Monday, 28 May 2007


So, seeing as the name mUbuntu is already taken by a couple of other projects, I decided a change was needed. I asked for some suggestions on the Ubuntu boards and none were forthcoming, so I just went with what I used for the address. So, welcome to the Ubuntu Music project! I also did a quick redesign so everything's not so squished up and I made some new artwork, so we've now got a proper logo and stuff. I created a couple of wallpapers based on the artwork, which I plan to use on any computers I use for his project. They can be found here and here.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Open source your music!

So, you're using all this open source software to make music and you're intrigued by the philosophy behind it. The idea of sharing it with anyone you can freely and legally. Well, why not do it with things other than software? That's where Creative Commons comes in.

I license all my work under a "Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License". This means people are allowed to freely share it with anyone they like and are allowed to create derivative works (remixes, etc) as long as they share everything under the same license. It also restricts commercial use of my work to be only with my permission. For full details, just check the link.

Think about the advantages and disadvantages yourself. In a world of mp3s and P2P sharing, if people want to share your music for free, they will, so why not let them do it legally? If people like it enough, they'll be willing to pay for it in other ways (paying for CD copies, coming to gigs, buying merchandise, etc). And it can never hurt to have as many people as possible know who you are, right?

Things like Creative Commons are what could bring about the downfall of traditional record companies and draconian copyright legislation.

Just a few thoughts. Something to think about. Have fun!


Wednesday, 23 May 2007

"Upgrade" to Ubuntu Studio.

So, seeing as it gets asked in the forums a lot, I thought I'd stick a guide here on how to "upgrade" from regular Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) to Ubuntu studio. This gives you the option of converting your regular Feisty install to Studio (meaning you don't lose any configuration, etc that you would doing a fresh install) or it's for if you don't have the option of burning the Studio .iso to DVD (either you don't have a DVD burner, you can't manage to download the .iso or you just don't want to waste a whole DVD on 900MB). So here goes.

First add the Ubuntu Studio repositories by running these two commands:

# sudo su -c 'echo deb feisty main >> /etc/apt/sources.list'
# wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update

Then use your preferred method (synaptic, apt-get, aptitude, etc) to install these packages:


If you just want to copy and paste, chuck this (yes, the whole damn line) into a command line:

# sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-desktop ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins ubuntustudio-graphics ubuntustudio-video ubuntustudio-artwork ubuntustudio-gdm-theme ubuntustudio-icon-theme ubuntustudio-look ubuntustudio-session-splashes ubuntustudio-sounds ubuntustudio-screensaver ubuntustudio-theme ubuntustudio-wallpapers usplash-theme-ubuntustudio wired

Or if you just want audio stuff (no themes, etc):

# sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-desktop ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins wired

Though it would really be a hell of a lot simpler just to fire up Synaptic and do a search for "ubuntustudio" and then "wired".

This is adapted from ep2011's post in this thread.

I also recommend checking out LMMS, it's a programme similar to Fruity Loops and is pretty simple to use and can yield some great results. It's not in Ubuntu's simplified "add/remove programmes" app, you have to either get it via synaptic or do a "sudo apt-get install lmms" (or aptitude or whatever). Also, when it installs, you won't get a menu entry made for you. You'll have to right click on your "Applications" menu and hit "edit menus" and add a new launcher there (this is assuming you're running GNOME, which you probably will be if you're running Ubuntu Studio. If you use KDE, I'm sure you know how to edit the menus. If not, ask on the forums). A graphic you can use for the menu icon can be found here.


Thursday, 17 May 2007

A learning experience

So, on tuesday the mUbuntu project took its first few tentative steps and I introduced some Leicester college students to the world of OSS and Linux. All seemed to go well, until we sent them off for lunch and they never returned. Not so much of a problem for me as my part of the day had finished, but a major problem for Martin, who was planning on teaching them about Tracker software in the afternoon.

