LWDW 350: Controlling MSI laptops with Linux

Giving Vanilla OS the beans, controlling MSI Linux laptops, 280 ALSA controls, and a quad-core X86 SBC for under $200.


00:00 Intro
11:08 Vanilla OS
15:45 controlling MSI laptops with Linux
21:15 280 ALSA controls
34:52 ODROID-H3+ X86 SBC

Vanilla OS



  • There is a new Ubuntu based distro being developed, and it isn’t your typical Ubuntu.
  • It is called Vanilla OS, and on the Vanilla OS GitHub page it states:  “Taste the GNOME Vanilla experience on Ubuntu with some spicy.”
  • And not only is it a stock GNOME experience, but it is an on-demand immutable distribution.
    • The system is read only to prevent unwanted changes and corruption from third party applications or a faulty update.
    • Some paths are still writable of course, such as the home directory.
  • Also, it allows you to choose and enable Flatpak/Snap/AppImage with its first-time setup after installation.
  • And there is a new package manager, called apx, which allows you to install packages inside a managed container by default.
  • The ISO is not publicly available yet, but you can download the ISO by joining its Discord channel for now.
  • Vanilla OS is a YAU. 
  • Being able to make sure all the desktop containerization options are dissabled during install is a good thing. 
  • Then again, it has its own containerized package manager, apx. 
  • On-demand immutability sounds neat if you can come up with a use case. 




  • MControlCenter is a free and open source GNU/Linux application that allows you to change the settings of MSI laptops.
  • Including a battery mode to adjust between 4 levels of performance and battery life, starting from high performance to lowering the power consumption for basic needs.
  • You can also change other settings such as a keyboard backlight mode mode timer, USB power share and turning on and off the webcam.
  • It has a CPU and GPU temperature display and shows your fan speed.
  • OMG!  This awesome software is coming in handy for my MSI Prestige 14” UHD pink laptop!
  • It’s a 10 gen Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and has both an onboard Intel iGPU and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU that I switch between with prime-run.
  • The battery management in Linux on this laptop is not that great, and MControlCenter addresses and fixes a lot of the issues.
  • Right now I am using the “Balanced” option, which is supposed to bring a balance between performance and battery life.
  • And I love that it has the option to adjust how much the battery charges when always plugged in.
    • I do this at home when using it for gaming.
  • I am looking forward to testing this software long term to see how much battery life I actually save!
  • This app works on 7 MSI laptops
  • Sumit, Modern, Stealth, and Prestige series and variants. 
  • Webcam control only works with two Summit models.  

Interfacing Linux: US-TASCAM 16X08


  • TASCAM has been in the business of making recording gear for 50 years. 
  • Mostly professional and prosumer equipment and while the 16×08 falls in the latter it punches above its weight.
  • It’s one of the few recording interfaces with 16 physical inputs. 
  • And it has the added benefit of having Linux support baked into the kernel. 
  • In the latest Interfacing Linux I walk you through the initial setup with ALSA, Jack, and Pulsleaudio.
  • Then a little torture test to see how it preforms followed by some benchmarks.
  • Did I mention it has a full blown digital mixer?
  • Ayup, 280 individual controls.
  • That’s the extra neat part and I will show you how to set it up with an easy to use GUI.
  • Wow Venn, that’s a lot of audio holes to scroll through in the AlsaMixer!

Slice of Pi

Better Pi


  • In the world of $200 RasPi 4’s this comes as a shock. 
  • Quad-Core Processor Jasper Lake.
  • Yeah, x86. 
  • 2.5G Ethernet.
  • NVME & SATA.
  • HDMI & DP 1.2.
  • Even with the cost of 8GB of RAM this comes in under $200.
  • You could even throw in a case. 
  • This could be the ‘just powerful enough’ SBC i’ve been looking for. 
  • I was impressed with how many ports this has for its size and being a single board computer.
  • The ODROID-H3+ includes 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 ports, not to mention a 3.5mm jack and a SPDIF out.
  • And I am glad they are including the beefy heatsink to cool that x86 64-bit processor.
  • And the power supply is only an additional $9.40.

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