Ubuntu Studio As Base for Next Trisquel? Trisquelize for Ubuntu Studio?

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davidpgil
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I recently finally got a Linux setup that allows me to create music, by using Ubuntu Studio. However, I would like to free the system as much as I can. Would the Trisquelize script work? I really wish Ubuntu Studio was used as the base system for Trisquel because audio configurations are so sensitive. I am trying my best to stay Libre. Any help would be appreciated.

chaosmonk

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> I recently finally got a Linux setup that allows me to create music,
> by using Ubuntu Studio. However, I would like to free the system as
> much as I can. Would the Trisquelize script work?

If you are using Ubuntu Studio 18.10 then you cannot trisquelize it at
all. The script replaces Ubuntu's repository with the corresponding
Trisquel repository, and in this case there is no corresponding Trisquel
repository.

If you are using Ubuntu Studio 18.04 then you technically *could*
trisquelize it, because Trisquel 9 is based on 18.04. However, Trisquel
9 development just recently started and many packages are missing. I
would wait until Trisquel 9 development is further along before using it
for anything other than testing purposes.

> I really wish Ubuntu Studio was used as the base system for Trisquel
> because audio configurations are so sensitive.

See my comment here.[1]

> I am trying my best to stay Libre.

If you want to keep running Ubuntu, here are some things you can do to
address or at least be aware of some of its freedom issues. I can't
guarantee this will address everything. It would be better to run a FSDG
distro.

- Add jxself's repo[2] and replace Ubuntu's blobby kernel with
Linux-libre.
- Install a free browser like Icecat.
- Disable the Multiverse and Restricted repositories.
- Use Synaptic Package manager and filter by origin to make sure that
you don't have any packages from Multiverse or Restricted installed.
- Remove any packages installed that are listed in ubuntu-purge[3] as
non-free. (Note that this list is for Ubuntu 16.04, so it might not be
100% complete for your version of Ubuntu.)
- Look at Trisquel's package helpers[4] to see which packages Trisquel
modifies. Some of them are just modified for branding purposes, but
others are modified for freedom reasons, so be wary that these packages
might be problematic. (Again, this list might not be 100% complete for
your version of Ubuntu.

[1] https://trisquel.info/en/forum/trisquel-9-ready-development-and-testing#comment-140852
[2] https://jxself.org/linux-libre/
[3] https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/ubuntu-purge/blob/master/purge-xenial
[4] https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers/tree/flidas/helpers

davidpgil
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Thanks for your thoughful response chaosmonk. It's too bad that the Libre Musix distro is now dead. I will implement the changes you suggested bit by bit as to not break my setup.

I think due to Trisquels popularity amoung the Free Software community, it should start incorporating more installtion options that allow for a multimedia workspace situation. I would gladly even pay for this, as long as it remains Libre. I do think is this case more organization and distribution of tasks/responsibilities would be needed. Perhaps I can bring this up in the weekly meeting.

Magic Banana

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If you want to "gladly pay" for the current Trisquel, there is https://trisquel.info/member beyond the possibility of one-time donations through https://trisquel.info/donate

davidpgil
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I'm aware of the donation button. Thanks. What I am talking about is buying a version of Trisquel that is suitable for professional creative audio work.

chaosmonk

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> I think due to Trisquels popularity amoung the Free Software
> community, it should start incorporating more installtion options that
> allow for a multimedia workspace situation.

Here's a possible roadmap in three stages, each of which could be
beneficial even if we don't make it to the next stage.

(1a) Backport to Trisquel 9 any widely-used multimedia programs from
Ubuntu Studio's backports PPA for 18.04.

(1b) Bring in Cadence and Catia (unless you know of some better
graphical frontends to JACK) and maybe some plugins, from KXStudio's
repository.

At this point Trisquel 9 will be reasonably well suited for multimedia
production for users who are comfortable configuring it themselves.

(2a) Study and copy Ubuntu Studio's default audio configuration

(2b) Decide on a desktop environment (2c) Decide on default programs

(2d) Make all of this installable with a "trisquel-studio" metapackage.

At this point Trisquel 9 users can install the "trisquel-studio"
metapackage to have a preconfigured multimedia system.

