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Old 10-08-2018, 08:01 PM   #99
Human being with feelings
JamesPeters's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Near a big lake
Posts: 2,757

I chose MX Linux since it's one of the more popular distributions, with rolling updates, relatively lightweight/fast, quickly updated (I went to DistroWatch to see what versions of stuff it had), access to several repositories, and Xfce as the default DE (uses less resources, since I don't have a separate graphics processor). It also has the patches for Spectre/Meltdown. There are several different kernels I can swap into it as well, from the repositories (for when/if I want to try a realtime kernel). So it's a fairly "safe" Linux distro for me to choose. I didn't want to use something too specific that might not have access to some repositories I wanted, or be more problematic for adding software (some "very minimal" distros can involve a lot more work when adding some software). MX Linux seemed like a good balance of what I wanted in a distro.

It came down to this, Mint, or some Ubuntu. The fact I have to deal with package management a bit more with MX Linux (compared to those others) is something I can live with. I'm not scared to poke around in menus and look things up on Google, make the odd mistake, etc. (although I'm very new to all the command-line stuff, and I hope I won't have to do too much of it).

My audio card: Asus Xonar DX. I bought it specifically knowing it would work well in Linux (based on what I'd read), plus the fact I only need line ins/outs (no mic preamps necessary since I have my own). Using ALSA I'm getting reliable performance on my modest system (Core i3 6300), currently keeping the latency at 5.8ms/10ms although it works fine under heavy load with somewhat lower block size/period settings too. The audio quality of this card is great, very clean and articulate. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for Windows users though since the (Windows) Asus drivers have some issues (hardware monitoring of the inputs for instance: it adds around 1/2 second of latency! but in Linux it's zero latency). I found a site that explained how I need Gnome ALSA Mixer to properly use the card (it also has a review of the card). I found the Gnome ALSA mixer in the main repo and got it running in a few seconds.

So far everything's running smoothly, with the default kernel (not a "realtime" one). I'm using some of the "same software" in Linux as I had in Windows 7: qBittorent, GIMP, Inkscape, LibreOffice, Chrome, and some others. They all start more quickly than in Windows and a lot of the operations are "faster", less "lag". It's not a huge difference most of the time but it does feel refreshing using MX Linux instead of Windows 7.

Reaper has been running fine, after I found out how to set my CPU frequency scaling so that my CPU wouldn't "throttle back" to 800 MHz. In Windows 7 it was easy to do this with a GUI in the control panel, but in Linux I had to use cpufrequtils in Terminal (easy enough, but probably not obvious to everyone). Maybe there are GUI-based ways of doing this in other distros (I expect with Ubuntu distros, there are).

There's the odd bit of "things not looking quite aligned perfectly" in Reaper or a font not displaying quite the way I would hope (some scripts have fonts defaulting to sizes that are too large, so I had to edit the scripts to set a smaller font size) but there's nothing that has impeded my use of the program. Switching from Windows to Linux, and importing my configuration, worked quite well. All the scripts and JS plugins were recognized (after adding the Linux version of SWS). The only thing I had to mess with: ReaPack didn't notice the plugins/scripts previously (on Windows) which had been downloaded with ReaPack. To have ReaPack manage them again, I had to check them all in ReaPack and then let them "reinstall". It worked fine. They overwrote the files, didn't create duplicates or anything weird.

Presets I'd made in Windows for JS plugins, and Reaper plugins, were all recognized and replicated. Presets that I'd made for Windows VSTs were not automatically replicated/added to the native Linux VST equivalents (Airwindows, GVST)...however: if I had an FX chain with Windows VSTs and recalled that FX chain in Linux (with the Linux VST equivalent versions of those plugins), the settings were replicated.

So to my surprise so far the move from Windows to Linux has been pretty easy. I have no plans to use JACK or WINE (or any Windows VSTs). I want a native workflow only, everything "self contained" within Reaper. So my experiences won't necessarily reflect what the average Linux user might face.

The most difficult part of this switch to Linux: learning how things are organized/installed on the hard drive. In that way it's kind of like switching from Windows to OSX; it's just something to get accustomed to. Finding/using the "hidden settings" by using command-line programs in Terminal is a bit of a challenge for me but there's always Google.
Using REAPER for Linux

Last edited by JamesPeters; 10-08-2018 at 08:14 PM.
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