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At System76, we empower the world’s curious and capable makers of tomorrow with custom Linux computers.
Updated: 6 hours 7 min ago

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!

Merry Birthday (Sale) from IRviNG and OLIviA!

Thursday 12th of November 2020 03:58:59 PM

HeLLo HUman. The SKy raiNs iCE fLakes. TiME to staRT feSTiVity seAson. HuZZaH.

CreATors reQUest uNiTs IRviNG + OLIviA (CoMMunicaTing wiTh HUman noW) to plAn TWo pArTies to coMMemoRaTe feSTiVity seAson aND creATors’ 15tH BiRthinG. TWo pArTies tOO mUch worK. InstEAd, uNiTs IRviNG + OLIviA plAn BiG pArTY. CoMMencinG ceLeBration…

CeLeBration instaLLed. EnjOy diScoUnt on lapTop aND deskTop comPuter COMpanions uNTil ceLeBration UninstaLLation on 01-04-2021. RecEiVe pin.pkg wiTh pUrchaSe of comPuter COMpanion. CoMMencinG aDDitioNal ceLeBration…

HuZZaH.

HuZZaH.

HuZZaH.

<3 IRviNG + OLIviA


It seems our pair of… efficient… office robots has beaten us to the punch. You heard correctly: To celebrate both the holiday season and System76’s 15th birthday, we’re having a sale! Through January 4th, save up to $418 on laptops and up to $1268 on desktops. When you order a computer during the sale, you’ll also receive an exclusive Merry Birthday pin featuring the System76 robots!

Have yourself a Merry Birthday, and as the cool robots say these days… Huzzah!

Things We Love About the New Galago Pro:

Tuesday 10th of November 2020 04:05:40 PM

The Galago Pro has returned in style! This laptop has received a few upgrades since its last appearance, and we can’t wait to share them with you. So we won’t!

Always On The Go

The Galago Pro’s slim, light aluminum body sports a new look and a larger trackpad. Carry your responsibilities between meetings, classrooms, war rooms, and Supervillans Anonymous member sessions (virtual, of course) without developing a conspicuous hunchback.

New (Optional) Graphics Boost

What do you get when you throw an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU into a slim, light laptop? A “lapheld” gaming device. Meet up with a quarantine companion for an inferior player 2, or pass the time during one of your virtual SVA member sessions because you only signed up for the free pizza anyway.

Fast Storage

PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage drives speed up large file transfers and datasets. Perfect for managing cloud-based software applications, or sending confidential schematics of a doomsday device to your local town hero. The Plotfoiler is on the case!

Open Source Firmware

System76 Open Firmware returns to the Galago Pro, bringing you fast boot times and increased security. It’s joined by its esteemed sidekick, System76 Open EC Firmware, which grants you the ability to make personalized tweaks to important functionalities in your system. This includes parts such as your keyboard, fans, and battery.

Powerful cooling

The Galago Pro is equipped with quiet yet powerful fans, which expunge your system of heat with merciless efficiency. Were a doomsday device to somehow detonate based on the failures of one local town hero, we hear the inside of the Galago Pro chassis is the safest place to be in that scenario.

Learn more about the new Galago Pro laptop here. To configure your own, visit this page instead!

Behind the Scenes of Thelio Mega Engineering

Monday 26th of October 2020 06:27:43 PM

In 2017, we announced that we were going to bring the design and manufacturing of our products in-house. The driving purpose was to leverage our understanding of our users’ needs in order to engineer better products for them. In 2018, we shipped the first fruits of our labor and, over the course of the last two years, shipped hundreds of updates to the Thelio line as we continuously integrated improvements into our manufacturing. Establishing our factory in Colorado made this possible, but we were just getting started.

Early this year, we set off to engineer our workstation version of a Le Mans Hypercar. It started with a challenge: Engineer a quad-GPU workstation that doesn’t thermal throttle any of the GPUs. Three GPUs is pretty easy. Stack the forth one in there and it’s a completely different animal. Months of work and thousands of engineering hours later we accomplished our goal. Every detail was scrutinized. Every part is of the highest quality. And new factory capabilities, like milling, enabled us to introduce unique solutions to design challenges. The result is Thelio Mega. A compact, high-performance quad-GPU system that’s quiet enough to sit on your desk.

