In the meantime I have gained some experience and I must confess, I'm not particularly convinced of Ubuntu Studio as a distribution.
Let me collect the reasons:
- The distribution is not available as a live CD/DVD, but only with the "alternate installer", so it was not possible to test it with my hardware before installing.
- After installing it, I was not able to tell apt to use the DVD as a repository, so I couldn't install anything else from the DVD.
- It comes without network-manager (or equivalent), so it was a pain to set up wifi on my desktop PC. Finally I decided to put a cable through our entire flat to simply download network-manager.
- Instead, it came with pulseaudio , so it was a pain to set up my audio card. Actually, I couldn't make it work properly and after one week, I resigned.
- Also, I wasn't particularly fond of the way they designed the GNOME desktop, plus it was too heavy on my poor 512MB RAM. I simply installed the pretty and somewhat lighter xubuntu-desktop over it.
- Half of the apps in the audio menu didn't even get around to tell me an error message when I tried to start them.
- There is no quick and easy user guide that helps you with issues like these, or at least briefly tells you, what all the pre-installed programmes are (supposed to be) good for.
After one week of tinkering around with Ubuntu Studio and not getting any useful result, I decided to give the one-man project AVLinux 4.0 a try: http://www.bandshed.net/AVLinux.html
. This guy has done all the things right, that Ubuntu Studio failed to do for me. It has a live CD, all the hardware including wireless is (almost) immediately recognised, and even Jack worked out of the box. My midi-keyboard didn't work immediately, but after following some helpful instructions from the well written user guide it also did. The collection of studio application is not too big and very well chosen, all of them serve their purpose and are ready for production.
Probably it is well possible to build a studio on top of a desktop distribution and I will try that next time. (Maybe when Mint 9 Xfce comes out...) It is therefore very helpful, to have the studio packages available on Ubuntu and Mint. However, if you do that by yourself, you should know exactly what you want. For those, who do not yet have any experience with linux-audio (like me some weeks ago...) a distribution like AVLinux is extremely handy, cos it shows you what is there and that it can actually work on your computer.