Warning - Contents Under Construction

Another vector for installing Ubuntu Studio is to "upgrade" from a current Ubuntu install. While it is not difficult it will require some additional modifications of various configurations.

This method does not require the use of the Ubuntu Studio DVD as all remaining packages will be downloaded and installed through either the command line (apt-get install) or via Synaptic package manager.

Also of note, not all packages need to be installed. One can selectively "upgrade" various components of the Ubuntu Studio meta-packages.

Full Upgrade

To fully "upgrade" a plain, vanilla Ubuntu install to Ubuntu Studio involves installing packages and modifying configurations.

Installing Packages

To install all required Ubuntu Studio meta-packages, enter terminal & type in:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-desktop ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins ubuntustudio-graphics ubuntustudio-video

If on a system that includes linux-rt (Karmic), you can do

sudo apt-get install linux-rt

Note: This is no longer accurate. Beginning with 12.04LTS you must use linux-lowlatency

sudo apt-get install linux-lowlatency linux-lowlatency-pae

Raring (13.04) includes:


After updating the package list, this will install the following packages:

Configuration Modifications

These additional modifications will be required. Note: installing Ubuntu Studio from DVD as a fresh install does not require manual configuration modifications since they will already be configured.

Audio Configurations

Adding yourself to the audio group allows you to use jack in realtime mode for low-latency audio work.

sudo adduser <username> audio

Be sure to replace <username> with your actual username.

Note: Modyfying /etc/security/limits.conf should not be done on Ubuntu 10.04 and later

Configure the /etc/security/limits.conf file to take full advantage of the real-time kernel. Open the /etc/security/limits.conf file:

gksudo gedit /etc/security/limits.conf

and make sure it says:

@audio - rtprio 99
@audio - memlock unlimited

These value are suggested by the JACK FAQ page.

The memlock line determines how much of your memory can be locked by audio processes. Some also recommend setting this as half of your total memory (RAM, in KB), see Florian Paul Schmidt's page.

Note: Modifying /etc/security/limits.conf Should Not Be Required Anymore
Beginning with the Ubuntu package jack-audio-connection-kit-0.118+svn3796-1ubuntu2 editing of /etc/security/limits.conf should not be required. At the time of installing, you will be asked if you want realtime priority and memlock privileges. If you answer "Yes", jack will write the following during post-installation to /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf:

# generated by jackd's postinst.
# Do not edit this file by hand, use
# dpkg-reconfigure -p high jack
# instead
@audio - rtprio 99
@audio - memlock unlimited
#@audio - nice -19

If you answered "No" or you are unsure, type "sudo dpkg-reconfigure -p high jack" in a terminal. If this does not work, replace "jack" with "jackd", "jackd1" or "jackd2" (one of them will work depending on the ubuntu version).

Please note that creating or modifying /etc/security/limits.conf may cause conflicts with the JACK written /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf settings.

Changes in users, groups and security limits need a reboot to take effect.

Email from Linux Audio Users mailing list: http://linuxaudio.org/mailarchive/lau/2010/3/5/166428
Debian Bug #507248: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=507248
-- Scott Lavender 4/25/10

raw1394 Video/Audio Configuration

These configuration are required for access to raw1394 without being root. This may cause some security problems if you are using IEEE1394 for other than hard disk, camera or sound card connections, e.g. networking.

Adding yourself to the video group is the first step to using IEEE1394 without being root.

 sudo adduser <username> video

Be sure to replace <username> with your actual username.

Note: Modyfying /etc/udev/rules.d/65-permission-raw.rules should not be done on Ubuntu 10.10 and later

Next, access right to "/dev/raw1394" must be given to the "video" group.

 sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/65-permission-raw.rules

And make a copy/paste of this into the file:

 KERNEL=="raw1394", OWNER="root", GROUP="video", MODE="660"

Restart your computer to effect the change in access rights.

Selective Upgrade

It is also possible to selectively upgrade various packages rather than a full Ubuntu Studio upgrade. This effectively upgrade functionality without upgrading a Ubuntu installation to Ubuntu Studio.

Selective upgrading will provide selective functionality by application categories. Find the heading concerning the application category you desire and follow the instructions. The categories are not exclusive and you may choose as many as you wish.

