back to article There's no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux

System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution. System76 has its own Linux distribution, called Pop!_OS, which is based on Ubuntu, though with a customised installer and drive encryption by default. The company …

  1. Dr_Bingley

    Efteling - the world's finest gnomes since 1952

    Photograph of Efteling gnomes on the front page? Instant click from me!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the fuck

    as a macOS user should I give a fuck about Windows or Linux?

    I get slated for using MacOS but run a very successful business using same

    Windows is spyware and Linux is for enthusiasts who have forgotten more about their operating system than I ever knew about mine. And that is the crucial difference. I only need to know how to use my software, Linux users know how to use their operating system and bash it into making it work how they want it to. And they do know how to from reading comments in Linux posts.

    So this potential tester says "fuck off. No time or interest"

    1. chololennon

      Re: Why the fuck

      This is the most stupid rant I have ever read. The world runs on Linux, get over it. If you want to pay more and live in a walled garden, it's up to you.

      My conclusion after reading this nonsense post is that Linux is for (and used by) smart people... MacOS?... well, I don't know.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        MacOS with MacPorts or Brew gives you a full unix OS with none of the maintenance headaches of Linux.

        I'll avoid the walled garden as long as I possibly can but for many Macs are a good value proposition.

        1. gv

          Re: Why the fuck

          What are the "maintenance headaches of Linux"?

          I get a notification icon saying there are updates available. I install the updates. Occasionally, I have to reboot, but usually not.

          1. martyn.hare

            Year to year, not day to day

            I can empathise with those who find Linux burden on a personal desktop. It isn’t day to day which makes it an issue but year to year. The desktop interfaces have changed a lot over the years as well as basic tools (like head/tail) having switches change in incompatible ways, fundamental commands like ifconfig being removed and daemons being replaced with “better” substitutes on the regular...

            Sure, you can reinstall the missing tools, use obscure environment variables to re-enable old functionality and even install an older, better desktop environment but then you’re now creating a future maintenance burden.

            Both Windows and macOS go above and beyond to keep as much existing knowledge relevant for as long as possible, so as to not force people to change their workflows all the time. Linux by contrast goes through a cycle of making something good after years and years of hard work... then dumping it to start all over again. Even major contributors like Miguel De Icaza (of GNOME and Mono fame) eventually got tired of the churn and changed OS in the end. Linux still isn’t a system for everyone....

            1. Dave559 Silver badge

              Re: Year to year, not day to day

              "It isn’t day to day which makes it an issue but year to year. The desktop interfaces have changed a lot over the years"

              Pffft! Windows and, to a lesser extent, MacOS, are just as bad in that regard (I'm still grumbling at the, in my opinion, horrible cluttered titlebar-dragbar-toolbar hybrids in MacOS Big Sur).

              But, yes, the seemingly ever-changing network management commands/systems (to name but one thing) in Linux are a real pain, although probably only really of concern to more technical users, not to desktop users.

          2. G R Goslin

            Re: Why the fuck

            As a very long term Linux fan, I have to admit that maintenance on my version of Linux is a pain. So many of the present day fundamentals do not work, or work partially, or badly. A major printer company psc printer that I bought when my old printer died, would install the printer side, but zilch on the scanner function, despite the insistence on the install, that psc scanner functions were handled by the printer install.The scanner installer would have nothing to do with a built in scanner. I have a small server farm of Drobo units, each of these units has to be installed by writing them in in fstab, since the system install does not work. Despite many attempts at a bluetooth function, it is still zilch. Which is a shame when I consider the number of bluetooth devices I have working fine on my lone Windows machine and all my Android devices. It rather rubs salt i the wound, when both Windows and Android have a totally hassle free install, and flawless operation with these functions and others. I'll stay with Linux as the nearest I have to the Unix systems I used to work on, despite attempts by the Linux devs to try to imitate the terrible way that Windows and Android seem to think that theirs is the best user interface.

          3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Why the fuck

            Oh, minor things like binary drivers that are not GPL, etc.

            OS updates can be a problem for all systems – with MacOS I normally give it at least six months until I install a major release and am definitely avoiding Big Sur – but the Linux desktops seem to suffer more from this. Not surprising really when you think of the disparate systems that need integrating.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why the fuck

          Maintenance headaches in Linux? Hell, it's so easy, MeDearOldMum and Great Aunt use it!

