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Pop!_OS from Linux hardware vendor System76 is set to get a massive upgrade when Pop!_OS 21.04 releases, as they've announced COSMIC - their very own desktop environment.

"We’re providing a honed desktop user experience in Pop!_OS through our GNOME-based desktop environment: COSMIC. It’s a refined solution that makes the desktop easier to use, yet more powerful and efficient for our users through customization. The new designs are developed from extensive testing and user feedback since the Pop!_OS 20.04 release, and are currently being further refined in their testing phase."

Check out their animated mock-up (Credit - System76):

Much like Ubuntu do with their own adjustments to GNOME to add a proper dock, System76 will be adding one for COSMIC too. They say it will be adjustable to be available wherever you want it - be it at the bottom, the left or the right of your screen and you can have it stretch across if you want it to and auto-hide too. Traditional minimizing to the dock will also be a thing, which GNOME also lacks out of the box.

It will have the Activities Overview you get split into two special views of Workspaces and Applications. They say that "the Workspaces view will allow you to view your open windows and workspaces, while the Applications view will open an application picker". Why did they go with this design? The reason is simple according to the blog post as they "found that even GNOME veterans have a tendency to pause in their task after opening the Activities Overview" and that this split view allows "you to access the application picker in a single click, while the cleaner UI design prevents visual distraction".

Much like Pop already does, the team is focusing on letting users decide how to use it. There will be all the bells and whistles for both mouse-driven and keyboard-driven users. According to System76 CEO, Carl Richell, COSMIC will be based upon GNOME 3.38 for the 21.04 release then 40 for 21.10 (Twitter).

Since this is a big change, it's also going to delay the release of Pop!_OS 21.04 to June 2021 instead of April. Find out more in their blog post. Those interested in code can see it already on GitHub.

Very much looking forward to giving COSMIC a go when Pop!_OS 21.04 releases.

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Dorrit Apr 13, 2021
Yeah, what Linux needs is yet another desktop environment.
vipor29 Apr 13, 2021
no what linux needs is get stuck with one option then it gets boring.i like the fact there is options for different environments.
Liam Dawe Apr 13, 2021
Quoting: DorritYeah, what Linux needs is yet another desktop environment.
This, I feel, is quite different. This isn't just yet another environment. This is a hardware vendor, who have their own distribution, carefully tailoring the entire stack for their hardware and software. It's a bit more like the Apple of Linux you could say.
dpanter Apr 13, 2021
I wish them luck, but my reaction was also along the lines of another one?!
dibz Apr 13, 2021
Good luck to them I suppose.

I have my doubts regarding long term support, with them being commercial I actually see it as more likely that this'll be dropped like a hot potato in a few years when the tech debt is deemed not worth the cost to maintain.

That said, I'm always in the mood for a pleasant surprise. More power to them.
Keyrock Apr 13, 2021
It's just a mock up, but my reaction was "meh".
magicalfeyfenny Apr 13, 2021
is it bad my reaction is basically "this sounds cool but i already have gnome set up like this and i'm used to its workflow already"?
wvstolzing Apr 13, 2021
The blog post and the repo aren't terribly informative as to the scope of this project, though. I thought for a moment that this would be like Elementary OS, building on GTK (even contributing to Vala development), but so far it looks like a collection of GNOME extensions in js.

I'd really love for them to work on enhancing the dbus interfaces of existing applications, making them easier to use, & improving -- or filling in the missing -- documentation. That would open up a new world of easy to write/easy to use custom utilities, scripting possibilities. OS X did (does it still? I don't know) this with the shared object api that the user could easily 'talk to'/script with Applescript or even Automator -- an GUI tool that allowed building simple utilities by dragging blocks of functions into an input-output queue.

We seem to have a fixation on customizing keystrokes & window selection mechanisms in the Linux world; but there are further possibilities to be explored in UI design. We already have technologies like dbus messaging that need proper documentation, & fleshed out interfaces.

Last edited by wvstolzing on 13 April 2021 at 9:01 pm UTC
sprocket Apr 13, 2021
As someone that is happy with Gnome 40 on Fedora 34, I question the wisdom of yet another Gnome fork.

Good for them and I hope their user base will be happy. But i feel this will just cause needless fragmentation.
KohlyKohl 10 years Apr 13, 2021
They should just switch to KDE and provide their own theme...
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