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I wonder whether there are any Linux/VST users out there? I ask because I'm getting fed up with Windows. It works fine now. But only because I've disabled all updates. I'm running 1809. I won't take 1904, 1909, 2004, or 20H2. Not ever.

There are too many reports of this broken and that broken ... because of the updates. Given that the updates offer little more than crap, I just cannot see taking a risk for no benefit.

I really think Microsoft should dump Windows. Put Linux in there, keep the Windows UI (yes, that's a lot of work) ... and put an end to these crappy unreliable updates. It'll look like Windows, but the guts will be Linux ... meaning better reliability.

But that's a pipe dream, yes? So maybe it's time to just jump ship and run Linux.

Questions:
Which VSTs will run on Linux?
What do I do about all of my other apps?
- Email
- Browser
- Photoshop
- lots more ... none of which run on Linux

I'm in no hurry. This desktop is 3 years old, and will likely last a few more years.
But the purchase of the next PC might be the time to switch ... if it makes sense to do so.

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I use linux for most of what I do. Pianoteq works very well natively in Linux. Yet, most other VSTs only run under Windows or MacOs. For this reason, I dual boot linux and Windows on the small-form PC that I use for the piano. Linux manages audio way better (very low latency) without extra hardware with good ASIO drivers. If you only use pianoteq it's the way to go. Otherwise, you are stuck with Windows or MacOS.

Similarly, there are excellent Windows programmes that can replace most Windows counterparts, but Photoshop/Lightroom are very much restricted to Windows or MacOS.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I wonder whether there are any Linux/VST users out there? I ask because I'm getting fed up with Windows. It works fine now. But only because I've disabled all updates. I'm running 1809. I won't take 1904, 1909, 2004, or 20H2. Not ever.

There are too many reports of this broken and that broken ... because of the updates. Given that the updates offer little more than crap, I just cannot see taking a risk for no benefit.

I really think Microsoft should dump Windows. Put Linux in there, keep the Windows UI (yes, that's a lot of work) ... and put an end to these crappy unreliable updates. It'll look like Windows, but the guts will be Linux ... meaning better reliability.

But that's a pipe dream, yes? So maybe it's time to just jump ship and run Linux.

Questions:
Which VSTs will run on Linux?
What do I do about all of my other apps?
- Email
- Browser
- Photoshop
- lots more ... none of which run on Linux

I'm in no hurry. This desktop is 3 years old, and will likely last a few more years.
But the purchase of the next PC might be the time to switch ... if it makes sense to do so.

Linux and music production don't go with each other. These are the problems with Linux when you want to commercially use it:

- Hardware (drivers)
- Software
- OS kernel-level audio APIs
- Stability and support
- Complexity of operation

So very very few musicians know how to use Linux, very few companies are interested in porting their drivers to Linux, and very few companies (if they ever) want to write their software to work under Linux given that the os itself is nothing like Mac OS X for example.

Producing music doesn't require a farm of PCs nor requires cloud-based computing. It mostly needs a good single unit hardware (PC) and few hardware sound modules.

Linux at its current form cannot be used in music production by a musician.

Interested in VSTs that work with linux? You can google it laugh

Last edited by Abdol; 10/26/20 11:49 AM.

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I have some linux computers. I find them useful for some basic general tasks but infuriating when I need to share information with others. Some hardware is difficult or impossible to install.

Currently, I use Win 10 Pro 1909 with some minor tweaks to block updates and spyware (including O&O Shut Up). Frankly, it is very stable.

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I tried it a few years ago for music and really not worth the time IMO. Just upgrade to the Pro version of Windows so you have more control of the updates.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Linux as a end-user OS is good for a lot of things out of the box (desktop, programming), but with respect to music applications/music production, my experience is that there's a lot of tweaking required merely to get things work like we're used to on Win/Mac. This does not only apply to music applications, but in general one has to be eager to get his hands dirty from time to time and ditch in some obscure config files, fix things from the command line.

