Jaguar Audio Design launch audiophile Linux OS


Darin Forkenbrock of Jaguar Audio Design has announced the availability of his RTOS v1.0, a Linux operating system for audiophiles.  RealTime audio capability is baked right into the kernel; the processes that control audio playback are given priority over (nearly) all others. In essence: audio activity is not interrupted by non-audio activity. On paper at least this translates to more precise clock timing and lower jitter.

The Jaguar RTOS v1.0 can be installed on Intel-based Macs or PCs or run from a Live DVD (without installation). It is compatible with USB DACs that work with the standard USB 2.0 driver. This means no proprietary driver installation woes. A Linux driver for M2Tech products is also installed.  This Linux OS also supports most SPDIF soundcards.

RTOS v1.0 eschews MPD in favour of JACK with a Rhythmbox interface because “it’s one of just a few Linux players that allows you to quickly filter and click though your library (without resorting to playlists). Linux players are very antiquated compared to Foobar or jRiver, but Rhythmbox has all the important basic functionality.”, says Forkenbrock


“I’m not claiming this will have you rushing to abandon your jRiver or Pure Music setup, but if nothing else it’ll give you some perspective on where state-of-the-art Linux is right now.”, he contonues.

Forkenbrock is also nearing completion of his Jaguar Music Server which features a highly modified Windows 8 OS, v2.0 of the Linux-based RTOS, a SOtM buffered USB card (or Lynx AES16 soundcard) and Audio Magic Pulse Gen ZX and PAE devices.

RTOS v1.0 is available as a FREE download from the Jaguar Audio Design website.  There you’ll also find concise guides on custom Foobar2K configuration and how to best rip CDs with Exact Audio Copy.

Further information: Jaguar Audio Design

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

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  1. This is a development that is well worth watching – perhaps that unused laptop I have has just been given a new lease of life.

    I’ve thought about, but haven’t got round to trying, the Windows 8 Optimisation Script ( ). Intuitively, a PC running only the processes it needs to fulfil audio playback duties, seems the way to go.

    If the weather in Perth WA continues the awful streak we’ve had, I’ll have lots of time to try it out (too many nice beaches here, John).

    Thanks for the great website.


  2. I don’t really get some of this and could use some clarification.

    As far as I know, most modern Linux distros should be able to pipe audio data (bit perfect) to USB Audio Class compliant DACs/devices without issue.

    If your computer is fairly new (any Intel Core iSeries system purchased within the last 5 or 6 yrs) then you shouldn’t even need a real-time kernel for this, as the ‘standard’ kernel works well enough. Atom powered netbooks or RaspberryPi type boards might be a different story, though.

    Also, MPD has the ability to stream audio data directly to an external device, bypassing ALSA entirely, even in 24 bit since it’s had S24_3LE support built in for a while now. I find using MPD more useful since I use the DAC/Amp exclusively for music and rely on the ‘regular’ sound server (ALSA or OSS) for system sounds, movies, flash or basically any other program that isn’t mpd.

    As someone who relies on MPD (and ncmpcpp as a front-end) I can’t see why RhythmBox would be a more appealing alternative, since (as far as I know) it still requires a system sound server like ALSA or Pulseaudio.

    • Nevermind, John.
      I got some answers from Darin himself. It seems he and I have differing opinions on how jitter is handled/affected, but other than that it was an enlightening conversation.