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Native Instruments products natively on Linux

Yoann Member Posts: 2 Noise

Hello, everybody out there!

Well, it seems the question is asked from time to time, but I guess it is good to show that there are some interest for it.

So, could Native Instrument release some Linux versions of their software—I know, you still can make them run with Wine—and their drivers? It turns out they are using Qt (a pretty good choice IMHO) which is compatible with Linux (it somehow started on it) and their hardware is actually running Linux. There is probably not much to do to have some Linux versions.

By the way, with Flatpak (https://flatpak.org/) you can easily make packages that will run on any distribution. Native Instruments can even create its own server if they want to. In any case, it is possible to sell products for Linux without changing Native Instruments’ business model.

(I didn’t know how to make the suggestion, I hope I have not been too much insistent.)

Best regards.


  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI Administrator Posts: 1,864 admin

    Hi @Yoann unfortunately not sure if that will be a reality any time soon.

    You might be interested in this discussion though: https://community.native-instruments.com/discussion/355/petition-for-linux

  • Yoann
    Yoann Member Posts: 2 Noise

    Thank you for your answer.

    Yes, I have seen this discussion, but it seemed ended to me. Maybe I got it wrong.

    Anyway, my purpose was essentially to signify to Native Instrument that there are probably more people than they think who would like to use their products natively on Linux, and that it is probably not that difficult for them to support this operating system nowadays.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 1,223 Pulse

    I think you will find that those wanting Linux tho enthusiastic and vocal are still very small. There are many that maybe use Linux but will accept that for pro end stuff they kind of need to use a Windows/Mac system.

    While the perception may be "it wouldn't be that hard" it's not just a case of adding support for the software, audio drivers and compatibility with whatever software/DAWs run on Linux, it's the extra layer of customer support, the additional development needed to actually test on the supported versions of Linux. Remember, companies need to have some kind of guarantee it will work on the supported versions of an OS out there.

    While hardware OS often is Linux based it differs greatly from a desktop environment, it is built for purpose and while some plugins may run native in this environment, having all the required drivers, software, daemons and GUI based architecture run on another operating system is a huge task.

    If there was a market I am sure they would investigate but knowing many Linux enthusiasts themselves, these are DIY type people (mostly) and not ones that like to spend a heck of a lot of money (evident in how their distain is voiced for the Micro$oft model)

    I'd love to see Linux support for more software, would make me look more serious at the OS but unlikely to happen.

  • Aaron Mars
    Aaron Mars Member Posts: 1 Noise

    I would gladly repay for all of my NI software to be supported on Linux. And I agree about Flathub being a viable solution for packaging any software, music related or otherwise. It really is the future IMO. 🙌

  • GoaSkin
    GoaSkin Member Posts: 16 Sine

    To offer Linux versions without any financial risk, a company like NI could start an Indiegogo or a Kickstarter project. If enough users prepaid for linux versions after a deadline, the porting work can begin; otherwise the users get back their money.

  • Jon Watte
    Jon Watte Member Posts: 67 Tri

    Some of the software is already ported to Linux, because the Maschine Plus runs Linux.

    That being said, the low-latency ASIO driver infrastructure isn't nearly as rich on Linux as it is on Windows and MacOS. They can get away with doing it on Maschine Plus because they control the hardware and it's a specific driver, but would you really want to take on support of some random PulseAudio/JACK/Systemd mishmash?

  • Monochrome
    Monochrome Member Posts: 443 Saw
    edited October 2022

    Not wanting to port stuff to Linux doesn't necessarily have to do with finances. The question is if it's justified to take that time for a very low user base. At the end of the day, there will be developers who have to: rewrite existing code, testing said code on Linux, find & fix any possible issues that may pop up due to it being a complete different environment, etc. All of this will inevitably take a lot of time, which might be better spend elsewhere instead. Sucks if you're a Linux user, but Windows and macOS are simply the more widely used desktop OS in the creative world.

  • suamor
    suamor Member Posts: 4 Sine

    Since this topic seems to be on a political level by NI let me share my persional biased opinion.

    Background: I'm professional software development engineer (more than 20 years experience) and semi-professional musicial (violin) and try to solely work with Linux platforms (succesfully more than 10 years)

    This year the company Valve released a computer hardware called "Steam Deck". The company offers a free software on all platforms (incl. Linux) as a platform for bying software (up to now games mainly to my knowledge) and being able to run it on these platforms using wine if there is no native support.

    The interesting part is here that they are not only very succesfully selling Linux machines (Steam OS, based on Arch Linux) but also that only few users are switching to Windows from Steam OS on this machine.

    I have developed many years within the Qt companies eco system. Everything is easily portable as long as you do not use unfree third-party software.

    My guess is that NI through the use of such software is creating dependencies on other company / companies that basically taking apart a bit of your freedom in exchange for components that are hard to develop by your own.

    Also it could be hard to impossible to replace these components with others because they do not offer the amount of functionality required by NI software.

    Even so in my experience while it's working for a few years at some point these companies stopping support for their components and you are forced to move on to use other more "modern" components.

    I think it is better to support companies that open up their software to all platforms because users still will buy their products even though the code might be available on a platform likle github.

  • DunedinDragon
    DunedinDragon Member Posts: 111 Tri
    edited November 2022

    I think the disconnect for people that are in software development is whether or not you were in software development for commercial software sold on the open market. The responsibilities and costs involved in almost every aspect of the product development cycle, particularly those that include adopting a new platform for your software, are significantly greater than those in a controlled private development effort because of customer liabilities and and a very broad user base of equipment and operating system versions.

    For example, most of my career was spent in product development for very large commercial software companies. At my final job before retiring we had almost twice as many personnel working in product testing than we had on the actual product development team. These are the kind of impacts and costs that have to be considered when thinking about adopting a new platform and how many customers it will take to make it a profitable venture.

