Linux for artists.

I can see the need for the artist distros now. I generally like PCLOS but it doesn’t support wacomcpl and no one on the PCLOS forums knows or cares about it.

I need a distro where the primary goal is to support artist tools. Wacomcpl needs to work, and programs need to be updated in the repository as soon as they hit the street. New GIMP? I want it tonight, not 3 months later.

I know there are at least two artist linux distros out there - can either of them meet my needs?

Ubuntu Studio is geared toward multimedia artists - it comes with Blender the GIMP and many (many) “artsy” apps

a few downsides:

  1. no live CD
  2. with all of the progress in blender lately, you will no sooner download Ubuntu Studio and then Blender 2.50 will be released :stuck_out_tongue:

but otherwise it’s a useful OS

No live cd is a bit of a downer.

Ubuntu Studio is less of a separate distro now, rather just a package for Ubuntu, Don’t know if that package comes on the standard “ubuntu” live disk though it wouldn’t surprise me…

Would be painful to add that package everytime though!.

It’s pretty good really, but for an artist based distribution, it seems that Audio gets more love…

No there is no wacom cpl for Ubuntu either… a real pity as doing custom settings and mappings for different apps is quite painful!

The good thing is it’s easy to compile Blender from source, so I get the latest SVN every couple of days,
They (Ubuntu/Canonical) update new versions of gimp etc, but not as quickly as you’d like by the sounds of things…

We all know that to have everything served in the repository is really comfortable, but in my opinion, there´s nothing better than compiling yourself, specially for the optimizations that you can set for your own computer.
I won´t say it´s easier than the repository, but once you did a little of investigation and downloaded all the dependencies, compiling is just a matter of a few clicks with the mouse.

For instance, I make my own compilation of Blender (which I share at and it renders 30% faster that the standard 64bits build!!

Think on the possibilities…

PD: if you have Ubuntu installed, there´s no need to install Ubuntu Studio, just add its repository address to Synaptic or Adept and download all the applications you need. —though this one is more like an entertainment distro

Micheal W - no wacom cpl = no Ubuntu for me. My Cintiq is useless if I can’t configure the screen. Thanks for letting me know.

jpbouza - On the PCLOS forum they frown at people who try to compile things themselves. I get the impression it is one of their no-no’s. Maybe it is different with other distros.

I’ve got no shortage of things I need to learn - If I can take compiling out of the qeue, so much the better.

gaalgergely - Do you know if any of those distros come with a working wacomcpl?

ugh, you`ve got me there…i havent played with them much i just got them for the time when i decide to get rid of xp. i just checked it quickly, sabayon 3.4.f doesnt seem to have it, running a wacomcpl command gave no result, emerging in su mode also. so that means you just have to download the source and compile it for yourself.
i couldnt test the other two right now.
one more alternative: wine. maybe, but just maybe you gona be lucky and wine can install your wacoms drivers, then just dl a win gimp and use that, i know its a hack, sorry. i have no other ideas. good luck finding a working “artists dream” distro, please if you do, post which one you have choosed as i myself is also on the search for the perfect one :slight_smile:

What’s this wacom cpl? I use ubuntu and have a graphire. A wacom control panel?

i use ubuntu, and have a bamboo fun, with the drivers for 2.6.22 kernel. and wacomcpl works for me. have to run it from a terminal though.

Exact configuration as sick, no problems on the 'buntu. I would say that unless you want to use your box for audio recording, don’t use the Studio packages. That real time kernel is a pain in the butt. Just use a vanilla install and add whichever packages you need. I use my system for graphics and video work with no problems at all.

Which version of Ubuntu? Did you just get wacomtools from the repository or did you compile them yourself?.. all of the kernel stuff scares me in the howto for installing the drivers!

my version of ubuntu is 7.10.

the thing with the kernel is that if you have, like me, 2.6.22 kernel, you’ll need the beta version of the drivers,because the stable release doesn’t support it yet. the rest of previous kernels should work with the stable driver as far as i know.

as for installation, i followed this how to:

it’s specific for kernel 2.6.22 and bamboo tablets, i don’t really know if it will work wih other configuration.

for a guide on the other driver, you can try in here:

hope you find some help.

I have an Intuos, but it looks handy! Will try soon.

Some distributions have some program that allows you to customize your own live cd, you could probably add programs through that and make your own. Sadly I don’t have anymore knowledge on the subject, and I think DreamLinux may have it, and others I don’t recall

Check out this Live CD
EDIT: apparently it can do the thing I think DreamLinux can

thedaemon - yeah, it lets you adjust pressure settings and key bindings on a regular wacom. I could work with the default settings if I had a regular wacom, but the Cintiq also needs the screen configured, which can only be done through wacomcpl.

sick - that’s good news! Does Ubuntu have the lastest versions of GIMP and Blender in its repository?

Hmm, 64Studio seems to be fully equipped and comes with a live CD too. Has anyone tried it?

Ubuntu doesn’t have the most recent gimp or blender in its repository, but I just head over to and grab what I need, or just download the new release candidate from

Is Get Deb a repository? How does it work?

Is Ubuntu 64 bit?

yes, there’s a 64bit ubuntu

and, as for, is a website that host .deb packages, don’t know if you can add it as a repository though…