#system76 Tumblr posts

  • system76
    09.09.2021 - 1 week ago

    Massimo Pascale and his Lemur Pro Explore Dark Matter Substructure with the Sunburst Arc

    Unleash Your Potential Program winner Massimo Pascale is a graduate student studying astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley. Using his Lemur Pro, he’s studying early galaxies and dark matter in the sunburst arc, a distant galaxy magnified through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. Read the whole interview for more details on the project and his experience with the Lemur Pro!

    Give readers a rundown on what your project entails.

    A galaxy cluster is a conglomeration of many galaxies that ends up weighing 10^14 solar masses. It’s incomprehensibly massive. Mass is not only able to gravitationally attract objects, but it’s also able to deflect the path of light, and the more massive it is the more it can deflect that light. This is what’s called gravitational lensing. When you have a massive galaxy cluster, and somewhere behind that galaxy cluster is another galaxy, the light from that galaxy can get deflected due to the mass of that galaxy cluster. Gravity causes the light to get stretched, sheared, and even magnified because of the way that it retains surface brightness, so these objects end up being a lot brighter than they would ever be if we didn’t have this galaxy cluster in front of it.

    We’re using an arc of light called the sunburst arc. If we take our telescope and look at that galaxy cluster, we actually see that background galaxy all stretched out, and it appears as if it’s in the foreground. So truly we’re using this galaxy cluster as a natural telescope in the sky. And there’s many, many scientific impacts that we get from that.

    If you want to see some of the earliest galaxies in the universe—we can say the most distant galaxies are the earliest galaxies because it takes time for that light to travel to us—this might be a good opportunity because you have this natural telescope of this massive galaxy cluster.

    When we look at these beautiful arcs of light, these beautiful stretched out background galaxies in the galaxy cluster, we can actually use that as evidence to reverse engineer the mass distribution of the galaxy cluster itself. You can think of it as looking at a footprint in the sand and reconstructing what the shape and weight of that foot must’ve been to make that footprint.

    Something I’m personally very interested in is how we can probe dark matter in this galaxy cluster. Visible matter interacts with light, and that’s why we can see it. The light bounces off and goes to our eyes, and that tells our eyes, “okay, there’s an object there.” Dark matter doesn’t interact with light in that way. It still does gravitationally, still deflects that light. But we can’t see what that dark matter is, and that makes it one of the most mysterious things in the universe to us.

    So I’m very interested in exploring that dark matter, and specifically the substructure of that dark matter. We’re using the evidence of the sunburst arc to try and discover not only what the mass distribution of the overall galaxy cluster is, but also to get a greater insight into the dark matter itself that makes up that galaxy cluster, and dark matter as a whole.

    Where did the idea to do this come from?

    I’ll have to admit that it’s not my original idea entirely. I work with an advisor here at UC Berkeley where I’m attending as a graduate student, Professor Liang Dai, who previously was looking at the effects of microlensing in this galaxy cluster. He’s an expert when it comes to doing a lot of these microlensing statistics. And I had previously had work on doing cluster scale modeling on a number of previous clusters as part of my undergraduate work. So it was a really nice pairing when we had found this common interest, and that we can both use our expertise to solve the problems in this cluster, specifically the sunburst arc.

    What kind of information are you drawing from?

    Very generally, in astronomy we are lucky to be funded usually through various governments as well as various philanthropists to build these great telescopes. If you have a cluster or any object in the sky that you’re very interested in, there’s usually some formal channel that you can write a proposal, and you will propose your project. Luckily for us, these objects had already been observed before by Hubble Space Telescope. The big benefit with Hubble is that it doesn’t have to worry about the atmosphere messing up the observations.

    Because a lot of these telescopes are publicly funded, we want to make sure this information gets to the public. Usually when you observe you get a few months where that’s only your data—that way no one else can steal your project—but then after that it goes up into an archive. So all of this data that we’re using is publicly available, and we’re able to reference other astronomers that studied it in their previous works, and see what information we’re able to glean from the data and build off of that. What’s so great about astronomy is you’re always building off of the shoulders of others, and that’s how we come to such great discoveries.

    That sounds very similar to our mission here.

    Yeah exactly. I see a lot of parallels between System76 and the open source community as a whole, and how we operate here in astronomy and the rest of the sciences as well.

    How do you determine the age of origin based on this information?

    We can estimate the general age of the object based off the object’s light profile. We do something called spectroscopy and we look at the spectrum of the object through a slit. Have you ever taken a prism and held it outside, and seen the rainbow that’s shown on the ground through the light of the sun? We do that, but with this very distant object.

    Based off of the light profile, we can figure out how far away it is, because the universe is ever-expanding and things that are further away from us are expanding away faster. The object effectively gets red-shifted by the Doppler effect, so the light gets made more red. By looking at how reddened it’s become, we can figure out the distance of the object. We usually refer to it by its red-shift. You can do this with any object, really.

    Based off of the distance from the lensed object, which we find through spectroscopy, and the objects in the cluster, which we also find through spectroscopy, we can then figure out what the mass distribution of the cluster must be. Those are two important variables for us to know in order to do our science.

    How do you divide the work between the Lemur Pro and the department’s supercomputer?

    A lot of what I do is MCMC, or Markov-chain monte carlo work, so usually I’m trying to explore some sort of parameter space. The models that I make might have anywhere from six to two dozen parameters that I’m trying to fit for at once that all represent different parts of this galaxy cluster. The parameters can be something like the orientation of a specific galaxy, things like that. This can end up being a lot of parameters, so I do a lot of shorter runs first on the Lemur Pro, which Lemur Pro is a great workhorse for, and then I ssh into a supercomputer and I use what I got from those shorter runs to do one really long run to get an accurate estimate.

    We’re basically throwing darts at a massive board that represents the different combinations of parameters, where every dart lands on a specific set of parameters, and we’re testing how those parameters work via a formula which determines what the likelihood of their accuracy is. It can be up to 10-plus runs just to test out a single idea or a single new constraint. so it’s easier to do short runs where I test out different ranges. After that, I move to the supercomputer. If I’ve done my job well, it’s just one really long run where I throw lots of darts, but in a very concentrated area. It doesn’t always end up that way since sometimes I have to go back to the drawing board and repeat them.

    What software are you using for this project?

    Almost all of what I do is in Python, and I am using an MCMC package called Emcee that’s written by another astronomer. It’s seen great success even outside of the field of astronomy, but it’s a really great program and it’s completely open source and available to the public. Most of the other stuff is code that I’ve written myself. Every once in a while I’ll dabble in using C if I need something to be faster, but for the most part I’m programming in Python, and I’m using packages made by other astronomers.

    How has your experience been with the Lemur Pro overall?

    It’s been really fantastic. I knew going in that it was going to be a decently powerful machine, but I’m surprised by how powerful it is. The ability to get the job done is the highest priority, and it knocked it out of the park with that.

    Mobility is really important to me. It’s so light and so small, I can really take it wherever I need to go. It’s just really easy to put in my bag until I get to the department. And being a graduate student, I’m constantly working from home, or working from the office, or sometimes I like to go work at the coffee shop, and I might have to go to a conference. These are all things you can expect that the average astronomer will be doing, especially one that’s a graduate student like me.

    I’ve had to travel on a plane twice since I’ve had it, and it was actually a delight to be able to do. Usually I hate working on planes because it’s so bulky, and you open the laptop and it starts to hit the seat in front of you, you don’t know if you can really put it on the tray table, maybe your elbows start pushing up against the person next to you because the computer’s so big, but this was the most comfortable experience I’ve had working on a plane.

    What will findings on dark matter and early galaxies tell us about our universe?