(3) If trisquel-studio reaches a point where it seems polished enough
could be made an official flavor with it's on ISO.

davidpgil
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I really like this. Thanks for putting it together. I'm definitely not very comfortable configuring all these things myself. I tiried with Trisquel 8 and I could get something working but then it would break. I ended up getting very frustrated and would give up. I think because of this I probably lost years of productiviity with my creative projects. This make me a bit sad and I really wish I could have been able to make a stable audio production system, at this point I just want to be creative. I am currently freeing myself as I go with Ubuntu Studio.

If I could help with finding some configuration files from Ubuntu Studio, I think that would be doable. Does anyone have a sense of what files are needed to be looked at?

chaosmonk

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> I'm definitely not
> very comfortable configuring all these things myself. I tiried with
> Trisquel 8 and I could get something working but then it would break.

Do you mean configuring JACK? That's what I find challenging. I find
Cadence and Catia to be more user-friendly than qjackctl, but even with
that it's a pain. I find that class-compliant USB audio interfaces tend
to work fine, but most of my friends also want their laptop sound cards
to work, and that's a huge pain. It never "just works," and the steps
that make it "work" seem to be different for every laptop, if I ever
figure it out at all.

I had by now assumed that there just is no one-size-fits-all
configuration so that JACK works out-of-the-box for any given sound
card. However, it sounds like you have had a good experience with Ubuntu
Studio. If you can confirm that Ubuntu Studio works even with your
laptop sound card, I would be very interested to understand and copy
their default configuration.

> If I could help with finding some configuration files from Ubuntu
> Studio, I think that would be doable. Does anyone have a sense of what
> files are needed to be looked at?

First, can you tell me the output of the following commands? You only
need to bother with the last two if it turns out the pulseaudio isn't
installed.

$ apt policy jackd1 | grep Installed
$ apt policy jackd2 | grep Installed
$ apt policy pulseaudio | grep Installed
$ grep Exec /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop
$ apt policy firefox

Then, I have a few questions.

(1) What version of Ubuntu Studio are you running? There are three
supported versions right now: 18.04, 18.10, and 19.04. I am most
interested in 18.04 since that's Trisquel 9's upstream.

(2) What graphical frontend are you using for JACK? This is important,
since it could have it's own configuration files separate from JACK and
pulseaudio. KXStudio uses Cadence for configuring and Catia for
routing, but as far as I can tell those packages are not present in
Ubuntu. I know of a few other frontends (qjackctrl, patchage,
patchmatrix) and it would be helpful to know what Ubuntu Studio uses.

(3) If it's not too much trouble, can you also run

$ ubuntustudio-controls

and share some screenshots of whatever pops up? It seems like this might
include a JACK front end, but I can't find any detailed information
online.

(4) This isn't important to answer right now, but start thinking about
what audio programs you use frequently and if there are any for which it
is important to you to have a newer version than that in Ubuntu 18.04,
to help get an idea of which packages might be worth backporting.

When I have more time I'll download an Ubuntu Studio ISO and mess around
with a live session. For now though, if you can quickly check/answer the
things I list above, that will give a good idea of what sort of approach
Ubuntu Studio have taken.

chaosmonk

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> First, can you tell me the output of the following commands? You only
> need to bother with the last two if it turns out the pulseaudio isn't
> installed.

> Then, I have a few questions.

I've had some time to look into this further today and have managed to
answer most of my own questions, so never mind about those terminal
commands and stuff. It would still be helpful to know what software you
use most regularly.

davidpgil
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I'm sorry for my slow reply. I've been distracted. I mainly just use Ardour and Carla. On Trisquel for whatever reason I had instances where JACK was disconnecting or not connecting consistently. I was not able to reliably get my patches to stick. I am using Ubunto Studio 19, the bleeding edge one now, and my issues seem to be solved. Ubuntu Studio has an App called Ubuntu Studio Controls that seems to be a frontend to JACK, btw.

strypey
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Chaosmonk:
> If trisquel-studio reaches a point where it seems polished enough could be made an official flavor with it's on ISO.

I've probably said this elsewhere, but with the performance of the Mate desktop, Trisquel-Mini is a bit redundant. Maybe it could be replaced with Trisquel Studio as the main alt version with each Trisquel release? If not for Etiona, then for Trisquel X? IMHO this would add much more value to the Trisquel project than the Mini version currently does.

