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At System76, we empower the world’s curious and capable makers of tomorrow with custom Linux computers.
Updated: 1 week 6 days ago

In our everyday lives, we have the means to fix many of the tools we use on a daily basis. Even...

Friday 26th of March 2021 01:53:27 PM

In our everyday lives, we have the means to fix many of the tools we use on a daily basis. Even though many still choose to hire professionals, taking apart your blender, bike, or even your car takes only some simple tools and curiosity to find out how things work. When it comes to consumer electronics, however, the landscape is very different. Here at System76, we believe the right to repair your computer should be the same as the right to repair anything elsesadly, many of our representatives in government don’t feel the same way.

Yesterday, the state of Colorado held a hearing on Right to Repair legislation, known as the Consumer Digital Repair Bill of Rights (HB21-1199). According to the Colorado General Assembly, the bill would require electronics manufacturers to provide people with the resources needed to repair their equipment. This includes, “parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation, such as diagnostic, maintenance, or repair manuals, diagrams, or similar information.” As part of this effort, System76 Founder/CEO Carl Richell and Principal Engineer Jeremy Soller traveled to the Capitol to speak in support of this legislation.

System76’s stance as a pro-Right-to-Repair company goes all the way to the top. Open source technology has been the company mission since its inception, and the right to repair is no different. “To produce open source hardware means that we have developed and shared the recipe to create a high-end commercial product that can be learned from, adapted, and used by anyone else,” Carl said in a previous interview on our blog. “Everything about that product is owned by the user just as much as it’s owned by us.”

You can listen to Carl’s testimony here:

Transcript:

Thank you for holding this meeting and considering the Consumer Digital Repair Bill of Rights legislation. I’m Carl Richell, CEO and Founder of System76. We’re a 15 year old computer manufacture in your backyard. A few years ago we built a factory at 70 and Peoria. Our computer factory is one of only two in the United States. We ship most of our products to over 60 countries.When we ship a computer to a customer, they own it. They can open it and examine the components. They can observe the way the computer is designed. They can buy replacement parts. They can fix it themselves. They can break it. It’s their property.Not allowing someone to fix their property, means it’s not their property.Imagine if we were talking about cars. You get a flat tire and Ford tells you to stop. You’re not allowed to change that tire. I know you can’t get anywhere but you have to send that in to us to get going again. Electronics are no different. They don’t move when they break. Those that oppose right to repair would like you to think computers are incredibly complex things. They’re not. And the more people that are allowed to repair their own devices, the more people will understand that. That’s good for all of us because there is no more powerful tool than the computer.I was 25 when I founded System76. We’re now a successful company, but we started with nothing. I didn’t have much to put in except hard work. On a road trip at the time, the head-gaskets in my car blew and I didn’t have the money for a mechanic. I bought parts and fixed my engine with my father in law. I learned a lot about how engines work in the process.When I was younger than that, I took apart and built computers. Frankly, I took apart everything. Sometimes, I got it back together. Regardless of whether it worked afterward or not, I learned a lot in the process. That education through curious tinkering gave me the passion for computers and technology that I have today.I fear for a future locked behind security screws. What next small business like System76 won’t happen because we don’t allow people to learn about the products they own? Maybe that’s why massive corporations oppose this bill. They don’t want another System76.Thank you for taking the time to listen. I urge you to support and pass the Consumer Digital Repair Bill of Rights.

The right to repair has been advocated for as a means of consumer freedom, but Jeremy is bringing a new argument to the table. “American companies can not only still profit in a Right to Repair environment, they can even profit more. We are looking forward to this legislation so that we can leverage our upstream providers to provide even more details about the products that we sell.”

After acquiring hardware schematics for components such as motherboards and embedded controllers, Jeremy was able to write coreboot-based open source firmware and EC firmware for System76 laptops. As a result, we were free to innovate and engineer a better product for our customers.

You can listen to Jeremy’s testimony here:

Transcript:

Hello committee members,My name is Jeremy Soller. I am the Principal Engineer at System76—a Denver, Colorado based computer company. We are FOR the Consumer Digital Repair Bill Of Rights.I want to provide a unique perspective, as someone working in the computer industry in Colorado. Our company is based in Denver, Colorado, and has been in business for 15 years. We employ over 50 people in Colorado. We operate a manufacturing facility in Denver, Colorado, manufacturing desktop computers.For the lifespan of our company, we have always been on the side of our customers. We have negotiated with component vendors to ensure customer access to parts and information. We have developed many of our products with independent repairs in mind. And I am here to tell you that the Right to Repair will help our Colorado based company grow, in both revenue and employees.This bill ensures that we can continue to negotiate with our component vendors on behalf of our customers, and gives us leverage to provide the customer with better products.This bill ensures that our customers continue to have access to the tools they need to repair our valuable products instead of throwing them away.Finally, this bill ensures that our competitors are operating on a level playing field — that consumers are treated fairly and that competition is encouraged in our marketplace.Please feel free to ask me any questions you have.

For Colorado!

Though Right to Repair legislation has so far been an uphill battle, Jeremy is certain that all it takes is one. “The first state that passes a Right to Repair act will completely change this industry,” he said in a recent interview. “Any American state would be too big for these overseas suppliers to ignore.”

Right now, if somebody wanted to open a Right to Repair-oriented company they may not even be able to, because they can’t get ahold of schematics for essential components. Passing this bill would create these opportunities, and create jobs for Coloradans.

Colorado has an opportunity to become an ethics-forward Silicon Valley that attracts the country’s brightest minds to work here. If you’re a Colorado resident and want to get involved, we highly encourage you to contact your local representatives and ask them to approve this legislation to help empower the Open Source revolution.

Things We Love About the New Thelio Mira

Thursday 11th of March 2021 04:28:11 PM

Today, we introduce you to the newest addition to our Thelio desktop line: Thelio Mira. Our in-house engineers have been hard at work creating this pro solution for you, so without further ado, let’s get into the things we love about our new desktop:

A Chimera of Size and Performance

One day, we wondered, “What if expanded Thelio to support more memory and more powerful GPUs?” Our in-house science team quickly got to work, splicing the compact genes of Thelio and the performant genes of Thelio Major. Then they removed the extra limbs, and presto! Thelio Mira was born. This happy little test tube baby is configurable with 4th Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs, PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, and up to 128GB of RAM.

A Tale of Two GPUs

Thelio Mira can house two of the largest, most powerful GPUs on the market, like the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000. Legend has it that when these two components are brought together, humanity will accelerate past its archaic technology towards an enlightened future. Double your multitasking capabilities, rendering resources, and CUDA cores to provide the might your project deserves. It also deserves a large cookie. We don’t sell those, though.


A Terraformed Interior Climate

Thelio Mira is thermally engineered to prevent throttling and allow your pro-grade components to perform to their maximum potential. To account for the accumulating heat generated by these components, we’ve taken advantage of the jet streams to draw cool air through the bottom of the chassis and expunge hot air out through a CPU duct. Meanwhile, liquid in copper pipes absorbs heat from the CPU and carries it into the heat sink as a gas, where it’s cooled back into a liquid. Our in-house meteorologists predict sunny days and strong winds, resulting in a perfect temperate day for your system.

A Gentle Whisper

What’s it saying? If you listen closely, you’ll hear your system pledge to keep things quiet while the fans are running. More importantly, you’ll hear yourself on video calls, as well as your cat’s many pleas for a gourmet salmon dinner. Maybe tomorrow, Coriander.


A Humble Origin

Thelio Mira is born from a single sheet of aluminum that’s then cut, bent, powder-coated, and dipped in a soothing acid, all at our manufacturing facility in Denver. The chassis is then etched with elegant design and topped off with a veneer of real wood, adding character to your office. Legally, we may or may not be required to say that this character absolutely 100% will not be Mickey Mouse.