          1. Youngone Silver badge

            Re: Why the fuck

            My 81 year old Mum has used Linux for about 10 years, but she is a lot smarter than me.

          2. PerlyKing

            Re: MeDearOldMum

            And do YourDearOldMum and Great Aunt look after it by themselves, or do they use:

            A cut-down version of Slack, made especially for them. And they've been quite happy with it for around 15 years now ... although they still insist on calling it "jake's version of Windows".

            That's a bit different from managing your own system.

            I used Linux as my main OS from Christmas 2000 (when I totally borked my Win98 installation somehow and couldn't be bothered to fix it) until 2006 when I got fed up tweaking stuff all the time and bought a Mac. After 14 years (2 Macs) I'm back on Linux (Kubuntu 20.04) and while it's improved there are still semi-regular issues. Like trying to use Syncthing as a Snap installation and finding that it couldn't access some files because they were in a hidden directory, with no way to allow access due to security decisions taken by the Snap developers. The hidden directory is in my home directory and is owned by me, but apparently is still a security risk. I worked it out eventually and now happily use a non-Snap installation, but how many "normal" users are going to be able to do that?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: MeDearOldMum

              To be fair, I should point out that it doesn't matter what OS MeDearOldMum and Great Aunt use, I will still be called for any and all tech support issues in their day-to-day use. Including the dreaded "it did something funny" call, which is all too common with Windows.

              So I decided to move them to a customized version of Slackware, partially to make life easier for me. Their "learning curve" was not all that bad, because I put clearly labeled icons for everything they needed on their desktop (Xfce at first, now KDE).

              Last year (2020), neither of them needed to call me for support. At all. Not once. As of today, nearly a third of the way into 2021, they still haven't needed to call me for support. That's over fifteen and a half months of trouble-free home computing for a couple of technically illiterate people. (Actually, it's longer than that, I honestly don't remember either of them calling in 2019, either. MDOM had me install a new printer for her in 2018, but I'd have had to do that regardless of OS. She refuses to plug anything into her computer.)

              On my end, I run a simple script to tell their computers to update themselves in the wee hours, after testing the upgrade(s) on my own computer and then the Wife's. So no added complication there, nor any "wasted" time. What's not to like?

              And all this on Slackware, a supposed "hard to use" distribution. Methinks it's not the end users that are the problem, rather it is their first line of support that has issues.

        3. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: Why the fuck

          "MacOS with MacPorts or Brew gives you a full unix OS"

          I use both MacOS and Linux (for different use cases) and like both of them. MacOS is of course unix based, but I know what you mean about the various "unixy" package systems for MacOS providing you with the extra FOSS packages that some people need.

          I had the feeling that there are different pros and cons of each of Fink, MacPorts, Brew, etc, (not least, that there's not just one system that the community has agreed on, it's possibly an even worse fragmentation of effort than the number of Linux distros out there), so I have always just had a Linux box that I can ssh into for doing unixy/web-dev stuff.

          It would certainly be nice if I could just install and update GIMP, Inkscape, VLC, etc, etc, on my Mac with the ease and integration which you can with a Linux package manager. I dare say Fink, MacPorts, Brew, etc, have matured since I last looked, so maybe I should look again…

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        The world runs on Linux, get over it

        There's a big difference between server & desktop. A lot of server kit may run a Linux O/S, but the desktop is a very different thing.

      3. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        I use a mac as my day to day workstation, I manage Windows and Linux, mostly running in VMware. Too bad there wasn't a link to sign up in the article. I'm always willing to dip my toe in to unknown waters... I've tested lots of distros, I like to keep an open mind... avoiding the garden as much as possible ;-}

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @chololennon - Re: Why the fuck

        I've been a Linux user for a long time but I wouldn't claim this makes me smarter than other people. Developing an interest for a particular platform has nothing to do with smartness.

      5. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the fuck


        You are clueless are you not? I don't care what the worlds operating system is. Linux is useless to us. We can't get the equivalent software that we use on the Linus platform. End of.

        And if you had bothered to read my comment before you jumped to your conclusion and keyboard, you would have noticed that I stated that most Linux users know enough to realise that I was actually saying that they know far more than me about their operating system than I do about ours.

        And since when's MacOS been a walled garden? You obviously have got your "fact" from Facebook. It is not. Full stop. Maybe you should get your fact right before spouting off?