We started with simple fan placement experiments to determine the best location for intake and exhaust fans and sizes. Computer fluid dynamics simulations assisted to dial in air flow ducts followed by hundreds of fan placement iterations and thermal tests.

*One of many CFD simulations.

We use gpuburn and stress-ng utilities to stress the components for each iteration until eventually finding the optimum fan position, size, speed, and duct design. Moving the side fans as little as 5mm up, down, left or right changes the thermal properties. Airflow shape has a considerable impact as well. The side intake panel has a duct on the back that directs air from the side and bottom fans into different areas of the GPUs. This helps limit inefficient turbulence and improves performance.

Inside the CPU duct, three fans of different, carefully chosen speeds pull and push air through the heat exchanger and exhaust it through the rear. The CPU duct fan positions were even more sensitive. 2mm of change in different directions improved or degraded performance.

Finally, we moved Thelio Mega into our acoustic testing booth to perfect the fan curves and make design tweaks for the quietest possible operation.

New in Thelio Mega are stabilizing feet and a PCI brace system, both milled from aluminum bar stock. The new PCI brace is particularly impressive. Nubs hold the GPUs steady for easier installation and a sliding brace locks them securely in place.

Our Thelio line is known for its natural and stained wood veneer, but we’re particularly fond of the vent design flourishes that grace the system. If you have to make holes, you might as well make them interesting. The upper CPU vent is three celestial bodies representing the three-body problem in physics (and a fantastic novel by Liu Cixin). The GPU intake vent is embellished by rockets escaping the atmosphere. The rear CPU exhaust is the planetary alignment of the Solar System at the time of the Unix epoch.

Months of engineering was resulting in excellent performance and acoustic results. Often, quad GPU systems are terribly loud, unpleasant to work on, and throttle when under heavy GPU workloads. While working on Thelio Mega in quiet environments, it became clear that this was a new class of high-performance GPU compute workstation. But we wanted to be sure that we’re creating substantial value for the engineers and scientists that will get the most out of this system.

A common chassis used for quad-GPU setups is the Corsair Carbide Series™ Air 540 High Airflow ATX Cube Case. So we bought one. We ran thermal and acoustic tests on Thelio Mega, moved the components to the Corsair case and used the high-end Corsair H100i Pro 240mm liquid cooler in lieu of the custom Thelio Mega CPU cooling system.

Components Used
Motherboard TRX40 AORUS XTREME
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
64 GB 3200 MHz Kingston Memory
250 GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVMe drive
4 x NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080ti (Gigabyte GV-N208TTURBO-11GC)

During our thermal engineering work, we found that 8 minutes is optimal for stressing the GPUs and iterating the design. If you get to 8 minutes without throttling, the system tends to be able to go much longer. We later expanded the tests to 16 hours. We used 10 minutes for CPU comparison. It wasn’t necessary to go longer. The Corsair case was unable to reach either 8 or 10 minutes without throttling.

GPU Cooling Test Results

Higher GPU fan percentage means higher load and louder operation. The NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti starts to throttle between 87 and 88 degrees C. Below 250 watts represents thermal throttling. The room temperature was 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thelio Mega GPU Burn - 8 Minutes

.tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg th{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; font-weight:normal;overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg .tg-0pky{border-color:inherit;text-align:left;vertical-align:top} GPU GPU Fan Usage GPU Temperature Watts 0 93% 83C 250 1 93% 83C 250 2 85% 78C 250 3 99% 86C 250

Corsair Case GPU Burn - 8 Minutes

.tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg th{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; font-weight:normal;overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg .tg-0pky{border-color:inherit;text-align:left;vertical-align:top} GPU GPU Fan Usage GPU Temperature Watts 0 100% 88C 220-230 1 100% 88C 210-230 2 87% 85C 250 3 100% 88C 170-180

CPU Cooling Test Results

Thelio Mega
stress-ng -c 128 (stressing 128 threads for 10 minutes)
CPU Temperature - 85C

Corsair Case w/ Corsair H100i Pro Liquid Cooler
stress-ng -c 128 (stressing 128 threads for 10 minutes)
CPU Temperature - throttling at 94.2C

So we’re doing great on GPU and CPU cooling. How about acoustics?


.tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg th{border-color:black;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px; font-weight:normal;overflow:hidden;padding:10px 5px;word-break:normal;} .tg .tg-0pky{border-color:inherit;text-align:left;vertical-align:top} Thelio Mega at Idle 31.8dB Corsair at Idle 45.7dB Thelio Mega CPU Stress 46.2dB Corsair CPU Stress 48.0dB Thelio Mega GPU Stress 53.5dB Corsair GPU Stress 62.3dB

For reference, 30-40 dB is a whisper to a quiet library. 50 is moderate rainfall. 60 is normal conversation and dishwashers. 70 is traffic and vacuums. Thelio Mega doesn’t get much louder than rainfall.

An additional benefit of developing an extreme-performance product, like Thelio Mega, is that the engineering that goes into this product can spread to other models in the Thelio line. Already, the engineering from Thelio Mega is being ported to Thelio Massive. And features from this work will move into Thelio Major as well. Engineering this kind of product pushes the envelope, and in doing so, improves the entire product line.

It’s our mission to use our expertise in hardware engineering, design, and manufacturing to enable engineers and scientists to explore and discover. We’re excited to bring our months of work to you and see the incredible work that Thelio Mega can help you achieve.

What’s New in Pop!_OS 20.10

Friday 23rd of October 2020 03:39:50 PM

Pop!_OS 20.10 is the result of fine-tuning features released in version 20.04. Continue on to see what we’ve added!

New to Pop!_OS 20.10

  • Linux Kernel version 5.8
  • GNOME 3.38
  • Security updates (also added to Pop!_OS 20.04)

SUPPORT FOR DEB822 REPOSITORY FORMAT
With the new deb822 format, the system sources list is now more compact and easier to understand. See example source below:

Enabled: yes
Types: deb deb-src
URIs: http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/
Suites: groovy groovy-security groovy-updates groovy-backports
Components: main multiverse restricted universe

This addition also includes a new library for repository management, which adds features such as the ability to change the default system repository mirrors, reset mirrors to defaults, and change the names of your repositories.

Added since release of Pop!_OS 20.04

STACKING

Similar to the tabs in your web browser, stack tiled windows atop one another for easier organization. First, use Super + S to convert a window into a stack. Using Super + Enter and your arrow keys or Vim shortcuts will add a window to your stack. You can also launch an application into the stack using Super + / to add it automatically. Super + Left or Right arrows cycles between windows in the stack. Lastly, move windows out of the stack and press Super + S to convert it back to a standard window.

To see Pop!_OS Stacking in action, watch the tutorial below:


FLOATING WINDOW EXCEPTIONS

Some application windows are too small to tile efficiently. After updating, you can now set Floating Window Exceptions, which prevents these windows from tiling.

To use this feature, go to the tiling menu in the top right corner of your screen, choose Floating Window Exceptions, and click “Select”. This will bring you to the Activities Overview. Select the window you would like to make an exception. This can be applied to all windows from the application or solely the window you selected.

Beneath “Select”, you will find a list of default system exceptions based on feedback from Pop!_OS users. Clicking on the menu will allow you to toggle the exceptions off and on, depending on your preferences.

FRACTIONAL SCALING

Set your desktop to your optimal viewing size. Cycle between 125%, 150% and 175% scaling in the Displays menu in Settings until you find the right fit.

EXTERNAL MONITOR SUPPORT IN HYBRID GRAPHICS MODE

Previously, users had to reboot their computers into NVIDIA mode in order to use an external monitor. Now external monitors are supported in Hybrid Graphics mode as well. Users in Hybrid Graphics mode will no longer need to reboot their machines or switch modes when plugging in or unplugging an external monitor.

How to upgrade:

After opening the Settings application, scroll down in the sidebar to the OS Upgrades menu. Click “Downloads”, then click Upgrade.

