"Stuff I'm working on ..."

Linux Audio and Flatpaks

by kaeru published 2022/07/19 08:14:00 GMT+8, last modified 2022-07-19T08:18:21+08:00
Screenshot from 2022-07-19 06-28-12.png
Bitwig, Dex and Surge Synth

Bitwig Studio for version 4.3 is now being distributed as a Flatpak package. Which comes with a lot of benefits, but a few temporary downsides. Bitwig covers the basics for installation here.

Bitwig now should work well and be easily installed and updated on any Linux distribution that supports Flatpak. Additionally it can also be bundled with the latest libraries and no longer tied to libraries and packages of specific versions of Ubuntu. This means having latest pipewire support for example enabled for those that have it installed and configured it in their base system.

Bitwig with Pipewire support
Bitwig with Pipewire support

Another is benefit is binary compatibility for plugins that are bundled as Flatpaks. I ran into this problem, when I tried to compile Dexed synth from source, and the glibc of the vst3 was incompatible with Bitwig. With FreeDesktop.org Linux Audio base extension using base runtime is Freedesktop 21.08, plugins will always work.

The open source synth plugins are already there on flatpak hub. Surge, Dexed and Helm.

Building flatpaks seems similar to docker, so another thing to learn and get used to for modern desktop application deployments.

The downside is that the sandbox nature of Flatpak is that Windows plugin through yabridge will no longer work. Hopefully with new open CLAP audio plugin standard, and multiplatform support of SDKs like JUCE, we will see more Linux binaries packaged by plugin developers.

Other flatpak notes

I've started to shift over to flatpak versions of other apps, which are mostly creative applications like Gimp (Beta) and Inkscape. The only problem right now is GPU/OpenCL support, because AMD's ROCm isn't packaged yet for flatpak (or even in base distributions). So for now, to take advantage of Darktable's excellent OpenCL support, I still have to use traditional debian package of Darktable.