We use a carefully-selected collection of open source tools and applications for our audio/video production work at MousePaw Media.
These exact programs must be used for internal company work – no substitutions are permitted without written approval from the department lead.
These installation instructions are only written for Linux distributions based on Ubuntu 18.04. If you’re using a different Linux distribution, you may need to adjust these instructions.
If you are working with Design and Production or Mass Communication, we strongly recommend installing all of these tools, except for those under the “Optional” section below, regardless of your specific assignments.
MousePaw Media uses entirely open source audio and video formats (codecs).
However, from time to time, it may become necessary to import or export
from proprietary codecs, such as
To install support for these codecs, you should run the following...
$ sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras
When prompted, accept the EULA for the Microsoft Fonts (or reject it, if you
so choose). To do so, use your arrow keys to highlight an option, and press
ENTER to select.
Audacity is a robust open source audio editor, on par with tools like Adobe Audition®.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/audacity $ sudo apt install audacity
- Official Website: https://www.audacityteam.org/
- Documentation: https://manual.audacityteam.org/
- Tutorials: https://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Category:Tutorial
Audio Recorder (v2.1.x)¶
Audio Recorder is a simple tool for quickly recording audio directly from the audio output or microphone.
We can install this from the official PPA.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:audio-recorder/ppa $ sudo apt install audio-recorder
- Official Website: https://launchpad.net/~audio-recorder
Handbrake converts video between formats, as well as adjusting resolution, aspect ratio, and many more advanced options.
We will install Handbrake from the official PPA.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases $ sudo apt install handbrake
Kdenlive is an open source, non-linear video editor. It has support for multiple codecs, and provides many useful effects and tools for professional video editing.
We can install directly from the main Ubuntu repositories.
$ sudo apt install kdenlive
MuseScore is a free and open source sheet music authoring program, with support for MIDI input and playback. It is a near drop-in replacement for Finale® software, sporting full support of all notation for sheet music, including guitar tablatures, lyrics, linked parts, and multiple instruments.
All our original music is written in MuseScore.
MuseScore 2 can be installed a number of ways, but we’ll use the official PPA.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mscore-ubuntu/mscore-stable $ sudo apt install musescore
If you prefer Snapcraft packages, you can also install via
sudo snap install musescore.
If you’re going to be doing heavy-duty music or audio production, and need something more powerful than Audacity, check out these applications.
If you have no need for these tools, just skip this section.
Ardour (v5.x) and JACK¶
Ardour is a full-fledged Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), similar to programs like Avid Pro Tools® or Apple Logic Pro®. It is free on Ubuntu, and one of the most inexpensive options for Windows and Mac.
Ardour relies on JACK Audio Connection Kit [JACK], a powerful, low-latency sound server. We’ll be setting that up as well.
$ sudo apt install ardour5 qjackctl
That command will install both packages, plus their dependencies. When you
reach the “Configuring jackd2” screen, we recommend selecting
(To select an option, highlight your choice with your arrow keys and press
Now we need to change some limits, so Ardour can run.
$ sudo adduser $USER audio $ sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf
Ensure the following line is in the file. If you don’t see it, add it towards
the bottom of the file, just above the
# END OF FILE line.
@audio - memlock unlimited
Save and quit by pressing
You can now control JACK from Qjackctl. You shouldn’t need to change any
of its settings in
Setup...; the defaults work on Ubuntu 18.04. You can
route audio between your different inputs and outputs using the
option, and then you can start JACK with
Your normal system sound will stop while JACK is running, as it will take over sound playback from PulseAudio, the system default sound server.
Ardour * Official Website: https://ardour.org/ * Documentation: http://manual.ardour.org/toc/ * Tutorials: http://write.flossmanuals.net/ardour/introduction/
JACK * Official Website: http://www.jackaudio.org/
QJackCtl * Official Website: https://qjackctl.sourceforge.io/
DVDStyler allows you to create production-quality DVDs with custom, hand-crafted menus.
We will install DVDStyle fro the unofficial PPA.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/dvdstyler $ sudo apt install dvdstyler
- Official Website: https://www.dvdstyler.org/en/
- Documentation: https://www.dvdstyler.org/en/70
- Tutorials: https://www.dvdstyler.org/en/documents
Hydrogen is a drum machine with some very high quality samples. When used properly, there is little to no discernable difference between a Hydrogen drumtrack and a live drumtrack.
We’ll install Hydrogen, along with all of its drumkits.
$ sudo apt install hydrogen hydrogen-drumkits hydrogen-drumkits-effects
If you have installed Ardour and JACK, you may need to change Hydrogen to use
PulseAudio under ordinary circumstances. To do this, start Hydrogen. Go to
and set it to
PulseAudio for ordinary use.
You can also select
Jack if you want to route the output
directly into Ardour, although this is rarely useful.
- Official Website: http://hydrogen-music.org/
- Documentation: http://hydrogen.sourceforge.net/content/tutorial/manual_en.html
LMMS is a synthesizer and digital audio workstation, similar in many ways to Apple GarageBand®.
We can install directly from the main repositories.
$ sudo apt install lmms
In many cases, LMMS works best with JACK. (See Ardour (v5.x) and JACK)
Open Broadcaster Software (21.x)¶
Open Broadcaster Software [OBS] is considered one of the best streaming and screen recording programs in existence. It has full support for webcams, microphones, screen capture, and media playback. You can use it to record to a file, or to stream live to most major streaming services.
We can install from the official PPA.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:obsproject/obs-studio $ sudo apt install obs-studio