Update: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Yes that’s right, a cunning plan has formed in my usually ineffectual brain over the weekend. As you’ll know if you read this blog much, I’ve just got a shiny new Dell XPS m1330 with Ubuntu installed, this is gonna by my main machine from now on. This means I can have it on the desk connected to my sound system, large LCD and Logitech wireless desktop but at the same time go mobile easily whenever the mood takes me, as it sometimes does. That’s all good and the machine seems to work great. It’s still running the Dell pre-installed Ubuntu at the moment while I review it, which I will do this week I promise. Once the review is done I’ll decide which distro I want to go for full time and rebuild it properly restoring all my data from external backups. That’ll feel really weird after 6 months of constant distro hopping I’m sure.

So now I’m left with the old desktop which is pretty powerful and in decent condition, I plan to move into my music studio to replace the almost dead machine in there now. I still want to do lots of distro reviews and I had planned to then build yet another machine for that and maybe get a KVM switch to hook up with the studio machine. It’s true that I could just use Qemu or something similar to review distributions on my laptop but for some reason I feel the only real way to review something properly is on actual hardware. I feel it’s more authentic and closer to the experience people will have when using these distros at home. Going to the trouble of building a dedicated machine just for this purpose though seems a lot of work to me and I think I’ve stuck upon a great solution.

A while back someone suggested to me I should use hard disk drive trays to swap drives easily, that way I could keep installations of different distros or even operating systems (god forbid) on the same hardware. This was in a comment to an earlier review and I apologise I can’t remember the name of the individual in question now but please stand up and take a bow 🙂

I’ve ordered 2 of these drive trays from Novatech

The plan is to fit them into my new studio machine enabling me to just pop in a new drive and install a distro when I feel like it. I can still keep my studio installation safe for whenever I need it and with hard disks so cheap these days I might even build up something of a library who knows. I would love to get all my studio gear running on Linux and it will also give me the freedom to try things out. It’ll take some time to swap all this hardware around and get settled again but in the meantime I’ll go against my gut feelings and test out some distros in Qemu. I’ll also be publishing the laptop review so hopefully I can keep the momentum going over this busy period.

I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who’s read these articles and been so supportive to me in the last 6 months. It’s really grown into something that I never could have expected and that’s down to you guys and your encouragement. So thank you!

See you soon for the m1330 review…..


  1. Fabian Scherschel
    Fabian Scherschel

    Dude… That’s a really cool idea! Would’ve never occured to me, but still, a great idea! 🙂

  2. What do you run in your music studio? I’ve burned a copy of Ubuntu Studio but haven’t installed it yet (other than in a VM); it’s pretty much just Ubuntu with all the multimedia software already installed and a nice theme.

    I’d love to find a good Open Source OS/Distro for music/video, but nothing meets my wife’s standards. The programs are obviously written by programmers, not by musicians. She’s using Denemo for composition right now, but she is less than pleased :-

  3. Ah sadly my old studio machine is running XP Pro at the moment, that’s why I need to get the new one in there and dual-boot it asap. That and the fact the processor is screwed of course 🙂

    I’ve used Ubuntu Studio and it’s essentially just Ubuntu pre packaged with multimedia tools and a special low latency kernel for recording. There are some other distros you could try though, Musix is a new one I’m interested in and 64studio is an option on 64bit hardware. It’s an area that Linux could really grow into I hope.

    As for software apps themselves, I’ve been looking to replace Cubase VST with Ardour, you should have a look at Jokosher too if you want something a bit more user friendly. It’s kind of similar to Garageband on Mac I’d say.

    Unfortunately I have a load of studio outboard gear on Firewire and USB so getting drivers for all that on Linux is going to be a nightmare. It’s a challenge and I’m gonna give my best shot though. I’ve heard you can automate some desks with Ardour so I’ll be interested to see if my Soundcraft Digital 328 can be made to play nicely.

    Good luck with your search too, if you find anything cool I should check out be sure to let me know 🙂



  4. I’m definetely not into music but I read an article in Linux Format June 2007 “adventures in sound” using 64 studio there’s also a link to an interview with the project director.
    which I think could be interesting to a musician.


  5. Thank you Shanghai I’ll be sure to read that, getting Linux into my studio is a major goal for me but I know it’s gonna take time 🙂

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