Handcrafting computers in-house also means better support for YOU, noble citizen. Our team of real humans is here to ensure you enjoy the best product experience possible. Unlike those other guys, who rely on a team of real desk-birds-who-dip-faces-in-water to peck at the problem to no avail.

And that’s the list! Head to our website to learn more about all the things to love about Thelio Mira. Our team would love to hear about what you’ll be using it for!

The Innovation Lab: A Space for Creative Learning

Thursday 25th of February 2021 03:46:39 PM

Luis Hernandez is in the process of organizing the completion of an Innovation Lab for Vista Global Academies in Santa Ana. This week, we sat down with him to find out more about the project, why he chose to use System76 machines, and what benefits he hopes to see for his students.

What do you aim to accomplish with the Innovation Lab?

Originally when we decided to dedicate a building for our students to have a workspace, we wanted to move away from having a traditional maker space. We started on something different called the Innovation Lab where students are encouraged to experiment, whether it’s with technology or not. The idea is to create a welcoming space where students can relax, read books, and have hands-on access to different types of tools such as soldering irons, 3-D printers, and Raspberry Pis.

The reason why we use System76 to power all the computers in the space is because I’m a big supporter of Linux in general, and System76 has been really consistent and helpful. I think the openness of System76 definitely gives the students the ability to experiment and the freedom to break stuff in a creative environment, without being too constrained by proprietary software.

Have you experimented with Linux in the past?

Growing up, software wasn’t readily available to me as a teenager, so Linux was kind of the go-to for me. I was getting into Ubuntu when I first started, but then I moved to Debian and more advanced operating systems for other purposes. Linux has always been accessible and easy for me to use.

System76 came to my attention through a colleague of mine when I mentioned to them that I wanted a device that just worked with Linux. Nothing that I had to hack myself to try to define the kernel or anything like that, just something that works out of the box. There were a few options, but I was told about System76 and I figured why not, let’s give it a try.

The first time there were a few bumps in the road because I wasn’t as familiar with the hardware for that specific device, but as I got more hands-on with it, it became something that I became more interested in. Since then it’s the only company that I buy hardware from, unless I’m told to use something by work. But for personal use, unless I’m building a custom rig, it’s usually a System76 device that I use for any web development, programming, or experimentation I want to do.

Which machines are you looking at for the lab?

We’ve already purchased 10 Lemur Pros for mobility so that when students don’t want to be tied down to one spot, they can freely work from anywhere in the Innovation Lab. We also have a Thelio Major, and we are going to look at getting more Thelios as well for our esports component. We want to house a little area for kids to do esports on open source software utilizing Steam.

Emma has been your point of contact for organizing this with System76. How did you first meet?

Emma: We met at a SCaLE conference. They had a coding competition with his kids over there, so we let them use the laptops we had with us. We sponsored them with participation prizes and gave them laptop bags for the winners.

Luis: And because of that, I’ve actually had several adults and students say that using those devices at the CTF Security Competition for SCaLE, and even just learning more about the company, they’ve actually bought System76 devices for themselves.

What would you like to see from students at the lab?

Pretty much whatever the students can come up with. They’ll have guidance in learning how to use the different tools and technologies that are there, but we just want to give them the foundational knowledge to be able to use these devices. I would really like to use System76 devices and just Linux in general for esports because I think the more people who use open source for gaming, the more companies are going to start seeing that there’s a huge need for it. Obviously we know that gaming is usually accredited to proprietary hardware and software, but the more schools that have access to esports, whether it’s Rocket League or just through Steam in general, the more companies are going to have to start seeing that there is a community desire and they need to start supporting it more.

Have you seen a lot of interest from students so far?

Definitely, because we service a lower income area. We’re a Title I school, so I know that a lot of students would never imagine having access to these technologies. In addition to the Innovation Lab, we also have a recording studio that’s fully furnished and equipped as of right now. We’ve also created a TV studio, so students are now being given access to not only the technology but also access to potential career pathways and new ideas that they’ve probably never seen themselves either in or using. They have been very, very excited. We’ve actually had a lot of students asking me specifically when the lab will be ready so that they can be “guinea pigs,” because they want to just get in there. Similar to the recording studio, like we already have a few students saying that they want to create beats and record songs.

These students have probably never imagined themselves ever going to a school that would have all of these things, especially in Santa Ana. Because of the area we’re in, many schools probably don’t prioritize these kinds of rooms and access, since they have other priorities. It’s understandable. But we believe that as a school it’s not just about focusing on academics. While that’s a hugely important part, we also want to focus on having these kids understand that there’s something beyond middle school and high school—and that’s having a career. So by providing these resources and opportunities, students are able to actually start looking into their future while they’re still in middle school while gaining those long-lasting skills that they’ll need.

How do you think your career path would’ve changed had you had access to these resources when you were a student?

I really enjoy what I do, but having some of the programs that I teach them when I was in school—like the CyberPatriot program, which teaches them all about cybersecurity—I think definitely would’ve put me on a different path. That would’ve made me say, “Yeah, I want to go work at a company that does that.” The fact that we’re providing these opportunities gives them that exposure, and I think that’s the most important thing is showing them there’s a bigger world out there.

Is there a timeline for when the lab will become active?

As of right now we’re still doing renovations to the building. They just put in the flooring, so the walls are completely blank right now. We’re told that the building will be handed over to us by April 1st, but we might start furnishing some of the rooms before then because we want to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our grand opening around mid-April. But right now it’s just a skeleton.

If all goes well at this particular location, are you planning to open up the Innovation Lab to other schools in the area?

We are looking into that. This is going to be our first time investing this much effort and money into just one room as it is. So this will definitely be the pilot, and if we see a huge success with it and we see students being engaged with it, it will definitely be something we look at as we expand. The organization’s idea is to expand not only in these two cities but in other locations as well.

Behind the Scenes of System76: Sales Team

Thursday 18th of February 2021 05:11:51 PM

The System76 Behind the Scenes series aims to give readers an inside look at the people behind our mission. This week, we spoke with VP of Sales Sam Mondlick about the challenges of conducting business during a pandemic, and how long it’ll take the Sales Team to make a certain blog author a millionaire.

You know. The important things.

Take a moment to describe the different functions of the Sales Team.

The Sales Team itself is currently made up of two different positions. The Customer Experience Specialist (CES) is the first line of conversation with System76 with regards to anything order-related. Their job is to make your process from purchase to shipment as easy as possible and provide you with as much information as you might need, such as giving status updates about orders or answering questions that may have arisen.

The other position within Sales is Account Management. They’re the people you talk to from first inquiry to System76 about products. These guys help anyone, from my 80-year-old grandma who’s looking to transition from Windows to Linux, to Fortune 50 companies. They deal with a wide variety of customer base, so they’re pretty much experts in getting the customer what they need.

Then there’s the Product Management side of Sales. The Product Manager stays up to date on all-new technology, and then informs and directs the team. The position was built to ensure System76 is at the forefront of new and exciting technologies, whether that’s within the Thelio product line or in the form of updates that come to our laptops. And that could be as simple as tracking memory updates from DDR4 to DDR5, or with PCIe 3.0 updating to PCIe 4.0. For things like that we’ll track and update products throughout their lifetime.

What is the guiding principle for how the System76 Sales Team operates?

The Sales Team philosophy we push is what I call, “Consultative Sales.” We’re here to be an assistant to the user in order to get them the right product for the job; we’re not going to upgrade you for the sake of upgrading. The team is there to understand what you want to accomplish so that they can get you the right machine with the optimal performance for your use case.

What factors into the decision to introduce a new product?

