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Jun
28

AV Linux 6.0.1 Review – Audio Visual Perfection

by Rob Zwetsloot

A highly customised Debian designed for video and audio professionals, how exactly does it differ from other distros, and does it deliver?

AV Linux 6.0 came out towards the end of last year after an apparently difficult development period. AV Linux does take a while to iterate though, and there were some big changes from version 5 to 6, such as switching from Linux Kernel 2.x to 3.x for better hardware support. A point update has been released for 6.0 now, which includes some minor upgrades and bug fixes throughout the distro and its apps.

gimp audacity debian
AV Linux has a ridiculous amount of pre-installed apps

AV Linux comes as a fully functional, live booting OS, perfect for using with a USB stick or live CD and using it where you can. It does also include a fairly basic installation function, which gives you just enough control to partition your system and then install it. While it isn’t as pretty or user friendly as some of the major distros, it does the job and explains what you need to be doing at each of the steps. The biggest hassle during installation in general is changing locale and keyboard if you’re not American.

One of the things that make it great as a live distro is its many extra drivers for a lot of proprietary audio and video hardware, such as sound cards, graphics cards, midi controllers and more. This is carried over through to the installed version, and you can then start customising which versions of the drivers you want to use so that you can get the most out of your system for AV work. This also includes a lot of soundcard utilities that allow you to edit the levels through a variety of different applications with different effects to the sound input.

Speaking of sound input, AV Linux’s real time kernel is one of AV Linux’s best features for professional audio engineers. The real time tag on boot allows for a much lower latency while recording audio, keeping things a lot more accurate than the standard Linux Kernel. You can remove this if needed though, as the real time kernel does take up a few more resources than usual. There are several boot time cheat codes that you can apply on boot though, one of which is the -rt option that enables the real time kernel.

gimp audacity debian
There are a number of sound mixers available

One of the upsides of AV Linux is the sheer amount of audio, image and video editing software pre-installed onto the distro. This is especially helpful for the live version of the distro, as it’s all there without pre-configuring, and there’s a lot of extra utilities and tools that would take a long time to set-up and customise to this extent. However, you can create hybrid bootable USB key using current system settings to create a more personalised version of the live distro, with software installed or removed using the standard Debian packages it’s based on.

It’s generally a fantastic editing suite. The use of LXDE and its policies on screensavers means it can eke every bit of power from your system to make sure latency and rendering are the best possible. It does use a lot of nonfree software though to achieve this – unfortunately this is more of a problem with the entertainment industry than anything else, and allows people to do the kind of work they want to use AV Linux for.

Verdict

5/5

Possibly the perfect audio editing suite based on Linux, especially for one that’s ready out of the box so to speak. The real time kernel option is a great feature for sound engineers, reducing down on audio latency, and there’s a lot of driver and hardware control for everyone else.

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    • Michael Murphy

      Nothing is perfect. I can already tell you that the desktop environment and control panel looks severely dated and confusing.

    • Emerson

      I guess if you use it for sound (like engineers do), then looks don’t mean as much to them as they do to you. Looks dated to you? Good.

    • Michael Murphy

      How do you think the engineers of today and tomorrow feel? Should they be subject to the punishment of a horrifyingly dated interface that’s quite confusing? No. The moment you think everything is perfect is the moment you become senile.

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    • Schreiber

      Downloaded hte iso file, burned it to a DVD, but can’t get my computer to boot from it. Yet another attempt to try Linux aborted (sigh).

    • Grove Dragoone

      you said it looks dated. you didnt say you tried using the interface at all. even the pretty apple interface isnt perfect. and looks are less important to somebody who wants functionality and results. i dont want a pretty interface that works like crap. Senile means old… so the second you feel something is perfect is when you become old? lol. AV linux is actually pretty easy to use. I’m using it right now while responding to your comment. I hope the engineers of today and tomorrow believe in updating a system cause they should be coming out with even better versions of AV in the future. And hopefull they are smart enough to learn a system before saying its confusing. Pro tools is confusing if you never open a manual. Hopefully people using this system have sense enough to actually learn just as they did to become engineers…by the way im 25 and a Hardware engineer…im a engineer of today lol

    • Grove Dragoone

      After seeing many of your wonderful responses on other subject matters attached to this site, It’s very possible for me to expect a witty remark from you. Not a problem (thumbs up).

    • Michael Murphy

      Apple’s interface is not pretty. Ubuntu’s interface and the HUD, however, is both highly useful and pretty. No more clicking through dropdown lists to locate options hidden inside programs. Simply hit ALT and type the option you are looking for. To find a program simply hit SUPER and type the name of the program or what the program does.

      Senile does not mean old, but it is a side effect of being old; the mind deteriorates to the point that such person is no longer useful in any sort of logical thought process and anything they say should not be taken seriously. The moment you think something is perfect is the moment you become senile.

      Simply look at the screenshots yourself. It has the ancient start menu from a bygone era; a dropdown list. That’s just not smart at all. Instead of a dropdown list, it should utilize something similar to the Unity Dash, or a more powerful version of the Xfce app finder, or even Gnome-Do. The capabilities given by the Unity HUD is also a great idea to implement. People should want to work smarter and faster.

    • fidddds

      fucking sucks

    • sydneymetroav.com.au

      AV Linux is a great product, its versatile, its features a large
      collection of audio and video production software. It also
      includes a custom kernel with IRQ threading enabled for low-latency
      audio performance.

    • Charlie Whitman

      I know this post is old, but really, give me a break. Not everybody does everything exactly the same way. Also AV Linux includes the Wbar launcher by default. Also it’s not really that difficult to install Synapse or Gnome-do. One thing I do like about the AV Linux interface is that it includes a right-click menu, so you don’t have to use the menu button to see the menu if you want to see it.

    • Alondro

      It ran fine on my virtual box system and remember you can always change the back ground if you have any brains. Or almost ad anything that’s whats so amazingly great about LINUX!!!!!!!!

    • FS

      Blah, Blah, Blah…….Just find something that works and use it.

      I only wish I was proficient at command line, that way my options would be that much more open. And at the end of the day, I would be far more productive than any gui every drempt of. But alas, I’m not there yet. But I can still find my way around every gui out there, and more than that, I can be quite productive with any one of them.

      But wait……along with options comes platforms for silly arguments like this — ones based on largely subjective ideas. Wow! What a joke. Are we senile yet?

    • rck2

      Its wonderful, cut two videos using this week and I’m a noobie to avlinux.

    • rck2

      I’ve install over 20 diffent systems and I’ve screwed up a few but after one two times it will actually work AVLinux is easier than some. Keep trying.

    • thunderfinger

      I;m sure youve done this .. but just in case.. you need to enter BIOS and set your boot order to USB or DVD 1st,, whichever you are booting from,, then of cource your HD 2nd or 3rd if you have another option,, but this is the way of telling your computer ton look first for a USB or a disk before looking to the hard drive.. Good luck.. it really is worth it.. AV Linux is simply the best Linux DAW made today.. Obviously created by a musician.. Thanks

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