This month in Manjaro (August 2021)

This is the beginning of my periodic posts on whats going on in Manjaro land.

It's a small collection of notable changes, updates and community news in and for the Manjaro community.

As I am a Manjaro ARM developer, some of the information will probably be ARM-biased.

See this as a Manjaro Podcast, but in written form.

Week 1

Keyring issues

In the beginning of August, there was some keyring issues. It was the result of one of the Arch Linux maintainer's key expiring and not being updated in the archlinux-keyring in time for the Manjaro branches to get the new key, before the old expired.
Also Helmut Schultz' key (from the Manjaro team) expired around the same time and was not renewed, so all the packages Helmut had signed in the repository, has to be re-signed by another member of the team.

Server Outage

The website server went down this week as well. The server hosted the website, email server and mailing lists.
The website got up on a new server after a day or two, and the email server likewise after another couple of days. The mailing lists also returned at that time. This does however mean, that the Manjaro team had no emails in or out for about 4 days from late July to early August.

Plasma Mobile daily images broken

As it happens from time to time, the daily images of our Plasma Mobile edition for the PinePhone, was broken a couple of days in early august as well. We found out that the reason was a small change which resulted in the First Run Wizard (Pico) not being able to complete. After this issue was located it was quickly fixed a couple of days later.

Week 2

Manjaro 21.1 Pahvo delayed

The 21.1 RC builds where going fine, but a couple of last minute changes to the setup in Gnome and the theme in Plasma, delayed the 21.1 final release about a week.

Pine64 announced PineNote

The PineNote is a tablet with e-ink display, based on the Quartz64 board. It will be running Manjaro ARM with Plasma Mobile on top. It's a $399 device that aims to be a powerful e-reader, while also being able to handle other apps. The e-ink display has touch support and a pen will ship with it.

My first kernel patch accepted upstream

This is a selfish one. I submitted a patch to the upstream kernel for the Pinebook Pro. And it got accepted! The patch fixes USB-C charging. Without this patch, charging via USB-C results in the device rapidly starting to charge and discharge, making the screen brightness (in most cases atleast) flicker rapidly. My main goal with sending the patch, was actually to get familiar with the submission process, so we can start upstreaming some more patches.

Week 3

Manjaro Linux 21.1 Pahvo released

After a lot of RC builds and testing, the final Manjaro 21.1 ISOs have been released. The XFCE edition didn't change much, but both the Gnome and KDE Plasma editions saw quite a few changes. The Calamares installer now supports pre-set btrfs filesystem option. The Gnome edition now uses Gnome 40 and KDE Plasma edition got a brand new theme, called Breath 2 2021, and a new wallpaper.

Manjaro ARM 21.08 released

New Calamares First Setup

This is a pretty big release for us. In this release we changed how the First Run Setup functions. For minimal and server editions, you still get the CLI Setup script, which guides you through the information needed. But all the non-mobile GUI's are now using Calamares as the OEM setup tool. This makes it look really professional and inviting for new users, as it's a form of setup they already know. This also makes it possible to choose other keyboard layouts for the Pinebooks than what the physical layout states.

Week 4

Introducing Radxa Zero support

This week we started providing development images for the new Radxa Zero board, which is a Raspberry Pi Zero like board, with an AMLogic SoC and ap6256 based Wifi and bluetooth. Development images can be downloaded from Github or from our handy Manjaro ARM Flasher.

New Beta images for the PinePhone

This week also saw the availability of the Beta 13 image of Phosh for the PinePhone and the Beta 6 of Plasma Mobile for the same device.
Both have many improvements in overall performance and usability.