There’s quite a few factors internally that we’ll go through. Looking at our product line we ask ourselves, is there something that’s missing from it? And if we do find something, what are the benefits to it? How is it going to make us as a company better, and us as a provider of Linux-based technologies the right fit for our customers?

For the Lemur Pro, battery life had always been a high-value item for our customer base. Before the Lemur Pro and Darter Pro were introduced about 2 years ago, the average battery life on a System76 computer was about 3-5 hours. The ability to introduce a product with a higher battery wattage allowed us to extend battery life almost threefold. That value is really what drives a product forward. 

What is your team’s background with Linux?

A lot of the team members have a background in Linux as users. That’s what we tend to typically hire and bring on. They are apt in review and understanding, and helping customers that have specific tasks and needs within the Linux environment. Charles was using Raspberry Pis in order to do some cool things, and Bradley used Ubuntu even before he was hired. The same can be said for Jeremy and John. They all believe that Linux is the right tool for people, and they showcase that for incoming customers. Even if they’re not tech-savvy within Linux, there’s a background there with using it and seeing it in the wild.

What challenges did the pandemic present when it first started?

I think at the very beginning, the biggest challenge for us was the loss of the team camaraderie. A lot of Sales is personal relationships, and the team feeds off of each other, so having everyone in the same area was a huge benefit pre-pandemic.

In the first month or so after it started, there were definitely challenges with productivity and communication because Sales works a lot with Engineering, Support, and other departments in order to give the customers the information they need to make an educated decision, or to update them on the status of their order.

But, I think one of the best tools we have is our employee messaging client. That was already ingrained in us as something that was used pre-pandemic that really started to show its value post-pandemic, especially with the team members being in different homes—and in some cases, different states. It allowed us to provide our staff with as much as they needed to make their environment feel like they were still in an office, still able to get the camaraderie, and still able to get almost the same instantaneous response as they would in the office, but now done remote.

Our ability to put tech first, especially within Sales and Service, is one of the things we do really well. We never throw people at a problem. By that I mean we don’t delegate a problem up the chain to solve it. Instead we work for a solution, and our people evolve into that solution. From my viewpoint, we’ve established that a remote environment is as productive as an in-person environment, which has opened up the door for System76 to grow. Instead of working within a local pool, we’ve now moved to the ocean. Whereas you used to have to hire and work to provide resources for new hires to move to Denver so they can work with the team, now we can bring on team members from pretty much anywhere on the globe to come help make System76 better. 

System76 has seen steady growth in the past year despite drastic political and economic changes. What do you attribute the success to?

I think we’ve matured as an organization. We have introduced products and product lines that are meeting and exceeding a lot of different customer requirements. When I look at our desktop line from when I started seven years ago, our options were the Ratel, the Wild Dog, the Leopard, and the Sable. With production moving in-house and the introduction of Thelio in the last two and a half years, keeping in mind both Intel and AMD, we’ve gone from offering a four-desktop solution to nine.

Laptop and desktop quality has also increased in the last seven years, and a lot of that has to do with what we’ve done in our new manufacturing facility. We have made leaps and bounds with regards to what we’re doing with software engineering now. There’s a huge demand for what our Software Engineering Team has done, driven by Jeremy and our open firmware/open EC that speak to a lot of people. Companies are looking at an open source solution instead of proprietary because they want more control over what their team and their organization are doing.

One of the things we’ve noticed is that our business clients have grown. There’s significantly more support and drive from both the end user and the corporate side to make it so Linux is a valued and desired solution for their teams. Today, I can probably put a Windows 10 machine next to my Pop!_OS 20.10 machine and accomplish everything in the same amount of time or faster. Maybe I’m not using the same applications, but anything I as a businessperson could do within Windows, I can now do with Pop!_OS or Ubuntu. The Linux ecosystem is continuously changing, and that only helps us as a company.

You’ve been at System76 for quite a while. What’s it been like watching the company grow?

It’s amazing. When I started at the company, I was really the first Sales-oriented person. I was the 8th employee at the time, and now I’m the 5th-oldest employee of System76 out of over 50 employees. So it’s huge, man.

When you look at a lot of big corporations, change is hard to make happen. It’s looked at as too different, too risky. But here, change is really something we strive for. We work to be different, to be new, to figure out new ways to help our customers or create solutions to help them, or figure out ways that can change us for the better that you just typically wouldn’t see from a corporation.

What was your favorite moment?

When I first looked at System76, back when we were only offering Ubuntu, I saw the beginning of something very similar to another major player. Very grassroots, very much specialized and hardware-specific. They also created their own operating system, so when I interviewed in 2014, I made comments during my interview with Carl that I expected us to probably produce our own operating system as well. I thought that would be our endgame as a company. At that time, and Carl might contradict my memory on this, but I remember he didn’t think that would ever happen. And then in October 2017, we released the first version of Pop!_OS. That made everything come kind of full-circle for me.

The following year, we brought hardware inside in order to make it the best that we could. So in three short years from me starting, we took what we were doing and elevating it to something that only a handful of companies do, and do well. Our potential is really limitless from what I’ve seen so far, and it’s very apparent with what we’ve done with Pop!_OS since its release, as well as where we’ve taken Thelio. I bet you we never thought we would’ve implemented something like i3 tiling into Pop!_OS. I really goes back to how we view change. We embrace it. We see it as trying to do something better than we did before. Carl and the Engineering Team view software as always being about revision, and we bring that philosophy back to hardware and back to the company as a whole.

Coming 02/11 to our Website: Two-Factor Authentication, Argon2 Hashing

Tuesday 9th of February 2021 04:11:00 PM

At System76, we pride ourselves on making computers by nerds, for nerds. Our dedicated group of engineers work hard to create the best solutions for like-minded professionals, including on our website.

Today, we’re happy to announce new security updates for all system76.com accounts in the form of Recognizer, our open source authenticator service. The most notable changes this tool brings are the introduction of two-factor authentication and an upgrade in password hashing to further protect your login credentials. These updates, releasing this Thursday (February 11th 2021), will substantially increase security and make our site more flexible as we grow. Once the update is released, all users will be required to reset their password.


Two-Factor Authentication

Setting up two-factor authentication protects your account in the event that someone gets ahold of your login credentials. Beginning Thursday, February 11th, you can turn on 2FA by signing in to your system76.com account. From there, go to the Account Details page, where you’ll find the Two-Factor Authentication section. Follow the instructions to link your account with your third-party authentication app, such as Google Authenticator or 1Password.

Under the hood, System76 uses the Erlang ‘pot’ library, which generates RFC 6238 time based one-time tokens compatible with these third-party apps. Our authentication system also uses OAuth2.0 and JSON Web Token (JWT), two secure industry standards for authorization flows and communication between systems. The use of OAuth2.0 opens up the door for the potential to sign in with a third party, or even Pop!_OS, using a “Log In with System76” button; though for now, it’s only being used with System76 projects.


Password Hashing

Another piece within Recognizer is the migration to Argon2 password hashing. In addition to sounding delicious, password hashing is a secure way to store passwords for when you want to access your account at login. Passwords are transformed into a long string of characters that cannot be converted back to your actual password. A “salt” is added for further security, which adds a random set of characters to your password hash. This ensures your password is linked solely to your account, even in the event that another account uses the same password as you. Lastly, we increased our password requirements to include a minimum character length, special characters, capital letters, and numbers.

While your passwords have always been stored safely, we’re taking this opportunity to move to a newer and stronger algorithm. We chose Argon2 for its modern hashing technique and resilience to new attack methods. It also has a standard format for storing the hash, salt, and parameters as a single string, making it easy to change hashing options in the future without having to force a password reset. However, because existing passwords are currently hashed using an alternative algorithm, all existing users will need to reset their passwords to migrate their accounts over to this new algorithm on Thursday, February 11th.


