5 Linux distributions designed for artists, musicians and editors

Linux distributions: Linux is an operating system that tries to cover all areas, to the extent that today is everywhere. Are you an artist and you do not have a big budget? Linux also offers solutions for you with a series of distributions created for those with this creative vein, either from a point of view of graphics or music.

Distributions will mention in this particular tend to include a lot of pre-installed applications for processing sound, graphics, and musical creation. Besides that, they may also have some or all of these possibilities:

  • Low-latency kernel using an input-output scheduler in order to minimize delays between requests and tasks in the system processing.
  • Using a lightweight desktop environment and/or optimization of the swap (swap area) in order to reserve RAM for heavy tasks such as 3D rendering.
  • Full configuration JACK server by default.
  • Monitor calibration and support for other devices such as graphics tablets, scanners, MIDI keyboards, microphones, etc.

Some distributions are based on Ubuntu and Debian, so the documentation available for these two, which is very abundant and there are valid for both solutions can help resolve doubts and problems in its derivatives.

Ubuntu Studio


Ubuntu Studio is arguably the most popular Linux distribution in the multimedia sector. Based on the same distribution as indicated by its name and officially part of his family since 2007, it includes a lot of software and default fonts, plus a kernel low latency and tools to help set up the JACK server, enabling using Pulse Audio and JACK simultaneously. It also incorporates a graphical tool called Qjackctl, which offers a friendly panel to manage JACK control.

The desktop environment uses XFCE (allowing a use not particularly powerful computers) and follows the pace of releases of Ubuntu, so the user can choose the LTS, which has three years of support from their community, or the standard versions, which offer only 9 months of support. Being based on Ubuntu, it benefits from all that is available for this, including third-party software and the famous PPA, which usually offers applications and driver updates.

As already mentioned, Ubuntu Studio offers a lot of default applications that span many areas within the media, such as darktable and RawTherapee for photo editing RAW; Kdenlive, Pitivi, and Openshot for video editing; a lot of audio tools among which you can highlight Ardour and Rosegard; and Synfig Studio for 2D animation.

Ubuntu Studio is, in all probability, the best Linux distribution for the multimedia sector, so those looking to vent their artistic vein with the Open Source operating system would have to start here.

Fedora Design Suite


Fedora Design Suite, as the name suggests, is based on the community-based distribution of Red Hat, Fedora, and is centered in the area of graphics.

As applications by default incorporate some of the best known in the graphic world in Linux, like GIMP, Inkscape, darktable, Krita, and Blender, all of these are very competitive within their sectors. As used GNOME graphical environment, it requires some computer power to use this operating system smoothly. As the main feature of Fedora Design Suite can highlight the availability of a list of tutorials that help you get started using the same project highlighted by the applications.

The fact of not having a lot of preinstalled applications is a double-edged sword because some profiles can incorporate just enough, without a lot of leftover items that can end up cluttering the pitcher. For others, this distribution may take them long to bring it about because they need many more applications.


KXStudio is another of the many distributions based on Ubuntu, however, it is focused on providing a good solution to sound level, while Ubuntu Studio tries to cover a lot of areas within the media.

In addition to a kernel low latency, KXStudio includes KDE 4.11 desktop environment, which despite being discontinued is very stable, powerful, and flexible (in fact, is the only environment that works well with the resolution of 1024 × 600 on my netbook, and offer solutions to certain problems present in the NVIDIA driver. On the other hand, those who do not want to change Debian or Ubuntu can add their repositories or try some of their applications in Windows.

KXStudio has some applications that are developed and maintained by its own developers, such as Catarina, Catia, and Claudia, which can also be installed in other Linux distributions such as Arch and are included within an audio suite called Cadence. The above applications are very useful for the tasks management control area and the main interface allows you to control JACK Cadence. Another interesting tool is Renoise, a workstation with an exclusive audio tracks-based interface that includes a lot of effects and plugins.

The trouble is that the latest version of this Linux distribution is 12.04, as the last image was released in 2013, so the operating system can cause problems with newer computers.

io GNU / Linux


io GNU / Linux is a Linux distribution created with the intention of being executed through a USB media rather than locally installed in an attempt to provide an operating system in “persistent mode” that can be used on any computer to continue the work. It is based on Debian and uses Enlightenment as the default desktop environment.

An application level brings a large collection of diverse backgrounds, including some belonging to the KDE project, but are also Openshot, LiVES, Guitarix, Rakkarack, LMMS, MyPaint, etc. On the other hand offers the possibility to use a low latency kernel or one standard, according to user needs.

This operating system includes displays sound generators factrales and Flowblake, a video editor that can work with multiple tracks, timelines, options for slicing and composition, as well as incorporating a significant amount of video and audio filters.



Iro is a distribution that has some similarities with Ubuntu Studio, as it is based on the same Ubuntu and has by default a significant amount of software, but tries to focus on the area of graphics applications including 3D modeling, composition, digital drawing, and image editing.

It is noteworthy that is only available for 64-bit computers and includes a Cinnamon desktop environment, thus requiring a relatively recent to use this computer system fluidly. Today Iro is still under development, so for some still can not be completely debugged. Another important feature is its installer because it uses System back (which lets you create and restore images of a system) instead of the official Ubuntu installer.

At the level of applications, they can be highlighted Makehuman , a tool to create realistic 3D models of humans, and Natron, a tool for composition and creation of special effects professional level.

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