There's also not that much incentive for VST makers to invest in an OS with that little consumer shares. Pianoteq is really an exception (kudos to them for doing it). I saw some people succeeded in running Kontakt and Reaper, using Wine (a Windows emulation layer). It's nice to be able to do so, but it doesn't beat native apps usually, especially in terms of ease of use.

Could a Mac be an alternative? They are expensive but damned, I've never had machines that stable and reliable.

Last edited by floknot; 10/26/20 02:14 PM.

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Well, the overwhelming response is fuggetaboutit. So I guess I will.

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If I would choose a Linux distribution, I would choose dedicated distribution like Ubuntu Studio. One difference is the use of jacks, a low latency sound server instead of pulseaudio. The Linux kernel will likely have Real Time patch embedded.

Unfortunately, the main virtual pianos are not available on Linux. Many are dongle protected. Pianoteq may be a rare exception. Muse Research did manage to run some Windows product on Linux (Komplete 8...).

We also have an experimental version of Reaper for Linux.


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Not piano-related, but Bitwig Studio is a DAW that's available for Linux. All the u-he plugins exist for Linux as well.

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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
If I would choose a Linux distribution, I would choose dedicated distribution like Ubuntu Studio. One difference is the use of jacks, a low latency sound server instead of pulseaudio. The Linux kernel will likely have Real Time patch embedded.

Unfortunately, the main virtual pianos are not available on Linux. Many are dongle protected. Pianoteq may be a rare exception. Muse Research did manage to run some Windows product on Linux (Komplete 8...).

We also have an experimental version of Reaper for Linux.

Muse Research is heavily using "wine" and has contributed to wine itself but unfortunately, it's not considered as an open concept. You need to spend ~2k to purchase a Muse Receptor etc box or a newer one.

The hardware and OS-level limitations are the major blockers.

Last edited by Abdol; 10/26/20 05:14 PM.

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I have used Linux, Mac and Windows for all sorts of things over decades. I would recommend Linux for most things, *but* I am still dependent on Windows for my favorite VST (Bechstein Digital in Kontakt). If Pianoteq is your VST then Linux works fine (I used it with a Focusrite Scarlett in the past).

If Windows is irritating you (I can see certainly see why, and in addition it is becoming more and more a spying/data collecting platform) then the way to go is to reduce your dependence on it. I have a dedicated Windows laptop with touchscreen at my piano. It runs VSTs and that is pretty much the only thing I use it for (and reading music score pdfs, and watching/listening online piano-related content). If you don't use it for anything else, you don't need virus software, constant updates etc etc and you can optimize settings for VST use. All other things are done on a Linux laptop/PC. I have not encountered applications that I would use in Windows and that do not have a good alternative on Linux (the ones you mention have good alternatives/equivalents). Not using Photoshop, Office subscriptions etc, but moving over to open and free alternatives will save you money that can be spent on a second device.

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Hi Mac, this is probably not what you're going for but he talks about a lot of stuff that does work:
https://sevish.com/2019/how-to-make-microtonal-music-on-linux/

DAWs are well covered, and I think there's enough HW options, but the issue is plugins, iLok etc. There are a lot of synths, but not the big sample libraries, Kontakt, VSL etc. I've seen instructions to get them working which involve installing on Windows then converting them from VST to a native Linux format. I bought some iLok'd guitar plugins, and am therefore looking to move back to Windows myself.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I really think Microsoft should dump Windows. Put Linux in there, keep the Windows UI

It's not totally out of the question, but I think it'll be years if they are working on it. They recently released WSL2 which makes it very easy to run Linux in Windows. It's hard to tell if MS now like Linux, or they're just trying to keep software developers on the platform and away from macOS. Interestingly, macOS is mostly FreeBSD underneath.

I actually find Linux more usable (even ignoring the constant interruptions from Windows Update), but anyway..

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
What do I do about all of my other apps?

Email - Thunderbird or https://itsfoss.com/best-email-clients-linux/

Browser - Firefox or Chrome

Photoshop - Gimp, Inkscape, RawTherapee, DarkTable, LightZone depending on what you're doing. If you need to import existing projects then I'm not sure. There's also some cloud offerings, though I haven't tried any. If you're into video there's DaVinci Resolve and others.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
This desktop is 3 years old

Mine's about 10 :-) I finally did an important upgrade and installed a quieter cpu fan!