    First let’s think about the galaxy that’s getting magnified. This is a background galaxy behind the cluster, and the mass from the cluster is stretching out its light and magnifying it so that it appears as an arc to us. Through my MCMC I figure out what the mass distribution of the galaxy cluster is. And using that, I can reconstruct the arc into what it really looked like before it was stretched and sheared out, because I know now how it was stretched and sheared.

    A lot of people are interested in looking at the first galaxies. How did the first galaxies form? What were the first galaxies like? Looking at these galaxies gives us insight into the early parts of the universe, because the more distant a galaxy is, the earlier in the universe it’s from. We’re seeing back in time, effectively.

    Secondarily, we don’t know much about dark matter. By getting an idea of dark matter substructure by looking at these arcs, we can get insight and test different theories of dark matter. and what its makeup might be. If you learned that 80 percent of all mass in your universe was something that you couldn’t see, and you understood nothing about, I’m sure you would want to figure out something about it too, right? It’s one of the greatest mysteries not just of our generation, but of any generation. I think it will continue to be one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

    The third prong of this project is that we can also figure out more about the galaxy cluster itself. The idea of how galaxy clusters form. We can get the mass distribution of this cluster, and by comparing it to things like the brightness of the galaxies in the cluster or their speed, we can get an idea for where the cluster is in its evolution. Clusters weren’t always clusters, it’s the mass that caused them to merge together in these violent collisions to become clusters. If you know the mass distribution which we get by this gravitational lensing, as well as a couple of other things about the galaxies, you can figure out how far along the cluster is in this process.

    There’s a big impact morally on humanity by doing this sort of thing, because everybody can get behind it. When everybody looks up and they see that we came up with the first image of a black hole, I think that brings everybody together, and that’s something that everybody can be very interested and want to explore.

    Stay tuned for further updates from Massimo Pascale’s exploration of dark matter and the sunburst arc, as well as cool projects from our other UYPP winners!

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  • beardedreviewmoon
    04.09.2021 - 2 weeks ago

    New top story on Hacker News: Ask HN: What do you think of System76?

    Ask HN: What do you think of System76? 18 by istingray | 8 comments on Hacker News. The more I learn about the company the more I like it. The one thing that surprises me is they seem fairly unique in the marketplace. Solid Linux-first hardware, with a encryption/anti-surveillance focus. Curious for people's thoughts here. from Blogger https://ift.tt/2WZRHvw

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  • hndigest
    01.09.2021 - 2 weeks ago

    Hacker News top 10 for Sep 1, 2021

    Apple and Google must allow other payment systems, new Korean law declares 1104 points by commoner, 496 comments

    58% of Hacker News, Reddit and tech-savvy audiences block Google Analytics 1126 points by robin_reala, 608 comments

    System76 Pangolin “Linux-first” laptop with AMD internals now in stock 524 points by sampling, 362 comments

    Tor is a great sysadmin tool 342 points by azalemeth, 96 comments

    Why Erlang? 273 points by todsacerdoti, 117 comments

    The art of not taking things personally 285 points by LoriP, 100 comments

    You want enabling CSS selectors, not disabling ones 178 points by AryanBeezadhur, 79 comments

    Docker Desktop no longer free for large companies 379 points by alanwreath, 353 comments

    CSS Nesting Module (First Public Working Draft) 138 points by bpierre, 55 comments

    A guide to fun mathematics YouTube channels 228 points by MajesticFrogBoy, 31 comments

    #theverge.com #plausible.io #system76.com #jamieweb.net #fredrikholmqvist.com #medium.dave-bailey.com #css-tricks.com #theregister.com #w3.org #samenright.com
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  • system76
    05.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    Behind the Scenes: Production Team

    The Production Team is responsible for making our physical products a reality. In this week's Spotlight, we talk with our Production Manager and 4th-generation machinist Chris Fielder. Have a look!

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  • system76
    03.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    Win a $10,000 Thelio Major Workstation!

    The computer and operating system are the most powerful tools in existence. The Launch into Learning season encourages STEM and creative professionals like you to hone their craft, learn a new skill, or make something they’re proud to share.

    This year, we’re empowering one lucky user with a $10,000 Thelio Major workstation. The complete package includes a Launch keyboard, an MX Master 3 wireless mouse, a 27” 1440p IPS display, and a decked-out Thelio Major.

    To enter the giveaway, retweet our contest tweet and read our terms and conditions.

    The Launch Keyboard

    The Launch configurable keyboard is fully customizable and engineered for comfort and efficiency. Remap your layout in the Keyboard Configurator, swap keycaps and accent colors, use up to four layers, and transfer data at high speeds through the USB hub. By personalizing your workflow, Launch propels users forward at max velocity. That’s max for Maximillion, a measurement equal to one million maximums.

    Thelio Major

    Thelio Major is a high-end desktop (HEDT) that’s thermally engineered to ensure components perform to their fullest potential. For the Launch into Learning giveaway, one randomly selected winner will receive a system with an AMD Threadripper 3970X processor, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of fast PCIe 4.0 storage, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU. Thelio Major does not skimp on power. Or beauty.

    Retweet this post before September 30th, 2021 to enter System76’s Launch into Learning Twitter giveaway. Good luck!

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  • system76
    23.07.2021 - 1 mont ago

    Jon McDonald: How System76 paves the way for Linux hardware adoption

    System76 has found its footing in an industry largely geared towards Windows users. Jon McDonald, Contributing Editor for web hosting company HostingAdvice, took to the company's blog to share a deep dive on System76's success in the world of Linux hardware. He's joined by Sam Mondlick, VP of Sales at System76.

    Check out the article in full for an informative read that offers an industry-focused perspective on the products and strategy that's led to our success so far.

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  • system76
    15.07.2021 - 2 monts ago

    System76 Spotlight with Crystal Cooper

    In the previous System76 Spotlight, we interviewed Adam Balla (aka chzbacon), about his journey with Linux and becoming System76’s new Content Producer. Then, we put his content producing to the test, ensuring he could withstand the elements of a noisy factory. A slight drop in decibel detection later, he’s put together the second System76 Spotlight—this one for CNC Machinist Crystal Cooper!

    Check out the sparkling footage of the interview! It’s got info. It’s got banter. It’s got...fish? So if you’re fishing for answers, get that popcorn ready and have yourself a view!

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  • system76
    29.06.2021 - 2 monts ago

    Pop!_OS 21.04: A Release of COSMIC Proportions

    Pop!_OS is developed to help you unleash your potential by providing you efficient tools that streamline your workflow. Pop!_OS 21.04 continues this ethos with COSMIC, a set of catered customizations geared towards accommodating a variety of use cases. Continue below for details on these new features!

    COSMIC Workflow

    Pop!_OS COSMIC (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) gives you the freedom to navigate your workflow via your mouse, keyboard, and/or trackpad. Each navigation comes with a variety of shiny new features for you to enjoy:

    During initial setup, you’ll be prompted to personalize your defaults by configuring COSMIC customizations to your liking. Each screen of the initial setup offers a preview of what your experience will look like. You can always make adjustments in Settings later on.

    Mouse: To Dock or Not To Dock

    That is one of many questions. The COSMIC desktop introduces a highly flexible dock to Pop!_OS that you can customize to your heart’s content, including:

    Expanding full-screen or condensing to a central island

    Arranging on the bottom, left, or right side of the screen

    Adjusting size to small, medium, large, or a custom setting

    Removing new icons for Workspaces, Applications, or the Launcher

    Hiding the dock, or intelligently hiding the dock when windows approach the bottom of the screen

    Going dockless, if having icons on-tap doesn’t fit your workflow

    Mouse: Take it from the Top...Bar The most notable change in the top bar is that the Activities Overview has been split into two views: Workspaces and Applications. This focused approach serves to reduce confusion while you navigate your desktop.