Open Source Security Measures

System76 has always led by example with open source solutions. So far, we’ve open sourced our Protobuf messages, our notification microservice, and our Zendesk integration. The newest addition, Recognizer, is written in Elixir, styled in Bulma, and released under a GPLv3 license.

Open source tools have the advantage of being audited by independent developers, resulting in a stronger solution. By open sourcing security, companies can provide the most secure experience for their users and better address any vulnerabilities that may arise.

The System76 Guide to Gaming on Pop!_OS

Thursday 28th of January 2021 04:12:47 PM

Over the years, Microsoft Windows has had a lock on gaming. Most PC games are developed with Windows in mind. For Linux—and Linux distributions like Pop!_OS—this complicated matters. However, thanks to contributions from developers and engineers across the Linux community, gaming on Linux is now easier than ever. Read on for a fundamental guide on how to get the best gaming experience on Pop!_OS.

What is Proton?

Developed by Valve Software, Proton works through Steam Play to take games developed for Windows and translate their code into a language that’s compatible with Linux. To do this, it uses tools like DirectX Vulkan that would normally have to be installed and maintained by each user. Built from a fork of WINE, Proton translates Windows commands into code compatible with Linux systems, allowing games to launch and run smoothly. The end result for Linux users is the desired outcome: Buy the game, install it, and press play.

Of course, adding support for each and every game in Steam’s hefty library will take time. Valve’s team prioritizes making newer games compatible over older titles. If you’re wondering how well your game works on Linux, ProtonDB is an essential source of information. There, you’ll find tens of thousands of games rated by gamers. The ratings are as follows:

  • Native (developed for Linux)
  • Platinum (Runs perfectly out of the box)
  • Gold (Runs perfectly after tweaks)
  • Silver (Runs with minor issues, but is generally playable)
  • Bronze (Runs, but often has crashes or has issues preventing from playing comfortably)
  • Borked (Game either won’t start or is crucially unplayable)
  • Unrated

Of the top thousand games at the time of writing this blog, only 6% received a Borked rating. Even if your game hasn’t yet reached Platinum or Gold status, that doesn’t mean it’s doomed to be buggy forever. Valve is still in the process of expanding compatibility, so keep checking back in to see how your game is faring. And as with all things in Linux, if you search the issue you’re having in your search engine, you’re likely to find a solution.

Steam is available for download in the Pop!_Shop or by using the following command:

sudo apt install steam

How to turn on Steam Play

In the Steam application, head to the Steam menu at the top of your window and click on “Settings” and then “Steam Play” at the bottom. From there, make sure both boxes are checked to enable Steam Play on supported and all other titles, and you’re good to go!

While Steam Play has revolutionized gaming on Linux, it’s still a work in progress. There are thousands upon thousands of games out there, so it will take a while to translate all that code into a flawless experience. This is where Lutris comes in.

What’s Lutris?

Lutris is an open source game library that uses various emulators and WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) to get games developed for Windows running on your Linux machine. A little research online will tell you which emulator/translator to select for the best experience with each specific game. Whereas on Steam non-Platinum-rated games may require additional technical magic to get them set up, Lutris pulls existing install scripts from the community to get those games up and running quickly. So if your game isn’t yet available through Steam Play, Lutris is your best bet.

A sidebar in the app allows you to launch games in your library, search for specific games from a source, and choose between programs for running your game. However, functionality for browsing and reviewing games has not yet been integrated into the application. For now, those features are limited to their website: lutris.net.

Lutris is available for download in the Pop!_Shop or using the following command:

sudo apt install lutris

Organize your game libraries with GameHub

GameHub is an application that allows you to link your accounts to multiple game libraries. Sync up with your Steam, Lutris, GOG, Humble Bundle, and itch.io accounts. Install, run, and remove games from one location.

As with Steam and Lutris, Gamehub can be downloaded from the Pop!_Shop or by using the following command:

sudo apt install com.github.tkashkin.gamehub

What GPU should I get?

Sometimes integrated graphics are technically sufficient to run smaller games, but you’ll need more power to run your AAA blockbusters. Configuring your gaming rig with a GPU will reduce stutters and dropped frames; the better your GPU, the more buttery smooth your game will feel.

For casual gaming, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16-Series or AMD 6800 GPU will run games just fine. Meanwhile, an NVIDIA RTX 20-Series or AMD 6800 XT GPU will run AAA games more smoothly with a visually stunning experience. If you plan on streaming and recording your AAA gameplay in competitive matchmaking on a 4K monitor, and you have a tendency to leave open a large quantity of windows, the RTX 2080 Super or AMD 6900 XT have the firepower you’ll need, and then some.

What CPU?

The CPU is responsible for running programs like Steam, WINE, Discord, web browsers, and your game. Your CPU’s clock speed determines how fast your machine processes instructions to complete a task. Nearly every task touches your processor at some point, so a higher clock speed will make for a more performant system. Because of this, at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 is recommended.

How much RAM?

A configuration with 16GB RAM is most commonly recommended for any gaming machine. That’s because RAM is responsible for your system’s short-term memory. The more RAM you have, the more information can be saved in the faster, short-term memory, and the more programs you can run at one time.

When it comes to gaming, RAM works alongside the GPU to process your game. While the GPU handles the graphical elements, RAM remembers things like the X-Y coordinate of your character, how many enemies are in a level, and NPC behaviors. These parts are loaded in as you traverse the 3-D environment.

Is NVMe storage worth it?

NVMe storage drives drives take advantage of a direct PCIe connection to deliver faster transfer speeds between your hard drive and your CPU. Solid-state hard drives (SSDs) connected to your system using a SATA connection limit your transfer speeds to SATA’s 500 Mb/s. In contrast, an NVMe SSD plugged into a PCIe 3.0 lane on your motherboard offers a bandwidth of 32 GB/s, half of the 64 GB/s bandwidth of a PCIe 4.0 lane.

When applied to your game, a hard drive utilizing a PCIe connection will noticeably decrease how long it takes to start up and load your game, including loading screens. Of course, the overall time decrease depends on how the game itself is programmed to load. While games like Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed use loading screens heavily, games like Cyberpunk 2077 are much more dependent on memory to load your game.

Another benefit of PCIe NVMe drives is that they will boot up your computer faster and make your operating system feel more fluid, so they’re worth a look for the day-to-day efficiencies as well.

What if I have a 4K monitor?

Gaming in 4K requires extra graphics power. Consider upgrading your GPU a level to account for your system processing four times more pixels than it would on a standard 1080p monitor.

Often, 4K resolution will make your operating system’s user interface to appear “tiny” due to the increase in pixels. In Pop!_OS, you can use what’s called fractional scaling to adjust the size of what you see on-screen. To do this, go to the “Displays” menu in your Settings application. By toggling Fractional Scaling on, you’ll be able to tell your operating system to account for more display pixels. Choose between 125%, 150%, 175%, and 200% scaling until your UI is to your liking.

Here, you can also set your 4K monitor to run at 1080p resolution, which reduces the load on your graphics card. This results in a smoother, albeit lower-res, experience.

Game Tip: Disable mouse acceleration

By default, the speed at which you move your mouse may affect the distance it travels. Jerk your mouse across the desk, and you’ll likely hit the edge of the screen with your cursor. This setting is useful in day-to-day activities, saving you the trouble of knocking over your morning coffee on the way to closing your browser window. However, when playing a game—especially an FPS—this feature could wreak havoc on your skill level.

There’s an easy fix: Disable it. With your external mouse plugged in, go to the Mouse and Touchpad menu in your Settings application and toggle Mouse Acceleration to the off position.

