The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu Studio 20.04, code-named “Focal Fossa”. This marks Ubuntu Studio’s 27th release. This release is a Long-Term Support release and as such, it is supported for 3 years (until April 2023).
Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list of changes and known issues.
You can download Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS from our download page.
Please note that those running Ubuntu Studio 19.10 will likely not receive an upgrade notification right away. This may take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. Since 19.10 reaches End Of Life in July, please upgrade as soon as possible.
Those running Ubuntu Studio 18.04 can also upgrade, but will likely not receive any upgrade notification until 20.04.1 is released in July. Please note that you should purge the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA prior to upgrade. Since 18.04 was not an LTS release, please upgrade as soon as possible.
New This Release
With the release of version 2.0 of MyPaint, the library conflict with GIMP no longer exists. As such, MyPaint has retruned to our default installation. This is a welcome re-inclusion for our graphics design community, and has been a long-requested feature. MyPaint, welcome back!
Available as an LV2 plugin, AVLDrums is now included with the default installation of Ubuntu Studio. AVLDrums is a drumkit plugin which can be used in conjunction with MIDI in any DAW that supports LV2 plugins, such as Ardour.
Ubuntu Studio Controls
Our flagship audio control application, Ubuntu Studio Controls, got a large update this release. Among the new changes:
- Audio setup tab is split into three tabs: Jack Master Settings, Extra Devices, Pulse Bridging
- Firewire devices are no longer available under Ubuntu Studio Controls unless they work with ALSA. Consider upgrading to a modern USB or PCIe audio interface to take advantage of everything Ubuntu Studio Controls has to offer.
- PulseAudio bridges can now be named by the user
One item that has been requested is the inclusion of Libreoffice Impress, which was missing in releases past. We now include it by default to help those who need it for making presentations.
Most of this release is evolutionary on top of 19.10 rather than revolutionary. As such, most of the applications contained are simply upgraded versions. Details on key packages can be found in the release notes.
We have followed Xubuntu’s lead on a few desktop packages and replaced them. GNOME Calculator has been replaced with MATE Calculator, FileRoller has been replaced with Engrampa, and Evince has been replaced with Atril.
Unfortunately, we did have to say goodbye to some applications that people rely on due to library incompatibilities. Most notably, Python 2 has reached End-Of-Life, and many packages that depend on Python 2 simply have not been upgraded to Python 3. Those packages are as follows:
- The author needs to upgrade this package to Python 3. Once it’s upgraded, we will include it in the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA.
- The author has already patched this for Python 3, but relies on a newer version of another library not yet included in Ubuntu. We may be able to add this package and its library to the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA at a later date.
- In the meantime, use the Patchbay functionality in Carla.
- This project appears to be dead upstream and relies on Python 2.
- We have replaced it with midisnoop, which is functionally equivallent.
For a more complete list of changes, please see the release notes.
Packages already exist in the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA for 20.04 for items that could not make it into the official Ubuntu repositories in time for release. These items include:
- dragonfly-reverb 3.0.0
- lsp-plugins 1.1.19
The above have also been backported to 19.10 and 18.04, along with many packages that did make it to the official Ubuntu repositories. However, as of today, the packages for 18.04 in the backports PPA will be frozen. If 18.04 users wish to receive further updates, please upgrade to 20.04 as soon as possible.
Instructions for enabling the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA
- Automatic method:
- Open Ubuntu Studio Installer
- Click “Enable Backports”
- Manual method:
The Future of Ubuntu Studio
Unlike other flavors of Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio isn’t based on its desktop environment. We strive to look for the best experience for all of our users, which includes more than just audio.
About two years ago, we decided to try to release a second version of Ubuntu Studio with the KDE Plasma desktop environment. Unfortunately, that proved to be too time-consuming as we’d essentially have to be introducing a new flavor of Ubuntu, subject to the same application process as other new flavors. Knowing it would be too much for our small team, we decided to drop that idea and, with Ubuntu Studio Installer, make it so that other flavors could have Ubuntu Studio as a bolt-on, which enabled users to choose their desktop environment themselves.
Ubuntu Studio Installer isn’t going away, but we did reach a decision that does affect the future of Ubuntu Studio.
Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS will be the final release of Ubuntu Studio using the Xfce Desktop Environment. As such, upgrades from Ubuntu Studio 20.04 to later releases may result in breakage.
Future versions of Ubuntu Studio, beginning with 20.10, will be using the KDE Plasma Desktop Environment by default. Plasma has proven to have better tools for graphics artists and photographers, as can be seen in Gwenview, Krita, and even the file manager Dolphin. Additionally, it has Wacom tablet support better than any other desktop environment.
It has become so good that the majority of the Ubuntu Studio team is now using Kubuntu with Ubuntu Studio added-on via Ubuntu Studio Installer as their daily driver. With so many of us using Plasma, the timing just seems right to focus on a transition to Plasma with our next release.
