fine Fedora folks, it's OK to copy the code.

So my next try was 64 Studio, and what a revelation. All I had to do was download and install it. I chose the current 1.3 32-bit beta, and it performs like a champ with no fuss on my part at all. Audacity is fast and fun again. Everything is fast and fun again. The only glitch was getting wireless working, because the Debian installer didn't see the wireless interface. Oh, and it set up multiboot just fine.

dyne:bolic is another excellent multimedia production distro. It runs from a live CD or hard disk, and it is fast and happy on older hardware. Doubtless there are other good Linux multimedia production distros, and you are welcome to share your experiences with them.

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