I’ve been reviewing a lot of Ubuntu spins lately, and they’ve all been differentiated by their desktop environments. This time around though I decided to take a look at Ubuntu Studio 13.10, a distro that is geared towards multimedia work. Ubuntu Studio comes with loads of multimedia software that will help you create and manage all kinds of content.
Here’s the official description from the Ubuntu Studio site:
Ubuntu Studio is a free and open source operative system, and an official flavor of Ubuntu. Ubuntu Studio is the most widely used multimedia orientated GNU/Linux distribution in the world. It comes pre-installed with a selection of the most common free multimedia applications available, and is configured for best performance for the Ubuntu Studio defined workflows: Audio, Graphics, Video, Photography and Publishing.
What’s New in Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
New menu structure
New package ubuntustudio-installer for metpackage installation
New Settings Manager
Ubuntu Studio added to GRUB menu
Xfce session in LightDM removed
Linux kernel 3.11.3
GNOME Orca added
Ardour 3 added
System Requirements for Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
The minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu Studio is 512 MB of memory. It is highly recommended that you have 2GB, or more, as some applications use up a lot of RAM.
Ubuntu Studio 13.10 Download
You can download Ubuntu Studio 13.10 from this page. Ubuntu Studio 13.10 is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. You can download it via direct links or torrent links.
The file I downloaded weighed in at 2.58 GB, so it’s not a small download. But you do get quite a lot of software included with Ubuntu Studio, so it’s worth the larger download size.
Ubuntu Studio 13.10 Installation
Ubuntu Studio uses the Ubuntu installer, so installing it is a breeze. It’s also a live distro, so you can simply run it off a disc before doing an install on your computer.
The developers have added some nice slides to the slideshow that highlight some of the multimedia applications that come with this distro, you can check some of them out below in the screenshots.
The install did take a bit longer than the other Ubuntu spins, but it also comes with more software so that’s to be expected.
If you need to upgrade from Ubuntu Studio 13.04, here are the upgrade instructions from the release notes:
To upgrade from Ubuntu Studio 13.04, press Alt+F2 and type in “update-manager” (without the quotes) into the command box.
Software Updater should open up. Click “Settings” and click on the tab “Updates”.
Set “Notify me of a new Ubuntu version” to “For any new version”.
Close and relaunch Software Updater and the Software Updater should display the following message: “New distribution release ‘13.10’ is available.
Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions”.
Please click on “Upgrade” and follow the instructions given.
The Ubuntu Studio 13.10 Desktop
Since this is the first time I’ve looked at Ubuntu Studio, I wondered which desktop environment it would use. I was very pleased to discover that it’s using Xfce, one of the best minimalist desktops available. It’s very easy to find your way around in Ubuntu Studio 13.10.
To access the applications menu, just click the button in the top panel. Applications are broken down into categories, with some having subcategories with even more applications that can be installed.
I particularly liked the icons for the Audio Production, Graphic Design, Photography , Video Production and Publishing categories. They show that the developers of this distro put some thought into differentiating it from other distributions.
Please note that there is a bottom panel available as well, but you won’t see it until you put your cursor over it. This is one of the few things about Xfce that I don’t like; the bottom panel auto-hides itself by default. You can fix this by right-clicking next to the first icon then choosing Panel and then Panel Preferences to uncheck the “Automatically show and hide the panel” checkbox.
One odd thing about the Ubuntu Studio desktop is the wallpaper. For a distro that is focused on multimedia creation, the default wallpaper is rather subdued. I would have expected something more in line with the icons that I mentioned earlier and that you can see in the application menu screenshot below. Perhaps we’ll see a brighter and more colorful wallpaper in the next release.
Linux Software Included in Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release. Please note that in some cases there are extra sub-categories of applications. Ubuntu Studio 13.10 comes with a lot of software, too much for me to list every application below.
Audio Processors (subcategory)
Midi Utilities (subcategory)
Mixers and Card Control (subcategory)
Sound Generators (subcategory)
LADI System Tray
Ardour Digital Audio Workstation
Internet DJ Console
Linux Multimedia Studio
Extra Graphics Applications (subcategory)
Extra Photography Applications (subcategory)
Phatch Image Inspector
Phatch PHoto bATCH Processor
Rapid Photo Downloader
Extra Video Applications (subcategory)
OpenShot Video Editor
Remote Desktop Viewer
Parole Media Player
PulseAudio Volume Control
Extra Office Applications (subcategory)
Linux Software Management Tools in Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Ubuntu Studio 13.10 uses the Ubuntu Software Center, so it’s very easy to find additional applications. Just find the application you want and click the Install button to add it or the Remove button to delete it. You can also see Top Rated applications at the top level and in each category.
Although Ubuntu Studio’s focus is multimedia, it’s nice to know that you can so easily add other applications. It gives this distro some additional appeal for folks that want all of the multimedia stuff, but who also might want to use it for other things.
Problems & Headaches Found in Ubuntu Studio 13.10
With the exception of the slower install, I didn’t see any problems with Ubuntu Studio 13.10. It ran well for me, I found it to be very stable and fast. If you’ve seen any problems, please note them in the comments below for the benefits of other readers.
You might also want to check out the Ubuntu Studio support page. The support page includes link to the Ubuntu Studio section of the Ubuntu forums, IRC chat, mailing lists, and the Google+ community page.
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Final Thoughts About Ubuntu Studio 13.10
I was very impressed with Ubuntu Studio 13.10, I think it’s one of the best Ubuntu spins I’ve ever seen. The developers set out to create a distro that focuses on multimedia like a laser beam, and they’ve entirely succeeded in their efforts. Ubuntu Studio 13.10 is the distribution for anyone who needs to create or manage multimedia content.
Could you achieve the same thing by using a different Ubuntu spin and then adding multimedia software yourself? I suppose so but then you’d have to run around the Ubuntu Software Center downloading application after application. Ubuntu Studio 13.10 makes it much easier by providing pretty much everything you’d ever need for multimedia work. It’s all there for you from the moment that your desktop loads.
Ubuntu Studio 13.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
What’s your take on Ubuntu Studio 13.10? Tell me in the comments below.