Linux has a reputation for being geeky, esoteric, hard to get into and limited in terms of available software. But does the increasingly popular free OS and its ecosystem deserve such criticism, or are musicians missing out by not considering making the switch from Windows or OS X?
"Linux is certainly not for everyone yet - but that's part of its charm. Much like older Mac OS versions, Linux can be configured to do a specific task, without the distractions of consumer mass-market requirements. It is not without its drawbacks, plugin diversity being the main one. The business model is also quirky and creative in its approach, so if you relish the idea of configuring your perfect system, Linux is rapidly becoming the first choice."
"It's worth considering using a Linux-based system for music making because of the excellent free audio software that's available and easily installable. Applications like LMMS, Audacity, MuseScore, Ardour and Mixxx can be great for music production or performance. Open source developers usually work on Linux, so the Linux version of most cross-platform music apps is the best version. Lastly, Linux also makes for a good workstation because it's stable and tends to be free of malware."
Paul Davis (Ardour developer)
"Linux is a flexible, secure and reliable platform with a variety of audio and music software available. If you record, edit and mix live musicians in any genre or are involved in experimental music, it can be a robust and powerful environment with amazing flexibility. No restrictive licensing and easy software installation and upgrading are also extra positives. It may not be ideal for modern pop or EDM production (especially if your workflow is reliant on proprietary plugins) but otherwise, what have you got to lose?"
"The Linux community is a very vocal and exceptionally dedicated group of users which we are very proud to support. And with Bitwig Studio supporting Linux, we see a realistic chance for a Linux audio ecosystem to grow further. As more and more controllers and audio interfaces work out of the box with Linux, the main missing link for users to switch to Linux is plugin support. And we see movement on that front as well - u-he have just released betas for Linux for all of their plugins."
Member of the Audacity support team
"A Linux-based system for music making is not for everyone. There are many advanced audio applications that will only run (natively) on Windows or Mac OS X, so if your studio setup depends on them, then Linux is not for you.
"If that's not the case, there are many good reasons to consider Linux: low- or no-cost software; a high-performance sound system; great audio routing; powerful sound synthesis; high-quality score notation; it's extremely customisable; more of your CPU power may be used for audio processing; it avoids many patent/license restriction pitfalls; it avoids costly tie-ins to specific product ranges; software may be (legally) modified to suit your individual needs; modular software allows you to configure your software studio the way that you want; and it's driven by passion before profit."