Often times we want a superior workstation that will fulfill all our usual desktop needs along with the ability to do advanced design, development, recording, manipulation, and processing for our most complicated tasks.  When working with very heavy loads windows often falls flat on its face and makes you regret spending the time and effort on the project.  Mac's Always handle these situations better and suit most needs, however when used for development you have to fight for control, and design projects are strictly restricted to mac formats and capabilities.  This is why if you want complete desktop freedom with superior abilities you are going to use Ubuntu.  Not only is Ubuntu Great because it can and will let you do anything and everything with relative ease, but it also costs nothing... at all, and you can always virtualize your old windows or Mac environment within Ubuntu with ease due to its small memory footprint.

Start Building the Ultimate Ubuntu Studio Workstation

This is meant to be done on a decent desktop unit, although a laptop is great portable fun as well.  

*Please Note: This is based off Ubuntu Studio 10.04, The new release of Ubuntu 12.04 brings many new features that I am sure will mean revising these Directions.  I will Update these directions for Ubuntu 12.04 when I have worked out all the changes fully.

1. Get Your Ubuntu Image:

I always Suggest you stick with the LTS from Ubuntu unless you are a developer who wants cutting edge features that haven't been mastered yet.
The LTS is a very Stable and Safe system for your workstation environment.

2. Install Ubuntu on your Machine:

Configure your Partitions As Desired (you can install along side your current OS)

Complete Install, Giving Hostname, Domain, and User Account Information as needed.

Reboot your Machine.

3. Install Third Party Drivers:

Open System->Administration->Hardware Drivers  and activate or install any needed third party drivers for your Machine.

If you want the most recent stable release of NVIDIA Drivers add the following ppa to your software sources:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current


4. Configure Displays:

Configure your Displays as Desired Using third party software or built in ubuntu monitor settings.

Reboot if needed

5. Install Available Updates:

Open System->Administration->Update Manager  and install all available updates

Reboot Suggested

6. Install Additional Packages:

Open System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager  and install the following Packages:

ubuntu-studio | all theme and application packages

winbind | NT-4 Domain/A.D.

pysdm | storage device manager 
Cairo Dock
blender | get Latest release by adding ppa to software sources: ppa:cheleb/blender-svn
ffmpeg | get the *actual* FFmpeg, from ffmpeg.org by adding ppa to software sources: ppa:jon-severinsson/ffmpeg

Banshee | get ppa from banshee site for latest release


7. Configure Your new Programs:

Cairo Dock is a nice launcher to replace the lower panel if you want something more shiny to play with:
Open Applications->Accessories->GLX-Dock  Configure to run at startup and customize to your liking

Compiz is your window manager making everything act the way you want on screen:
Open System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager  Configure the "feel" of your desktop experience

The Look of your system can be adjusted by the Appearance Manager:
Open System->Preferences->Appearance

8. Enjoy! 

Your Ubuntu Studio Workstation Is Complete!  you may have to add a few things here or there but the basics should all be there waiting for you.