A Linux distribution based on Ubuntu.
It tries to combine free software into a suite for creative people.
Driven by the fact that there are so many cool applications out there, but most people do not know them,
openArtist tries to be a complete package of creative software.
One thought at the beginning
The main thought of creating openArtist was: There is so many cool free creative software out there, but nobody knows it. Or its not configured right, there are no packages for it, or its packages are outdated, or they do not work on foo version of ubuntu or…
openArtist tries to collect and combine these into one distribution, ready to use. A significant amout of time goes into research of what is out there. Mostly these programs are just not found in Ubuntu/Debian repositories, so many of them are build from scratch and packaged for openArtist. Also the Personal Package archives
play a siginficant role in openArtist. Canonical has made a fine invention when setting up Launchpad and their ppas. Many people build their own versions of programs, drivers etc, and openArtist tries to use the best ppas around to provide a stable but up-to-date distribution and program base..
It’s all about choice.
In openArtist, you have always more than one tool for one task, and these tools are sorted in the applicatons menu by category, so that you can find them easily and use the one you like most. Linux is not perfect, and the chances that a task will succeed rise if you have more choice. If one program fails, one of the others will work. Also, the personal preferences mirror themselves in the tools which we use. So choice is the key value in openArtist.
openArtist definitely tries to go deeper. For every usecase (I am a writer (which writing tools are out there? hmm ok, non distraction fullcreen writing programs, programs to help structurize a novel, …) , I am a freelancer (what does a freelancer need, apart from creative tools? timetracking tools, project management tools, money management, collaboration tools…)), it tries to provide the best set of tools, which are freely availabe for Linux.
OpenArtist also tries to go beyond openSource. While most of its programs are openSource, there are some programs which are available as freeware, public domain, abandonware. So why not using them. Actually know they are there. Some programs, also openSource ones, work quite well in Wine (the windows abstraction layer which allows for executing windows programs in Linux) , so why not use them. Some very useful openSource softwares like virtualdub, avisynth, have no real counterpart (yet) in Linux, actually work really nice in Wine, once configured right. And rhis configuration is already done in openArtist. Some commercial Programs are so widely used that the cannot be ignored, when there is the possibility to run them on Linux. So e.g an Ableton live demo as well as an Resolume Avenue demo are bound into openArtist. Then there are Programs which allow for using them with a special personal learning edition, or which feature free demos. If these are valueable additions and there is no real free counterpart in Linux for them, openArtist is using them.
The space problem
openArtist has grown beyond the size of a single dvd. There is not enough space for putting every program into the distro, and for some programs, there are license issues which prevent this in some cases. So what to do? Building packages which no one will ever use because people will not find them? Excluding exceptional software because of licensing issues? So it was decided to add an install mechanism into the Menu. Yes, thats right. You can install applications via the menu. Even if you uninstall an applicaton, the will be the menu entry, with all its valueable information when you hover over it.
How does this work? Basiclly there are scripts which are launched before an application is started, and the scripts check if it is installed. If not, it pops up and install dialog. This way openArtist contains a logical structure of available programs, even if some of the programs are not installed, they are available with one click.. The menu gets bigger, yes. But as more and more people are using docks, or quickstarters like alt+f2, kupfer, that is not really an issue.
For the programs which prevent to make a debian package in terms of licensing issues, (e.g nuke ple, 3dlight…) there are also scripts, which download these programs and install them automatically.