Short version :
i have been a Linux user since 2006.
i loved pure:dyne (bootable iso) and now use debian stable everywhere (laptop, desktops, servers).
The long story:
It all started with DeMuDi (a Debian distribution specialized in audio), which i installed on a spare computer at work (local radio): it got used to edit audio (the edit-point-on-mouse-cursor decoupled from playback in ardour 0.99 sold it to me) and rip CDs.
Then (2007) i got a laptop that ran ms vista for five minutes after the first boot, and got replaced with Ubuntu studio 07.04 (look! i can rotate workspaces on a cube! and that video is still playing!).
I then stumbled across pure:dyne, which versions actually based on dyne:bolic were absolutely great : i played with that box with delight for about two years. Never could use another system without referring deep in my heart to the sheer simplicity and elegance of pure:dyne (you people at goto10 made a great job changing my life).
I also tried multiple other distros, and settled on Debian stable as a general desktop system.
Around 2011 i suddenly felt the need for up-to-date software and went with Archlinux.
(I guess that was the time when things began to move faster in linux audio.)
Then i went on holiday, and on my return, so much things had changed in Arch that it was daunting to even try the every-two-days update (i’m looking at you, systemd!).
Most things i had learnt as to how GNU/Linux systems worked were becoming obsolete and the new things were so badly documented, for my sanity i had to wipe my laptop went with FreeBSD for a year or two.
That was as easy as just reading a properly done documentation.
2014, the need for low latency audio comes back, and i go back to Debian via its “unstable” incarnation. (FreeBSD folks seem to think of low-latency or realtime as industrial needs, and do not think that audio can be concerned by that. well.)
Today, as i already spend some of my worktime with debian servers, i use Linux Mint Debian Edition (speeds up things i used to do manually).
As to audio (hardware):
I have successfully used class compliant USB1 interfaces :
- Alesis IO2 old version, that M Audio remakets as a brand new thing at least on the visual aspect)
- Sound Devices MixPre-D
Today, (and this is sort of ironic given some past statements from the company) i use a USB2 class compliant thing, the Motu Ultralite AVB. I guess we can thank the ipad for all those class-compliant audio interfaces out there. Now with all that I/Os i can integrate my magnetic band recorders in my workflow easily.
The only thing i retrospectively regret from leaving Windows (XP…) is that i spent a lot of time using Buzz tracker, and i couldn’t transfer the small-details-knowledge in a similar linux software before losing that knowledge (buzz clones were non-existent at that time, and i was too amazed with puredata to think i would go back into a tracker someday).
Which brings me to audio software:
i got fed up of puredata at one point, mainly because i felt graphical/dataflow programming was terribly inefficient to maintain over long periods of time (and also i couldn’t think of a more complicated way to make a for loop ^^’ ).
For audio programming needs, I recently (two years?) switched to Chuck.
Given Chuck ability to max out my CPUs, i am currently exploring CSound as a sound generating backend behind some chuck monome apps.
For editing and as a general purpose DAW, i use Mixbus3.
Then, lots of more or less often-used other softwares (Cecilia, Soudscape Renderer, Alsa Modular Synth, Sunvox, mx44, …).