There are custom Linux distributions that are made for everyone imaginable. Students, scientists, and even various artists can enjoy special Linux distributions made just for them.
The joy of the flexibility Linux provides is that any person with the right skills can take an existing distribution and change whatever they want about it to release their own one. While there are a few distributions which make some major technical changes from the distribution they’re based off of, a majority of them are simple remixes — distributions that are technically identical to the one they’re based on, but they just include different software that is included by default. However, that’s not really a bad thing when it saves you a lot of time and energy to set up a Linux installation the way you want it to be.
ArtistX is an Ubuntu-based distribution that is aimed at artists looking for some free software tools to work with in order to make their work easier. The latest release of ArtistX, version 1.4, is based on Ubuntu 12.10 and uses the exact same repositories that vanilla Ubuntu 12.10 uses. For those who don’t require the absolute latest versions of software, this isn’t a deal-breaker; otherwise, you may have to just install the latest release of regular Ubuntu and install all of the desirable software yourself. Whether that trade-off is worth it is completely up to you, your preferences, and your needs.
Similarly to Ubuntu, once you’ve downloaded the 3.8GB DVD ISO image, you can burn it onto a DVD or USB stick and boot from it into a live environment where you can “test drive” the distribution before you actually commit it to your hard drive. Remember, if you find any packages made for Ubuntu, they’ll automatically work on ArtistX, no questions asked.
ArtistX, despite being based on Ubuntu, doesn’t use Unity. Instead, it focuses on the Classic Desktop mode of Gnome 3. This avoids using both Unity and Gnome Shell, and instead offers an interface similar to Gnome 2 which is often more familiar for Windows users. Besides the desktop environment, the distribution includes an interesting mix of Gnome and KDE applications, and it uses the KDE icon set. Some defaults also include the Aurora web browser (the nightly version of Firefox) and the Caligra office suite. These are interesting choices, but at least there are tools for everything so you can do whatever you need to. If you’d rather prefer a different tool, you can always install the Ubuntu package for that application.
As I mentioned above, ArtistX targets virtually every artist imaginable. You don’t just have to be a graphical artist, though, as the distribution also includes audio, video, and modeling software. The full list of featured applications is as follows:
- 3D Engine and Development Software: Meshlabs
- 3D Modelling and Animation Software: Art of Illusion, Ayam, Blender, Equinox 3D, K3d, Make Human, Moonlight3D, Sculptris, Wings3D, SweetHome3D, Y.A.P.R.M
- Audio DJ Software: Beatport SYN, Freecycle, Freewheling, Mixxx, QSampler, Smasher, Tactile 12000, TerminatorX
- Audio Synth Software: amSynth, Freebirth, Horgand, Hydrogen, Ingen, Mx44, Psychosynth, Qsynth, Rakarrack, SetBfree, Sineshaper, Yoshimi
- Audio MIDI Tools: Arpage, MusE, Patchage
- Audio Sound Editor Software: Audacity, Kwave, Rezound, Sweep, Wavesurfer
- Audio DAW and Tracker Software: Ardour, Jokosher, Lmms, Rosegarden, Traverso, Wired
- CAD Software: FreeCAD, LibreCAD
- DVD Mastering Software: Bombono DVD, KMediaFactory, Mistelix
- Font Software: FontForge, FontMatrix
- Fractals Software: Fractalnow, Fraqtive, Mandelburber
- Image and Picture Editing Software: GIMP, Krita, Pinta
- Image and Picture Viewer Software: ImgSeek, Fotowall
- Image Synthesis Software: Evolvotron, JavaMorph
- Optical Caracter Recognition (OCR) Software: YAGF
- Radio Software: Darksnow
- Renderer Software: Aqsys, Kerkythea, Sunflow
- TV and Recording Software: TV-Maxe, VLC
- Vector Software: Delineate, Inkscape, SK1, Xara Xtreme
- Video Editing Software: Avidemux, Cinelerra, Cinepaint, Jahshaka, Kdenlive, Lives
- Video Encoding and Decoding Software: Handbrake, Mobile Media Converter, Transmageddon
- Video Animation and Cartoon Software: Animata, Flash4Linux, Luciole, Synfig Studio, Toonloop
- Video VJ Software: DelVJ, FreeJ, FreeMix, Gephex, OnyxVJ, Veejay, VSXU
(Kudos to the team behind ArtistX for this extensive, alphabetized list!)
This list is highly impressive because I haven’t even heard of half of the applications that are included. However, just because an application isn’t well-known doesn’t mean that it isn’t great at what it’s aimed to do. There has been a lot of effort put into adding applications that can cover every artistic base, which is simply fantastic. Even if you prefer not to run this distribution either because it’s based on Ubuntu 12.10 or that it includes a lot of software that you don’t want, it’s still a great way to boot into a live environment where you can test out the applications you’re interested in.
Overall, ArtistX is a highly interesting distribution for artists of every type to make use of. Best of all, it’s based on Ubuntu, one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions out there, and it’s completely free. So there’s absolutely no reason for any artists out there to not check it out.
Which remixed distribution do you like the best, Linux Mint excluded? Do you think they serve a purpose or should distributions just be limited to one and/or the major players? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Skley