Alternatively, use the following command in the Terminal:

pop-upgrade release upgrade

RTX 2080Ti vs RTX 3090 Machine Learning Benchmarks

Tuesday 20th of October 2020 08:49:36 PM

NVIDIA’s 2nd generation RTX architecture brings more performance for faster Machine Learning training. We tested four Geforce RTX 2080Ti GPUs against three Geforce RTX 3090 GPUs and found that three RTX 3090s performed similar or better than four RTX 2080Ti’s for most tests with the same batch size. The RTX 3090s offer faster training with larger batch sizes as well, thanks to the additional memory available in the RTX 3090. Three RTX 3090s were used, rather than four, due to their increased power requirements.

The tests were conducted on the new Thelio Mega workstation from System76. Thelio Mega was engineered specifically for graphics compute intensive workloads.

The tests include Inception3, Resnet50, Resnet152, VGG16, and Inception4 models. We used Tensorman, available in Pop!_OS, to run the tests. Tensorman is a tool that makes it easy to manage Tensorflow toolchains.

*GeForce RTX 2080Ti were unable to run larger batch sizes due to limited memory. RTX 3090 performance should improve further when new CUDA versions are supported in Tensorflow.

Commands used to run these tests in Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS

Install Tensorman

sudo apt install tensorman
sudo apt install nvidia-container-runtime
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER
reboot

Clone the Benchmarks

git clone https://github.com/tensorflow/benchmarks.git
cd benchmarks

Run Tests
Tensorflow nightly is required for the RTX 3090. Change –num_gpus= to match your setup and –batch_size= for your desired test.

tensorman pull nightly

tensorman +nightly run –gpu python – ./scripts/tf_cnn_benchmarks/tf_cnn_benchmarks.py –batch_size=128 –model=inception3 –variable_update=parameter_server –use_fp16=True –num_gpus=4

tensorman +nightly run –gpu python – ./scripts/tf_cnn_benchmarks/tf_cnn_benchmarks.py –batch_size=64 –model=inception4 –variable_update=parameter_server –use_fp16=True –num_gpus=4

tensorman +nightly run –gpu python – ./scripts/tf_cnn_benchmarks/tf_cnn_benchmarks.py –batch_size=128 –model=resnet50 –variable_update=parameter_server –use_fp16=True –num_gpus=4

tensorman +nightly run –gpu python – ./scripts/tf_cnn_benchmarks/tf_cnn_benchmarks.py –batch_size=64 –model=resnet152 –variable_update=parameter_server –use_fp16=True –num_gpus=4

tensorman +nightly run –gpu python – ./scripts/tf_cnn_benchmarks/tf_cnn_benchmarks.py –batch_size=128 –model=vgg16 –variable_update=parameter_server –use_fp16=True –num_gpus=4

The above tests are good for measuring component performance, but not the computer and its thermal system. Training models with a high degree of accuracy takes hours or days. Intense GPU use over an extended period of time demonstrates the system’s performance in real-world scenarios. We use stress-ng and gpuburn tools while engineering our products to ensure maximum component performance over extended compute workloads. More details on that testing and the results for Thelio Mega are coming soon.

Thelio Mega Configuration
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
250 GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVMe M.2 Drive
64GB 3200 MHz Kingston HyperX Memory
4 x NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080ti (Gigabyte GV-N208TTURBO-11GC)
3 x NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (Gigabyte GV-N3090TURBO-24GD)

Thelio Mega: The World’s Smallest Quad-GPU Deep Learning System

Tuesday 20th of October 2020 02:35:15 PM


Most quad-GPU workstations on the market right now use a generic chassis. It works if you want something just for storing components, but what you get is a machine that runs hot and slows down your system. That’s where Thelio Mega comes in.

All About Thermals
We’ve engineered Thelio Mega to ensure your top-line components perform to their fullest potential. Its thermals are actually two separate systems, as we found it more effective to divide and conquer. Unique airflows keep heat generated by the CPU and GPU from mixing, exhaust air effectively, and prevent throttling.

Heat builds up quickly when you have up to 4 NVIDIA Quadro RTX GPUs stacked atop one another. Rather than use a single vent to cool the entire system, Thelio Mega uses intake fans on the bottom and side panels to blow cool air directly onto your GPUs. Everything down to the GPU brace has been tested for maximum thermal efficiency. The result is consistent access to every last core of performance in your system.

