After some sessions using JACK to route audio from SuperCollider and other programs to effects, I must say that I’ve really enjoyed using Ubuntu Studio. Setting up JACK’s sound driver parameters was the main hurdle, but the Ubuntu documentation site helped me out for the umpteenth time. I used the settings in that how-to guide as a starting point, increasing the Period and Buffer sizes until I got no XRUNS, accommodating my sound hardware at a respectably low latency.
If you want to use SuperCollider, PureData, or similar software on Linux, I strongly recommend using a generic i386 installer, as opposed to a 64-bit kernel, even if your CPU can handle 64 bits. SC’s client will not run on a 64-bit system, Pd seems to have array bugs, the Flash player may not work, and some other sound software has issues with the amd64 distros. I actually went with the amd64 Ubuntu Studio release before giving up and re-installing with 32 bits. (As an alternative, you can run these programs in a 32-bit chroot, but this will probably entail long-term maintenance/upgrade difficulties in exchange for the near-nonexistent benefit of running a 64-bit OS. I could not justify the time and compatibility problems.) Once I installed the 32-bit version of Ubuntu and the Hardy SuperCollider packages, I was ready to go, with even the internal server functions working.
One facility of JACK is the ability to route each program’s inputs and outputs to each other, much like a patch bay. With all of the audio processing tools, including LADSPA plug-ins, that come pre-installed in Ubuntu Studio, I had quite a bit of toys at my disposal. Routing the outs from SC to FreqTweak produced some particularly interesting sounds suitable for real-time manipulation.
I’ll post some audio files soon to share results.