I have tried Ubuntu many times before and I even recommended it to people (even my sister who has now converted over to the FOSS side of computing and loves it). But for myself, I have tried Ubuntu since Dapper Drake and it seemed like every version was just more and more painful for me (background info, I started on Slackware 10 and after 2 years of that, I moved to Fedora and have used nothing but those two for everything I own. I have tried just about every distribution, but I always end up back with either Slackware or Fedora).
I recently purchased a Toshiba laptop from my work (the sales reps got newer laptops so the old ones are being sold). In terms of clock cycles, it is the fastest machine I own (but my desktop has more “omph”) and I needed a dedicated machine for doing my audio creation (I am an amateur DJ) so I figured that this machine would be perfect for me.
I boiled my choices down to two options, 64 Studio and Ubuntu Studio. I first decided to try Ubuntu Studio just because I have had nothing but bad luck with anything Debian based and I wanted to get this out of the way so I could go to 64 Studio. The installation was rather painless until the packages started to get installed. The entire screen for jacked up, showing each character as a colored block, which, if I had enough time and effort, I could figure out what each character was changed to, but I decided to just let it run and see what happens. After, what appeared to be the end of the installation, the DVD popped out (Ubuntu Studio is 800 megs) and rebooted. Bringing me to a login prompt with complete GUI-ness, I started to become happy. And so I started to play around with all the new tools at my finger tips.
I could not believe how wonderful everything was configured. Everything “just worked” the way it should (the stand-alone programs launched with no problems and the ones which required JACK, well, required JACK to start). I promptly went down the list of all the audio programs to play around with them all to see if they all work and they all did. I then loaded 4 ogg files from a friends portable audio player and loaded them into TerminatorX where I started to try out all the new effects that I do not have from my desktop version.
The reason I did this now was because next week I am giving a presentation on TerminatorX at my LUG (Linux User Group) meeting and wanted a machine with a little bit more power. The ease of installation and of use really surprised me since in the past I have always had problems with Ubuntu such as eating up all of my available resources, certain packages just breaking for no reason at all, shoddy hardware detection and the like. I guess since Ubuntu Studio is a distribution which is specifically catered to media creation, some of the packages which are not needed were not included and this is most likely the reason as to why I and really impressed with this distribution, to the point that I did not even bother trying 64 Studio. Maybe some other day I will give it a go, but only time will tell on that one.