All in all, it's been a learning experience. I've learnt:

  • Macs have an odd bug which means that if they're not connected to the internet while you install the OS, they'll decide it's 1904 and Linux doesn't like that...
  • I have no clue how to shutdown a mac running OS 9
  • As simple as it looks, ZynSubAddFX will slow an iMac down quite easily
  • As impressive as Linux can be, it's hard to impress with it quickly other than playing with Beryl and going "look at teh cube!!!11"
  • Don't let unsupervised college students go for lunch when what you're teaching them isn't mandatory...
Oh well, Live and learn!

In other news, despite my original post about not wanting to switch to Ubuntu studio just yet, I have switched! I discovered I could "upgrade" to it without losing anything, so I did. It's pretty damn awesome, even if I can't use XGL with the low-latency kernel. Even if you don't fancy using it, I highly recommend installing the theme as it's beautiful. My former theme, while similar and also beautiful, suffered from some readability problems, so this is perfect ^_^

More soon!


Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Open source + windows

While this project mainly focuses on open source software, and therefore Linux, some people will still be using Windows. So, I thought I'd make a quick post with some links to music tech applications that can be run on windows along with quick descriptions taken from their Sourceforge pages. Stuff in bold are the ones I recommend.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files, cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together, change the speed or pitch of a recording, and more!

Psycle is a Music tracker (like FastTracker 2 or Impulse Tracker) combined with plugin modularity. It supports its own plugin API, the VST2 plugin standard, and a tracker style sampler playback.

VioLet Composer
A cross-platform modular multispace desktop music composer. Features realtime wavelet processing, flexible arrangement, extensible sample types, runtime plugin development, ASIO support, out-of-order PCM processing, autosaving and much, much more.

Modplug is a 'Win32' X86 based audio application used to produce music. The application was initially a private project developed by Olivier Lapicque and is a popular 'tracker' used by many musicians.

Frinika is a free, complete music workstation software for Linux, Windows, Mac OSX Tiger and other operating systems running Java 1.5 (J2SE5.0). It features sequencer, soft-synths, realtime effects and audio recording.

An audio production & mixing tool, featuring a - Sequencer, Beat Box, Wave Recording, Frequency Modulation, DJ Scratch interface, MP3 and sampler playback (the ability to assign any sample to any key) - For Windows, written in C# .Net 2.0 with DirectX.

Mixere is a standalone Windows application for mixing audio files. It has a spreadsheet-like interface that's ideal for live performance, and especially live sound collage. Imagine unlimited racks full of CD players, all connected to an automated mixer.

ZynAddSubFX is a powerful realtime, multi-timbral software synthesizer for Linux and Windows. It is microtonal, and the instruments made by it sounds like those from professional keyboards. The program has effects like Reverb, Echo, Chorus, Phaser...

gAlan is an audio-processing tool (both on-line and off-line) for X windows and Win32. It allows you to build synthesisers, effects chains, mixers, sequencers, drum-machines etc. etc. in a modular fashion.

For more, just have a browse through the various projects over at Sourceforge.


Monday, 14 May 2007

Ubuntu Studio

So, I had a check today and it seems that Ubuntu Studio is now available! I haven't tried it, but it looks pretty damn cool. Don't think I'll bother installing it till it's time for the next Ubuntu upgrade (7.10), I've spent too much time messing about getting stuff working already :-P

If you fancy checking it out, there's a link over on the right to the home page.


Thursday, 10 May 2007

A couple of articles

So, I thought I'd post a few interesting Linux/recording articles.

Let's start off with what got me to try Linux in the first place:

What's so bad about Microsoft?
What alternatives are there to Microsoft?

Then there's this article about using a solely open source set-up in a recording studio:

Using Linux for recording and mastering

Finally an article by Keyboard magazine talking about Linux as a musician's OS and various music-orientated distros:

Linux: It's not just for computer geeks anymore
Linux as a musician's OS? (Slashdot thread)

The first event of the mUbuntu project is taking place this Wednesday. I'm gonna be installing Ubuntu 7.04 on some old iMacs borrowed from DMU and introducing some BTEC Leicester college students to the wonders of Linux. A report and pictures, etc. will follow soon. Wish me luck!