Getting started with Linux

Being one of the most popular examples of the success of open source software, Linux comes in many flavours. There are distros for specific needs like security-optimisation, all-in-one music studios, one-floppy rescue systems and even fully functional installations on a USB stick. There are the installs-out-of-the-box-but-dont-ask-questions-distros and at the other end you find distros over which the user has total control but ask for a lot more devotion and persistence.

Here are some starting points for choosing a distro that suits your needs:

A few generic distros

Debian is a Linux distribution that offers a great deal of control over the configuration while still being rather easy to install and maintain. Some knowledge of UNIX is helpful. Not really recommended for ultimate beginners.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Debian, which focuses on easy installing and has good hardware support and documentation. It also has a 'live CD' which means you can try it on your system without installing. Quite suitable for beginners.

Gentoo is a well-supported distro for users who want to really know what they're doing. Excellent at teaching you all the ins and outs, but this comes at a price: it takes a lot of effort to set everything up.

Take a look at distrowatch for an overview of current Linux distros.

Distros specifically targeted to music

Ubuntu Studio


64 Studio

Horus - Open Source Music & Sound Special Interest Group

Horus is a group of musicians, composers, software engineers, Open Source enthusiasts and people interested in related subjects.

We have a monthly meeting at the Utrecht School of Music and Technology in Hilversum. For more information go to the Horus website.