LWDW 309: Linux powered VR

Simula One releases pricing for their Linux powered VR headset! Linux Mint gets dark, kernel 5.16 lowers USB audio latency, and booting BBC BASIC on a Raspberry Pi.



00:00 Intro
06:25 Mint gets dark
11:40 Simula One VR pricing
17:20 Kernel 5.16 audio improvements and M1 support
20:05 Pinephone Pro preorders
23:20 Dell XPS 13 Plus
35:00 BBC BASIC on a Pi

Linux Mint 20.3


  • Linux Mint 20.3 “Una” has been released with a new look, and some new features.
  • Linux Mint 20.3 is a long-term support release based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and is supported until 2025.
  • The UI has been improved with larger titlebar buttons, rounded corners, a cleaner theme, and support for dark mode.
  • Linux Mint 20.3 introduces a brand new document manager app called Thingy.
  • Thingy gives you quick access to your favorite and recently opened documents and keeps track of your reading progress.
  • It comes with the latest version of Cinnamon 5.2.
  • But you can also download the Linux Mint 20.3 Xfce edition with Xfce 4.16, or the Mate edition which ships with Mate 1.26.
  • I count myself fortunate that things like titlbars, corners, and accent colours don’t bother me. 
  • Dark mode for Celluloid,  Hypnotic, Xviewer, Pix, and Gnome terminal. 
  • HPLIP was upgraded to version 3.21.8 to bring the latest support for HP printers and scanners.


Simula One


  • A few weeks ago we talked about the hardware based Simula One Headset, which will be the first VR headset to include a Linux based OS, or SimulaOS.
  • SimulaOS will allow people to run 2D Linux apps on the Simula One Headset and with current generation headsets.
  • Well, SimulaVR just announced their Simula One VR Headset will be coming soon on Kiskstarter!
  • The Simula One will be priced at $2,799 for Kickstarter customers, and for $3,500 MSRP after the campaign finishes.
  • And in order to proceed with headset manufacturing, they must raise $2.5M, which represents their breakeven costs.
  • And a limited number of headsets will be priced at $2,499.
  • If you know you want to buy a headset, you can send them your email and get notified an hour before the campaign starts to maximize chances of getting early discounts.
  • At a resolution of 2448×2448 per eye, makes it higher resolution per eye than the Valve Index and Oculus Quest 2.
  • They need to raise 2.5M in order to start cranking these toasters out. 
  • Selling 892 headsets @ $2,799/unit is the break even point. 
  • It’s a realistic price for a company trying to ship a (reletavely) small batch of headsets vs RNG pricing that only works if they attract an outside investor.
  • A Linux based self-contained VR headset is a niche in a niche. 
  • It’s an ambitious goal to say the least. 
  • I do wonder if there is a market for what amounts to devkits. 


Linux Kernel 5.16 (RTheren)


  • Linux Kernel 5.16 has been released, with improvements to gaming, hardware support for future tech, and performance improvements for CPUs and GPUs.
  • Better performance on laptops with Ryzen processors and Radeon Graphics..
  • Linux 5.16 introduces a new kernel system called FUTEX2:
    • This feature could help improve the Linux gaming experience for native Linux ports.
    • But for Windows games running via Wine, it matches a system call with a specific functionality in Windows, which should help to reduce CPU utilization and increase FPS for many games.
    • It was contributed by Collabora.
    • Futext has been bouncing around for some time and it’s noce to see the end result Futext 1 makes it into the kernel. 
    • Don’t expect it in WINE anytime soon. 
  • The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is now supported.
  • And beginning work on support for the Intel Raptor Lake 13th Gen series of processors, due for release later in 2022.
  • And announced at CES 2022, Initial work for AMD’s next-gen Ryzen 6000 mobile series.
  • And thank you to RTheren, our wonderful Patron Advisor for submitting this news!  And have a Happy 25th Birthday today RTheren! :-D
  • OOTB support for Playstation and switch controllers. 
  • New system for lower latency USB audio has been added. 
  • Still need to try that out on my end. 
  • Couple of fixes for Apple M1 hardware as well. 


PinePhone Pro



  • Again, great price point at $399!
  • Less than half the price of some flagship phones priced at $800-$1000.
  • When the software gets more refined, this is the Linux phone you can share with family and friends.
  • If you are an existing PinePhone owner and your only wish is for the device to be more powerful and refined, then the PinePhone Pro is for you.
  • Rockchip RK3399S 64bit SoC, 4GB RAM, 1440×720 screen. 
  • No option to swap out the original Pinephone mainboard with the new hotness. 
  • The PinePhone Pro is as open as the original PinePhone.
  • 3000mAh. 


Dell XPS 13 Plus


  • So Dell unveiled its XPS 13 Plus at CES 2022, with a radical new design, but it will still include a developer version option of the laptop pre-loaded with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
  • Dell XPS 13 Plus features 12th gen Intel Core processors and up to 32 GB LPDDR5 and up to a 2 TB PCIe 3 x4 SSD.
  • I like the modern edge to edge design of the screen and the keyboard.
  • I don’t mind Dell replacing the row of physical function keys along the top with capacitive ones, because they glow white nicely and are easy to see.
  • But the center hidden borderless haptic trackpad has no visual hints, and people will either love it or hate it.
  • Uh oh, no headphone Jack ;-(
  • But it does have 4 speakers like the XPS 15 laptops.

Slice of Pi



  • Popey went on a BASIC mission :-)
  • To boot this, Sinclair BASIC on this, Raspberry Pi 400!
  • My Timex Sinclair 1000 is a slightly modified version of the Sinclair ZX81 that Popey first used.
  • And Alan Pope turns 50 this weekend!  Happy Birthday Popey, and welcome to the “golden” club!
  • Nostalgia hard mode. 
  • Remember when computers booted to insert program here?
  • Creating a Pi that boots BBC BASIC has a lot of “why” attached to it but it’s certainly neat. 
  • The Snap has not been published but the needed bit exist on github. 
  • Links in the show notes. 

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