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I am considering Elementary OS for digital audio production because I love Pantheon DE so much.

This is not the same question as An 'out-of-the-box' working DAW for music production, as it doesn't deal with baseline OS configuration but dynamic OS configuration for audio worksessions. In essence, the ability to quickly and easily switch back and forth between performance states appropriate for different work contexts.

I am wondering if anyone has heard of a tool that can dynamically pause/unpause non-essential background processes that may hog CPU cycles, without having to completely kill and reload them. It's ok that they're in memory, I just don't want them competing with low latency audio streams and messing up my latency performance during audio work.

Example processes: system updates, email, calendar, search indexing, networking (yes this one is easy to pause individually), some system alarms and timers (such as autosuspend and blank screen), backup schedulers, etc.

The idea would be to temporarily take a complex DE like Elementary or Gnome and temporarily take it down to more bare-metal and have it behave more like a very simple and light-weight window manager with respect to demands on CPU (not necessarily memory usage).

I am looking for something like "Do Not Disturb" but rather than just blocking notifications, it reaches deeper into the subsystem and pauses, suspends or lowers the priority of all non-essential background processes. The idea is basically to put the desktop into a "DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) mode" with as few steps as possible.

Ideally, this tool would also include a way to

  1. disable cpu frequency scaling or set the computer and other components into "performance" power mode,
  2. set a target CPU frequency based on user DSP needs (ref: https://github.com/pop-os/system76-power/issues/158) and even
  3. dynamically disable symmetric multi-threading (SMT; turn off the virtual cores) as it can introduce latency.
  4. Save all the above settings in "scenes" that are fairly quick and easy to recall and toggle between.

So the underlying idea is to configure a "DAW mode" only once, and then have the ability to quickly enable it with a single toggle switch and disable it to return back to full Pantheon, cpu frequency scaling and power efficiency, etc.

The idea isn't to have this tool be a one-stop-shop for audio config. The baseline OS tweaking is fairly easy and increasingly automated. But rather a tool that allows users to switch back and forth between performance parameters optimized for different conditions.

This would bring Elementary OS one step closer to competing with Mac OS for out of the box low latency performance as well as keeping the OS compatible and optimized for general desktop workstation use. It might even offer some significant advantages, as Mac OS X users have to do much of the above manually, which means they typically just turn things off permanently. EG file indexing is great, until it disrupts a critical recording worksession and damages the recording. But permanently disabling indexing is a bit heavy-handed in the opposite direction.

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