LWDW 319: Asahi Linux Alpha and Cray Furniture

The first Asahi Linux Alpha Release for M1 is here! Ubuntu gets a new logo, Kernel 5.17 fixes a floppy bug, and clustering your Raspberry Pi Cray style.



00:00 Intro
05:18 Linux for M1 Alpha
10:43 New Ubuntu logo
13:38 Kernel 5.17
19:18 Digigram VX222e Linux review
24:13 Focusrite Scarlett Mixer
32:18 Cray Pi

Linux for M1 Alpha


  • You need 15GB for Asahi Linux Desktop, but macOS itself needs a lot of free space for system updates to work, so the installer will expect you to leave 38GB of extra slack in macOS by default to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
  • It’s early alpha and aimed at developers, not end users. 
  • No support for accelerated GPU, displayport or thunderbolt. 
  • No camera or touch bar. 
  • Full support for USB 3 and speakers are in the works. 
  • If Wi-Fi doesn’t work, try cutting it off and on again. 
  • The Asahi Linux kernel is compiled to use 16K pages so some apps will not work. 
  • System requirements:  M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max machine, but not the latest Mac Studio, yet.
  • And because this is an Alpha release, and the Asahi developers want to improve their distro, if you install it they are asking for your help by filing detailed bug reports and helping debug issues.


New Ubuntu logo


  • It’s so radical and forward-thinking and cosmically different that I’m struck speechless.
  • Ubuntu has a brand new logo, but don’t worry, it still has the white on orange colors that we are used to.
  • And the Circle of Friends motif graphic is very present, but it is much tighter and more unified.
  • Now the three people, the Circle of Friends, are embracing, or hugging, with their heads inwards, instead of outwards and holding hands like the previous logos.
  • And the logo is now on the bottom of an orange rectangle.
  • It is almost as if they are saying “Let’s make great things together because the sky, or cloud is the limit!”
  • And the new logo embodies a more modern representation of Canonical’s growth in the cloud, AI and the Internet of Things.
  • And the new Ubuntu text is slimmer and more modern looking.


Linux Kernel 5.17


  • Linux Torvalds announced the release of Linux Kernel 5.17 last Sunday, and includes lots of new support for processors, graphic cards, storage, and hardware.
  • The updates include temperature support for the AMD Zen family of devices.
  • And, one of my favorites, a fix to a long-standing Floppy Disk hangs bug where the system may hang when trying to read a broken Floppy disk.
    • Honestly, I have encountered this before, and I would have to reboot the computer to get it out of trying to read a bad floppy.
    • It is so nice to see the Linux Kernel being updated to fix issues with older hardware, and with my older computers I still use.
  • Lots of ARM and SoC support:
    • Including the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and X65 platforms.
    • And NXP i.MX8ULP, Texas Instruments J721S2, and Renesas R-Car S4-8.
  • And the inclusion of the AMD P-state driver, which is developed in collaboration with Valve for the Steam Deck, and will lead to better power performance.


Digigram on Linux


  • I picked up the Digigram VX222e because I wanted to show off an audio interface with open-source drivers and official support for Linux. 
  • Instead I found myself googling whether or not dumpster-fire was hyphenated.
  • It works as a 2/in 2/out soundcard but that’s about it. 
  • The only fancy bit is the 2 channel AES and open-source drivers.
  • It’s a PCI card bolted onto a PCIe interface. 
  • EQ and Maximizer effects are not accessible under Linux.
  • Crazy high round-trip latency. 
  • Did I mention it’s $600?


ALSA Scarlett Gen 2/3 Control Panel


  • Gtk4 GUI for the ALSA controls presented by the Linux kernel Focusrite Scarlett Gen 2/3 Mixer Driver.
  • This is for 4i4 and up since they have internal routing / mixing. 
  • For the small Gen 3 interfaces (Solo and 2i2), there’s just a few buttons to control the Air, Line, Phantom Power, and Direct Monitor settings.
  • No build instructions but a *.rpm is available. 
  • No GTK4 package in Debian so I didn’t get a chance to mess with it. 
  • With so many Linux users using Scarlett interfaces, this is so welcome.
  • The GUI looks beautiful, and the patch bay looks a lot more modern than QjackCtl.

Slice of Pi

Cray Pi (Dark-Wing)


  • Now this is just Cray Cray!  Make a cluster of your Pi Zeros in the style of a 3D printed Cray-1 Supercomputer from the 1970’s!
  • That is what Kevin McAleer did so he could use a compact and affordable playground to experiment with things like parallel computing, load balancing and to learn how clustering works.
  • And he was looking to learn more about deploying software using Ansible, Docker, Flask, and other modern frameworks.
  • All you will need to make your own, is a dozen Raspberry Pi Zero 2s, M2.5 standoffs, matching screws, and a 3D printer to print out the parts!
  • And because of the symmetrical design of the Cray-1, each individual wedge is made up of the same identical set of 3D printed parts.
  • Also, you can hide all the USB power cables inside the lower “cushion” area with the help of some 90-degree cables, leaving the center core open.
  • I want a plastic Cray full of Raspberry Pis!
  • Thank you Dark-Wing for letting us know about this cool project! 


2FA Pie


  • Needs a mention since they are doing a really simple thing that thwarts scalpers. 
  • Just ask Valve. 

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