The real-time kernel, first included with Ubuntu Studio 8.04, was modified for intensive audio, video or graphics work. The 8.10 release lacks this real-time kernel. It has been reimplemented in the 9.04 release and stabilized with the release of 9.10. 10.04, in contrast, does not include the real-time kernel by default. As of version 10.10, the real-time kernel is no longer available in the repositories.
Typically, computers used as audio workstations rely on hardware monitoring which may provide low latency, but does not allow the live signal to be manipulated beyond available hardware effects. To manipulate a live signal, software processing of the signal is necessary, which most audio work stations can only achieve with latencies greater than several tens of milliseconds. Thus, a notable advantage of the Linux real-time kernel is being able to achieve software processing with latencies well below the human perception threshold of 5 to 10ms.
The scheduler allows applications to request immediate CPU time, which can drastically reduce audio latency. In 9.10, the "Ubuntu Studio Controls" provided under System>Administration permit the user to "Enable Nice," allowing the use of wireless networking and proprietary graphics cards drivers while maintaining low audio latency free of XRUNs (audio drop-outs) in JACK. A more negative value entered for "Nice" reserves more CPU time for real-time audio processes.
 Appearance and sound theme
Ubuntu Studio also includes custom artwork and a blue-on-black theme, as opposed to Ubuntu's default purple and orange. As with the main distribution of Ubuntu, if an accelerated graphics card and appropriate driver are used, the advanced desktop effects can be enabled. More advanced Compiz effects are available in the Synaptic Package Manager (i.e., Ubuntu repositories). In Karmic 9.10, a fresh sound theme replaces the default Ubuntu theme, with a reverberating melody at startup, and an occasional knock or ping from a button or prompt.
Access to Ubuntu repositories
An important advantage of Ubuntu Studio over most other Linux distributions employing the real-time kernel is access to the same repositories available to the main Ubuntu distributions through the Update Manager, Synaptic Package Manager, as well as through the Add/Remove Applications prompt. This allows for much more frequent operating system updates, and access to a much wider range of software
- PiTiVi - a video editing program (not included in latest release)
- Kino - a non-linear digital video editor
- Stopmotion - a stop-motion animation movie creator
- VLC media player - a media player
- Xjadeo - a simple video player that gets sync from JACK t
- Agave - a color scheme generator
- Blender - a 3D animation program
- Enblend - an image compositing program
- FontForge - a typeface (font) editor program
- GIMP - a raster graphics editor
- Hugin - photo stitching and HDR merging program
- Inkscape - a vector graphics editor
- Scribus - a desktop publishing application
- Synfig - a 2D vector graphics and timeline-based animation program