Do I need to worry about drivers?

If you purchased a computer from System76 with an NVIDIA GPU in it, your system is ready to go! If not, follow these instructions on our support page for downloading the system76 driver. Folks running Ubuntu 19.10 or later will need to follow all instructions on the page, while Pop!_OS users can skip to the System76 NVIDIA Driver section at the bottom.

To download Pop!_OS with this driver installed, go to pop.system76.com, click “Download”, and then “Download 20.10 (NVIDIA)”. (In the event this article has not been updated since publishing, the current version number may be different.) We update the NVIDIA driver through the OS, so be on the lookout for new updates!

AMD drivers are included in the kernel, so Pop!_OS users with AMD graphics are good to go! If you’re downloading Pop!_OS, click “Download 20.10” in the window above.

For More Info on Linux Gaming:

  • GamingOnLinux is a self-explanatory site for all things gaming. On Linux! Get the latest in new game reviews, hardware reviews, software news, and info on driver updates.
  • Boiling Steam has been covering PC gaming on Linux since 2014. Check out hardware and game reviews, monthly game releases through Proton, and tutorials for setting up your rig. You can also pop into the forums to discuss your experience with like-minded folks.
  • The Linux Gamer offers guides and analysis on Linux tech, gaming, and open source software, often with an angle regarding where the movement as a whole is headed.  
  • Jay LaCroix of LearnLinuxTV frequently uploads Linux guides and tutorials, distro reviews to his YouTube channel. If you’re looking for a testimonial on how well games run on Linux, Jay’s hardware reviews are a good place to look!
  • LinuxGameCast creates a variety of Linux-focused content, including streaming, news, and weekly/daily chats. Check them out on their website or YouTube channel.

Behind the Scenes of System76: Customer Happiness Team

Thursday 14th of January 2021 05:32:33 PM

In this installment of our Behind the Scenes series, we spoke with head happiness guru Emma Marshall, an enthusiastic Linux, pink, and T-Swift enthusiast who helms the Support Team. Read on for an inside look at the methods—and the madness—of System76’s tech support crew.

First off, let’s talk a little bit about the Customer Happiness Team’s role at System76.

We handle the customer experience after the sale. We want our customers to know that we care about them, and we make sure that they’re feeling like they’re getting the attention they deserve when they do have a problem. We also make sure that they’re happy at the end of their solution.

If a customer has a specific complaint, or if we see something that hasn’t been communicated correctly that gave them a wrong impression, then I communicate with the other departments in a productive and positive way so we can get to a better solution as a company. So I report things to QA, we get bugs filed and handled, and we ask questions to engineering when we don’t know how to fix something. We try to collaborate as efficiently as possible.

As the head of all things Happiness, what is your approach to the process of providing support?

We have this little acronym, it’s the H.A.P.P.Y. approach to tech support. The H stands for Human. Instead of using scripts and sending out links every time, we’ll put the actual solution in the ticket and we’ll greet them with empathy and their name. We don’t have any automated things happening in there. Nothing is robotic in tech support. Everything is handled by a human.

The A is for Active, meaning we keep the tickets active until they’re resolved. So if a customer has gone quiet, or if a repair tech has gone quiet, we make sure to ping them constantly until the problem is 100% taken care of.

The first P is for Positivity, which helps keep our customers and our team happy, and the second P is for Productive - we want to keep our queue moving as quickly as possible. We don’t want to ask questions that aren’t relevant to the case. We want to keep customers on the track of being productive as well, so if they’re focused on voicing negativity, we try to steer the conversation in a more productive direction to keep everyone focused on reaching a solution.

And then the Y is for You. We encourage everyone on the team to be their nerdy selves, so if a customer mentions something they love, they can chime in and nerd out with the customer for a few minutes and have that little touch of their personality to the call or to the ticket. So that’s our H.A.P.P.Y. approach to tech support.

This year was the System76 Care Team’s “happiest” year on record. What do you think made it so successful?

It’s a combination of the work of everyone in the company. I think we have a mix of really good products, incredible engineering, a QA team that caught potential issues before shipping products, and a sales team that provided the right information so the customer purchased the best product for them. And then a support team that made sure things were solved quickly and happily at the end. That’s what we strive for every year! I also have an epic team right now.

How would you describe you and your team’s backgrounds in Linux?

They’re all Linux fans. Two of them are customers, and one of those customers is a SuperFan! I used to have another Superfan on the team, so that seems to be a trend for us. Two guys on our team did tech support for colleges, so they have server and sysadmin backgrounds, and then we have two team members with customer service backgrounds as well.

I actually met Thomas at a Linux conference when he was still a customer service rep for an office supply company. He was clearly like all of us: a complete nerd. He just naturally fit. We all have our nerdy quirks and come from very different backgrounds, but combining our knowledge and collaborating helps us solve the tickets with the same quality. The individuality on the team is what makes it so fun!

I went to school for journalism and worked for a couple newspapers. Then, I had a customer service job for a couple of years. After that I came to System76. Actually I just reached 9 years of working at System76 today! I’ve done every single role at System76 basically, besides being an engineer. My last positions were a combination of customer service and communication. Communication is by far the hardest part of my job, so that experience has really helped me gain better communication with everyone across the company.

How do you ensure your team stays close amid the chaos?

We all do game nights together. We have a really tight bond as a team, which I think really contributes to our success.

Are there any new “features” planned for the Care Team in the near future?

A major focus for this year is one-and-done tickets, as well as cutting down on response times. We want to get everything we can in the initial message to the customer to hopefully get a solution accomplished within one message. The team has been doing a contest the past couple months, and it is amazing how many tickets they can get one-and-done. So I know we can do that sort of motivation work a lot more often to get tickets solved quicker, and have less in the queue for longer periods of time. It’ll be awesome.

Any advice for people looking to start their tech career in a support role?

I think it’s important to have a customer service background. And I mean any customer service, even working at a retail store. Being a human and putting yourself in other people’s shoes is such an integral part of being a tech support technician. Anything where you have to communicate with other people for a year. At least get some of that under your belt.

And if you’re a hobbyist, just keep learning. Learn everything you can all the time. You can’t know enough as a tech support rep, and you have to always be curious. Be curious about the problem and be curious about the solution. You have to have a desire to always want to find answers and find new ways to fix things.

You’re one of System76’s longest-running staff members. What’s it been like to watch the company grow?

It’s been unreal. Amazing. It actually makes me tear up a little because I couldn’t be more proud of a project that I’ve been a part of, you know? It’s been very cool watching Carl as an owner and as an innovator. To have someone that inspires you so much, and to be able to be part of their project as well makes me not want to go away. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. That’s the best part.

Do you have a favorite moment?

I have two. Wait… I have a lot. But I’ll try to keep it to two. The Pop!_OS release in 2017, when we released the operating system and were flashing USBs, like hundreds of USBs in this side room. We were in an office building, but we were actually starting to try to manufacture things with a laser in this side room that had black curtains so no one could see what we were doing in there. So all of us bunched into this really small room and we popped champagne bottles and they were flashing the USBs. They were all over the table. It was so cool. I think we all got a little tipsy that day. Maybe a lot tipsy, actually.

Then we had our first million dollar month. That was when our office was downtown. It was a day of celebration for everyone. It was the realization of how big we’d become. There was so much laughing and excitement, and we were a small, tight-knit team at the time. I remember that day feeling like, wow, we’re really doing well. That was a really cool feeling.

Do you miss being at the office?

Oh yeah. I think it gets to me some days. I miss everyone, and I just want to be around people. I want to go bug Bjorn, or make people smoothies, or flip some hamburgers or bring lunches. I want to do all that fun stuff that I used to, but now I’m having to try to manage that remotely. But the video calls, those help.