    Tinker with the top bar to align your desktop with your mental habits. Whether you need a more minimalist setup or want to realign buttons, this update has you covered. New options for the top bar include:

    Remove the Workspaces and/or Applications button

    Move Date/Time & Notifications to the top-left or top-right corner

    Toggle a hot corner to open the Workspaces view by flicking your mouse to the top-left corner of your screen

    Keyboard: Super Key to the Rescue!

    By default, the Super key opens the launcher in Pop!_OS 21.04. With the launcher, you can:

    Launch applications

    Open specific menus in Settings

    Perform searches on specific websites (ex. google system76)

    Perform calculations using the prefix: = (ex. =5+7+6)

    Search recent files using the prefix: d: (ex. d:FileName)

    Open file folders using one of two prefixes: / or ~/ (ex. ~/FolderName)

    Run a command using one of three prefixes: t: or : or run (ex. run top)

    Show launcher features by typing a question mark

    It’s now possible to launch a search option in the launcher using Ctrl + Number, close a selected window (Ctrl + Q), and launch an application on dedicated graphics by right-clicking on the application.

    If the launcher isn’t an efficient fit for your personal workflow, the Super key can also be configured to open either the Workspaces or Applications view!

    Trackpad: Gestures!

    A prequel to the tangible holograms of the future, trackpad gestures give your hand full command over your workspace. Here are some swift motions to keep you navigating smoothly:

    Swipe four fingers right on the trackpad to open the Applications view

    Swipe four fingers left to open the Workspaces view

    Swipe four fingers up or down to switch to another workspace

    Swipe with three fingers to switch between open windows

    Additional Features

    Optional minimize and maximize buttons for windows have been added! Minimize is enabled by default, and maximize can be enabled in Settings.

    Tile windows with your mouse! Just click and drag tiled windows to rearrange them to your liking. A hint will appear to show you where it will be arranged on drop.

    The recovery partition can now be upgraded through the OS Upgrade & Recovery menu in Settings!

    The launcher’s search algorithm has been updated to prioritize relevant applications for a smoother experience.

    A plugin system was added to the launcher so that you can create your own plugins to search with.

    How to upgrade before version 20.10 reaches End of Life in July

    Once 20.10 goes EOL next month, you will no longer receive new security updates until your operating system is upgraded to the newest version, 21.04. Though upgrading errors are unlikely, they do happen, so we recommend backing up your files before upgrading as seen in this article.


    Before diving into the upgrade, open up Pop!_Shop to the Installed view and perform any outstanding updates. This will ensure a faster and more reliable upgrade.

    Open the Settings application to the OS Upgrade & Recovery menu. If you have an update available for your recovery partition, perform this first. Then, click the Download button at the top to download the upgrade. To apply the upgrade, click Upgrade once the download is complete. Once your computer restarts in your sparkling Pop!_OS 21.04 desktop, follow the prompts on-screen to set your preferences with the new COSMIC features. (You can always change these later in Settings.)


    Open Terminal from your desktop or with Super + T. To make sure you’re fully updated before upgrading, use the commands below one at a time, pressing Enter after each.

    sudo apt update
    sudo apt full-upgrade

    You’ll be prompted to enter your password, which will be cloaked in invisible ink as you type. This is normal. Once the process is finished, run the following command:

    pop-upgrade release upgrade

    As your system upgrades, you may be prompted to answer a few yes or no questions. Press Y and then Enter to continue. After about 15 minutes, bam! Upgrade complete.


    Back up your files. Then, head to this web page. Click the Download button at the top, then select Download 21.04. If you have or plan to have an NVIDIA GPU in your system, select the NVIDIA download instead. Once Pop!_OS is installed, you’ll encounter a series of prompts for setting up your operating system. Check out this article if you need guidance.

    You’ve done it! Play around with all the new features Pop!_OS 21.04 and COSMIC have to offer, and see which configuration works best for you.

    Pop!_Chat: The official chat for everything Pop!_OS!

    Hosted on Mattermost, the Pop!_Chat is our one-stop shop for everything Pop! Talk with community members and Pop!_OS engineers, discuss ideas, and seek help with software projects. Create an account and join the Pop!_Chat here!

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  • system76
    29.06.2021 - 2 monts ago

    How we Arrived at the Pop!_OS COSMIC Design

    Pop!_OS 21.04 introduces the COSMIC desktop, which changes the workflow that users have become accustomed to since Pop!_OS first released. With such a considerable alteration, we’d like to walk you through the design decisions that led to the new COSMIC experience, and why we think it improves computing for users and customers.

    Guiding Principles

    Deliver advanced computing features in easily consumable ways. Auto-tiling in Pop!_OS 20.04 was the first major realization of this principle. Auto-tiling manages the window layout for users rather than users managing all those floating windows themselves. In COSMIC, we eschew a traditional “Start” menu for the launcher. The launcher is a fast and modern way to launch and switch between applications and access operating system features.

    Simple and straightforward. We prefer literal design, in that there should be little to no guessing what a button or UI component does; it should say what it is and do what it says. The interface should be easy to describe, and no single component should do too much. Keep components focused on the user’s intended action.

    Meaningful customization doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Some people prefer a minimalist setup and navigate their desktop with the keyboard. Some navigate primarily by the mouse, opening applications from a dock or application picker and clicking the system menu to suspend or shutdown. Others love gestures to glide around the interface. These preferences can exist simultaneously without complicating settings to the point of being overwhelming. Careful, considerate design can accommodate them all.

    Launching Apps

    In previous versions of Pop!_OS, you opened applications by opening the Activities Overview then clicking the app’s icon in the Dash or typing the app’s name and pressing enter. Each time a user opened Activities, all windows zoomed out, and the dash and workspace picker appeared.

    Opening three applications involved:

    Windows zoom out, open application, windows zoom in. Windows zoom out, open application, windows zoom in. Windows zoom out, open application, windows zoom in. That’s a lot of zooming out and in. These transitions are heavy for the simple task of opening applications. And give the feeling that the interface is slow, taking the user out of context. In Pop!_OS 21.04, press Super, type the beginning of the app name and press enter, or click the app icon in the dock. No heavy transitions, animations, or context switching. Simple and straightforward.

    Switching Between Apps

    Switching between applications with Alt+tab is messy. Everyone has experienced the over-tab. Alt+tab tab tab. Dang, I missed it. Tab tab, oh I have two Firefox windows open. It’s painful. In Pop!_OS 21.04, press super and arrow down to switch to the app you want. Pop!_OS will highlight the window so you know you’re in the right place. Or, press Super then type the first few characters of the app you want and press enter. You can jump from your first monitor to your third or to an app three workspaces down. It’s fast and simple.

    Oh, but there’s more. Have newer laptop hardware with a nice, large touchpad? Swipe three fingers in the direction of the app you want. You’ll be transported immediately to your intended destination.


    We’re pretty skeptical of universal search in operating systems. User testing revealed it's uncommon to search for files or contacts in the Pop!_OS Activities Overview. We have some hunches as to why.

    Mixing apps, files, settings, contacts, and web results in one place clutters the interface and is never quite universal enough to be the starting point for all desktop activities. You might be able to send an email to a contact in a search result, but you can’t start a conversation with them in Slack or Discord. Users end up using the app where the content or person resides. They search the web in a browser, a contact where you want to talk to them, or files in the file browser. The search results are better simply because an app's results are inherently limited to what the user anticipates finding in the app.

    For those reasons we keep default launcher results limited and focused on what the operating system provides: applications to launch or switch to and system features such as suspend, shutdown, logout, settings, and switching graphics modes on supported hardware (type “Switch” to try it).

