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I am thinking about installing Ubuntu Studio on my new laptop, basically because Jack coexists with PulseAudio "out of the box" which I have found impossible to achieve in a previous installation. Also, it uses the low-latency kernel by default. However, I'd also like to keep using Gnome shell.

Hardware: Lenovo T430.

Own attempts

I have tried

apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-session

but this brings along more than 100 extra packages, some of which I am not sure I really need. In addition, it asks if gdm should be the default display manager (instead of lightdm), however, according to Wikipedia, the former is the newer and better alternative. After keeping LightDM and changing the greeter to use the Unity greeter (the default greeter doesn't seem to recognize the new session types), I can log in to Unity but not to the good old Gnome shell.

This is just a brief summary of several hours of reinstalling Ubuntu Studio and trying to make things work.


What is the most robust path to achieve the desired result -- an installation with a low-latency kernel and working Jack, with Gnome shell?

  • Install Ubuntu Studio + ???, how to configure?

  • Install vanilla Ubuntu, add some packages from Ubuntu Studio, how to configure RT+Jack?

  • ???


This related question suggests installing ubuntu-desktop, but for 12.04. This answer points to an instruction to add Ubuntu Studio features to vanilla Ubuntu. I haven't yet tried either of these options.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I see two and a half paths:

  1. Install Ubuntu GNOME (images, wiki), then install the ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins linux-lowlatency metapackages
  2. Install UbuntuStudio (web), then install the gnome-shell gnome-session metapackages
  3. Install Ubuntu, then install the ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins and gnome-shell gnome-session metapackages

I suggest 1 (Ubuntu GNOME), here is why:

  • 3 (Ubuntu) is the easiest to eliminate because it represents one more setup step for you, and one more set of cruft you'll want to avoid. You know you want audio stuff, and you know you want Shell. Options 1 and 2 are each only one step away, while option 3 is two steps away, let's forget about it and the cruft it brings.
  • Then deciding between 1 (Ubuntu GNOME) and 2 (UbuntuStudio) is also easy in your case, because you want Shell and audio stuff. Well,
    • If you install UbuntuStudio, you will end up with XFCE, which you don't want
    • Just adding the ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins linux-lowlatency metapackages will setup your lowlatency environment the same way than through a Studio install, without the additional Studio cruft (XFCE, additional video/etc. packages)

Finally, regarding the login manager, with Ubuntu GNOME you'll end up with GDM, which (provided you like GNOME Shell) will be fine for you (simple, efficient) and is not better or worse than LightDM.

To wrap up:

  1. Install Ubuntu GNOME (images, wiki)
  2. If you want to get the latest-and-greatest GNOME 3.8 hotness, add the official GNOME3 team PPA : sudo apt-add-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3, and do a sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.
    Note: Do not add the staging PPA, it is for developers and will make your environment unstable.
  3. Install the ubuntustudio-audio ubuntustudio-audio-plugins linux-lowlatency metapackages
  4. Jam :)
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I don't know what I did wrong then when installing Jack -- with your instructions (and those provided by the Ubuntu Studio wiki, specifically the adduser $SUDO_USER audio part) everything worked out of the box, like a charm. Thanks a lot! – krlmlr May 7 '13 at 12:17
Note also that lightdm can be installed and activated without extra packages using apt-get install --no-install-recommends lightdm unity-greeter. (Without --no-install-recommends, just the same 100+ packages, including unity, are added. See also gdm still seems to be required, though: – krlmlr May 7 '13 at 13:17
Glad it works for you now :) . Regarding lightdm, I'm sure it can be added, but I thought that since you liked the GNOME approach with Shell, you might have liked it too with gdm. If lightdm is your thing, go ahead and use it! – Ronan Jouchet May 7 '13 at 15:05
No, I'm just puzzled by Ubuntu's announcement to eventually replace GDM by LightDM altogether. – krlmlr May 8 '13 at 7:09
@krlmlr reasons to replace GDM with LightDM are documented on the 'LightDM for Display Management' blueprint – Ronan Jouchet May 8 '13 at 13:10

To install gnome-shell (3.8) in any ubuntu flavor, open a new Terminal window and enter the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
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