The Month in Linux [0x02]

The Month in Linux [0x02]

Alright, here we go again! Another month, same deal: I've picked out some highlights that I think are interesting and worth sharing from the last month or so in the Linux space. Caveat of course being unfortunately I have to do other lame things like eat and sleep, so feel free to let me know if I've missed anything cool!

Happy Birthdays!

First order of business: we have some birthdays to celebrate, and some big ones at that!

The 16th of August marked Debian's 28th Birthday, back in 1993 founder and undergraduate Ian Murdock announced "the Debian Linux release" and shortly after released the Debian Linux Manifesto where he called for the creation of a distribution to be maintained openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU. [1]

Later this month, the 25th of August marked the 30th birthday of Linux itself. I know you've probably all seen this a thousand times, but it was on August 25th 1991 that Linus Torvalds sent a message[2] announcing his "hobby" to the comp.os.minix group (Minix is another Unix-like OS[3]). Who'd have guessed we'd end up here?

Hello everybody out there using minix -

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. [...]


Distro Updates

While we're on the topic Linux and its distributions, let's touch briefly on a couple of big distro updates that caught my eye this month. I've no doubt I've missed some, so don't come for me, but the two that I'm aware of are ElementaryOS & Debian.

Almost 2 years in the making, elementaryOS's 6.0 release AKA Odin is the biggest update for the team yet. Promoting itself as a "thoughtful, capable, and ethical" replacement to macOS and Windows, eOS places an emphasis on UX. While I've not tried it myself, the update does look impressive[1] and I admire the attention to detail with their Pantheon desktop environment and the work going into their ecosystem.

Similarly, just over 2 years in the making, and just before it's 28th birthday, Debian 11 AKA Bullseye was released. An incredible amount of work has gone into this release too with over 11,294 new packages and a reduction of over 9,519 packages. Debian 11 is now running the 5.10 LTS kernel compared to the previous release, Buster, which ran 4.19. For more information, check out the release announcement.

It's also worth highlighting Asahi Linux published an August progress report. For those that haven't heard of Asahi Linux:

Asahi Linux is a project and community with the goal of porting Linux to Apple Silicon Macs, starting with the 2020 M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.[2]

If you haven't been following the project, even if you're not a Apple fan, the quality of their writeups is great and provide some really interesting technical insights.


Steam & Linux Gaming

This is not a drill, I repeat this is not a drill. For the first time in years, according to Steam's July 2021 hardware survey[1] Linux has reached single integers with a 1.0% marketshare for Steam on Linux. Hopefully, with the impending release of the Steam Deck and improvements from Proton & graphics drivers this will only climb higher.

Speaking of the Steam Deck, earlier in the month Valve provided some content creators and reviewers with hands on time with it, and the impressions seem positive![2] I was pleased to see in LTT's review[3] that Valve was happy to really let him have at it and have a good tinker, short of opening up the actual device.

The latest Steam beta, dropped at the end of July also has some cool changes and improvements in store for Linux users including UI & UX changes, performance improvements, nixOS compatibility returns, support for game-specific profiles with Nvidia proprietary drivers and more![4]

Wine and Proton have both seen various improvements, with various bug fixes and additional game support in new releases.[5] Notably the Proton 6.3-6 release comes with NVIDIA NVAPI / DLSS support, however this is disabled by default but can be enabled by using the PROTON_ENABLE_NVAPI=1 environment variable (e.g. in the steam launch options for the game).[6]

1%, steam beta, steam deck hands on, nvidia, proton, widelands, futex2



  • Originally written for the 2.2 Linux kernel, the Kernel Module Programming Guide, Jim Huang and his students have been updating the contents for the 5.x kernel after over 13 years since the last update[1]. It's a comprehensive, free & open source book available in web or PDF formats.
  • Ars Technica published a excerpt of from an upcoming book "Androids: The team that built the Android operating system", talking about how Google acquired Android.
  • Intel Arc was announced as the official brand name for their new discreet graphics hardware, arriving in 2022[2]
  • The GNOME launched "Apps for GNOME", "to help users discover the best applications in the GNOME ecosystem and learn how to get involved"[3]
  • Linux 5.14 is set for a stable release shortly, check out this Phoronix article highlighting some of the many new features


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