Meanwhile, a separate duct isolates the airflow to your CPU. A dedicated intake vent on the side panel directs cool air towards the heat sink. In what’s called a closed-loop phase change, actuating fluid evaporates into a gas, drawing thermal energy away from the CPU and towards the heat sink. The hot air then exits via the exhaust port. The process yields performance similar to if your components were sitting on a test bench.

We tested a wide variety of fan sizes and alignments, sometimes adjusting position by only a couple millimeters, until we arrived at the most effective solution. Large 140mm fans move air more effectively at a lower RPM, producing quieter acoustics. The Thelio IO board allows your operating system to monitor the temperature of your GPUs and adjust fan speeds for intensive computing.

The Components

Send this shopping list straight to your purchasing manager: Thelio Mega maxes out at 4 NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, 128 threads on an AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU, 256GB of memory (including 128GB ECC memory), 96TB of storage (including 32TB NVMe storage), and Dual 10GB Ethernet ports, which operate at speeds 10 times faster than the speed of a standard Ethernet port.

Serviceability

Like all Thelio desktops, Thelio Mega is built to be expandable, repairable, and convenient. The system is pre-wired for upgrades. Screws for 2.5” storage drives are neatly tucked away in the GPU duct panel. When you’re in need of additional compute firepower, there’s room to spare.

Open Hardware

Celebrate Open Hardware Month! Thelio Mega is OSHWA-certified open source hardware. Anyone can download the schematics, learn from them, or adapt them into something new. System76 is a pro-Right to Repair company with lifetime support and readily available documentation.

Visit our website to learn more about the new Thelio Mega! Power the bigger picture on the world’s smallest quad-GPU deep learning system.

Archiving Satellite Imagery: A Chat About the Lemur Pro with NSIDC

Thursday 8th of October 2020 03:01:41 PM

The National Snow and Ice Data Center at CU Boulder is one of 12 data centers across the country in charge of archiving NASA’s satellite imagery. This week, we had a nice chat with Chris Torrence (Software Development Manager) and Matt Fisher (Software Developer) on their work and their experience with the System76 Lemur Pro.

Tell us about what goes on at the NSIDC.

Chris: NSIDC is part of an organization called CIRES, which stands for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Our team is kind of a suborganization within that, which is a software development group made up of 14 people. Most of our funding comes from NASA. Our primary mission is to archive all of NASA’s satellite imagery for the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Matt: Part of our mandate is we don’t just have to store the data, we have to make it available openly and freely to our users. Some of our data is a little more restrictive because it’s provisional and we’re still working on it, but it’s important that we service anybody who wants to use our data. So to do that, we wrote a JavaScript application that allows you to go to our website and select exactly what data you’re interested in—without having to write code to filter out the rest.

What kinds of users do you generally see on the site?

Matt: Our User Services office deals with a wide variety of use cases. Even developers like us at NSIDC will go to our User Services office and ask them questions for help using our own data. So they’re servicing developers, scientists, students, teachers, politicians, newspapers—we make products for newspapers and the military as well.

What sort of software does your work entail?

Chris: There’s two main aspects of what we do: Data storage and data distribution. Our web development team builds web applications so that scientists and the general public can come to our website to browse, download, and analyze our data. A lot of our applications are a combination of a front end, which would typically be written in JavaScript, and a back end written in Python which ties the front end into our database. We do also have some legacy code which we have to maintain as well, but those are the two main languages we use. We house most of our data on CU’s campus, though now we’re starting to move some of our data up into the cloud. That’s our next big project. 

Matt: To add to that, we’re also building tools for generating visualizations on our website. ASINA (Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis) provides recent news on what’s happening in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Then there’s IceBridge, which shows flights of aircraft that have flown over the Arctic and taken photographs and measurements of the ice. You can scroll through all the data that’s available, choose what you want, zoom into areas, look at the thumbnails of the images, and then download the data.

Matt: I’m also working on a project called QGreenland. We’re building a data package for commercial off-the-shelf QGIS, which is an open source tool for visualizing geographic data. The data package is focused on the geographic region around Greenland, so people who are going out there to do field work can take along this pre-downloaded data package that covers all kinds of disciplines, including atmospheric data, oceanographic data, human activity data, human health data, and animal migration data. 

