Where to get Ubuntu Studio
Ubuntu Studio 14.04.x is a distribution of Ubuntu that is available for download as a .iso file, which is a DVD image file. You need to download the torrent or .iso from the UbuntuStudio.org download page. A .iso is directly downloaded using Firefox, Chrome or IE. A torrent will download a lot faster but you have to install and run a torrent client like uTorrent. You can get uTorrent for Windows here. There are two versions of Ubuntu Studio, the “i386” 32 bit processor version which will probably work ok, but I don’t recommend it, but if you have a 64 bit machine you REALLY want to load the “amd64” 64 bit version. (Yes it works on Intel processors)
Ubuntu Studio 14.04.x (at this time x is 2) is a Long Term Support (LTS) version. This means that this version will have security and bug fixes coming out for a few years, but no new bells and whistles. You want to use a LTS version because a high priority in a radio automation system is STABILITY. The other releases of Ubuntu Studio have new stuff added (and subtracted) with each version coming out every nine months or so. The way that a system that “used to work” could change, no longer providing the same controls and the people who use it can be confused. You don’t want your everyday tool to break.
Ubuntu Studio 14.04 is designed as a workstation for audio, video, presentations, graphics, etc. It has the bare bones of what you need for audio, the special part is that it has properly installed ALSA and Jack and mostly configured them.
Because it has Xfce (a very lightweight Graphical Interface) it also is a very good candidate as a server. Many people don’t want any graphical interface on a server, but some of the things that are needed for an audio server (Like Jack and KXStudio) run in graphical mode only, so Ubuntu Server is not a good candidate because you would have to install a GUI that needs a lot of setup, and Ubuntu Desktop has just too many pretty gizmos clogging things up to hammer out audio production and automation.
As a server, you will have some work to do – putting in a webserver, samba file sharing, routing, etc., but that has to be set up for your configuration no matter what. The installation part is simple.
After you download or torrent the file to your computer, it needs to burned to a bootable DVD or a 4 Gig or larger Flash Drive. For DVDs, Windows 7 has this ability built in to Explorer, and for Ubuntu the instructions are here. For flash drives, you can’t just copy the file over, it needs to be written as a bootable image. There are lots of free programs out there to burn iso files to flash drives, but Google searching will bring up many listings for the utility that can only write Windows 7 or Windows 8 iso files. Avoid that utility.
Some motherboards will not boot from a flash drive, and you need to play with the bios to get a DVD or Flash Drive to boot when there is an old operating system on the hard drive. You will be making the machine a Ubuntu Studio ONLY machine. No dual boots or Virtual machines for audio! You want to lock this machine into one mode only so it will be reliable and simple. Yes you can play with a virtual machine, but it will never be a real “workstation”, as would be the case with regular Ubuntu.
When the DVD or Flash Drive boots, make sure you check the disk before installing. That is one of the selections on the first menu. It would be really a shame to spend an hour or so setting up a Ubuntu Studio system only to find that half the stuff doesn’t work.
You will need to babysit the installation for a few minutes. The machine needs to be connected to the Internet and a DHCP server. I don’t install the photo finishing, graphics and presentations application installation, and you could drop the video apps if you are sure you will not be needing them. If you are not going to use my script, let the system update all the files on installation. You can walk away for a cup of coffee after the initial entries quiet down, then check back later when it is installing MySql for passwords and stuff. It will stop and wait for the password entry. When it is done –
Take out the DVD or Flashdrive and reboot – voila! A fresh Ubuntu Studio installation.