Cubase for Linux II

Hi there,

I know there is already a topic from 2014 about this, but today I hope to reach a developer at Steinberg with the urgent request for Linux support in Cubase… I am even willing to compensate the intiator richly for it personally.

The reason for this new topic and more urgent request is the current developments at Microsoft which are in my opinion starting to become more and more “audio engineer unfriendly”. Since Windows 7 the OS is becoming more complex with accounts etc. without any benefit or even reducing the capacities for DAW users. I hesitated long for the change from W7 to W10 and even on a new machine (specs below) the performance is only increased when rendering, and the feel of the PC is even slower than my older 4790k with 16GB. For instance, harddisc address times are way slower, some randomly unexplainable turning wheels, no explanation whatsoever and it irritates me every day…

And soon we all have to go to W11 probably because they will no longer support W10 (of course).

So even if this is a cry in the vacuum, I hope one day we will be freed from the enhancingly inefficient Windows variations and we can use a clean and thoroughly developed efficient (all European) DAW system.

Kind Regards,
(prof. audio engineer@ catharijnestudio)

Intel 12900KF
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If only. We can but dream. Big Plus 1.

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Nuendo too if Cubase were to be possible. I’d jump on making the switch to Steinberg if this were the case. Reaper and Bitwig sweeping up the Linux demographics currently.

It would be good if you didn’t to resort to command line to do anything non standard. Also there’s not much support from audio interface producers but that may change if the software was there.

Seems to be a lot activities on RME forum.

And it should be a no brainer for RME to get their products into ChromeBooks and Android.

Well, if anyone isn’t happy with Windows 10/11, there is still MacOs, isn’t it? :wink:
As much as I like Linux as a server OS, I am pretty sure that Cubase on Linux isn’t the solution to all problems on Win or MacOS. There just will be other problems. For starters, what does “Linux “ mean? There are thousands of distributions that use Linux (the kernel), which one of those? No sane company will support multiple Linux distributions, so they’ll probably stick with Ubuntu as the currently favorite Desktop Linux (which is imho also quite bloated already).
And of course from all the plugins available today only a minority runs on Linux natively. And that won’t change soon, as the market share for Linux on Desktop (and with musicians) is tiny.

What would make sense is something like the Elk Audio OS, a distribution especially tuned for audio. But not in the current form where it is maintained by one small company , but by an organization backed by major industry players, so it could become a platform that companies developing DAWs and plugins and drivers could rely on.

Nevertheless there’s still the chicken-egg problem of the small market share, thus offering little incentive for developer, thus offering less choice in software than the other platforms. I don’t really see a solution for that in the current future, unless the other players (Apple/MS) really f%#@ up…

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It would be very nice, but until the userbase exists there’s absolutely no financial incentive for them to move in that direction, sadly.

If you’re truly passionate about Linux being your only audio O/S then it almost makes more sense to support Bitwig/REAPER and help grow the community so it becomes hard to ignore. But then, you’re moving away from Steinberg so becomes a bit catch 22.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not just the sizeable development cost, but Steinberg would also need staff capable of supporting Linux OS users & the multitude of distros and god knows what else.

When the market change you need to be a early adopter or have the strength to beat the completion with a margin that is bigger than the competitions advancement. Today consumer software business is mostly IOS and Android, 20 years a go it was a microsoft monopoly.

Partly agree, in the recording studio we use Mac OS (not my choice) and in my postproduction studio it’s still a Windows PC (as I grew up with for over 20 years now). I considered a MAc aswel although pricing is outrageous I think. Hence the PC in the first place. And besides that is Apple for me a brand which I would like to evade as long as possible… I’d hope for a real 100% dependable european OS to get rid of all the strange and unknown performance issues W10 introduced (and W11 probably will do even more)

I would theoretically love for a Linux version of Cubase. But that’s not enough!
Would Native Instruments, and Waves, and Xfer, and all the other plugin vendors, also port their plugins?
Would RME port their ASIO drivers?
And how much money would they really sell from this port?

A new platform costs additional money for the port (several engineers for several years for a tool as complex as Cubase, so call it a million euros.)
Additionally, a new platform costs additional money for ongoing support and testing, call it another hundred thousand per year.

Will Steinberg see an increase of sales of at least a million euros in the first year, and then an additional hundred thousand for each following year, because of the Linux version?
My guess is “no.” Linux users don’t usually pay for software at all, much less hundreds of euros in numbers by the thousands.
And this calculation also has to work out for each of the plugin/hardware vendors I use, too.

So, while I would love for Cubase, and all of the dependencies, to run on Linux, I expect that pure economics forbids this from happening.

They could charge more money for the Linux version, or perhaps, make it subscription based (or, a high cost perm license or lower cost subscription as two options)

Anyone who is specialized enough to both be a Cubase user, and someone to go to the length to use Cubase on Linux… Should be specialized enough to foot the bill.

That would be the could be a bad decision to make as vast majority of Linux users are operating on open source or donation funded software.

And therein lays a bigger issue, If Cubase moved to Linux it would have to be part of the universal licensing or else they would need to start selling o/s specific versions, which I couldn’t see happening. Maybe a Linux “Add-on” could be triggered via it’s own license though?

But generally the bulk income would have to come from NEW users - not those already on Win/Mac. That’s a very small slice of a very small slice of users - it’s an impossibility really the more you think about it.