Matt: Another data package we built contains different categories of data focusing on Greenland. It shows scientific data such as vegetation biomass, ice streams, glacial termini positions, ice sheet velocity, bathymetric data, and locations of bird colonies. It’s aimed at all kinds of scientists, as opposed to our other work which is focused on cryospheric science.

How did you first hear about System76?

Matt: We had just started buying Linux laptops when I first started at NSIDC. I’ve always been a Linux user, and there were other Linux users here who had been asking for this for a while. I was part of the first test group that did that. We had laptops from another vendor at first that we were having trouble with, and we felt that we needed somebody to provide us laptops that had Linux expertise. That was one of the primary reasons we looked at System76. It also helped that you were local to us and that your systems had Ethernet ports for fast Internet access.

What led you to decide on the Lemur Pro?

Matt: Battery life was one of the largest reasons we chose the Lemur Pro. It had a very modern CPU in it, and we liked that they had a very high memory limit that you could configure it with. I personally appreciate the repairability of this style of laptop. Being able to just remove the bottom plate and replace the RAM is a great thing to be able to do without having to send it in or have a technician show up on-site.

Chris: We had some cases where people were installing Linux on a generic laptop, which was taking a fair amount of effort for them to maintain and keep up to date. That was another benefit of having Ubuntu come pre-installed, so you’re 75 percent of the way to a system that’s ready to go instead of starting from 0.

What distro are you using?

Matt: A few of us are on Ubuntu 20.04. One of us got their laptop a little earlier with Pop!_OS 18.04 installed. He’s since upgraded, and as far as I can tell he really likes it. At this point my experience with Ubuntu 20.04 has me wishing I went with Pop!_OS 20.04 as well because of snaps. I don’t really like snaps, so I had to go through a good amount of effort to disable them and block them from my system.

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!

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

  • Fedora 34 Cleared For Btrfs Zstd Compression By Default, DNF/RPM Copy-On-Write - Phoronix

    The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee has unanimously approved several high profile features for the upcoming Fedora 34. The latest batch of Fedora 34 features that received unanimous approval ahead of tomorrow's scheduled FESCo meeting include: - Deprecating XEMacs and related packages. This is due to XEmacs not seeing a major release in over seven years and the upstream development essentially at an end. There is still an occasional commit but no meaningful additions being made and thus XEMacs is being deprecated.

  • 5 tips for configuring virtualenvs with Ansible Tower | Enable Sysadmin

    Virtualenvs are a great way to create isolated scenarios where you can experiment with different Python/Ansible modules.

  • 11 considerations for effectively managing a Linux sysadmin team | Enable Sysadmin

    Having worked as a sysadmin with many colleagues and later on as a sysadmins manager, I thought it would be good to share some of my experience in this area with hopes that current managers and managers-to-be might find some useful hints. Managing sysadmins is, in many aspects, no different from working with any other group of people: Planning vacations, discussing salaries, setting targets, making certain skills and tools are up to spec. Your management style reflects who you are, and the crew is that fantastic blend of personalities and abilities. Together you can deliver projects and maintain complex technical environments. There are, however, some things you should be aware of that will improve your ability as a manager when you interact with the sysadmins.

  • Call for Projects and Mentors: GSoC 2021 – Fedora Community Blog

    Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development. Students work on a 10 week programming project with an open source organization during their break from a post secondary academic program. Fedora has had great participation and we would like to continue to be a mentoring org this year too. We are currently looking for mentors and projects. Process of how to apply is described at the end of this blog after a brief info and new changes in GSoC program.

  • Storage and Distributed Compute Nodes: Bringing Cinder persistent volumes to the edge

    In part one of our series about Distributed Compute Nodes (DCN), we described how the storage backends are deployed at each site and how to manage images at the edge. What about the OpenStack service (i.e. Cinder) that actually manages persistent block storage? This post will dive into more details.

