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.