I just got a new notebook, yay! Aside of the pure joy it brings, setting it up has also been a great opportunity to have another look around on what's the best way to get linux audio software onto an Ubuntu based system.
I have decided a while back to stick to LTS releases, in order to spend less time tuning my system and more time making music. It was a great idea. This means right now I'm looking for 10.04 Lucid Lynx packages, with bonus points for any indication of a smooth upgrade path to 12.04 Precise Pangolin.
My needs are:
Starting out the main repository, linux-rt was the obvious choice for a kernel. It didn't boot properly though, probably due to the older kernel version. UbuntuStudio seems to be recommending the use of "softer" realtime kernels like linux-lowlatency, but that just won't kick it if you're after pristine 24bit/96kHz sound at below 2ms latency for heavy fftw based sound processing. Hello, PPAs!
Excitingly, Google finally uncovered kxstudio, which has it all: realtime kernel, 12.04 Precise Pangolin beta packages, jack2, and a very non-invasive approach to packaging. I did find some breakage, namely PulseAudio dropouts with the build in sound card, but the kernel is the best I found. Hopefully that will go away with Precise.
So here's what I did:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kxstudio-team/kernel
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kxstudio-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install linux-realtime jackd