One year ago I switched to Linux. At the time, I swore I'd continue creating and recording my own music on a MacBook Pro using Logic Pro X. That resolve held strong for an entire year. Once Steam's amazing Proton launched, this was the last remaining hurdle preventing me from using Linux exclusively. And in my heart I still believe it's going to be a monumental hurdle to leap over.
But I'm going to do it anyway, because as a Linux advocate and generally curious person, I feel compelled to do so.
For that long year, I tried convincing myself that Logic Pro X was better than anything the open source world could offer, or even that commercial software like Bitwig had to offer when it was ported over to Linux. I didn't want to sacrifice my creativity and lose valuable free time troubleshooting.
But in reality, when I really analyzed how I felt, I realized that I simply didn't want to learn something new. I was letting my muscle memory hold me captive. And admittedly, I am very, very attached to Logic's Drummer feature. It creates a companion drum track that can be tweaked, it adapts automatically to tempo changes, and it just sounds great.
Then I started thinking about that, too. Was I really creating original drum tracks? Nope. I was working within a confined space. I didn't want to mess with note-by-note MIDI drums. That's another way of saying I was being, well, creatively lazy...
Bands like Lorenzo's Music are creating music using nothing but FOSS tools and Ubuntu Studio. Why can't I do that? On a related note, I've noticed a distinct absence of good old fashioned rock and roll in the Linux music production space. Maybe I can slightly tip the scales?
So after a couple false starts and fighting against JACK and audio driver issues, the time has come. I've set up a dedicated machine (the Entroware Ares AIO) with Ubuntu Studio 19.04, plugged in my MIDI keyboard and guitars, and I'm ready to jump into this blind but eager. Anxious to learn and explore and create.
I've been using a Mac to create my music for years. I'm not sure what DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) I'll use. Not even sure what plugins are out there and available yet. This is as much an adventure in research and exploration as it is music creation. At least in the beginning.
Fortunately, I have a massive and helpful community to lean on. People like Unfa (featured in Episode 2 of Linux For Everyone) have created a wealth of video tutorials. I'm also doing this in tandem with the very talented Jerry Morrison, who I collaborated with on the theme song for my podcast (embedded below). He's also experimenting with this macOS to Linux transition.
Plus, the open source crowd has proven time and again that they're always down to help out a noob!
So the journey begins here. A completely clean slate.
I'll do my best to document the process. I'm not going to structure it like my usual Forbes articles. I'm just going to post "a-ha!" moments, obstacles, notes, breakthroughs, song snippets, cool software, links to useful tutorials, and whatever else I feel could aid anyone who chooses to make the same leap.
Rock on, and may the source be with you!