  • spooky buk
    spooky buk Member Posts: 1 Noise
    edited February 6

    My main reason for commenting is supporting the fact that this discussion is pretty much alive in a lot of people's heads and that I am also interested in using Native Instruments products on Linux.

    I'm sorry if I am too ignorant about business, but I do believe "having costs" and "having difficulties" are involved in any commercial endeavor.

    Reaper is a pretty cheap, very capable software with a Linux version. It's all about intent. I'm sure Native Instruments is making enough money. I've actually considered buying some of their stock for the last few weeks.

    "Oh, I'm too clumsy and poor to make demand" is certainly not what people expect to hear from a responsible successful company, so I don't understand why would clients resort to such arguments.

    The Linux market is already here.

    This is not only about "a new market" - new costumers who are attracted to Linux.

    This is about the needs and expectations of current costumers and investors too.

    I've already switched from Pro Tools to Reaper.

  • Mutis
    Mutis Member Posts: 308 Saw
    edited February 7

    It’s pretty alive just on the same heads. It’s like iPad users as me with the difference maybe at Apple ecosystem there’s a true opportunity market but, go figure, NI is waiting Apple for iPadOS improvements (driverkit) to consider re-enter that market (since they had some apps).

    So market study was done somehow and due any reason (probably the technical debt) it’s abandoned or in perpetual stand by.

    Now imagine Linux support. Even with a proper market study has zero clues about interest.

    Linux users believe M+ is that clue but Linux is used mainly by embedded devices being the core underneath but not the aim for apps over it. It could be possible some kind of virtualization or if not, some concessions due lack of those third part someone pointed.

    In the end Linux is used as OS for the embedded board as a part of build standalone hardware but not as bridge for everything being ported into Linux.

    Even considering platforms like elkOS it will require some coding and NI is asked for vst3 by users too (not sure about its state) or clap implementation etc etc… but brands like NI are usually far behind in these innovation terms (as core platform developing) and wait for Qt to implement the tools for these experiments/improvements.

    I’m very biased (to say something) towards how Apple Silicon Transition was going to hit NI and also how difficult will be for NI keep warp speed in all fronts (winx86, macArm and yoctoembed) so, aside slow development, maybe some of these will be drop.

    Since AS was stated as a priority (pointing where the market is) even being an amazing effort by so-hardly-x86-dependent-brand like NI my bet is on M+ and any Linux effort in that way. Recent discussions about “M+ being developed into its final state” could be pointing this same direction. The fact M+ was initially halted by the old NI board to be finally release by the new board (M+ developer) that now is old board due more internal movements* maybe can point also in the same direction “let’s improve it to the maximum and ditch it” (but almost not like JAM, Kontrol S5/D2, Kore2…) as usually NI performs with some products time to time.


    My final recommendation for Linux users is to study deeply the commercial/business side of these histories. It’s not it will give anybody the Gospel Truth but almost could make more complete the whole analisis and what to expect. Linux port could be possible? It will be go back into the beOS/Linux days of Traktor being released including even the laptop… or almost a livecd (pendrive?) distro but even the pendrive version of komplete has been ditched in favour of native access cloudy solution…

  • Monochrome
    Monochrome Member Posts: 443 Saw

    Linux is good for workstations or as a foundation for stuff like M+. As a desktop OS (!), it never played a meaningful role. Numbers don't lie:

    It is what it is: a niche OS. Why should NI take the risk and cater to less than 3%?

  • zeoka
    zeoka Member Posts: 4 Sine
    edited February 8

    If NI goes to Linux i change

    I tried on old PC ( i5 2400 8gb ram , GT1030 ) Bitwig with Audio Damage and U-he plugins in demo modes and generic audio drivers . it works well.

    With the XFCE interface it takes 900 mb of ram at startup .

  • GoaSkin
    GoaSkin Member Posts: 16 Sine

    Nowadays, nearly everyone owns a computer and even if the market share of Linux is 3%, there are millions using Linux on the desktop. For comparison, in the 1980s, the software industry had to support many more operating systems (Amiga, Atari etc.) while computers were much more rare than today. But the software industry supported these platforms instead of ignoring them. And they were also faithful to macOS while the market share of Apple was much smaller than today.

    On the other side, the most modern frameworks for software developments are usable to deploy your applications for different operating systems without needing to change a single line of code. Native Instruments uses QT for many virtual instruments which is very common on linux desktop applications. But they don't even try to use the possibility to deploy linux versions. Same case with Native Access 2; based on the Electron framework which is also advertised to create software for any operating system based on the same source.

    Developing GUI software using the QT framework is my job. In my case it is used for embedded solutions which are mainly integrated in a linux system. We use linux because it is easier to create a customized and minimalistic operating system where the software runs on while hardening and locking down windows or macOS is neither easier, nor senseful.

    But it is absolutely no problem and little effort to create windows and macOS versions if necessary. To complain about the additional workload is absolutely nonsense. I speak from experience.

    Even with the argument that the most workload is required for testing - in reality, most testing is done by users who don't belong to the company. That is the case in beta phases as well as after the final release. For that reason, bugfixes and updates are released which wouldn't be necessary if the software was tested well before publishing.

    In my opinion, Native Instruments should try it out to offer linux versions of some software titles of which the source code could be compiled as a linux version (Massive X for example). And if they don't trust that the software is stable enough, eventually as a public beta which may remain in a beta state. Some other software companies also go this way. This includes Microsoft with the Linux version of the Edge browser.

  • Mutis
    Mutis Member Posts: 308 Saw

    There's an option (light in the end of the tunnel)

    They talk about linux as one of the possible deployments.

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