    And while we don’t think showing results from all sources for all queries is a good idea, we can make opening search sources faster. Open the Launcher and type “google system76” and the browser will open with Google’s search results, or type “?” into the Launcher to see more features. We’ll be adding carefully curated tools and improving them over time.


    Browsing installed applications is a necessary component of any operating system, especially for new users. As new users become accustomed to the Pop!_OS workflow and the applications they have installed, they may migrate to the more efficient launcher or simply prefer to use the Applications view.

    With that in mind, two improvements will arrive after release: One, windows on secondary monitors won’t spread, and two the Application picker will open on whichever monitor has focus. Because the vast majority of our customers use multiple monitors, we’re slowly moving away from the primary/additional monitor concept and toward treating all monitors equally.

    We are also discussing ways to make the Applications view more useful, but more research and experimentation is necessary to flesh out possible improvements.


    Of all the surprises that show up in user testing, how few people use workspaces was at the top of the list. Many used multiple monitors so spreading out windows to different workspaces wasn’t valuable. For others, their task focus didn’t take them beyond what fit well enough on a single workspace.

    Then on the flip side, there were some folks who couldn’t live without workspaces. It’s how they organize their work and thought process. They generally maximized windows and separated them on different workspaces on smaller laptop displays.

    We don’t think the fact that fewer people than anticipated use workspaces is a flaw in the concept or implementation of workspaces. Rather, we think it’s simply a need or preference to use them or not. Armed with the evidence, we decided not to put workspaces front and center. They’re easy to access and the buttons to access them can be disabled if they’re not part of the user's workflow.

    In a post-release update, we will add the workspace picker to all monitors when “Workspace Span Displays” is enabled. This is once more an extension of our effort to treat all monitors equally for our multi-monitor loving customers.

    More to Come

    An option to add the Top Bar to all monitors

    An option to auto-hide the Top Bar

    Dock and Top Bar transparency

    Gesture controls in Settings

    Tiling options in Settings

    Additional Hot Corner options

    Horizontal Workspace Picker position options

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  • system76
    10.06.2021 - 3 monts ago

    UYPP: Ben Ruel's Garage Garden

    Back in March, we announced the winners for our Unleash Your Potential Program, in which six participants got to configure their own System76 computer to use for their awesome projects. This first awesome project is the Garage Garden, helmed by awesome project-er, engineer, and mighty green thumb Ben Ruel. We sat down with Ben to see how his project has been growing on the Meerkat.

    Can you tell us about the Garage Garden project? What's it all about?

    I spent a career with the Coast Guard and came up here—my final tour with the Coast Guard was in Juneau. Being in southeast Alaska, we’re constrained with what they call off-the-road systems, and the only way in or out of town is by boat or by plane. So all of our food comes up here by barge for a small nominal fee, or by aircraft for an incredibly large fee.

    When I came up to Juneau with my wife and kids 11 years ago, we noticed that by the time our produce gets up here, it’s lived on a barge a week, two weeks out of Seattle, and you have no shelf life left on them. We started trying to grow food within the first year of getting here, and we came to the conclusion pretty quickly that with 300 days plus of rain every year, outdoor growing wasn’t really a viable option. That’s when we started a hobby farm in a garage growing some stuff in soil under fluorescent lights, as odd as that sounds.

    Since then, we’ve progressed into hydroponics, but we’ve done it very manually. We go out every other day and take readings by hand, so I’ve been doing some research about building IOT devices that will talk back and automate some of the readings. My dream would be using it to actually control the concentration of nutrient solutions that we use. The overall goal is we’re going to build the hydroponic monitoring network of IOT devices, and use the Meerkat as a control center for the devices and a repository for all the data. We’ve also been doing some investigating behind the scenes into whether or not it could grow enough legs to become a business.

    Is there a specific type of produce that you’re starting with?

    We’ve been all over the road. Right now we’ve got lettuce. We’ve always got some kind of green leafy vegetables whether it’s any variety of lettuce that will grow hydro, some bok choy and tatsoi, and we’re growing kale like it’s going out of style. We’ve grown cucumbers to the point where I think I’ve harvested 65 pounds of cucumbers off of 4 plants over the last couple of months, but we’re really constrained by our size.

    I live in a relatively small 3-bedroom house, and we’re just using a one-and-a-half car garage as our grow area. Right now I’ve got two tents. As funny as it sounds, cannabis is legal in Alaska and has been forever—my wife and I don’t touch the stuff, but because it’s been legalized, the infrastructure and the supplies that we need are freely available. We’re growing tomatoes in a tent that’s designed for marijuana growth. It works really well. It helps to maintain efficient temperature control; you can maintain temperature and humidity, block out extraneous light if you don’t want it, and cycle the lights on and off.

    Depending on whether it’s too hot in the summer we’ll run the lights at night, and in the wintertime we’re looking for extra warmth, we can shift the cycle and run the lights during the day. Our big benefit up here is that, because Juneau’s all on hydroelectric power, electricity is really cheap.

    What variables are being monitored?

    With hydroponics, there’s a good number of parameters that you’ve got to try and keep track of. You’re basically diluting nutrients in a solution of as pure water as you can get. You want to keep track of things—your pH can’t be too acidic or too alkaline, for example.

    The other big parameter is the electrical conductivity, or total dissolved solids. You want to make sure you’ve got the right concentration of nutrients, and that your nutrient solution isn’t salting up. As you’re adjusting pH back and forth, it’ll start demineralizing salt, so tracking that data gives you a good indication for when it’s time to dump the reservoir and start over.

    We’re doing it manually now. I go out every couple of days and we take samples, and sit down and log it into a spreadsheet. The Meerkat acts as a control center for programming devices, keeping a repository of the programming for the IOT devices that we’re using (Arduinos with the esp8266 chips) as well as running different database programs as Docker containers, so that they can be spun up and knocked down fast enough as we try and figure out what the best way to move forward is. We’ve got a couple of database servers that I’ve been playing around with, trying to break from traditional SQL and looking at NoSQL type of databases.

    I’m not an IT guy by trade. I’m more of an electronics guy, so I’m kind of doing it as a study-by-night type of project.

    What has your experience been like with the Meerkat so far?

    I’m actually completely blown away by the Meerkat’s performance. It’s astounding what that small form factor and footprint is able to do. I’ve used Linux for a number of years, and basically everybody’s heard of System76. I’ve seen Pop!_OS before and never really played with it all that much, but I’ve actually grown to love it. The feel, the ergonomics, the interface, and even down to the color schemes that come bone-stock right out of the box. They just make more sense to me. I’m looking forward to the COSMIC update after researching that to see how the differences in the workflow will affect things.

    What software are you using for this project?

    Right now we’re writing in Docker containers and running the Tick Stack from Influx. We’re also running Telegraf, Protograph, Capacitor, playing around with the Time Series Database, I’ve got a container running MongoDB I run with SQLite, and there’s a couple different IDEs I’ve got loaded on there as well for programming Arduinos or esp8266 chip flashing.

    How was the setup process for the machine?

    It was up and running within 10–15 minutes of pulling it out of the box. I actually took it to work, too. We do a lot of work with government agencies, and I’ve been doing a lot of microwave radio repair. I’ve got a pretty small workbench at our shop here in Juneau, so using the Meerkat to drive all of our test equipment to control the radio while logging data coming out of the radio, it was perfect. It had enough horsepower to remotely control the test equipment. I wasn’t pushing it all that hard, but setting it up and going back and forth between having it at home or at work, it was negligible to get it up and running.

    Stay tuned for further updates from Ben Ruel’s Garage Garden and cool projects from our other UYPP winners!

