Ubuntu Studio in the Christian Church

When I began working on Ubuntu Studio, I was working for a large church. We were doing amazing things in our services every Sunday. Our video, audio, and lighting were top-notch, but the problem was that it was hard to replicate without spending thousands of dollars.

This made me frustrated when running services for our youth in the church’s youth center. I couldn’t use those same tools and didn’t have a budget to spend. This got me wondering what tools existed in the open-source world. Remembering my days of experimenting with Linux and multimedia, I remembered seeing audio plugins in Ubuntu Studio, so that was the first place I looked.

Back then, I thought, “What would it take to replace all of these Apple and Windows computers with Ubuntu Studio?” We could use that money we would otherwise spend on software, on stage lighting, projectors, and audio equipment upgrades. Unfortunately, at that time, we were missing key components. While the audio was top-notch, it was lacking a good video editor and good software for controlling DMX-based lighting. This isn’t even to mention lyric and presentation software, which couldn’t hold a candle to ProPresenter.

Fast forward to now. Just four years later, those problems are being solved. We have some amazing audio plugins, and more keep coming to the repositories. Harrison’s MixBus is one of the best Digital Audio Workstations on the market and works flawlessly. Kdenlive, the video editor we include, has matured dramatically, and keeps getting better. Besides that, BlackMagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve is easy to install. For DMX lighting, we now have Q Light Controller Plus installed by default.

Lyric projection and presentation software out there was the final piece of the puzzle. Sure, OpenLP has been out there and has matured quite well, but it remains lacking in the usability department. However, I stumbled upon one thing that made me cry nearly tears of joy when I discovered it: FreeShow.


FreeShow reminded me of ProPresenter and operates very similarly. However, in some ways, it operates easier, because to set up another display, you just need a web browser to point it at the FreeShow presentation computer’s address. Same with the stage display. This was the application I had hoped would come about years ago.

FreeShow is being developed by Kristoffer Vassbø. It’s an application written in Electron. As such, to package it for Ubuntu, I had to go a non-traditional route and package it as a snap. This way, I could include it in Ubuntu Studio and complete the last piece of the puzzle for a full, out-of-the-box multimedia production system for churches. It will be included by default in Ubuntu Studio 22.10.

With that, I hope to find a church that would be willing to try Ubuntu Studio for its multimedia production needs. This could potentially save churches thousands of dollars per year that they could use for outreach in their local area, in their local region, or even to the ends of the earth!

This might be the unique ministry that God has been calling me to my whole life that I’ve been looking for.

My Linux Fest Northwest 2019 Story

I got back from Linux Fest Northwest 2019 on Sunday. Despite the horrible traffic to and from, it was a great time.

Friday Night Dinner

First thing I did was check-in to my hotel room, then I met up with Valorie Zimmerman (Kubuntu), Simon Quigley (Lubuntu), and quite a few others, including old friend Tyler Brown, and a few new faces such as Darin Miller.

From there Simon and I headed to the campus of Bellevue Technical College, the host of Linux Fest Northwest for this year and the previous 19 years. There were people eating and playing games around tables, and exhibitors setting up at their tables in the main exhibit hall. Although I was an exhibitor, I decided to set-up the next morning

The Ubuntu table at Linux Fest Northwest 2019

So, bright and early, I got set-up in the main hall with my equipment to show-off Ubuntu Studio and its audio capabilities. Working the table was myself, Valorie, Simon, and Dustin Krysak (Ubuntu Budgie). But, after setting up, it was time for me to attend my first talk, given by Wes Payne of Jupiter Broadcasting about Audio on Linux. Was it any wonder that I chose that talk?

My Ubuntu Studio Demo Setup

After the talk, I spent time back at the Ubuntu table demonstrating Ubuntu Studio. I was amazed at how much attention it garnered, and had people asking me questions about it. Many had never even heard of Ubuntu Studio, and many thought the project had died. Those people decided to give it a nice look again, and some for the first time.

Afterwards, I watched Simon give a talk about “Open Source is More Than Just GitHub” and got to finally meet Alan Pope (Canonical) for the first time, even though we had communicated many times over the past several years.

Sri from GNOME, Valorie Zimmerman, me, Simon Quigley (standing). The GNOME table was right next to ours.

Then it was back to the Ubuntu table for more demos, answering questions, handing out stickers, and having great conversations. It was overall a great time, and Valorie has mandated that I join her at the Ubuntu table at SeaGL (the Seattle GNU/Linux Festival) in Seattle this year.

Before last talk of the day, I decided to tear down my equipment to keep from going back to the table. I attended Simon’s other talk: Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo and Beyond. Unfortunately, I ran late and just as I walked in the room, Simon was talking about Ubuntu Studio. Apparently perfect timing, but took me a little while to get my bearings and get caught up. Being there I was officially in my role as a flavor lead along with Valorie, Simon, and Dustin, with Martin Wimpress (Canonical & Ubuntu MATE) and Alan giving Canonical’s perspective. The future of each flavor was talked about, and discussions were opened for each flavor lead to address any questions in the room.

Barbecue by Jupiter Broadcasting and System 76 outside the world-famous “Lady Jupes” RV.

Afterwards, Jupiter Broadcasting and System 76 served a barbecue dinner for any that attended. It was a great time as I, formerly involved with Jupiter Broadcasting, got to catch up with old friends and meet new members of the community.

Simon Quigley, me, Martin Wimpress

I headed back to my hotel room fairly early while more shenanigans took place, I headed to bed. I guess night-time parties are quickly hitting my “Murtaugh List.” (I’m getting to old for this…. stuff.)

The next morning, I got to the college early and got my equipment set-up for more demos, which was pointedly more sparse as Sunday tends to be less busy. I headed to two talks that day. The first one I went to was by Ell Marquez entitled “Building Your Community by Poisoning Your Own Well”, where we learned her struggles with Impostor Syndrome, which is something I struggle with as well. Then I saw Emma Marshall’s talk entitled “sudo apt install happiness”, where she talked about System 76’s approach to customer service, which they call their “Happiness Team.” I couldn’t help but think of ways to use some of those methods when providing support to Ubuntu Studio users.

Afterwards, I headed to the Ubuntu table to pack-up and then head to the final keynote for Linux Fest Northwest 2019, which was a Q&A session with John “Maddog” Hall, Kyle Rankin, and our very own Simon Quigley. Once done there, I headed back to the hall, grabbed anything that was left, said goodbye, and headed home.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I plan to go again next year. Next stop, whether I want to or not per Valorie, is SeaGL 2019.