Minimalist Installation

If you do not want a full Ubuntu Studio installation but would like a small, sane cross section of the available audio, graphic and video applications, then try:

 sudo apt-get install ardour hydrogen jackd jack-rack qjackctl seq24 vkeybd zynaddsubfx patchage kino ubuntu-restricted-extras ubuntustudio-menu gcdmaster

This will provide:

  • ardour - a multichannel digital audio workstation and midi sequencer
  • hydrogen - advanced drum machine
  • jackd - JACK Audio Connection Kit daemon for serving and connecting audio
  • jack-rack - effects "rack" for JACK
  • qjackctl - facilitates JACK configuration and starting
  • seq24 - midi sequencer
  • vkeybd - virtual midi keyboard
  • zynaddsubfx - modular zynth
  • patchage - modular patch bay for JACK audio and Alsa midi
  • Kino - non-linear editor for digital video data
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras - provides support for MP3 playback and decoding, various other audio formats (gstreamer plugins), Microsoft fonts, Java runtime environment, Flash plugin, LAME (to create compressed audio files), and DVD playback.
  • ubuntustudio-menu - menu for Ubuntu Studio
  • gcdmaster - audio cd creator

Firewire (ieee1394 / raw1394) sound cards

If you can't get your Firewire sound card working with Freebob/FFADO and Jack, please first of all have a look at http://ffado.org/?q=devicesupport/list and check if your sound card is supported.

In Hardy LTS and Karmic you can do it in terminal this way:

 sudo adduser <username> video
 sudo adduser <username> audio

Think to change <username> below with the concerned user name.

Then, you have to give the access right to "/dev/raw1394" to the "video" group:

 sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/65-permission-raw.rules

And make a copy/paste of this into the file:

 KERNEL=="raw1394", OWNER="root", GROUP="video", MODE="660"

Restart the workstation is necessary to get the acces right.

In Karmic, install then the ffado utils:

  sudo apt-get install ffado-dbus-server ffado-mixer-qt4 ffado-tools libffado1

So you will have the access to raw1394 without being root. NB: it may cause a security problem if you are using ieee1394 for other than hard disk, camera or sound card connection, but for exemple with ieee1394 networking. You will have to run one time with the sound card "on" before starting the workstation, in order to confirm right access. Then it is not necessary anymore.

In Qjackctl setup, choose in the "Driver" list "freebob" if you are in Hardy, and "firewire" if you are using Karmic. In the "Interface" list, choose "hw:0".

In Karmic, you may need to install "a2jmidid" package. This application allows you to make connections between alsa-midi and jack-midi peripherals, sound cards in/out and audio applications. The new FFADO driver create now only jack-midi instance for the physical input and output of your firewire sound card. So if you are using them, you will need to launch "a2jmidid" in a terminal, or to add this command line to the Qjackctl start option to be launched automatically.

You can find some GUI tools and howto on the Ubuntu Studio FireWire Audio documentation. However, take care using the Ubuntu Studio Control Gui, it is very buggy.

Effect Plugins, Instruments and Codecs

Install the LADSPA plugins so you get some effect plugins for your audio applications to use.

For audio processing:

  sudo apt-get install blop caps cmt fil-plugins rev-plugins swh-plugins tap-plugins

For synthetisers:

  sudo apt-get install blepvco mcp-plugins omins 

Install the DSSI host and plugins:

 sudo apt-get install dssi-host-jack dssi-example-plugins fluidsynth-dssi hexter xsynth-dssi

More infos are provided below, see the "VST Instruments" section.

Install the video codecs:

 sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse ffmpeg

If you use the Medibuntu repository, you can add other codecs, and encrypted DVD support to Ubuntu:

 sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs libdvdcss2

Please see http://medibuntu.org for more information. Think to update, because Medibuntu may provide more complete version of VLC, Mplayer, Mencoder, etc...

VST Instruments

You can use Windows VST plug-ins (with certain limitations) via dssi-vst, which will make them available as if they were native Linux (DSSI) plug-ins. Unfortunately, this adaptor is not readily available as a .deb package due to licensing restrictions, so you may need to build it yourself from source. If you attempt this, make sure you have the ALSA and Wine sources installed first, as these are pre-requisites. You'll also need the DSSI and liblo headers.