Also, slackermedia.info might be worth a look for anyone interested in multimedia production on GNU/Linux. They claim to be ...
> "100% Free & Open Source Software"

... although I don't know whether everything their project includes is libre by GFDG standards.

Malsasa
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On 10/22/19, name at domain <name at domain> wrote:
> Also, slackermedia.info might be worth a look for anyone interested in
> multimedia production on GNU/Linux. They claim to be ...
> > "100% Free & Open Source Software"

Thanks strypey, so slackermedia is a website by the person behind GNU
World Order podcast. It's interesting, I bookmarked it immediately.

chaosmonk

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> I've probably said this elsewhere, but with the performance of the
> Mate desktop, Trisquel-Mini is a bit redundant.

To be fair, in addition to a different desktop environment, Trisquel
Mini also has different default applications (Midori instead of
Abrowser, Abiword instead of LibreOffice Writer, etc.) but even this
probably doesn't make a huge difference.

The lowest-spec machines I have are my ASUS Eeepc netbooks (cheapest
laptops I could find with an "A" rating on h-node), which have 1GB of
RAM. I found that a very light window manager (Icewm) was noticeably
more responsive than full desktop environments, but I notice no
difference between LXDE and MATE, though both run a little better than
GNOME. I also notice no difference between Midori 7 and Abrowser.

Honestly, I think the users' browsing habits are typically the

> Also, slackermedia.info might be worth a look for anyone interested in
> multimedia production on GNU/Linux. They claim to be ...
> > "100% Free & Open Source Software"
>
> ... although I don't know whether everything their project includes is
> libre by GFDG standards.

Probably not, if they don't explicitly go out of their way to do so. The
FSDG are pretty strict, and meeting them requires addressing some
non-obvious issues.

davidpgil
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I just found out that theres a backports repo that has ubuntu studio apps that works with Ubuntu 18.04 which would be compatible with Trisquel 9!

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuStudio/BackportsPPA

chaosmonk

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> I just found out that theres a backports repo that has ubuntu studio
> apps that works with Ubuntu 18.04 which would be compatible with
> Trisquel 9!
>
> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuStudio/BackportsPPA

Yes, there's actually not much in there for Bionic,[1] but I am using it
to backport LMMS, Carla, and Calf.

I also used it to bring in ubuntustudio-controls and then used
ubuntustudio-controls to configure JACK. It worked much better than
Cadence has in my experience. I did have to touch alsamixer to unmute
headphones for some reason, but everything worked after that. In
retrospect this might have been fixed with a reboot. In order to confirm
that ubuntustudio-controls is really the secret to automagically
configuring JACK I'll need to try it on a laptop with which I've
previously tried Cadence, but so far I'm encouraged.

[1] https://launchpad.net/~ubuntustudio-ppa/+archive/ubuntu/backports?field.series_filter=bionic

davidpgil
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Nice! Thanks for your work on this. Really appreciated.

davidpgil
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This exchange convinced me to try to get Trisquel working with audio production again. To make this work I installed the KXStudio repo to get Ardour 5 and the latest related JACK, etc. Even then I have an issue where a2jmidid doesn't start automatically as it should based off of the Ardour instructions for setting up midi. So now in order to make this work, I need to manually start a2midid for some reason. A startup script isn't working for me :/

Anyway, I really hope we can get those nifty Ubuntu Studio configurations in Trisquel 9. It would make this man very happy.

chaosmonk

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> This exchange convinced me to try to get Trisquel working with audio
> production again. To make this work I installed the KXStudio repo to
> get Ardour 5 and the latest related JACK, etc.

KXStudio's PPA doesn't support Ubuntu 18.04, so at this time it's not
helpful for Trisquel 9. I initially wanted to bring in Cadence from
KXStudio, but I now think we're better off with Ubuntu Studio Controls.
I plan to backport packages from later versions of Ubuntu and from PPAs.
So far I have had succeess backporting newer versions of LMMS, Ardour,
Audacity, Carla, Calf, and Musescore. When I'm further along I'll make a
post asking for community input on which packages we should backport.
For now though I'm turning my attention to Ubuntu Studio's default
audio configuration.

