Linux Distro for Natron Compositor

I want to build a linux system for Natron since I have heard that it is fast on that operating system. Can someone advise which distro is good or best for Natron. Also which distro has the better installed packages for audio and video editing. Is Centos easy to navigate and operate?

To do vfx compositing in Natron and Modeling in Blender, I can use any advice.


I would start with Ubuntu or Fedora. CentOS will have very out dated packages.

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blasphemy … i think you wanted to say opensuse!

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FWIW: i havent checked how much fun it is to package natron. I am a bit involved with the opensuse blender package.

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You’re still a macOS user? If so I would just keep using that. You will not get any advantages from moving to Linux.

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I am PC at home and Mac at work.

The best distro for Natron is RHEL/CentOS 7 with the Nvidia proprietary driver.

Most newer distros have some kind of issues with Mesa/ (soon to be Wayland)/drivers (including RHEL/CentOS 8) that affects Natron in a negative way.

In general I would not recommend Linux if you don’t have any experience with it.

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where are those issues documented? and when will they be fixed?

I do the same task; I migrated from windows to linux. Blender performs better on linux and is more stable; that was the most important improvement i noticed in my workflow. I tried natron more on linux and I didn’t have any problems at the moment (with the version that is downloaded from the official website). I do simple tasks with natron, i’m learning to use the program; I don’t know if there will be problems with more complex things.

I have KDE neon distro. It is a friendly version for new users in Linux system, has an attractive user interface and has constant maintenance. Also KDE develops several free software, many of which are of very good quality and I also use in my workflow (KdenLive and Krita especially).

@Blackvfx2018 As a Linux user myself (use Manjaro), I agree with rodlie’s assessment. However, I would say that if performance is your literal number one concern, and you are prepared to go to any lengths to get it incredibly fast, then configure your “dream system” like so:

  • You really MUST have Nvidia GPUs (+ drivers) with CUDA and OpenGL installed. You can install both via package manager.
  • Don’t use any desktop environment. GNOME, KDE Plasma, etc. are all going to hog your memory. Instead, install dwm. It is a window manager, and very light on resources
  • Get a render farm, if you can afford one. If not, then always use the command line when running Natron for renders
  • As for audio and video editing, there are distros that make stuff easier to install and use (like KDE neon and Ubuntu, as mentioned) BUT installing everything via package manager using the terminal is probably the best way to cut down on system resources

Again, all of this is with huge caveats:

  • You’ll be spending a lot of time configuring. Installing drivers is a pain assuming you don’t follow the “easy ways”, and you’d practically be needing another screen to just read tons and tons of wiki pages on configuration. Really, I’ve experienced this firsthand.
  • You’ll need to learn the terminal and shell scripting. You don’t need to be great at it, but you have to get used to using those everyday.

In general, I don’t recommend anyone to follow this approach. It took me two weeks to fix a computer crash caused by me messing up my Linux system to try to just do the second step. As others have said, just use your existing system, install necessary drivers, and keep your memory and storage usage in simple ways (closing down apps when doing heavy vfx, routinely deleting trash, etc.)

These issues apply to basically all Linux software that use OpenGL, not just Natron. Here is a link to one of many many examples:

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i am more interested in what things break natron on newer distros and rather fix Natron and/or the stack to keep natron working.

Staying on old distros is not the right way to handle this.

Natron runs fine on any distro more recent than CentOS7, the only issue remaining is with AMDGPU-PRO drivers, which probably have userland libraries that conflict with Natron.

However, we don’t have that hardware, and we don’t have time to debug that specific issue. If a developper has the hardware and the time, we may help debugging it.

The AMD driver is major issue, but is worse.
2021-05-01 12-08-08.mkv (505.8 KB)

Regarding AMDGPU-PRO, I got a card from a friend, but the card was not new enough for the latest driver (latest driver supported is for Ubuntu 18.04), so I have not done anything more with that.