I continue to be impressed by people who can create music using Linux, which is why I was happy to have James here. He’s doing a lot using Ubuntu, probably aided by the fact that he doesn’t record much, and doesn’t need to worry about kernel latency. It’s an interesting setup for an interesting genre.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is James Nelson, and I am a computer musician who you might know as Retro Banana. I make a genre called “synphony,” my own creation that has classical styles, electronic instruments, and a prominent drum beat.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I use Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit on my laptop.
- What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
I mostly rely on Qtractor — it’s my all-in-one program that can do everything from sequencing MIDI to bouncing down my synthesizer tracks to audio. Because I record very little, I use softsynths like ZynAddSubFX, and, my personal favorite, amSynth.
- What kind of hardware do you run it on?
I use an Acer 5735 with an Intel Core 2 Duo, and a 64GB SSD.
- What is your ideal Linux setup?
My ideal Linux setup is Microsoft’s Surface running Ubuntu. Unity would use a tiling window manager instead of compositing.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
I make good use of both workspaces and screen space. I keep Qtractor on one, and Qjackctl and softsynths on the others.
Interview conducted February 14, 2013