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A few other programs that all work well for their respective purposes and that I use on a regular basis:

Libreoffice
Scribus
Lyx
Sylpheed
FBReader
Geany
Oracle VirtualBox
VLC


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Originally Posted by newer player
I have some linux computers. I find them useful for some basic general tasks but infuriating when I need to share information with others.

newer player, can you give an example of information that is difficult to share from a linux platform? I often experience the exact opposite. Most linux programs are open and use open formats, many of which are also available/readable on Windows. Many Windows programs on the other hand use proprietary formats that are a big pain from a information sharing point of view. In my experience that includes sharing my own information with myself, at the moment that I wish to stop paying for some subscription. Also, I have a bunch of Powerpoint presentations that took days to create that I cannot adapt anymore because newer versions of Powerpoint won't let me save them because of incompatabilities with older Powerpoint versions... I also have files from windows programs >10 years ago that I cannot open in anything anymore. This never happened to me in any linux program. Not saying you are wrong, everybody has different experiences based on different use cases, but I am surprised that you find it difficult to share information with others on Linux, because pretty much the whole concept is based on being open and free, which maximizes information accessibility.

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Linux is good as a non-UI OS, we use it in work as a platform/vehicle for other stuff.

However it’s not a good replacement for desktop OS such as macOS and Windows. Maybe for power users who constantly spend some time messing around with it and sudo this and that it’s great but not for your typical user that prefers using applications rather than tweaking the OS.


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Thanks everyone for your comments.

I've already said that pianos-on-Linux doesn't look promising. But I will take a look here ...
Originally Posted by MartF
... probably not what you're going for but he talks about a lot of stuff that does work:
https://sevish.com/2019/how-to-make-microtonal-music-on-linux
We'll see about that ... but generally, kludgy workarounds to force things to work are unappealing. We'll see.

This is particularly useful...
Originally Posted by pianogabe
Windows is ... becoming more and more a spying/data collecting platform ...
My thoughts exactly.
I have concluded that this is likely my only solution ...
Originally Posted by pianogabe
I would recommend Linux for most things, *but* I am still dependent on Windows for my favorite VST (Bechstein Digital in Kontakt). If Pianoteq is your VST then Linux works fine (I used it with a Focusrite Scarlett in the past).
I don't use Pianoteq (as if anyone here didn't already know!). I mostly use Kontakt-based instruments. It seems that those are a no-go on Linux.

I might need to do this...
Originally Posted by pianogabe
I have a dedicated Windows laptop with touchscreen at my piano. It runs VSTs and that is pretty much the only thing I use it for (and reading music score pdfs, and watching/listening online piano-related content). If you don't use it for anything else, you don't need virus software, constant updates etc etc and you can optimize settings for VST use.
That is, dedicate my existing desktop to Windows and piano, and buy a new Linux-based box for everything else.

Like you, I've been using WSL ...
Originally Posted by MartF
They recently released WSL2 which makes it very easy to run Linux in Windows. It's hard to tell if MS now like Linux, or they're just trying to keep software developers on the platform and away from macOS. Interestingly, macOS is mostly FreeBSD underneath.
I used to run Cygwin, which was an excellent emulation of Linux. But WSL is much much much faster. It's said to be a VM, but it doesn't behave like one. It presents bash/command-line as though it were a native part of Windows. Nice.

But ... it still can't run VSTs. frown

As for all the other things ...
Originally Posted by MartF
Email - Thunderbird or https://itsfoss.com/best-email-clients-linux/
Browser - Firefox or Chrome
Photoshop - Gimp, Inkscape, RawTherapee, DarkTable, LightZone depending on what you're doing. If you need to import existing projects then I'm not sure. There's also some cloud offerings, though I haven't tried any. If you're into video there's DaVinci Resolve and others.
It's nice to know that Chrome runs on Linux. Problem solved.

