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Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio

Since I’m a steady follower of the Durian blog, I was intrigued by the fact that the people there work exclusively in Linux. Up until now I only noticed Linux as a software developing OS but it seems the open source community has worked hard to make sure the art department in the software collection available has gotten a lot bigger and better. By investigating about this I stumbled upon a special flavour of the Ubuntu distribution aimed specifically at artists, named Ubuntu Studio.

So after shuffling around some partitions on my PC I installed Ubuntu Studio on my machine. Having experience with setting up Ubuntu everything went very smooth. After the first start up I was a bit disappointed though, since the login screen was probably the most ugly one I’ve ever seen and did look nothing like in the screenshots. The desktop also was not really what I was used to from regular Ubuntu as the starters in the panel have a strange placing and the panel at the bottom of the screen was missing entirely. This meant a little fudging with the settings but now everything seems ok. Now it was time to see what the software was capable of.

Since I’m a 3D and drawing guy I only tried Blender and Gimp at first. Those two run out of the box at very good speed. My Wacom Bamboo Fun was also recognized out of the box and works flawlessly. Next thing I did was trying to make my own SVN build of Blender 2.5. And this is where Ubunut really shines! Installing dependencies and building Blender is easy as pie.

Last thing I tested was building MyPaint. This did take a little longer as the dependencies are not well documented, but once everything was in place building went smoothly. And boy, MyPaint is really a cool tool! Super responsive to the tablet, a cool selection of pre-made brushes and good usablity. The other day I played around with the free trial of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro which is also a very cool program, but I think I’ll stick with MyPaint as it offers essentially the same and is open source.

Hopefully I will be able to post some first results using MyPaint with Ubuntu Studio. So if you have a bit of experience with Ubuntu or Linux and like to have the latest art applications built by yourself, I highly recommend Ubuntu Studio. Though you might as well use a regular Ubuntu version since Studio only differs in the bundled software and some eyecandy.

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