I have not had much success with Ubuntu in regards to using Midi and music applications. The problem that I have come up with is that Ubuntu is too big, quirky, and does not easily work right out of the box. I noticed a lot of background noise using speakers and Internet. By all means, I am not an expert. So, I went and looked for alternative OS system and found one that I liked. Check it out.
It is called AV Linux 4, http://www.bandshed.net/AVLinux.html. It is based on Debian Squeeze/Lenny. You can download the Live DVD image to check it out. What I like:
1. works with M-Audio midi connection to keyboard directly from USB port
2. all programs work out of the box
3. uses LXDE desktop, fast, light, using very little resources, no frills, just music baby
4. network connection easy, fast, wireless no problem.
5. no network noise; by default is off; will not interfere; a piece of cake to enable, 2 clicks
6. Jack server already enabled
7. Has virtually all the Linux primary proven software installed for graphics, audio, and video editing (too many to be listed)
8. Oh, runs a customized i686 22.214.171.124-rt21 Linux Kernel that features "realtime" preemption optimized to run on systems that are able to run up to 64GB of RAM
I have tried using Ubuntu, but it seems a bit too complicated and fussy. If your system has light resources, Ubuntu drags upon all the resources and is slow. So, even if you have a monster computer that runs Ubuntu just fine. Just think how a snappy, lightweight, powerful, OS would run on that monster.
I'm just curious about the opinion of someone with experience, because if I need to support a teacher using Linux for music, I'd rather do it in Ubuntu, which is what I know.
So if Ubuntu Studio solves your issues, it would be great.
To answer your question directly, check out Ardour. If you have been doing this awhile, you probably know about this application already. It will most likely work with M-Audio stations.
Another thought, if you are interested in using music composition software native to Windows (ug!), you can. I have very recently just started to experiment with this. Using AV Linux 4, I downloaded and installed Virtual Box. I installed Windows XP and installed Finale; so far so good. The issue is time. I am a fifth grade teacher and have really been finding it difficult to experiment lately, especially now, report cards. 8-)
This is what I am thinking the issue is, your computer might have an issue with the live kernel, maybe your sound card. The computer that I am working with is a Dell Gx270, a small compact desktop with no frills. I tried installing AV Linux on another computer that I thought would be a monster. It had plenty of RAM, a PIV processor at 3GHz. It didn't work on this computer. Ubuntu Studio which also has the live kernel did not work on this same computer. I tried Ubuntu Studio on the small Dell. Upon the first boot, all worked well, although a bit slow. Desktop graphics were fabulous and I thought that I would put up with a little drag in the action. However, the next time I booted up, Ubuntu would not start and if you are like me, after trying to debug a system I don't feel like creating music anymore. That is why I tried something different choosing AV 4 Linux, based on Debian "la familia mismo" the same family lineage of Ubuntu.
In system tools try using Realtime Configuration scan to check audio latency and maybe receive useful solutions.
I did end up trying UbuntuStudio; the sound works and the m-audio keyboard worked with the LMMS appliction (which is pretty cool all by itself).
This is not a diss to AV Linux, which also looks cool; it should be stated that know little to nothing about MIDI which I'm sure is more the reason I did not get AV Linux working. Fortunately UbuntuStudio worked, but I think I learned something about the application JACK in the interim which may have been what made it work, but I'm not sure; as I did not do a proper scientific test (time is limited (as with all teachers)).
I still can only get the m-audio to produce organ sounds, but that is most likely that I do not know how to properly operate LMMS yet;
Conclusion; AV Linux good; UbuntuStudio good; me not so good; fortunately the system, modest, is good enough to run UbuntuStudio. System: 2.8GHz single core pentium, 1GB RAM.
More experimentation is needed on my part; I will post any successes or failures in the future;
LMMS is amazing, and we install it across our school, since it has a Windows version.
I'm shocked it's not better known.
Unfortunately it doesn't get used as much as I would like, but it's due to time, of course. Music teachers have a heavy workload as everyone else, and we all stick to what we already know.