Today I downloaded an Ubuntu Studio 18.04 ISO and tried it on two
laptops:
- On my X230, with which I've also had trouble with JACK using Cadence,
audio worked perfectly out of the box.
- On my X61 (the machine I'm using to test Trisquel 9) Audacity and VLC
worked when set to use JACK, but the ALSA and Pulseaudio bridges
weren't working, so I couldn't get sound from non-JACK-aware programs.

If possible, I would actually like to avoid Pulseaudio entirely, but
there are two problems to solve first:
(1) Firefox by default only supports Pulseaudio. However, supposedly
it's possible to build Firefox with JACK support, so maybe we could do
this with Abrowser. Alternatively, running Abrowser with apulse might
work.
(2) There are volume tray applets for ALSA, and it is not hard to map
multimedia keys to amixer. However, I'm not sure how to get volume
notifications without Pulseaudio. Are you aware of any Pulseaudio
substitutes for this?

> Anyway, I really hope we can get those nifty Ubuntu Studio
> configurations in Trisquel 9. It would make this man very happy.

Although a lot of packages are still missing from Trisquel 9, Slim+Xfce
is running okay for me. If you have a spare machine or partition on
which you'd be willing to install an unstable but usable system, it
would be a huge help to me if you could test all this. I actually do
very little audio production myself, so your workflow would be a better
guide for how to configure and what to backport. I think that by next
weekend I'll be ready to ask quidam to actually merge some of these
backports and imports. At that point, if you are interested, I can walk
you through installing Trisquel 9 with Slim, Xfce, JACK, Ardour, and
Ubuntu Studio Controls (rebranded as Trisquel Studio Controls). Any
problems you encounter or additional software you need will give me some
direction as to what to work on next.

davidpgil
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Thank you. At this point I feel its my duty to help with this. I have only my thinkpad w541 to test with but I would gladly create a disk image of my ubuntu studio machine, back that up temporarily and install this unstable trisquel 9 for the weekend.

I am primarily using Ardour and using it to send midi notes to synthesizer and then recording those sounds into audio.

I dont know about any workarounds to pulseaudio except for a youtube video I saw, by a person named scrapjaw. Ill look for the video, but I honestly am not sure what is really going on. will share in a moment...

how would you like to communicate? via trisquel-dev? email? phone?

davidpgil
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This person created a method for bypassing pulseaudio I think. Here is a video that explains it, that I don't completely understand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoN0GLYhAzk

Also, he wrote a helper script for his method:
https://github.com/Skrappjaw/audio-scripts

Really looking forward to see how I can help. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so!

Sasaki
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Hi ! I didn't read the full topic. Just wanted to say this quickly :

Ubuntu studio is just a "realtime flavoured" Ubuntu, with good tweaks in system files and up to date repos.

I personnaly use Trisquel for music production, as it is shipped by default with a lowlatency kernel, wich allows me to have around 20ms of latency (or less if I want) on an old core2duo, without much ram on it.
You can easily use Vanilla Trisquel for your everyday and professional music production. You can also use a libre realtime kernel, quite easy to find nowadays, if you want some "turbo power". PAM is correctly configured by default.

Most of the software in trisquel's repos are quite outdated, but I can recommend you some .deb packages I contributed to on LinuxMAO (french speaking) http://linuxmao.org/Trisquel.
You can also select your libre software on Kxstudio web interface.
librazik.tuxfamiy.org maintains the biggest repo (as far as I know) of up to date musical software, with a lot of packages you won't find anywhere else.

Feel free to ask help on linuxmao !

davidpgil
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I agree Trisquel can indeed be used as a DAW. However, in my experience I have experienced many jarring issues with Ardour and JACK inparticular which causes me great frustration. In Ubuntu Studio their configuration works much much better and is very reliable.

If there is anything you want backported into the next Trisquel 9 release, please make a list and speak. Maybe even join in on the Freedom Friday meeting to add to the discussion. I plan to add my 2 cents during this weeks meeting, as well as help with testing the next release.

davidpgil
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... By the way, the librazik link seems to be broken or down right now. I wish I could see it.

davidpgil
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The link that works for me is: https://librazik.tuxfamily.org

davidpgil
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Ubuntu Studio 19.10 has been released. Maybe backport some of these changes? I'd love to help with backporting, I just don't have the skills yet.
http://ubuntustudio.org/2019/10/ubuntu-studio-19-10-released/

chaosmonk

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> Ubuntu Studio 19.10 has been released. Maybe backport some of these changes?