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  • system76
    20.05.2021 - 3 monts ago

    Things We Love About Our Brand New, Fully Configurable, US-Manufactured, Beautifully Handcrafted Open Source Keyboard

    The robots have donned their space gear, and are now boarding the rocket. The Launch configurable keyboard is available for pre-order!

    Before we start the countdown, here’s a quick rundown of the things we love about La—oh my that’s a lot of things. Let’s see...What info about our fully configurable keyboard can we sum up about how much we love the fully configurable Launch? It’s on the tip of our tongue, but we can’t fully configure it…

    No wait, you can!


    Your Layout

    Bring commonly used keys right beneath your fingertips. Remap your layout in the System76 Keyboard Configurator application, and then move your keycaps to match. Launch uses only three key sizes (1U, 1.5U, and 2U) to expand your options!

    Your “Space” Bar

    We’ve shrunk the traditional Space Bar from a single 5U key down to two adjacent 2U keys in the same location. This allows you to swap a Space key with Fn, Bksp, Shift, or Esc key for easy access with your thumb—without losing existing habits.

    Your Layers

    Simply put, layers are layouts. Toggling to a second layer gives you access to specific functionalities mapped to each key in that layer. Launch has two layers mapped by default, with up to four layers total for you to play around with.

    With layers, you have the freedom to fully configure™ your keyboard to your liking: Swap Caps Lock with Esc, add an Insert key or NumPad, use a non-QWERTY layout, and so on. You can even set a layer to reconfigure an application’s shortcuts to keys that make more sense to you. Your customization options are endless!

    Your Accent Colors

    Launch’s brown Esc key and arrow keys spruce up the keyboard’s aesthetic with a rich, I’m-not-at-my-desk-I’m-at-a-French-cafe-having-chocolate-and-coffee vibe. But if brown’s not your style, Launch packaging also includes red or blue replacements. Match the wood veneer of your Thelio or mix-and-match colors until your palate is adequately pleased.

    Your LEDs

    By default, Launch exhibits a soothing, side-flowing rainbow pattern to hypnotize users into loving their product. (It works.) Scientifically speaking, however, only 10 percent of the population is highly susceptible to hypnosis—so chances are, you’ll be alert enough to succumb to curiosity. Cycle through various LED patterns straight from your keyboard or from the keyboard configurator. Set a vortex pattern, solid color, or a pattern which only lights up mapped keys on the current layer. And for minimalists, “OFF” is also an available cycle!

    Launch LEDs flash U-N-L-O-C-K-E-D in sequence to let you know that your firmware is being updated. In addition to telling you that something is happening behind the scenes, it also makes for a fun light show.

    Your Workplace

    Once you save your configurations, your personal adjustments will travel with you wherever you go. Simply plug your keyboard into any workstation and plug away at whatever awesomeness you need to do!

    Your Workspace

    From the central USB-C port on Launch, you can connect to your computer via the included USB-A or USB-C cords. The attached USB hub also brings two USB-A and two USB-C ports to your desk. Plug accessories straight into the keyboard’s hub and take advantage of fast file transfers — such as a 1TB video file in as little as 15 minutes. Let the wire organizing commence!

    Your Platform

    System76’s Launch keyboard is compatible not only with Pop!_OS and other Linux distros, but on Windows and macOS as well. Download the Keyboard Configurator application wherever it’s available, and have fun personalizing your Launch!


    Launch pre-orders begin shipping in July. We’ll keep you up to date on potential delays as we navigate ongoing global supply shortages. Subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for further updates.

    Like our laptops, Launch is available in over 60 countries. Check out our shipping locations here! And the GitHub repo for Launch as well!

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  • dvdmerwe
    14.05.2021 - 4 monts ago

    System76's Configurable Mechanical Keyboard is a Dream Come True for Open Source Enthusiasts - It's FOSS News

    System76’s Launch configurable mechanical keyboard is fully open source hardware and firmware for Linux, MacOS and Windows... At a price

     System76 unveiled its first keyboard, which also happens to be the first open-source configurable mechanical keyboard. It is easy to swap out the keys, choose the type of switches (Royals which offer a muted clack, and Jades which produce an addictive click sound), can fully remap the key layout in software, it has RGB lighting, as well as it acts as a high-speed USB hub to plug additional USB devices into it.

     That said it is fairly pricey at $285 and may lack the additional keys that gamers like to have (media control keys with volume, macro program keys, and number pad), and in my case I like the actual keycap lettering to be lit through the keys (that allows the RGB lighting in effect to change the "colour of the key" and can be quickly changed per game without mechanically removing the keycaps. It is possible though that in future, transparent keycaps could be available that will anyway achieve this, so it may not be a big drawback.

     It is well-built though and has certainly packed some requested features in, and the split spacebar makes better use of space. Being open source hardware there is also a good chance of 3rd party support for keycaps and other features. My Redragon Yama mechanical keyboard for example has limited Linux support for the customisation side and I had to use Windows to program it.

     See https://news.itsfoss.com/system76-launch-mechanical-keyboard/

     #technology #opensource #hardware #keyboard #system76


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  • system76
    06.05.2021 - 4 monts ago

    Behind the Scenes of System76: Industrial Design

    Since moving into a factory space in 2018, System76 has delved deeper and deeper into manufacturing hardware in-house. Three years later, we’ve introduced five Thelio desktops, fine-tuned the hardware, developed our fully configurable Launch keyboard, and optimized our production processes. Helming the design process is Mechanical Engineer John Grano, who wears a number of different hats here. We sat down with John this week to discuss industrial design and the team behind our beautiful open source hardware.

    How would you describe industrial design for people unfamiliar with the term?

    To me, industrial design is basically the art of making something into a usable product. In industrial design, you have to balance looks and function, and that drives your form. It’s kind of like hardware UX in that it’s really important to have the right feel. If you can make the system connect better with people, they’ll like it more. Adding that softness we do with Thelio, like slightly rounded edges and darker wood, it makes it a little more approachable to have a semi-natural looking system and not something that’s blinking at you with red lights all the time.

    System76 itself is a group of hardcore programmers and people that are really into Linux, but I think the idea of trying to democratize Linux is extremely important. If you can create something that doesn’t have that robotic aesthetic, it will provide people with something that feels more familiar and usable. No one really wants to go sit in a car that looks like a square with wheels on it. They want something that makes them feel something, maybe openness or comfort, when they’re in it.

    What inspired you to get into mechanical engineering, and how did you end up at System76?

    The way my brain works lends itself well to engineering, for better or for worse. There’s a lot of really solid engineers who don’t have much creativity, and then there are a lot of people who have great creative ability, but can’t do math. I kind of fluctuate in the middle; I wouldn’t say I’m the best at math or the most creative person in the entire world, but I have enough of each that the combination pushed me towards mechanical engineering. I like working with my hands, and it’s more of a study of how things work in the real world versus computer science, which is a purely digital and nontangible practice.

    During school I worked mainly as a bike mechanic, and that helped me to think about how to build things better. That led me to my first internship at a bike company working in a wind tunnel, which was really fun. Realizing that I could probably never get a job there—or at least one that would pay me enough to live—I started working at an environmental engineering company, where I prototyped scientific sampling systems for R&D that would process materials with all these gasses at really high heat and tried not to die. It was kind of fun making these large-scale systems that were basically just gigantic science experiments, but I didn’t really have the creative outlet I wanted in terms of making something that looks good.

    One of the main things that drew me to System76 was being able to have a solid influence on what tools we were able to use and how we were going to push the design. In the past three years, it’s pretty wild to see what we’ve been able to accomplish coming from a completely empty warehouse to being able to crank out parts.

    I had also previously, while working at these scientific instrument companies, been working with a local company to design and develop a cargo bicycle, so I had that experience as well in terms of consumer product development with overseas manufacturing. I think that helped get me in the door here.

