Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux is the most popular variety of Linux in use on desktop and laptop systems. It has the backing of a for-profit corporation (Canonical Inc.), a defined philosophy and a huge and worldwide user base. As a result, it is a common platform for people who want to use Ardour and other tools for music creation and pro-audio work.

High Level Recommendations for Ubuntu Users

Currently, installing pro audio applications on vanilla Ubuntu requires some configuration, in order for the user to gain realtime privilege (read below). Ubuntu Studio, which is an official flavor of Ubuntu, and thus shares the repositories with Ubuntu, has this already configured. Other distributions, such as KXStudio, and Dreamstudio are largely based on Ubuntu, and like Ubuntu Studio, has these settings pre-configured, while also containing customized versions of Ubuntu packages, which often are more up to date.

Installing Ardour

There may be unintended differences, and even bugs in Ubuntu native packages, as a result of a different building method. For this reason, Ardour developers highly recommend installing the official ready-to-run version of the program that can be downloaded from ardour.org, as Ubuntu native packages are not supported in the official Ardour forums or other support channels.

Follow these steps to install the latest version of Ardour:

  1. Download the latest release from ardour.org.
  2. Right-click the downloaded file and choose properties.
  3. Click the Permissions tab and check the option "Allow this file to run as a program".
  4. Close the dialog and double-click the file.
  5. Follow the prompts.

Problems with JACK configuration

What is the problem?

To function as intended, JACK needs to run with access to two operating system facilities called realtime scheduling and memory locking. This means that the user who starts JACK must be allowed access to these facilities. By default, Ubuntu does create a user group that has this permission but—it does not put new users into this group by default. Read more about why here. Consequently, the user will not have permission to run JACK in the way they should.


A message like Cannot lock down memory in the output from JACK as it starts up. This output may be hidden in the Messages window of QJackCtl (aka JACK Control), so one should check there.

How to fix

Make sure the file /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf exists. If it is named /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf.disabled, rename it to the former. Run the command:

sudo usermod -a -G audio YOUR-LOGIN-NAME

Then log out and log in again. On Ubuntu Studio the user is a member of audio group by default, but not on other official flavors.

Reporting Issues

Given the difficulties in supporting Ubuntu and the limited time and resources of the Ardour team, the Ubuntu Studio Project has requested that issues and bug reports related to Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and other derivatives be directed to them.

Contact Information for Ubuntu Studio

The Ubuntu Studio Homepage

The Ubuntu Studio Forums.

Information on the Ubuntu Studio Mailing Lists.

Information on the Ubuntu Studio IRC channel. #ubuntustudio on irc.freenode.net