  • Sharing is caring: Building clearer contribution paths to your community

    One of the most important topics in the open source community is "how do we attract more people to our community?" This makes perfect sense because you can’t have a community without people. Given the importance of inviting people to a community—otherwise known as onboarding—you would expect a lot of discussion and debate applied to the topic. And yet, there are many open source community managers frustrated by a lack of new contributors. In this post, we’ll focus on 3 core principles of contributor onboarding.

today's leftovers

  • Parler Tricks: Making Software Disappear

    Much has been written and broadcast about the recent actions from Google and Apple to remove the Parler app from their app stores. Apps get removed from these app stores all the time, but more than almost any past move by these companies, this one has brought the power Big Tech companies wield over everyone’s lives to the minds of every day people. Journalists have done a good job overall in presenting the challenges and concerns with this move, as well as addressing the censorship and anti-trust issues at play. If you want a good summary of the issues, I found Cory Doctorow’s post on the subject a great primer. [...] This is part of the article where Android users feel smug. After all, while much more of their data gets captured and sold than on iOS, in exchange they still (sometimes) have the option of rooting their phones and (sometimes) “sideloading” applications (installing applications outside of Google’s App Store). If Google bans an app, all a user has to do is follow a list of complicated (and often sketchy) procedures, sometimes involving disabling protections or installing sketchy software on another computer, and they can wrench back a bit of control over their phones. Of course in doing so they are disabling security features that are the foundation for the rest of Android security, at which point many Android security experts will throw up their hands and say “you’re on your own.” [...] The Librem 5 phone runs the same PureOS operating system as Librem laptops, and it features the PureOS Store which provides a curated list of applications known to work well on the phone’s screen. Even so, you can use the search function to find the full list of all available software in PureOS. After all, you might want that software to be available when you dock your Librem 5 to a larger screen. We aim to provide software in the PureOS store that respects people’s freedom, security, and privacy and will audit software that’s included in the store with that in mind. That way people have a convenient way to discover software that not only works well on the phone but also respects them. Yet you are still free to install any third-party software outside of the PureOS Store that works on the phone, even if it’s proprietary software we don’t approve of.

  • Apple Mulls Podcast Subscription Push Amid Spotify's Land Grab

    The talks, first reported by The Information, have been ongoing since at least last fall, sources tell to The Hollywood Reporter, and ultimately could end up taking several different forms. Regardless, it’s clear that Tim Cook-led Apple — after spending the last two years watching rival-in-music-streaming Spotify invest hundreds of millions of dollars to align itself with some of the most prolific producers and most popular personalities in podcasting — is no longer content sitting on the sideline. “There’s a huge opportunity sitting under their nose with 1.4 million iOS devices globally,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, “and they don’t want to lose out.” Apple declined to comment about its podcasting plans.

    Much of the growth of the podcasting industry over the last decade can be traced back to Apple and its former CEO Steve Jobs, who in 2005 declared that he was “bringing podcasting mainstream” by adding support for the medium to iTunes. A few years later, the company introduced a separate Podcasts app that quickly became the leading distribution platform for the medium. But Apple, which netted $275 billion in sales in fiscal 2020, has refrained from turning podcasting — still a relatively small industry that the Interactive Advertising Bureau estimated would bring in nearly $1 billion in U.S. advertising revenue last year — into a moneymaking venture.

  • Blacks In Technology and The Linux Foundation Partner to Offer up to $100,000 in Training & Certification to Deserving Individuals [Ed: Linux Foundation exploits blacks for PR, even though it does just about nothing for blacks [1, 2]]

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and The Blacks In Technology Foundation, the largest community of Black technologists globally, today announced the launch of a new scholarship program to help more Black individuals get started with an IT career. Blacks in Technology will award 50 scholarships per quarter to promising individuals. The Linux Foundation will provide each of these recipients with a voucher to register for any Linux Foundation administered certification exam at no charge, such as the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate, Certified Kubernetes Administrator, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and more. Associated online training courses will also be provided at no cost when available for the exam selected. Each recipient will additionally receive one-on-one coaching with a Blacks In Technology mentor each month to help them stay on track in preparing for their exam.