    Let’s talk a bit about your team. Who do you collaborate with on a typical day?

    It’s a very small team and everyone does a lot. I pretty much lead the mechanical engineering team slash design team...slash manufacturing team. Being a small company, we are all wearing a bunch of different hats. Aside from doing the initial design work on all of our Thelio desktops and the Launch keyboard, I also program our laser-punch machine and our brake press and run through all of the design for manufacturing hang ups that show up. Those changes tend to be a result of our current tools, and internal capabilities.

    Crystal came on last August as our first CNC Machinist. She heads up all of the machining, trains our operators, makes sure our parts are coming out in a nice clean fashion, and has done a lot of work on minimizing machine time and maximizing the parts we can get out. She also provides really great feedback on what's possible and what kind of special fixtures or tools we'll need to make for a specific part. Around the same time we picked up our first Haas 3-axis CNC mill to start working on the Launch project. That led to some other opportunities to make parts for Thelio and improve the feel of some of the parts that we were pumping out.

    We just hired Cary, who came from a similar background as me in consumer product development, as well as low-scale scientific machine development. He’s going to help build manufacturing tools for us, and he’s only been here now for two or three weeks. Going forward, Cary will be heading up the Thelio line long-term, and I’ll be moving to some interesting R&D work.

    And Zooey?

    Zooey doesn’t really do much. She just kind of sits there and waits for people to feed her their lunch. I take her out for walks during the day so she can get away from everyone petting her. She doesn’t like when they do that.

    What was the R&D process like for Launch?

    Launch is a less complicated product in that we don’t have to deal with things like cooling. Even dropping a PCB into aluminum housing deals with multiple processes, like using the laser and CNC machine. This was a start to looking at those processes to see how much time it takes to produce parts, the costs going into making them, and monitoring the cutting quality. You have to be familiar with the machines and know what you’re looking for when you see a tool going dull.

    We first let the software experts do their thing and optimize a layout they wanted for their programming life. Then I was given that template, built a couple of sheet metal chassis that we wired up to test that layout, and made a bunch of little changes to that to get that right secret sauce for our keyboard-centric workflow in Pop!_OS. Once we got a sheet metal product that we were sure was going to be usable, we decided officially that we were going to pursue making a keyboard. That came with a whole new set of manufacturing requirements that we would have to look into.

    We spent a ton of time working on pocket profile. When you look at a Launch, you’ll see that it’s not a perfect rectangle. That’s because when you’re using a mill, you have a round tool, so you can go through and get close to a pretty small radius on the corner, but you can never make it exact. If we wanted to get a very small, tight pocket, we’d have to use a very small cutter that takes an extremely long period of time.

    We’re taking raw billet, which are these huge 12-foot-long sticks of aluminum that we cut down to get our final product. We went with a rounded rectangle so that we could use our cutter and decrease the overall time to machine that part. There was a lot of work in that and making sure the pockets were all 13.95mm versus 13.9mm versus 14.1mm.

    We also did a lot of R&D on how we go about putting the angle bar on. Magnetic assembly seemed to be a good idea. We went from trying to glue magnets in to doing what's called press fitting. The bars come right out of powder coating while they’re nice and warm, when the aluminum is slightly larger than when it cools down. Those magnets aren’t actually adhered to anything in the bars; they’re squeezed in nice and tight from the aluminum cooling and contracting around them. That’s called a press fit, and doing that makes the process faster and less expensive.

    It’s similar with the bottoms of Launch; we have steel plates that we press fit into that part as opposed to gluing or screwing, but that we do before powder coating; steel rusts, and we don’t want someone opening up their keyboard in a year and finding a little bit of rust floating underneath their super high-end PCB. So we do that, sand it down, use our media blaster to clean off the surface from the tool paths you see from the mill, and then we powder coat it through and through.

    Word on the Denver streets is that Thelio Major is getting a redesign soon. What does that entail?

    We’re bringing Thelio Major a lot more in line with Thelio Mega in terms of a different PCI mount for graphics cards, because we know that’s been a pain point for a lot of our users. We want to provide a little bit more robust installation for these graphics cards, which continue to increase in size and weight. The NVIDIA 3000-series cards are almost a pound heavier in some instances, and that’s a lot of weight to be shipping across the country.

    We also want to continue to make Thelio Major cooler and quieter when it’s running with these new GPUs. Our new brake press allows us to make radius bends on parts, so we’re starting to run through R&D of a laser-welded external. It’s a wholesale departure from us using custom brackets and 3M VHB tape. That will provide a nicer finished product to our end user, and it’ll allow us to make our product faster with less material and less steps.

    What qualities do you look for when adding someone to the team?

    Creativity is extremely important. As a small manufacturing company, our priorities can shift on a day or in an afternoon where we don’t have the full line of product anymore. There are all sorts of examples in the past few years of times where you have to react pretty quickly. The motherboard’s been EOL’d, or we have to change our sheet metal design, build a new part, things like that. Making sure that someone can adapt to those changes on a moment’s notice is one of the key parts of the job.

    We also want people who get excited about a new challenge and have the desire to keep improving something. I look for people who like to make things and go back in and refine it and not hold it up on this pillar. It’s good to not look at something like it’s perfect.

    You have a lot of love for your Audi. What do you love about it over other options?

    I like German cars. We have a family of them. They’re high-performance and not too expensive if you do all the work on it yourself. There’s a huge after-market community that tunes and changes these cars, which is pretty fun. Plus I prefer the metric system. Having a standard system drives me nuts, because what the [REDACTED] are fractions?

    My real love, though, is bikes. I love tuning and riding bikes, and I love that more than I like to work on cars. It comes out of tinkering. I work with carbon fiber, I’ve done a lot of repairs on bikes over the years—there’s a certain sense of freedom you get from riding a bike that you can’t get from anything else. Not motorcycles, not cars.

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  • system76
    22.04.2021 - 4 monts ago

    Thelio Massive at the Lab: An interview with Luca Della Santina

    Every now and then we like to check in on our customers to find out about what coolness they’re up to. This week, we sat down with Luca Della Santina, an assistant professor at UCSF in the Department of Ophthalmology, to see what he and his Thelio Massives are discovering at the lab.

    What kind of work goes on in the Department of Ophthalmology?

    Everything we do is focused on the eye and on vision. I am also part of the Bakar Institute, which is a computational institute specializing in machine learning and deep learning applied to health sciences. The lab that I run is divided between working on computational approaches, mainly image analysis.

    What projects are you working on right now?

    One major current project is detecting an infection of the eye called trachoma. Trachoma is an infection that affects the inside of the eyelid. It usually occurs in countries below the tropics, and it’s a major cause of blindness for people across the world—except for in wealthy countries like the US where it’s very rare. Eliminating it elsewhere is a major goal of the World Health Organization. Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania still have many cases, so we’re taking photographs of the afflicted eyelid to look at the sites where bacteria has infected the eye. Then we use deep learning to detect it automatically to help public health experts decide which communities will require antibiotic treatment.

    We’re also taking images of neurons in the eyes and map the connection between them, called synapses, to study how degenerative diseases of the eye such as glaucoma can alter the wires between neurons. Knowing which neurons are the most susceptible to disease will shine a light on new and more sensitive tests to catch these blinding diseases before they can actually cause major vision loss. This type of research generates really large data sets, in which each image is large many gigabytes and for which the analysis is very computationally intensive, both for the GPU and the CPU.

    How long have you been using System76 workstations for your projects?

    We started to use System76 systems two years ago, give or take. It was part of setting up my computational lab. One of the goals was to have a completely open a stack, and your workstations were an integral part of this strategy.

