Tech Blog - Ubuntu 12.04: Upgrade your realtime kernel for music making

Sometimes, good is just not good enough.

In terms of linux, this would mean the kernel.

I was trying to solve a hardware problem, and one of the many attempts was to upgrade my kernel from 3.2 (standard for Ubuntu 12.0) to 3.4. It didn’t solve my problem, because nobody had fixed the bug yet, even in 3.6. But I liked my self-compiled 3.4 realtime kernel so much I decided to keep it.

A little background, if you are going to do serious music making under linux, a realtime kernel is the way to go. It lets you do things live, that are otherwise only possible pre-recorded. Live linux music works especially well if you are using the amazing SuperCollider realtime music programming language. I have been using Alessio Bogani’s kernel PPA, which worked a charm. For my hardware tinkering I rolled my own as well, which was surprisingly easy thanks to the instructions by pablomme on AskUbuntu. But to make it even easier, if you like, I have made available AMD64 deb packages.

Source code: the 3.4.29 kernel with the rt patch applied.

Compiled packages:

Kernel 2.4.29 AMD-64 for Ubuntu 12.04 linux-image-3.4.29-rt41_0_amd64

Headers 2.4.29 AMD-64 for Ubuntu 12.04 linux-headers-3.4.29-rt41_0_amd64

Wally in the comments kindly pointed out Alessio’s PPA is no longer available for Precise. Just checked my apt/cache folder and it has the kernel, but no headers. Sorry!


  • How do you set up apt to use Alessio’s PPA? I am having trouble with this part.

    By wally, February 15, 2013 – 8:38 pm
  • Hi Wally, nice to have you here! Good point, I think he very recently took them down. Just checked my cache folder if I have them but I guess they’re gone…

    By carlo, February 16, 2013 – 8:37 am
  • hello,
    thank you. you saved me a lot of time time.
    now am using for my project.

    I have a question though.I checked the kernel using methods from

    #ps ax // I was expecting to show me IRQ as kernel threads
    result: it did not

    I patched real-time kernels before, from my experience the number of real time process (FF) is greater than TS, but i see here the opposite.
    #ps -eo pid,class


    thank you.

    By nesredin, August 12, 2013 – 8:02 am

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