The only hope is if SB decided to port/rewrite the underlying codebase to match how Dorico looks/feels and then baked in linux support as a secondary focus. But you’d imagine that would be a massive task, and opens up a massive can of worms.

Of course, if they could calculate how much it would cost then setup a crowd fund where you get the linux ‘add-on’ for free when it’s released.

It would certainly be interesting to know what kind of money would need to be raised. Any guesses? Half a million?! :slight_smile:

You can put a few dollars in, right @borque ?


Why? The Linux version could just be a separate license people have to pay for if they want it. Perhaps a discount if you already own Mac/PC version.

I don’t think a big company like Yamaha would do a crowdfund.

$1,000,000 dev cost / $1000 retail = 1000 users
$2000 = 500 users.

$2000 is not a lot of money for anyone actuallyworking in the industry, and between Nuendo and Cubase - there’s probably 500 people who would jump to Linux. There’s people in the industry that build $10,000-$50,000 computers.

Magix Sequoia when it was (still?) a thing I think cost $1000-$2000 as a specialized broadcast/Mastering DAW.

If it was proven to be more stable, less annoying, better performance than Mac/PC on benchmark tests, then I’m sure lot’s of people would make the move from single user composers, to post-production facilities.

It would depend on Steinberg/Yamaha really encouraging, and potentially even having a grant fund (for smaller but highly regarded devs) for VST devs to port. Companies like Oek Sound, people who use Soothe just will not live without it anymore.

Happy music making,

The problem I have, is being unable to see where new users would come from to generate the additional revenue.

If you had a discount for existing users to buy the linux version - ok great, but then how do they maintain updates. Would a single update payment will renew both Linux & Traditional licenses?

Or would the win/mac no longer be valid if they migrate? The logistics get very complicated when you’re talking about developing new product families.

If the software is multi-platform it would only serve the userbase if a single license covers all uses.

In my opinion there would be FAR more demand from hobbyists wanting to run Linux rigs than commercial users. Adding Linux support and put it behind a premium pay-wall would be mad.

…as would a crowd fund admittedly! :slight_smile:

The only hope is that the Linux audio world continues to push and make it a viable platform. Support those who have already made the move would be my advice, and sing it out loud if it works for you.

You sure about that? Perhaps if they are a crossover demographic of computer/tech enthusiast/nerd and hobbyist Cubase user.

But the average hobbyist user probably knows very little about computers, buys their computers prebuilt with OS already installed, and if are indeed a hobbyist user - probably have other bigger interests (like gaming for example) in which they are going to want to remain in the market of gadgetry and connectivity that works on Mac or Windows.

People who are into Linux from what I’ve seen, are engineers, real computer nerds, and mathematician types. Programmers. Chronic Tinkerers. So for some reason, maybe I’m wrong, but to me the demographic is serious professionals who build their computers, probably less likely to be mac users.

Not sure what you are talking about, but Win10/Win11 is about the same as 7 performance wise. On top of that it runs more stable and the user experience, compatibility has improved a lot.
Of course if you take a very old system, Win7 may be performing better, but on a more recent one Win10/11 definitely has the edge.
I was working for over 10 years in the IT sector, and Win 10 is definitely a step up (which is also backed up by various tests).

The problem is, that even after all these years we had MAC and LINUX, it was never proven, that LINUX outperformed MAC on comparable hardware. Sometimes MAC had the edge, sometimes LINUX. But never by a wide margin.

And about stability: If you take Reaper which works for Windows and Linux, there is no real difference in stability between both OS.

So instead of porting Cubase to Linux for stability and performance reasons only, it would be better to just improve the code of the program on the existing OS.

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Yes, I’m sure about that as I’ve sold into the market myself.

I haven’t a clue what mix of pros vs hobbyists make up the Cubase userbase, but you’d expect that at least 90% of users have a secondary income to fund their audio purchases.

Having a Linux build that comes in at $1-2k that is a separate license would be suicide. Ultimately, It’s the hobbyists with expendable income that will push that market. Speak to any professional, it’s damn hard keeping your head above the water in the audio industry nowadays.

In regards to Cubase, the average audio user who would be seeking out Linux are those that have no trust in Microsoft, and don’t agree with the ethics of Apple’s pricing, planned obsolescence and inability to repair or upgrade a machine.

That’s the most viable market for SB. Trouble is, that market is very pro FOSS (Free/Open Source Software). I just don’t see Steinberg’s closed model being greatly received at $1k/License.

Absolutely agree.
If you take Reaper on the other hand, it seems like it was even made by Linux enthusiasts. Their conecpts are just very similar (kinda “open source”, customizeability, etc.).
And tbh, it is also a really nice program. I use it as my secondary DAW when needed.
So instead of porting Cubase to Linux, with all the (compatibility, stability and performance) issues that will introduce, I’d suggest to look into Reaper on Linux.

I have an Ubuntu Studio partition with REAPER & Ardour. And it’s not all that enjoyable for me so rarely use it.

I’m very comfortable with Linux from a server perspective, but running a desktop for audio it makes REAPER feel more “open source” than it already does on Win/Mac. And that ain’t a good thing for me. :slight_smile:

Like most, I use Cubase as it’s a well rounded suite of production tools, I just can’t get my head around how they could port all that legacy AND make it run at least as well as on Mac/Win.

I really need to try Bitwig on Linux, not a fan of it, but it may change my perception to use a more complete suite of tools in that environment.