Properly configured, a Linux system can breathe life into old hardware or finely-tune performance on new gear. The problem has often been not the OS, but having a comfortable tool for production when you load it. And so that means Linux fans – or would-be fans – will likely be pleased to see the image above.
It’s Tracktion, the lovely but oft-overlooked, bargain-priced DAW, running on Linux. (I highly recommend the just-released Ubuntu Studio. The update includes loads of fixes that solve the kinds of audio configuration problems that have kept many people from Linux, and the compatibility of that release is unparalleled. Ubuntu 12 is in fact directly supported here.)
First off, Tracktion has escaped its past. As some readers note, while developed by Mackie, the software fell behind, causing compatibility woes. Since then, Tracktion has again become independent – and is moving faster than ever, with a major reboot that makes it compatible with the latest and greatest stuff.
And Tracktion could have a future, too. Footholds in this business are largely to do with distribution, so a recent Behringer bundling deal, combined with a major upgrade earlier this year (and existing Mackie bundling), could give Tracktion a shot in a marketplace that remains pretty well dominated by a few players. You know, some trac– augh. Sorry. Never mind.
Of course, Linux isn’t likely to cause any explosion in users, but it’s nice to see 64-bit Linux alongside 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and Mac releases – and for enthusiasts, it’s nice to see attention given to a dedicated community regardless of its relative size.
There’s reason to root for Tracktion. It has a really nice, one-screen, drag-and-drop interface that eschews the mold other tools (even the mighty Ableton Live, in some regards) fit. Upgrades are $29.99; full licenses $59.99.
The beta test is free, so Linux users, please do test this and let us know what you think:
Tested on, say the developers:
• OSX 10.7.x & 10.8.x
• Windows 7 & 8 (64 and 32-bit versions)
• Linux (Ubuntu 12)