    What is the computational stack you’re using?

    We have the Thelio Massives configured for deep learning and for processing large image data. One of the systems has NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs for training larger models than we usually do. In the other system, we have it configured with dual CPUs and dual NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Tis. The reason for that is that some of the computational work is being developed with parallel computing, both on GPUs and CPUs. The more cores and the more CPUs we get this on, the better.

    How do you balance workloads between the CPUs and GPUs?

    Strictly for the projects I’m on, they’re each about as important. All of the machine learning runs off the GPU right now, but all of the basic image analysis and parallel computing actually works off the CPU. The reason for the latter is there’s no significant advantage to push that work onto a GPU. There are a few algorithms that we cannot parallelize on the GPU because of the way they are designed, and one of these is actually pretty fundamental in the way we segment images, so if we put it on the GPU there is not much increase in speed because we cannot push it onto every core of the GPU. For most of it, we need the raw power of the CPU.

    What were the determining factors when you decided to go with System76 and our Thelio Massives?

    A few things. We wanted a system that was designed to run Linux from its foundations. There are not a lot of systems like yours, so that was a major factor in our choice. We also wanted a system that we could expand easily in the future, and we found out that the Thelio Massive has has great expandability.

    The most important factor for me was being able to double or triple the RAM somewhere down the line, and maybe have another couple of GPUs in the system. Having storage options is useful for us because we may generate a dataset and on a single 4TB hard drive, so the ability to just pop out and pop in hard drives is very easy. It’s actually huge for us. I ended up buying a bunch of 5TB drives and just packed them in. Most of the small stuff we just run off of the NVMe drive, and that’s much better than the rest of the storage we have.

    I really enjoy how quiet these machines are! I can testify that we’re sharing the same room with another computer from a different vendor with similar components, and it’s about 10 times louder than the Thelio Massives.

    What operating system do you use?

    So far we’ve been keeping both Thelio Massives on Pop!_OS. The other workstation we have in the lab is either Ubuntu or Windows.

    How has Pop!_OS been for you?

    The software pipeline we use runs out of the box pretty well on Pop!_OS, so that’s not been an issue so far. I appreciate that you guys have full disk encryption out of the box.

    We’ve also heard you’re thinking about buying a Lemur Pro. What made you consider that machine?

    I need something that’s light that I can bring around with me. It’s also got a good number of ports, which lately has been hard to find on a laptop, which frees me up from having to carry dongles on my trips. I can also configure it up to 40GB of RAM, and I need at least 32GB, so that’s perfect for me.

    Would you like to share how System76 has improved workflow for you and your organization? Contact myriah@system76.com to set up an interview!

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  • system76
    13.04.2021 - 5 monts ago

    COSMIC to Arrive in June Release of Pop!_OS 21.04

    With April in full swing, it’s time to preview the upcoming version of Pop!_OS! New features are lined up for the release like kids at a candy store. Among them is the tale...the legend...the ultimate customizer…the COSMIC desktop. To ensure the best taste, we’re slow-cooking COSMIC to deliver a *chef’s kiss* quality experience. As a result, Pop!_OS 21.04 will release in June.


    We’re providing a honed desktop user experience in Pop!_OS through our GNOME-based desktop environment: COSMIC. It’s a refined solution that makes the desktop easier to use, yet more powerful and efficient for our users through customization. The new designs are developed from extensive testing and user feedback since the Pop!_OS 20.04 release, and are currently being further refined in their testing phase.

    As we finalize these new designs, read on for some preliminary info on a few of the major changes COSMIC brings to Pop!_OS.

    Video shown is an animated mockup of our design prototypes. True screencasts will be shown leading up to the release of COSMIC in June.

    Workspaces and Applications

    We separated the Activities Overview into two distinct views: Workspaces and Applications. As before, the Workspaces view will allow you to view your open windows and workspaces, while the Applications view will open an application picker. The latter’s new dark background looks slick as a tuxedo and makes it easier to scan for your desired application.

    During user testing, we found that even GNOME veterans have a tendency to pause in their task after opening the Activities Overview. The split views allow you to access the application picker in a single click, while the cleaner UI design prevents visual distraction.

    The Super Key

    In COSMIC, the Super key activates the launcher by default. Using the launcher, you can launch or switch applications, execute a command, and calculate an equation. It’s like your own personal mission control!

    The change is based on common behavior we observed with GNOME, where users would press the Super key and type the name of an application to launch it. However, COSMIC users can also set the Super key to open the Workspaces or Applications view instead of the launcher if they prefer.

    A Dock(?!?!?!?!?)

    Over 56% of Pop!_OS users surveyed say they use Dash to Dock or Dash to Panel. We’ve seen the dock signal shine bright in the night sky, and we will answer the call with glorious triumph!

    COSMIC brings the option to have a dock to the Settings in Pop!_OS. Users will be able to configure their dock to be on the right, left, or bottom of their screen; to stretch from edge to edge; and given the ability to auto-hide. Users will also have the ability to minimize windows to the dock. We’ll provide more details as we approach Pop!_OS 21.04’s June release.

    Two Workflows: Mouse-driven and Keyboard-driven

    System76 has always supported the ability to have ownership over your essential hardware and software tools. COSMIC gives users more control over their desktop by adding additional customization. This opens up the desktop to cater to two main workflows: Mouse-driven and Keyboard-driven.


    The popularity of mouse-driven workflow has long shaped the user experience, and set expectations for veteran users. COSMIC maintains longtime UI practices to keep Pop!_OS comfortable and familiar.

    Mouse-driven users can take advantage of features like the dock, Minimize and Maximize buttons, and hot corners (opening the Workspaces view by flinging your cursor to a corner of your screen) to seamlessly transition to Pop!_OS while keeping their existing habits. These users likely use their cursor to navigate the desktop, rather than keyboard shortcuts.


    Keyboard-driven users prefer a more efficient, distraction-free experience. In COSMIC, the minimalist would eschew the dock in favor of additional space for application windows. Auto-tiling would set the stage for a keyboard-driven workflow, which relies heavily on shortcuts and the launcher to navigate the desktop as quickly as possible.

    Enter the Test Chamber (Testing Phase COMPLETE!)

    Are you as excited for COSMIC as we are? Is your eager heart accelerating in rhythm? Your hands trembling with anticipation? The walls oozing green slime? No wait, they always do that. WELL. Do we have great news for you.

    We’re searching for Windows and macOS users to experience COSMIC firsthand. (Sorry Pop!_OS users, but we already have a long list of participants for this phase!) Those interested in participating in a user study can contact our UX Architect at ux(at)system76.com. Check out the GitHub repo for COSMIC here for a peek behind the curtain!

    Update: The testing phase has been completed. Be on the lookout for the official release of Pop!_OS 20.04 in June!

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  • system76
    08.04.2021 - 5 monts ago

    System76 Spotlight with Adam Balla

    Welcome to the first of an ongoing series where we get to know some of the amazing people behind System76! This week, we kick things off with one of our newest members, Adam Balla (AKA chzbacon), who has just joined the Marketing Team as our Content Producer. Learn what makes his content creation heart go pitter-patter, and why his electric smoker is his must-have cooking appliance.

    When did you first become interested in Linux computer systems?

    When my roommate introduced me to Slackware in 1999, he was working as a Linux system admin and he really got me interested in Linux. I was going to the Art Institute of Houston at the time for a Multimedia Design degree, and the thought that you could create your own desktop operating system really appealed to me. I didn’t need to stare at the same old tacky operating system I’d used for years.