But Gimp is a non-starter. I have to use that at work because they won't license Photoshop. Cheap ba$4erds!
Gimp is just plain gimpy. It seems to do everything that Photoshop does ... but all the controls are in the wrong place.
Imagine driving a car ... and the brake pedal turns on the windshield wipers, the headlight switch applies the parking brake, and the steering wheel adjusts the fan speed.
NO! I want my Photoshop! frown

I've never tried Thunderbird. I'd hate to give up Outlook, but TB is worth a try. And I can easily adapt to Libre Office.
Originally Posted by FrankCox
A few other programs that all work well for their respective purposes and that I use on a regular basis:
Libreoffice
Scribus
Lyx
Sylpheed
FBReader
Geany
Oracle VirtualBox
VLC
I presume you're suggesting VirtualBox to allow me to run Windows and its applications? Well, I have VB and it's SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW. I have what was a top-of-line desktop in 2017, and still VB is SLOOOOOOOW! So is Vmware. frown The latter is a bit better than VB, but still ... not to my liking.

Finally ... retirement approaches.
In ten days we have the settlement on the new house in Pennsylvania. We move in the day after Thanksgiving.
It'll take some time for these three old farts to set up home.
But after that ... it'll be piano shopping time!
Will it be an NV10? An N1X? Or will I cheap out and buy an NV5 or NU1X. Place your bets.

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If you have to use Windows, I'd suggest you to install Windows 7, despite being old and unsupported. But who cares if it's not your primary OS? And even if it is, it's a still a non-issue. I am typing this on a Windows 7 machine dual booting with Xubuntu and I haven't felt a need to upgrade it to 8 or 10 or 11 whatever.


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I think the topic is covered more or less by the previous comments. If you want to try how music production can be with linux, you should try AVLinux. My experience is that it is super fast, more than adequate for recording live sessions, and marginally acceptable for composing, in that most windows VST instruments will not work or will work with lesser performance. However some windows VST instruments run faster in AVLinux than in windows (basically toontrack). Last time I checked (5 years ago), kontakt player worked ok, but you have to turn multiprocessor off. For piano playing, it should be OK.

For any other use I find linux by far easier to user than OSX and Windows. But I 've been using linux as a desktop since 2000, so my mileage may differ vastly than yours. In other words, usually we perceive easier what we are used to work with every day. Currently I have a macbook pro provided by my employer, but after living with it for two years I can't get used to it and run linux on a VM for most things.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
but generally, kludgy workarounds to force things to work are unappealing.

Yes same here. It's definitely possible to get Kontakt working but it's not clear how much effort is required, or how well it'll run. These docs might be out of date.
https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index....x#A_list_of_working_VST_and_VSTi_plugins
https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux#Using_unsupported_plug-ins
https://appuals.com/how-to-use-windows-vsts-in-latest-reaper-5-93-linux-native-builds/

It's worth mentioning you can run Linux straight from a usb drive, thus it's not too hard to experiment with multiple distributions.
https://www.pendrivelinux.com/

If you're retiring, maybe you have the time :-)

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I used to run Cygwin, which was an excellent emulation of Linux.

Me too! It was great, but also pretty slow to install and update. If I had to do something similar today I'd look again at the MinGW/MSYS tools. gitforwindows.org is also great to quickly get bash, perl etc.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
But ... it still can't run VSTs. frown

Yes, we're still not tackling the core issue, sorry :-(

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
NO! I want my Photoshop! frown

Sometimes we have to let go :-) Or, try wine (the software, not the drink). Again, might be a pain to setup.

Sounds like you're a heavy user, so you probably won't like it, but you could try..
https://www.photopea.com/

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'd hate to give up Outlook, but TB is worth a try.

It might not work for you, but the Gmail and Fastmail web-apps work well for me. I run Thunderbird as well, but it's mostly so that I have a local copy/backup of my email.

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I think if the goal is to run Kontack in Linux, you probably want to stay on Windows.
Same for Photoshop and Word.

Been using Linux as a sole OS since < 2000 and found many alternatives and different apps to do what I needed to do.
I personally have 2 exceptions (Adobe e-books, and TomTom map update) and I run either wine or VBox once in a blue-moon when I need to.

I have not used much VST at all: what do you actually do with it?


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