Recommended 'Artistic' Distro?

There were many threads discussing the ‘best’ Linux distro (largely a matter of taste if you ask me), but no discussion specifically focused on distros for artists.

So, what ‘artistic’ distribution are you using/recommending, and why? (Is it the bundle, performance, ease of use/install, compatibility? Does it come with Blender, possibly any useful add-ons?) What do you use it for?

Most distributions should work I think. What’s important is to avoid visual clutter and special effects that only eat your comp’s power (no compiz and such). I am currently using windows XP, but if I ever get linux, I’ll probably go for Kubuntu. There is also Gentoo, which is apparently uber optimized and leaves more of your comp’s power to your graphical apps. And then there is which might also be a viable choice.

I have been very pleased with an UbuntuStudio, dual-boot install on a WinXP32 system. Follow the directions clearly, after establishing a solid backup of everything current, then roll into UbuntuStudio. Very clean interface, and a full suite of artist friendly tools come along with the install, if you choose the option to have them installed. I went with the UbuntuStudio64, which allows me to run Blender64 and render BBB scenes in full glory, something my WinXP32 system can’t do, do to the memory limitations. Download the image file, burn the ISO to a CD/DVD, then boot to the CD and carefully follow the instructions. I messed up the first time, used my backups and did it correctly the second time, all user error, not the fault of the install. Good luck.

@Lamoot – I hear that. That’s why I use xfce at work.

@paulhart2 – actually, I’ve tested UbuntuStudio (64) and I was quite happy with it – the bundle was quite good, the installer only marginally troublesome (I’ve learned to keep backups of my xorg.conf), then one day I compared render times with a windows Blender, same version, both official builds…

The horror. “Awwwwwwriiiiiiiight, I’ve got Linux Blender distinctly outperformed by the Windows build. Lucky me.”

Let’s be clear on the fact that my work systems are reasonably lean. On Windows installations, “net stop” and the ‘disable’ button in the Service manager are my friends; on Linux, I’m crazy enough to kill atd, inetd and gdm if I don’t think I’m gonna use’em. I switched to xfce and did other performance tweaks.

Turns out the low-latency kernel was the culprit. It spends too much time on context switches. The *-rt kernel is great for media centers, interactive media creation, or to continue working while other tasks (encoding, rendering) run in the background, but rendering times suffer. Noticeably. And no, not even a nice -20 would fix it. I fell back to vanilla Ubuntu, which I’m using now, while I consider my next move, if any.

If I want raw performance, I can always get me a high-throughput kernel and an optimized Blender x64 (the latter either built or from GraphicAll). Source distros? No thanks. I’d rather not compile OOo. I don’t need that much optimization. That said, I can understand the lure for having a system that runs 20% faster.

Still, the question lingers in my mind (while we wait for BlenderOS): dynebolic, ArtistX, 64Studio, UbuntuStudio, (or any other…) how would they rank in terms of bundle/ease/performance? Is it possible that the best distro for Blender is already out there?