The game nights help as well. We used to do those in person, but we can’t really do them in person right now so I’m having to settle with remote things. It’s been rough, but it’s something we’ve got to deal with, just like everything else. So deal with it with a smile and we’ll get through it.

What’s your favorite cat gif?

I have a lot. Fixing time clocks is an annoying little task. Sometimes the time clock we use just poops and doesn’t work right, so my rule is any time I have to fix the time clock for a team member, they have to send me cat gifs. That’s their payment. So I get quite a few cat gifs every week. In our team chat, any time I’m upset about something, the cat gifs come in a waterfall.

The one that really sticks with me is the cat with the pink wig on, and a headset, typing on a computer. I saved that one myself.

I can’t help but notice I’m in a couple of these photos.

You’re one of us, Alex. Just accept it.

2020 at System76: A Quick Jaunt Down Memory Lane

Thursday 17th of December 2020 04:01:28 PM

As the year draws to a close, we—

Holy bonkers. The year is drawing to a close. The year is drawing to a close! THE YEAR IS DRAWING TO A CLOSE!

Emma! Carl! Come quick! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS FUTURE, THE YEAR IS DRAWING TO A CLOSE!

*Ahem.* Anywho, we’ve managed to accomplish some really fantastic things that when all summed up together…well…let’s just say we got a bit misty-eyed ourselves when we ran down this list. Won’t you join us for a quick jaunt down memory lane?

Pop!_OS 20.04

The 20.04 release brought Pop!_OS into the next decade with Auto-tiling functionality. These windows are so futuristic, they practically tile themselves! In fact, that is exactly what they do. Enlarge them, stack them, hide them in another workspace along with other projects you don’t want to think about just now while the latest version of (insert game here) was just released, do whatever you need to keep yourself organized.

Mice will remember this version as the one that made them obsolete. Keyboard Navigation brought an infestation of keyboard shortcuts to Pop!_OS. Move windows, switch workspaces, and launch applications from your fingertips. Tell your mouse you had a wonderful time together, but…it just wasn’t the right click.

Moving on.

Lemur Pro

Before the launch of the Lemur Pro, high battery life was the most requested feature of a potential future laptop. It was time to give our laptop line some more juice. And then, BEHOLD! The Lemur Pro was born, featuring up to 14 hours of battery life—the equivalent to approximately 76 metric gallonnes (mg) of juice.

Thelio Mega

Thelio Mega is the result of countless hours of testing and countless iterations to be tested. Our goal was to create a machine that could remain cool under stress to keep your components performing at their highest possible potential; even when those components are a Threadripper 3 CPU and 4 NVIDIA RTX Quadro 8000 GPUs. Every part of the chassis down to the GPU brace was engineered for maximum thermal efficiency. It was likely a mini-fridge in another life until we used our summoning circuits to conjure it into existence in our current reality. The result? The world’s smallest quad-GPU workstation for deep learning and scientific computing.

Thelio Wood Colors

Martian Red. Neptune Blue. Dark Matter. The wondrous colors of the universe have converged upon our terrestrial wood veneer. It’s as if to say, “Your place in the world is here with Thelio.” And if the universe says so, well, it must be true! “That’s right,” says the universe. “Thank you for believing in me.” Thank you for believing in us, citizen.

Serval WS

This laptop for protein-folding and machine learning brought its friend to the System76 party and introduced them to everyone. Their name? AMD, of course. Before this computer launched, our laptop line was choc full of Intel options. Now, thanks to the powerful socialite known as Serval WS, folks may be introduced to our second AMD-powered laptop early next year…

Going Remote

You know how in zombie movies, a mall or warehouse area is converted into the lair of a survivor clan? That’s how System76 HQ looks now. During the pandemic, the Production Team claimed the building as their turf. Processes were streamlined, offices cannibalized, and something called a Mega Desk was erected inside the factory. We can only assume this construction is a throne for their appointed leader. But thanks to them and our newly remote staff, we’ve survived the year uninfected and our productivity has remained unhindered.

Computers Galore

The Bonobo WS returned to us as our most powerful laptop. Sporting both a desktop-caliber CPU and GPU, the workstation’s power is the subject of much envy. The Galago Pro was so jealous of the Bonobo WS, it slimmed its bezels and even gained some NVIDIA muscle of its own. Opening up about its vulnerabilities helped it gain confidence, and in turn inspired our other Intel-powered laptops to open up as well. As a result, they now all feature System76 Open Firmware and Embedded Controller Firmware. Great things transpire when computers come together to lift each other up.

Thelio found some inner strength as well, calling upon PCIe 4.0 and ECC memory to aid it on its many quests.

Most of our machines received some sort of update this year, and as one might expect, those aren’t even their final forms!

Celebrated 15 Years

System76 turned 15 this year! Our robots even baked a cake! Thanks to everyone who has supported us up to this point, and we will continue to serve you and your Linux computer needs. We’ve got a lot of cool things planned before the start of Year 16, including a brand new, in-house keyboard. Stay tuned!

If you’d still like to celebrate with us, our Merry Birthday Sale continues through January 4th! Save up to $418 on laptops and $1268 on desktops, and receive an exclusive Merry Birthday pin with your order! The pin has cake as well. It is not a lie.

New Branches on the Family Tree

The Nerd Zone has expanded far and wide this year. In 2020, our team grew by about 30 percent! We’ve had so many warm welcomes that we no longer have to keep the heat on at the factory. (Perspiration warps the Mega Desk, anyway.) We’re excited to meet even more new faces in 2021!

Equipment Upgrades

The production floor has also grown with new, better machinery. To ensure our machines are built with only the best quality, we’ve acquired a new bender, a new sander, and a new etching machine. With high-grade equipment like this, we could host a limbo tournament and inscribe the winner’s name on the pole!

…But we’re going to make computers with them instead. It’s kind of our thing.


That wraps up our Top 10 for this year. Get it? Wraps up? It’s a Merry Birthday joke. You’re welcome.

What were your highlights for this year? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!

An Interview with LearnLinux.TV's Jay LaCroix

Thursday 10th of December 2020 04:02:18 PM

Jay LaCroix has a long history with Linux, and has seen his YouTube channel grow exponentially over the years. In this week’s blog, we discuss his newest book, his work in automation, his process for making videos, and his current fleet of System76 computers.

You’re known for your YouTube channel, but give us some background that people may not know about you.

Jay: For me, Linux is an amazing thing. I’m obsessed, it’s like my hobby and it just happens to pay. What are the odds that something you love to do can generate a paycheck? There’s nothing as great as that.

In addition to the YouTube channel, I write books, so my newest book is going to be coming out at the end of the year. The book is Mastering Ubuntu Server — Third Edition. It’s just an update to the 2nd Edition, but it became a lot more than just an update. Surprisingly the amount of work I’ve had to do on it is about the same as writing a brand new book from scratch, because it’s taken at least six months now to finish. The 2nd one has been a very big success, and this one I think is going to be even better. The important thing to note is this book is written entirely on System76 hardware and entirely on LibreOffice.

I was working for a company called Go2Group, where I was Director of Operations, and cloud support as well. I led a team that basically managed all cloud AWS servers for the entire company, as well as all the IT work for the entire company. So I worked two halves there. We did a lot of automation work. As a manager, I always want to hire more people, but sometimes that’s not always the answer. What I’ve found is we always end up drowning in work, no matter how many people we threw at a problem. We went down this road of automating complete client buildouts to the point where a couple week rollout of infrastructure was down to an hour or less. So that saved a ton of time. I also automate everything for the YouTube channel. Any time I get a review unit, I install Pop!_OS (though it would even work for Ubuntu Minimal), and then use my Ansible scripts to build up all my extensions and customizations for me down to the wallpaper.

