7 Best Linux Distributions for Multimedia Enthusiasts

Graphic designers, movie editors, music composers, and multimedia addicts have specific needs when it comes to software. That is why there are specialized Linux distributions that cater to them.

Here are 7 Linux distros that will surely win the hearts of multimedia enthusiasts:

Ubuntu Studio
Ubuntu Studio is an officially renowned offshoot of the Ubuntu Linux distribution which is clearly geared to general multimedia production. It contains an amazing list of audio software for editing and playback such as ardour, audacious, mixxx, and much more. Graphic design and modeling applications are also included such as GIMP, Inkscape and Blender, along with plugins like dcraw to help with RAW camera files and wacom-tools for people with Wacom drawing tablets. PiTiVi, Kino, Cinepaint are included for video creation.

Get Ubuntu Studio HERE

GeeXboX, as described from its website, is a free embedded Linux distribution which aims at turning your computer into a so called HTPC (Home Theater PC) or Media Center. Despite its tiny ISO image size, the distribution comes with complete and automatic hardware detection, not requiring any driver to be added. It supports playback of nearly any kind of audio/video and image files and all known codecs and containers are shipped in, allowing playing them through various physical supports, either being CD, DVD, HDD, LAN or Internet.

Get GeeXboX HERE

ArtistX is based on Debian GNU/Linux and contains nearly all the available free audio (Rosegarden, Ardour, TerminatorX, Cecilia/Csound, Gnusound, Mixxx ) 2D graphics (Gimp, Inkscape, Nip2, Krita, Cinepaint, Synfig, Rawstudio, Skencil ) and 3D graphics (Wings3D, Kpovmodeler + Povray 3.6, K3D) and video software (Cinelerra, Kino, Openmovieeditor, Kdenlive, Pitivi, Avidemux) for the GNU/Linux computing platform. It doesn't need to be installed, and boots directly into a running system without touching hard drives.

Get ArtistX HERE


dyne:bolic is shaped on the needs of media activists, artists and creatives as a practical tool for multimedia production: you can manipulate and broadcast both sound and video with tools to record, edit, encode and stream, having automatically recognized most device and peripherals: audio, video, TV, network cards, firewire, usb and more; all using only free software. It is optimized to run on slower computers, turning them into full media stations.

Get dyne:bolic HERE


Musix GNU+Linux is a Live CD and Live DVD Linux distribution based on Knoppix, Kanotix and Debian GNU/Linux. It contains a collection of software for audio production, graphic design, video editing and general purpose apps. Some of the programs included are: Rosegarden and Ardour (audio processor), both for musicians; Inkscape for vectorial design; GIMP for manipulation of images; Cinelerra for video editing and Blender3D for 3D animation.

Get Musix HERE

64 Studio
64 Studio is based on Debian designed for creative users on x86-64 and legacy 32-bit hardware architectures. It intends to serve as an all-in-one solution for audio and video recording, editing, and other forms of media production. An alternative installer is available for systems with 32-bit processors.

Get 64 Studio HERE

StartCom MultiMedia Edition
The StartCom MultiMedia Edition is most famous for its audio and video manipulation capabilities, but also for the wide range of the delivered applications. StartCom Linux is using the latest in open source technology and with its advanced audio and video manipulation capabilities makes this operating system an excellent platform for music and video production. It contains outstanding applications like Cinelerra, Rosegarden, Audacity and many,many sound manipulating effect tools, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers. It also has a TV/Video/File streaming server and client for easier audio and video sharing.

Get StartCom MultiMedia Edition HERE


  1. I'm a professional graphic designer and Ubuntu Studio works best for me. It's really hassle free to use as it has all the necessary tools that I want. I don't know if those other distros mentioned here are as complete as Ubuntu Studio when it comes to graphics editing software.

  2. Actually Sabayon is the best, these are all barely sufficient, sabayon x86_64 is killin any of these distros with lives, avidemux, or just down and dirty with mencoder. All audio/video codecs are already there, along with everything else you need being available as a binary without need for compiling if you wish to use equo for a program instead of emerge.

  3. Ubuntu like totally rocks dude. Really good stuff and easy to use.


  4. I set up Ubuntu Studio for my daughter, connected an old Evolution MK-149 midi keyboard via a SB Live! sound card. I was gobsmacked when we fired up Rosegarden and pressed a key on the MK-149 and it played. It took a bit of playing about to get it to use the hardware midi chip and load sound fonts, but nothing difficult.

    great stuff

    ps the keybord is Win98 vintage and only worked marginally under XP.

  5. You missed Dreamlinux! It has graphics software, audio-video software and plays just about every format of multimedia files.

  6. None of the above is competent enough to produce music at acceptable levels. The Linux community has too many recorder and editor software, but no piece that has at least amateur level sound generators and samples. i've struggled too long to replace FL Studio but there's no Linux software that can even approach that level. Sorry!

  7. AnonymousMay 20, 2010

    love ubuntu, but not so good with sites like youtube or hulu

  8. Thanks this is really helpful infomation for a beginner's point of view!!

  9. Never seen Kxstudio in there. You can install the repos and make any of the buntus just like kx, but kx does all that and more for you. Like a nice kernel and jack working out of the box.

  10. ??! Yes, help-full indeed!

    I'm only missing the comparison between those distro's, so I don't know what to do.

    dyne:bolic says to be shaped for media-activists. But maybe another distro does these things as good + more features; I don't know?

  11. I'd love to see a 2013 updated list to this.