    I found myself, like many nerds of the era, at a Micro Center in the early 2000s rummaging through the discount software bins, trying to snag up multi-CD Linux distributions. This journey exposed me to several of today’s most popular Linux distros. One of those was SUSE Linux 5.3, of which I still keep the tattered book on a bookshelf as a reminder. I did however finally find my place in the world of Debian, which is where I essentially live today. Honestly not much has really changed other than using Pop!_OS as my main distribution—though like any Linux diehard, I still love to download, test, and sometimes install all the Linux.

    When did you start becoming a champion for open source hardware and software?

    It was a few years after that. Once I got back from the Art Institute and I was working in the area, we needed a server for the screen printing shop that I worked at. Knowing about Linux at that point, I was able to set up a server using consumer-grade gear that we could store all of our artwork and assets on. Moving forward, I set up a server for the newspaper that I worked at for a decade, which I know is still running to this day. After using Linux in that sort of environment and knowing it was good enough for a business, I knew it was good enough for me and my needs.

    How did you get involved in content creation as a career?

    My father was an engineer. When I was young I was always, like most kids, into drawing cars and doodles and cartoons, but I was used to having a drafting table at the house. Computing came around, and my father bought an IBM 486 and one of the original digitizing tablets, and so I got to play around with that. Eventually, he got upset because I was on the computer more than he was, so he bought me an IBM 386 to use.

    Around 1995, my dad learned from a coworker about Photoshop. I begged him to get me a copy, and he finally did for Christmas. That’s when I started playing around in Photoshop and really fell into wanting to create for a living. Similar to what my father does, but maybe not as stringent in the decision that I make—no building is going to fall down from my creative process.

    And that’s how I got into the whole content creation piece. I created a cover for the album of my high school bands and then started doing work for more local bands. Back then, there were no digital art courses, so I learned a lot by doing and trial/error.

    What is your favorite part of the creative process?

    Working together as a team during the initial brainstorming process. Going through all of the ideas and details, sometimes writing them down, sometimes not, and even laughing at myself at how ridiculous an idea may sound. I love the process of the very first step. I love to set the vision for the project work from there to turn that vision into reality.

    How did you first learn about System76?

    I first learned about System76 through Chris Fisher and Jupiter Broadcasting. I believe they were reviewing the Leopard Extreme in 2012, on what at that time was the Linux Action Show. That’s when I started to look at System 76 and their offerings and wondered if it would be better for me to build my own Linux desktop, or adopt something and support the open source community. It’s been a little while since then, and I’ve always kept my eye on System76. Then with the release of Thelio, that really pushed me to the point of, “Wow, these guys are creating their own beautiful custom chassis and they’re incorporating different materials together. What a beautiful machine.”

    I was speaking to my wife (financial advisor) about purchasing one in 2019, and I spoke to Emma and some other people at System76 about my desire for one, and I don’t know how, but Emma encouraged me not to buy one! And then I was given the opportunity to come to System76 for the Superfan event, where I was fortunate enough to be one of a dozen people who were gifted a Thelio desktop. It sits on my desk to this day; I even bought a larger desk just so I could put it up there and see it every day. I really appreciate the humble beginnings of System76, and I’m so glad to finally be a part of this amazing team.

    Let's get into that creative brain. What is your favorite viral video and/or ad, and why do you love it so much?

    I have a few ads that I like. I’ve always liked Honda’s messaging and their ads.

    I like these ads because of the way in which they go through their history and lineage and the way that Honda itself has marketed its products as “People First” products—very similar to when they introduced their motorcycles to the US with their “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” campaign. I think that was in 1962, so this was during the height of the motorcycle gang craze. Then comes this little Japanese motorcycle company and markets their products in a completely opposite image from the rest of the industry. They dared to be different and it paid off for them. Selling over 100 million Honda Cubs since 1958. Being given the title of most produced motor vehicle in the world.

    This may come as a surprise to some, but I also really love the original Orwellian-inspired Macintosh commercial, which only aired once during the 1984 Super Bowl. Created by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow. In my opinion, these guys really created disruptive advertising, so much so that the ad still resonates today as much as it did then. While I don’t think you need to incite fear to sell a product, it showed that Apple dared to be different.

    I’m not sure what constitutes a viral video these days. I’m not sure if it’s having a billion trillion views or just simply infecting one person who saw your video. One that always gives me a chuckle has to be “News Anchor Laughs At Worst Police Sketch Fail”. The honesty on the anchor's face makes me lose it every time.

    When you’re not helping to lead the Open Source revolution, what do you like to do with your free time?

    I really like going on walks and taking photos. Photography to me is one of the last honest art forms. What you see really is what you get. I love to tinker and make things, I have a 3D printer that my wife and I purchased as a joint valentine’s gift to each other last year. We started using it right when COVID broke out, so we made around 900 face shields which we distributed to schools, day cares, dentist's offices, anyone who needed one. That’s what we did for about the first 6 months when we first got it. Now, my wife loves to print earrings, for example, and I like to build different fun electronics projects.

    I also love to cook, especially for large groups. I just got done with an Easter Weekend + Birthday celebration where we cooked 100 lbs of crawfish, 10 lbs of pork shoulder, sausage, and boudin (which is basically rice and pieces of pork that have been mixed together with seasonings and then put into a casing like sausage). One of my main requirements actually for a place in Denver is somewhere I can bring my electric smoker. It’s a must-have for any Texan.

    What are you most excited about with your new role here at System76? To help change the computing landscape as we know it today. Into a future where technology is free and open. A world where you're encouraged to break things, fix things, and learn how they work. Aside from changing the world and stuff, I'm really excited to have a chance to work with such an insanely talented group of people.

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  • lukasz-krawczyk
    07.04.2021 - 5 monts ago

    W kshop.pl znajdziecie laptopy, desktopy dla biznesu od:

    POLSKIEGO producenta NTT System(HIRO), który wprowadził bardzo ciekawą serię laptopów dla firm, które są lekkie i wytrzymałe.

    System76, który specjalizuję się w tworzeniu zestawów komputerowych pod GNU/LINUX dla wymagających klientów;

    Dynabook(Kiedyś Toshiba) firma należy do Sharp, skupili się na tworzeniu laptopów z myślą o biznesie stawiają na wygodę użytkowania oraz wytrzymałość.

    U nas sprzęt można ubezpieczyć w Uniqa między innymi od upadku, stłuczenia, rozbicia, zgniecenia, zalania sprzętu z własnej winy jak i pracownika - dodatkowo przy zakupie polisy otrzymujecie zniżkę do 40% na Pakiet OC/AC swojego auta na eagentsklep.pl

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  • system76
    26.03.2021 - 5 monts ago

    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 else—sadly, 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:


    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:


    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.

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  • hndigest
    17.03.2021 - 6 monts ago

    Hacker News top 10 for Mar 17, 2021

    System76 fully AMD Laptop now available (Pangolin) 448 points by bananicorn, 409 comments

    Moore's Law for Everything 371 points by icey, 444 comments

    In-kernel WireGuard is on its way to FreeBSD and the pfSense router 342 points by xoa, 137 comments

    GitHub, f ck your name change 1178 points by leontrolski, 611 comments

    Improving large monorepo performance on GitHub 293 points by todsacerdoti, 114 comments

    The auction that set off the race for AI supremacy 191 points by chriskanan, 82 comments

    Runj: Experimental, proof-of-concept OCI-compatible runtime for FreeBSD jails 167 points by ingve, 12 comments

    Google reduces play store fee to 15% for first $1M 239 points by h43k3r, 151 comments

    Swift Evolution: Actors 208 points by mpweiher, 85 comments

    Docker Raises $23M 242 points by nickjj, 202 comments

    #system76.com #moores.samaltman.com #arstechnica.com #mooseyanon.medium.com #github.blog #wired.com #github.com #india.googleblog.com #docker.com
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