MUSIX – Pure open source music creation heaven!

I’ve been playing with LINUX in it’s many flavors for years. Primarily for server usage, web servers, email servers, file server, etc…, occasionally playing with desktop versions to see how they are coming along. Up until now they have been lacking, the GUI’s just all seemed to "Romper Room-ish" to me.

Lately though things have been picking up. I started playing with some live cd’s of Ubuntu and Fedora Core running them in virtual machines on my workstation and was impressed. So impressed that I threw another hard drive in my workstation to see if Ubuntu could handle it, my work station that is! Low and behold it wasn’t to painful. The hardest part was setting up my 4 monitors to display in the correct order. After grabbing the proprietary nVidia drivers using Ubuntu’s Software Center all was golden.

Back to the subject at hand though. So in my search for live cd’s to play with I came across an article on /. that listed "Unusual, Obscure and Useful Linux Distros". It listed distros I never heard of like "Tinfoil Hat Linux", a distro for the uber paranoid and "Ubuntu -  Christian Edition", need I say any more.

The most interesting to me was "Musix – GNU + Linux". A 100% free, open source multimedia operating system. I have been playing around with Linux audio tools for years and they have been either lacking in functionality or just a pain in the ass to get configured correctly. Until now!

I grabbed a copy of the live cd/dvd and went to town. I first installed it in a virtual machine to get the hang of it and see what it actually has installed on it. Man was I amazed! Not only does it have Ardour, a feature rich audio recording program. Rosegarden, a rich midi/audio recording/writing program. It has almost every free Linux synth imaginable. Not to mention score writing and editing software, amplifier modeling, drum machines, virtual keyboards, virtual guitars and much much more! It even has Karaoke software! 🙂 And to tie all the audio together it has JACK server, essentially a software patch panel that lets you hook pretty much hook any output to any input with the drag of a mouse.

After playing with the live cd for a while in a virtual machine, I began the process of installing it on my music server. First thing I had to do was make some room for the install by resizing my XP partition. After the install I had some major problems though. For some reason it detected and wrote the hard drive paths as SCSI(sda) instead of IDE(hda) so it wouldn’t boot past the initial Grub loader. I had to boot to a Linux rescue disc and manually edit 2 files, /etc/fstab and /boot/grub/menu.lst and change the mount points from /dev/sda1 the /dev/hda1.

So after I tackled that problem, the X server wouldn’t start up. I switched to a terminal and stopped it then ran the debian config for the X server but that didn’t detect my monitor. WTF! After a little digging I found a script in the /bin/ dir named xorgmusix.sh. I ran it and Voilà! X Started up! Much to my dismay though only one monitor fired up and the mouse didn’t work. No biggy! I just flipped back to the terminal and checked the xorg.conf and saw that it wrote 3 options for the mouse, serial, ps2 and usb and was trying to load them all at once. So I added a few comments along with a few lines to get my second monitor to fire up restarted X and I was all good!

I’m off to play with it now to see if it will work with my M-Audio Uno USB-MIDI interface.

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