The only packages that I backport from Ubuntu Studio are
ubuntustudio-controls and ubuntustudio-menu. I backport these from the
Ubuntu Studio PPA, not from Ubuntu's repositories, so our versions
of these two packages should always be up-to-date with the versions in
Ubuntu Studio.

Some backports come from PPAs or apt repositories containing the latest
version of some application (Ardour, GIMP, etc.). As long as these
repositories stay up-to-date, our versions of these packages should be
either equal to or greater than Ubuntu Studio's.

The remaining backports have come from the Ubuntu 19.10 repositories.
(Although 19.10 was not released until this month, the repositories have
been available for testing for several months.) Next I plan to switch to
backporting these packages from 20.04, for which I haven't seen any
announcements yet, but whose codename appears to be "focal".[1]

Long story short, this approach to A/V backports means that our packages
will always be caught to to, if not ahead of, Ubuntu Studio.

> I'd love to help with backporting, I just don't have the skills yet.
> http://ubuntustudio.org/2019/10/ubuntu-studio-19-10-released/

There are two parts to it: (1) finding a source to backport from, and
(2) writing the package helper(s) to do this. Even if you don't feel
ready to help with (2), you can probably help with (1). I have added
instructions to this page[2] explaining what criteria to consider when
looking for a source.

I have stopped prioritizing these backports in order to focus on the
issues blocking Trisquel 9's release, so it would be great if you could
help out with the backports.

[1] http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/

[2] https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/backporting-av-software-trisquel-9

Malsasa
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Thanks masonhock. You made me aware there is an awesome page
https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/backporting-av-software-trisquel-9.

evilive
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Hey chaosmonk, a (very) big audio software release *hopefully* will be out soon, Ardour 6.0, it will have major changes in Ardour's base, do you think it will be possible to backport it into Trisquel 9?

And by the way, you didn't answer me in my thread, I proposed making the "Backporting A/V Software to Trisquel 9" page more accessible to Trisquel's users - perhaps a sticky thread can help users to find it more easily?, because as you can see here, people are interested in it, but the page is in a place that most users never visit.

chaosmonk

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> Hey chaosmonk, a (very) big audio software release hopefully will be out
> soon, Ardour v.6, it will have major changes in Ardour's base, do you
> think it will be possible to backport it into Trisquel 9?

Probably. I'll give it a shot once it's released.

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evilive:
> I proposed making the "Backporting A/V Software to Trisquel 9" page more accessible to Trisquel's users - perhaps a sticky thread can help users to find it more easily?

Perhaps a blog post could be written about a potential Trisquel Studio for the front page of Trisquel.info, linking to that wiki page? I would be happy to write the copy if Chaosmonk could give me a list of bullet points on what ought to be included / not included in the piece. Samples of my tech blog writing can be found at disintermedia.net.nz/blog (when the service hosting it is working ;)

chaosmonk

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> Perhaps a blog post could be written about a potential Trisquel Studio
> for the front page of Trisquel.info, linking to that wiki page? I
> would be happy to write the copy if Chaosmonk could give me a list of
> bullet points on what ought to be included / not included in the
> piece. Samples of my tech blog writing can be found at
> disintermedia.net.nz/blog (when the service hosting it is working ;)

I think that updating the blog more regularly is a great idea. Thanks
for stepping up. As for this particular topic, so far all that I
proposed to quidam is backporting A/V software and possibly adding a
metapackage to install a suite of A/V software. Anything more
ambitious, like an official flavor, will need to be run by him first.

The reason I haven't been drawing a ton of attention to the wiki page is
that I see the issues blocking Trisquel 9 as a higher priority, and
probably won't put any more time into the backports until Trisquel 9 has
a working installer and default desktop. Until then, a flood of
backports requests won't be helpful

Are you available for Friday's IRC meeting? It usually starts at 16:00
UTC and lasts a few hours.

davidpgil
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Thanks! I'll give it a shot this weekend.