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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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48 comments
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Dorrit 13 Apr
Gnome is designed by geeks to, well, geeks.
That's why so many extensions rapidly developed; to make it, well, normal. So that, well, normal people would be able to use it.
That's why so many Distros pick Xfce as their default DE like Manjaro, MX linux, Lite; because, well, it's a normal environment.
System 76 should have chosen an established Distro and tweak it here and there, instead of that washed down lollipop, so things would look, well, normal.
Grazen 13 Apr
Interesting... I’m using Gnome 40 now and tbh see this as a step back or at best a sideways step. I’d definitely give it a shot if it’s released for Arch or Fedora... don’t see myself ever switching to an Ubuntu based distro...
Massinissa 14 Apr
I just they don't end like Canonical who tried weird things with Mir and Unity. they do a good job, but don't get too greedy
Luke_Nukem 14 Apr
Quoting: DorritYeah, what Linux needs is yet another desktop environment.

It's an extension.

What actually bugs me about all this is that it's thrown out there as "another DE" and "system76 innovate again" giving everyone the wrong idea rather than as it really is - an extension on Gnome.


Last edited by Luke_Nukem on 14 April 2021 at 12:22 am UTC
CatKiller 14 Apr
Quoting: randylThis is a great development for System 76 users in my opinion. It doesn't solve the Gnome control freak issue for anyone else, but it's good for S76.
It does somewhat. By making it its own thing, with its own name, it makes it easier to be picked up by others if they want it, rather than "that set of patches that Pop has." Much like, say, Cinnamon or Mate did.
I am a long-time KDE Plasma user, so somewhat biased. However, I don't mind the Gnome guts, even using stock Mint back in the Gnome 2 days. However, all the recent Gnome distros I have used feel like being in a straight-jacket and concrete shoes. Even MacOS is much more customizable.

If POP can make a more flexible Gnome-based system, colour me interested.
kon14 14 Apr
Quoting: DorritGnome is designed by geeks to, well, geeks.
That's why so many extensions rapidly developed; to make it, well, normal. So that, well, normal people would be able to use it.
That's why so many Distros pick Xfce as their default DE like Manjaro, MX linux, Lite; because, well, it's a normal environment.
System 76 should have chosen an established Distro and tweak it here and there, instead of that washed down lollipop, so things would look, well, normal.

I really dig Manjaro's theming and overall desktop customizations on top of all of its spins, though imho the rest of your sentence merely invalidates the other half of it.
Are you honestly going to make this argument mentioning a couple of virtually dead and otherwise obscure distros nobody's really into?

System76 did indeed choose the most established linux distro there is to build up on.
I don't use Ubuntu and have been quite skeptical of anything coming out of Canonical for a long while now, but there's no denying it's by far the most iconic linux distro there is, even historically at this point.

Gnome is plagued by highly controversial and opinionated workflows its devs consistently enforce on their users without ever considering user feedback or even providing any sort of out of the box configuration for, but it also shines in a lot of aspects.

Unless you happen to be one of the 4 persons that love vanilla Gnome then you're pretty much going to need to rely on third party extensions, themes and Tweaks before you can get a desktop that matches your preferences and complements your workflows, but at the very least you'll have a great experience in the end... until the next Gnome update anyway...

The real issue with Gnome is how they break almost every single extension on every freaking release so you can't ever relax and enjoy your finished setup for long. At best you'll be stuck without a few convenient extensions for a number of weeks, but more often than not you'll be losing an essential extension forever due to its dev being unable to maintain it any longer. Even if somebody else decides to fork and update it you'll still have to find out about it, manually look it up and reinstall, trusting yet another unaffiliated random person online for stuff you use locally on your personal computer.
Quoting: randylAnd I don't know how to say this without insulting other DEs
You clearly don't!
Quote, but to me only Gnome and KDE are robust enough to even consider.
I'm all for this in theory, but I gotta say when I watched the little video the first thing I thought was "Whoa, that is butt-ugly!" and the second was "What's going on, on this screen, anyway?"
Neither of those strike me as a good omen for me wanting to use that desktop environment. Think I'll stick to Mate.
setzer22 14 Apr
Great stuff! I like how System76 are bringing the tiling WM paradigm to the mainstream. I can't leave Arch because I have too much scripts / infrastructure tied to it, but I hope they or members of the community consider releasing COSMIC as an AUR package!
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