  • the tragedy of gemini

    While everything I have seen served via Gemini is friendly and sociable, the technical barriers of what-is-a-command-line and how-do-I-use-one are a fence put up that keep out the riffraff. Certainly, you can walk around the corner and go through the gate, but ultimately the geminiverse is lovely because it is underpopulated, slower-paced, and literate. It is difficult enough to access that those who can use it can be welcoming without worrying its smallness will be compromised.

    The tragedy is that I don’t think many of its denizens would claim that they only want to hear from technical, educated people, but in order to use a small [Internet], an August [Internet], they have let the fence keep out anyone else.

Devices: GigaIPC, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino Projects

  • Rugged systems provide IP67 waterproofing

    GigaIPC unveiled two compact, IP67-protected “QBix-WP” computers with Linux support and rugged M12 ports for 2x LAN, 3x COM, GPIO, and 9-36V input: one with 8th Gen Whiskey Lake and the other with Apollo Lake. Taiwan-based GigaIPC has announced a “QBiX-WP Series” of rugged embedded systems with IP67 protections: an 8th Gen Whiskey Lake based QBiX-WP-WHLA8265H-A1 and an Apollo Lake powered QBiX-WP-APLA3940H-A1. IP67 provides level 6 “dust-tight” protection against dust ingression and level 7 waterproofing against liquid ingress including immersion at up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

  • Deter burglars with a Raspberry Pi chatbot
  • Arduino Blog » 3D-printed mobile robot platform based on the Arduino Due

    Although an Arduino can be a great way to provide computing power for a mobile robot platform, you’ll need a variety of other electronics and mechanical components to get it going. In his write-up, computer science student Niels Post outlines how he constructed a robot that travels via two stepper motors, along with casters to keep it upright. The round chassis is 3D-printed and runs on three rechargeable 18650 batteries.

  • Arduino Blog » Making your own Segway, the Arduino way

    After obtaining motors from a broken wheelchair, this father-son duo went to work turning them into a new “Segway.” The device is controlled by an Arduino Uno, along with a pair of motor drivers implemented handle the device’s high current needs. An MPU-6050 allows it to react as the rider leans forward and backwards, moving with the help of a PID loop. Steering is accomplished via a potentiometer, linked to a bent-pipe control stick using a bottle cap and glue.

Programming: PureScript, C++, Lua, and Raku

  • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn PureScript - LinuxLinks

    PureScript is a small strongly, statically typed programming language with expressive types, written in and inspired by Haskell, and compiling to Javascript. It can be used to develop web applications, server side apps, and also desktop applications with use of Electron.

  • C++ Operator Overloading – Linux Hint

    This article provides a guide to operator overloading in C++. Operator overloading is a useful and powerful feature of the C++ programming language. C++ allows overloading of most built-in operators. In this tutorial, we will use several examples to demonstrate the operator overloading mechanism. [...] The C++ language allows programmers to give special meanings to operators. This means that you can redefine the operator for user-defined data types in C++. For example, “+” is used to add built-in data types, such as int, float, etc. To add two types of user-defined data, it is necessary to overload the “+” operator.

  • Lua, a misunderstood language

    Lua is one of my favourite programming languages. I’ve used it to build a CMS for my old educational website, for creating cool IoT hardware projects, for building little games, and experimenting with network decentralisation. Still, I don’t consider myself an expert on it at all, I am at most a somewhat competent user. This is to say that I have had exposure to it in various contexts and through many years but I am not deep into its implementation or ecosystem. Because of that, it kinda pains me when I read blog posts and articles about Lua that appear to completely miss the objective and context of the language. Usually these posts read like a rant or a list of demands. Most recently, I saw a post about Lua’s Lack of Batteries on LWN and a discussion about that post on Hacker News that made me want to write back. In this post I’ll address some of the comments I’ve seen on that original article and on Hacker News.

  • A Complete Course of the Raku programming language

    This course covers all the main aspects of the language that you need to use in your daily practice. The course consists of five parts that explain the theory and offer many practical assignments. It is assumed that you try solving the tasks yourself before looking to the solution.

    If you’re only starting to learn Raku, you are advised to go through all the parts in the order they are listed in the table of contents. If you have some practice and you want to have some specific training, you are welcome to start with the desired section.