For audio production, nothing in terms of resource usage changes. If the display compositor proves to be problematic, a simple alt-shift-F12 disables the display compositor. It can also be disabled from starting at login. A known resource hog from KDE, the Akonadi server in the KDE Personal Information manager, will not be included by default (Kubuntu currently does not use KDE PIM, but Thunderbird as do we). The Plasma desktop environment has, without Akonadi, become just as light in resource usage as Xfce, perhaps even lighter. Other audio-focused Linux distributions, such as Fedora Jam and KXStudio, have historically used the KDE Plasma desktop environment and done well with audio.
We will be working with the Kubuntu project on these changes, and the Lubuntu project as they have already cut the path ahead of us in changing desktop environments.
We look forward to working with the Kubuntu and KDE teams on this transition, and are excited to be joining the KDE community.
Evaluation of Included Applications
During this transition to Plasma, we will be evaluating our included applications to see if there is any duplication going on. Some have pointed out that there is duplication of application purpose. For example, we include 3 video editors by default: Pitivi, OpenShot, and Kdenlive, and each may have features the other does not have. We will be doing a lot of evaluation like that over the course of the next release cycle.
More details on all of this will emerge in the coming months. Please stay tuned to our website, our Twitter feed, and Mastodon for updates.
A Personal message from the Project Leader
The rest of this announcement is a personal message from our project leader, Erich Eickmeyer
This release represents the culmination of two years of hard work by the Ubuntu Studio team. This release is much more revolutionary than was released for 18.04 when I first started leading this project. We have come a long way since then, when a group of burnt-out developers were rallied into making a great product.
I would very much like to thank the following volunteers who made this release happen:
- Len Ovens: Ubuntu Studio Controls, Ubuntu Studio Installer, Coding
- Len has become my right-hand with this, and though we have disagreements about things, we have a common goal: making audio production on Linux easy, affordable, and ready for everyone with little to configure.
- Thomas Ward: Packaging, Ubuntu Core Developer for Ubuntu Studio, Code Cleanup
- I’d say Thomas is my other right-hand, but I don’t have two right hands, so Thomas gets to be my left hand. When I have questions about Ubuntu policy, or need a new package sponsored and uploaded, Thomas is my guy. He has been absolutely instrumental with Ubuntu Studio, and is someone I can genuinely call a friend.
- Eylul Dogruel: Artwork, Graphics Design, Website Lead
- Eylul has been amazing to work with. She had a bit of a hiatus over the past couple years, but that was completely understandable. We have many VOIP discussions about the future of the project, and it’s great having her perspective as a graphics designer. She has become a great friend, even though she lives halfway across the globe from me.
- Ross Gammon: Upstream Debian Developer, Guidance, Sage Wisdom
- Ross does most of his work upstream with Debian project, making sure our upstream has functioning code for us to use. He always keeps Ubuntu Studio in mind when working on packages in Debian, even taking some of my packaging in Ubuntu to use. He is someone I have historically gone to when I have questions about packages, and, when there’s a huge update in Debian, is my go-to for getting that package synced to Ubuntu.
- Steven Jay Cohen: Reddit moderator, perhaps more soon!
- Steven is a recent example of someone who uses Ubuntu Studio actively in a recording studio. He came wanting to get involved with the project and proved to be very engaging on Reddit. I have already seen plenty of potential in Steven when it comes to community and communication, so I’m looking forward to working with him more.
- Krytarik Raido: IRC Moderator, Mailing List Moderator
- Although we share some of these responsibilities now, Krytarik has been very instrumental in keeping the IRC room and mailing lists clean of spam. I’m very thankful for his help over the years.
- Set Hallstrom: Previous Ubuntu Studio Leader
- Shortly after taking a lead role for Ubuntu Studio back in 2016, Set had to step back. However, even though he was unable to lead the project, the transition to handing the project over was smooth and accomplished in the course of the past two years. Without Set’s guidance, I wouldn’t have known where to begin.
- Other help along the way, including some key players:
- Steve Langasek
- Adam Conrad
- Simon Quigley
- Chris Cooper
- Matthias Klassen
- Filipe Coelho
- Robin Gareus
- David Runge
- Olivier Humbert
- Mattieu Trudel-LaPierre
- Ian Lane
- Łukasz Zemczak
- Colin Watson
- William Grant
- Rik Mills
- Valorie Zimmerman
- Sean Davis
- And anyone else I missed!
Over the past two years I have come in contact with many people who have used Ubuntu Studio as part of their professional environments. I’d like to highlight a few here.
I mentioned Steven Jay Cohen above, who recently converted all of his recording studio machines over to Ubuntu Studio and uses them for his professional audio production.
Another person I’d like to point out is Mike Holstein, who uses Ubuntu Studio for his production environment. Here’s a track from him produced entirely with Ubuntu Studio:
Last but not least we have the band Lorenzo’s Music, who uses Ubuntu Studio to record and produce their music, develop their artwork, and even produce their music videos. They recently released a new EP entitled Spaghetti Mid-Western. I highly recommend checking-out their music.
Finally, I want to thank the entire Ubuntu Studio community for being with us through the past two years. It hasn’t been easy, especially since we couldn’t release 18.04 as a long-term support release. I’m humbled to be leading this project, and I believe it has a bright future.