Go2Group was recently acquired by Adaptavist, so I’m still being migrated into that environment. I’m still in a management role as well, which I like, because I love to mentor, It’s a great feeling to see someone succeed and to know that you had a hand in that. I’ve also come to find out they need automation. Hmm! You don’t say. I think we may have worked on that. So mainly it’s leading the team and we manage client infrastructure as a services provider, but then we have these side projects that are fun like the automation and things like that.

What’s your process for uploading videos to the YouTube channel?

Jay: My process is that I want to do as little work as possible. When I made the decision about two years ago to really push this channel, to up the quality, what I did was I researched how other people were doing it. I got some inspiration from a friend of mine, Tom Lawrence. What other YouTubers will do, and there’s nothing wrong with this, they will have like a separate screen recorder on their computer to capture the desktop, they’ll hit the record button on their camcorder, and then they might have a separate audio track, and then what they do is get into the editor and combine those things together. I don’t want to do that because I don’t have time to do that. I want everything to be in one video file. I don’t want to edit an audio file and add it.

So instead, I have two screen recorders. One is where the camera goes into a screen recorder that hooks up to the computer through USB, and then I have another screen recorder that is HDMI that I plug into the laptop. In OBS there’s a scene for the 4K camera and there’s a scene for the laptop capture, and I can literally just hit a toggle to switch between them. Whatever one I have it on gets into the video file. The audio stream is the same regardless of which screen recorder I’m using. Then I use Kdenlive for editing, and I also use Audacity to do some audio touch-ups.

I have a Samba share on the recording computer, where on any computer in the house I can grab that file straight off the network and throw it in an editor. With Syncthing, all my files on all my computers are synchronized, so when I grab that video file and put it on my laptop, that video file is copied to every computer in the house. I don’t worry about my laptop dying. If it did, I just use my Ansible tools to rebuild it, no problem. But then in order for me to lose data, I’d have like 5 or 6 different computers that would have to simultaneously have a hard drive failure for that to be possible.

What’s your testing process like for review units?

Jay: When I test laptops and desktops, usually what I’ll do is I’ll run the same Ansible script that I use on all my other computers, so I can get the setup that I’m always used to having. I use it as if it’s my own computer. I do all my work on it. I add my games to it. I just kind of make it my own, because I want to know, could I use this every day? I’ll add my LibreOffice configs to it so I can do some writing, I’ll sometimes try to do some video editing on it as well, I’ll try a docking station. Sometimes it’s what I don’t mention that’s most important, like if I had a problem using a dock, I’ll mention that, but maybe I’ll forget to mention docks in general because that means I didn’t run into a problem.

What I always try to do is run Steam on it because people generally want to know does the laptop run games well. Assuming that the laptop that I’m reviewing is marketed as a gaming PC—I may not do that if it’s just Intel, for example. I run Doom because that currently is the heaviest game that I have. I’ll see how well it runs, how the fans react, what’s the audio quality like, how fast is it, things like that. Then I do tutorials, things I think people want to know that I already know or I’m willing to learn myself in order to teach other people. And that’s kind of the thing that I’m really going to be pushing because the YouTube channel is great, but in the future I’m going to try and develop an education platform around the channel.

I’m kind of nervous to be honest every time I do a review, because people have asked me, like, so what if System76 sends you a laptop and you really hate it? Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. If any company sends me a review unit they’re taking a risk, but I haven’t run into a problem so far, so it’s been fine. I think that when you have a company that is passionate about the Linux community, it’s very unlikely that they’re going to put out a laptop that people are going to complain about. I know that if the fan can be heard from down the hall, people are probably going to complain about it. They’re not likely to put that out. 

How did you hear about System76?

Jay: It was right after literally the first 1080p laptop you guys had ever put out. Just a few months prior, 1366 x 768 resolution was the industry norm. So we’re talking at least 8 years ago. At the time, I had some problems with hardware because I couldn’t tell any of the other companies that I was working with Linux. The Warranty Act of 1975 prohibits companies from voiding the warranty unless they can actually prove that your modification is responsible for the damage. But nobody can afford a lawyer to go after a company like Dell, so that never gets enforced. When they try to void your warranty, there’s nothing the user can do. That’s just some drama I never wanted to go through. I felt like Windows doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t want to use it, I want to use this other thing. And it’s like I’m…I don’t want to say insulted, but I’m considered one of those people that installed this other operating system, and it’s just annoying.

I took my first Linux job in 2012. Before that, I managed Windows servers since about 2007. This was my first actual Linux gig, though I had a lot of Linux experience. This company was great. While corporate had a very pro-Windows, “if it was open source or free it can’t be good” mentality, the company I worked for which was owned by them wouldn’t use Microsoft. They were even more pro Linux than I was. Corporate sent us desktops. They didn’t test to see that the desktops were compatible with Linux. They didn’t care about that. So it was my job to manage those, image them, and get them ready for the developers who used Linux to develop the GPS solution that they came up with.

The problem for me was they tested all their code on Debian stable, which has terrible hardware support that’s usually about 2 years behind the current desktop offerings. When I tried to install Debian on the current desktops that were given to us and meant to run Windows, the video cards wouldn’t work properly. The network card wouldn’t be detected. It was a hideous mix of Debian stable and Debian testing to try to get the hardware to work properly. That’s when I pitched System76.

We bought two System76 desktops at first, and we liked it. I believe mine was the Ratel. Next thing I knew, we had 12 System76 towers in the building because they were easier to use and so much more compatible. It was a big hit. It was huge.

What machines do you currently use?

Jay: Personally I have the Thelio desktop that I received at the Superfan 3 event. I just upgraded it with a new CPU to be able to handle intense rendering ever since I moved to 4K on my channel. I also have the Oryx Pro, the Lemur Pro, and the Gazelle as my current fleet of computers. I have an X1 extreme from Lenovo, and the only reason why I use it is because I don’t personally like 4K screens in laptops, so I didn’t order any of my laptops with a 4K screen. But now that I have gone to 4K for the YouTube channel, I need to record 4K native footage. That’s just the only machine that I have for that. I wouldn’t use a 4K machine on a laptop for day-to-day use.

Do you have a favorite machine for day-to-day use?

Jay: I use a mix. I like the Thelio for when I need cores, the Oryx Pro for graphics, and the Lemur Pro when I’m on battery life.

Learn more about Jay’s newest book, Mastering Ubuntu Server — Third Edition here. Check out his YouTube channel for more reviews and tutorials!

How has System76 improved your workplace? Contact myriah@system76.com for more information on how to get your company featured in our next case study!

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    While EXT4 supports both case-folding for optional case insensitive filenames and does support file-system encryption, at the moment those features are mutually exclusive. But it looks like the upcoming Linux 5.13 kernel will allow casefolding and encryption to be active at the same time. Queued this week into the EXT4 file-system's "dev" tree was ext4: handle casefolding with encryption.

  • SiFive FU740 PCIe Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.13 - Phoronix

    Arguably the most interesting RISC-V board announced to date is SiFive's HiFive Unmatched with the FU740 RISC-V SoC that features four U74-MC cores and one S7 embedded core. The HiFive Unmatched also has 16GB of RAM, USB 3.2 Gen 1, one PCI Express x16 slot (operating at x8 speeds), an NVMe slot, and Gigabit Ethernet. The upstream kernel support for the HiFive Unmatched and the FU740 SoC continues. With the Linux 5.12 cycle there was the start of mainlining SiFive FU740 SoC support and that work is continuing for the upcoming Linux 5.13 cycle.