~/dssi-vst-0.8$ sudo apt-get install libasound2-dev wine-dev liblo-dev dssi-dev
~/dssi-vst-0.8$ make && sudo make install

Once you have dssi-vst installed, copy the .DLLs for your VST plug-ins into the directory /usr/local/lib/vst, restart JACK, and they should automatically appear in any applications which make use of DSSI plug-ins (such as Rosegarden).

Real Time Kernel & Xruns

Xruns. What are they? Well, simply put, either they are buffer underruns or buffer overruns.

  • A buffer underrun happens during playback, when your sound card tries to read data from the buffer, but your software has not yet filled it.
  • A buffer overruns happens during recording, when your sound card tries to write data to buffer, but your software has not yet emptied it.

The only acceptable time to receive Xruns is during application startup. Currently, for whatever reason, JACK applications usually cause a few Xruns as they connect to the JACK server, but these will not hurt you in any way. The most damaging time to receive an Xrun is during recording, because it causes a permanent glitch in your audio, which may or may not be easily heard.

So, now you should understand basically why you want to avoid Xruns. They will cause issues with your recordings, or cause annoyance during playback. Thankfully, you can get these down to a minimum, if not eliminate them altogether.

The best way to avoid XRuns is to install a real time kernel, optimized for audio production with low latency. You can simply do:

 sudo apt-get install linux-rt linux-headers-rt

Then follow the advice below under 'Real-Time Support' and you should be set up to run jackd and other applications in real time low latency mode. You need to reboot after you've installed the low-latency package and made the changes below. Make sure you reboot into the right kernel - it will come up in the list on the boot screen, but may not be set as the default option.

Take care, with some nVidia or AMD/ATI graphic card, the linux-rt kernel will not work with restricted driver. It always better to avoid use of restricted drivers if you don't need them. If your aim is audio production (recording, live performance) at low latency, my advice is to stay at the moment on Ubuntu Hardy LTS. Karmic is under testing.

Real-Time Support

After you've got the kernel you still need to set up real-time access for your applications.

All you have to do for this is give your audio group permissions to access the rtprio, nice, and memlock limits. To do this, you just need to run these commands, which will add some lines to the file /etc/security/limits.conf:

 sudo su -c 'echo @audio - rtprio 99 >> /etc/security/limits.conf'
 sudo su -c 'echo @audio - nice -10 >> /etc/security/limits.conf'
 sudo su -c 'echo @audio - memlock unlimited >> /etc/security/limits.conf'

These value are suggested by http://jackaudio.org/faq. The memlock line determines how much of your memory can be locked by audio processes. Some recommend setting this as half of your total memory (RAM, in KB). See Florian Paul Schmidt's page.

If you use a Firewire sound card, you already done the step described here: in Hardy and Karmic beta, this group is already created at installation. You just have to do:

 sudo adduser <username> audio

Restart Ubuntu and it is ok.

If you experience freezes after rebooting Jaunty Jackalope, try removing the "memlock unlimited" line or changing it to a different value. Always keep a -generic kernel on your Grub list. If for some reason you can't boot with the -rt kernel, it will be very usefull.

ALSA Sequencer

If you can not have midi sequencing enabled, or if you have midi error message, the Alsa midi sequencer module of the kernel may not be loaded. Try that:

 sudo modprobe snd-seq

If it works, to have your system load it at bootup, you have to add it to the /etc/modules file, do:

 sudo su -c 'echo snd-seq >> /etc/modules'

Ubuntu Studio Theme

Optional: Change the theme to UbuntuStudio. In the Ubuntu menu, select System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Theme and select UbuntuStudio from the list of themes that is presented to you. Then select System -> Administration -> Login Window, enter your password, and select UbuntuStudio in the list of Login Window themes that is presented to you in the Local tab. Note: This installs a complete system. If you only want an audio, graphics, or video platform, remove the other respective packages.

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Ubuntu Studio Upgrade from Ubuntu (last edited 2013-10-12 15:57:28 by stucka)