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  • The state of toolchains in NetBSD
                     
                       

    While FreeBSD and OpenBSD both switched to using LLVM/Clang as their base system compiler, NetBSD picked a different path and remained with GCC and binutils regardless of the license change to GPLv3. However, it doesn't mean that the NetBSD project endorses this license, and the NetBSD Foundation's has issued a statement about its position on the subject.

                       

    Realistically, NetBSD is more or less tied to GCC, as it supports more architectures than the other BSDs, some of which will likely never be supported in LLVM.

                       

    As of NetBSD 9.1, the latest released version, all supported platforms have recent versions of GCC (7.5.0) and binutils (2.31.1) in the base system. Newer (and older!) versions of GCC can be installed via Pkgsrc, and the following packages are available, going all the way back to GCC 3.3.6: [...]

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  • Review: OpenBSD 6.8 on 8th Gen Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 13.3"
                     
                       

    10 days ago, I bought this X1 Carbon. I immediately installed OpenBSD on it. It took me a few days to settle in and make myself at home, but here are my impressions.

                       

    This was the smoothest experience I've had getting OpenBSD set up the way I like it. The Toshiba NB305 in 2011 was a close second, but the Acer I used between these two laptops required a lot more tweaking of both hardware and kernel to get it to feel like home.

Audio/Video and Games: This Week in Linux, MineTest, OpenTTD, and Portal Stories: Mel

  • This Week in Linux 146: Linux on M1 Mac, Google vs Oracle, PipeWire, Bottom Panel for GNOME Shell - TuxDigital

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got an update for Linux support on Apple’s M1 Mac hardware. KDE Announces a new patch-set for Qt 5. IBM Announced COBOL Compiler For Linux. Then later in the show we’re bringing back everyone’s favorite Legal News segment with Google v. Oracle reaching U.S. Supreme Court. We’ve also got new releases to talk about such as PipeWire 0.3.25 and JingOS v0.8 plus GNOME Designers are exploring the possibility of having a bottom panel. Then we’ll round out the show with some Humble Bundles about programming in Python. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • MineTest: I Am A Dwarf And I'm Digging A Hole

    People have been asking me to play MineTest for ages so I thought I should finally get around to it, if you've never heard of it MineTest is an open source Minecraft clone that surprisingly has a lot of community support

  • OpenTTD Went to Steam to Solve a Hard Problem - Boiling Steam

    OpenTTD, the free and open-source software recreation of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, has been a popular game for a long time, but recently something unusual happened. The team behind the project decided to release the game on Steam (still free as always) and this has changed everything. Let me explain why this matters. If you have ever played OpenTTD on Linux, let me venture that you have probably relied on your distro’s package manager to keep your game up-to-date. In theory, this is the BEST way to keep your packages up to date. Rely on maintainers. In practice however, it’s far from being something you can rely on, beyond security updates. Debian stable tends to have really old packages, sometimes years behind their latest versions. So on Debian stable you end up with OpenTTD 1.08 as the most recent version. That’s what shipped in April 2018. Just about 3 years old.

  • Portal Stories: Mel gets Vulkan support on Linux in a new Beta | GamingOnLinux

    Portal Stories: Mel, an extremely popular and highly rated mod for Portal 2 just had a new Beta pushed out which adds in Vulkan support for Linux. Much like the update for Portal 2 that recently added Vulkan support, it's using a special native build of DXVK, the Vulkan-based translation layer for Direct3D 9/10/11. Compared with the Portal 2 update, in some of my own testing today it seems that Portal Stories: Mel seems to benefit from the Vulkan upgrade quite a bit more in some places. At times giving a full 100FPS increase! So for those on weaker cards, this will probably be an ideal upgrade. Another game to test with Vulkan is always great too.

today's howtos

  • How to Install TeamSpeak Client on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux - Linux Shout

    TeamSpeak is a free voice conferencing software available to install on Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, and Android. It is the pioneer in its areas of other platforms such as Discord. TeamSpeak allows free of cost access to around 1000 public TeamSpeak servers or even your own private one. In parallel to online games, you can use the current TeamSpeak to communicate with friends via speech and text.

  • How To Install Robo 3T on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Robo 3T on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Robo3T formerly known as RobMongo is one of the best GUI tools for managing and querying MongoDB database. It provides GUI tools for managing & querying the MongoDB database. It embeds the actual mongo shell that allows for CLI as well as GUI access to the database. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Robo 3T RobMongo on an Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) server. You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

  • How to Install Java on Ubuntu Step by Step Guide for Beginners

    Some programs/tools/utility on Ubuntu required java/JVM, without java these programs are not working. Are you facing the same problem? Don’t worry! Today I am going to cover in this article how to install Java on Ubuntu. This article will cover the complete tutorial step by step. You can get java on Ubuntu via three packages JRE, OpenJDK and Oracle JDK. Java and Java’s Virtual Machine (JVM) are widely used and required to run much software.

  • "apt-get command not found" error in Ubuntu by Easy Way

    apt-get command is used to manage package in Ubuntu and other Debian based distribution. You can install, remove software in Ubuntu, You can update upgrade ubuntu and other operating systems with help of this command. If you want to install new software on the Linux operating system by apt-get command but you get the error “apt-get command not found“. This is really the biggest problem for the new user. Neither you can install new packages nor you can update and upgrade ubuntu. apt-get is not working, how will you install a new package? If the problem only of installing new packages then it can be solved. You can use dpkg command to install deb files in ubuntu and derivatives.

  • How to upgrade Linux Mint 19.3 (Tricia) to Mint 20.1 (Ulyssa) - Linux Shout

    Are you planning to upgrade your existing Linux Mint 19.3 (Tricia) PC or Laptop to Linux Mint 20.1 Ulyssa, then following the simple steps given in the tutorial… Linux Mint is one of the popular distros among users who want a Windows-like operating system but with the benefits of Linux and a user-friendly interface. As Mint is an Ubuntu derivative, thus not only we have the access to a large number of packages to install but also stability. The process of upgrading Mint is very easy, we can use GUI or command to do that. However, in this article, we will show you how to upgrade from Tricia (19.3) to Ulyssa (20.1) using CLI, thus first you have to make sure that your existing Mint 19.3 is on 64-bit because 20.1 doesn’t support 32-bit.

  • How to Install Node js in Ubuntu Step by Step Explanation for Beginners

    Node.js is an open source cross-platform JavaScript run-time environment that allows server-side execution of JavaScript code. In simple words you can run JavaScript code on your machine (server) as a standalone application, and access form any web browser. When you create a server side application you need Node.js, it is also help to create front-end and full-stack. npm (Node Package Manager) is a package manager for the JavaScript programming language, and default package manager for Node.js. This tutorial will cover step by step methods “how to install node js in ubuntu 19.04″. in case you need the latest Node.js and npm versions. If you are using Node.js for development purposes then your best option is to install Node.js using the NVM script. Although this tutorial is written for Ubuntu the same instructions apply for any Ubuntu-based distribution, including Kubuntu, Linux Mint and Elementary OS.

  • How to play Geometry Dash on Linux

    Geometry Dash is a music platformer game developed by Robert Topala. The game is available to play on iOS, Android, as well as Microsoft Windows via Steam. In the game, players control a character’s movement and navigate through a series of music-based levels while avoiding obstacles and hazards.

  • How To Set Up a Firewall with UFW in Ubuntu \ Debian

    The Linux kernel includes the Netfilter subsystem, which is used to manipulate or decide the fate of network traffic headed into or through your server. All modern Linux firewall solutions use this system for packet filtering. [...] The default behavior of the UFW Firewall is to block all incoming and forwarding traffic and allow all outbound traffic. This means that anyone trying to access your server will not be able to connect unless you specifically open the port. Applications and services running on your server will be able to access the outside world.