        Finally, my "rant" (you call that a rant? Oh deary deary me) was not aimed at Linux users, it was aimed at the people who want Mac users to do something or other.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Why the fuck

      Systems 76 knows their market.

      I bought a pair of System 76 desktops years ago to kick-start my move off of MacOS. It's a combination of curated hardware and software dependency management that gives you a guaranteed working customized Linux system and a period of technical support. After that you're free to tinker with it as you wish. It even includes a big bag of hardware accessories for tinkering.

      I don't know if I'd buy another one but I'd recommend them for OS switchers.

      1. sad_loser

        Re: Why the fuck

        I bought a desktop and laptop because I got pissed off with apple and I am now in a corporate environment where I can choose my own kit as long as I can maintain it, and with POP- OS it is easy. It is so much nicer not having to constantly upgrade apps with built in obsolescence and irrelevant feature creep. Stuff just works.

        Will definitely buy again. Good quality hardware and software with imaginative design and good values- thanks y’all.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Why the fuck

      One wonders if the idiot taxpayer knows his darling Mac's userland is mostly GNU/BSD ...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        He may well do – that helps make MacOS a great choice for development – but should he really care if everything "just works".

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why the fuck

          MacOS is a great choice of Apple development.

          For anything else? Not so much. It's too different from "normal" unicies for a smooth experience. At that level, you're probably much better off with a customized BSD or Linux distribution. But there is no real one size fits all answer ... you need to customize it for yourself. Only you know your own needs.

          "but should he really care if everything "just works"."

          That devolves into "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin" territory. First of all, define "just works". And for whom. And for how long. And for what reason(s). And to what end. Etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the fuck

        I haven't a clue. You see. the whole point of " my darling" MacOS is that I don't need to know. All we need to do is buy software that works. Easy

    4. DarkwavePunk

      Re: Why the fuck

      "...have forgotten more about their operating system than I ever knew about mine..."

      Possible I guess, but how would I know if I've forgotten?

      Started with SunOS 4 and can still bumble my way around a Unix-like system to this day. In fact people pay me to do it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the fuck

      "(RANT RANT RANT) fuck off. No time or interest"

      Civilised people would just say "no thanks". Or you could even just scroll on by.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the fuck

        @stanislav Bonita

        May I think you for giving me a Madonna ear worm?

        I would explain to you but I will now just stroll on by. You would not want to understand. You have already judged

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the fuck

      "Linux is for enthusiasts who have forgotten more about their operating system than I ever knew about mine ... Linux users know how to use their operating system and bash it into making it work how they want it to"

      Complete, unmitigated, uninformed, biased, baloney.

      My retired, techno-illiterate parents' PC runs Linux (Mint) - it has done since 2014. The installation process was just a case of "next, next, next", with the exception of account creation. Everything just worked out of the box. They only really use it for spreadsheets, writing letters, and browsing the web, and haven't had any issues using it at all.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        Linux users know how to use their operating system and bash it into making it work how they want it to

        Well, to be fair, I do use bash to make Linux work as I want it to. And for pretty much everything else I do in Linux.

        Sometimes ksh, if that's what my account has been set up with on one of our build VMs and I haven't bothered to change it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the fuck


        I don't care if your "techno-illiterate parents" (so you slag your parents off to make a point? How loving of you.) enjoy using their system. Good for them.

        But you missed the point. We run a business. To make money. So we don't have to make money for an employer. We employ ourselves.

        And if you had read the part that you quoted, you would maybe have worked out that I was actually acknowledging their greater skill than mine in sorting their system.

    7. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Why the fuck

      Disagree on your thoughts on linux. I get MacOS appeal - the other half has all-apple, mostly because I know I never need to troubleshoot. I have Linux, principally because the hardware is cheap and I want gfx cards better than a laptop. (Not withstanding the current shortage...)

      I would suggest the main reason you should give a hoot about Linux, is that when Apple tell your perfectly good hardware from 8 years ago to bugger off on software support; Linux is an excellent way to keep it away from the tip.

      Pick the right distro, and Linux is dead easy to use straight out of the box. (Manjaro, Mint good places to start). Compared to Windows, there is no BS loss of control of software, spyware, activation nonsense, windows key resellers (some more dubious than others), three separate "control panels" for no good reason, enforced telemetry and a crap & inconsistent UI. I could go on, but I really don't need to. In MacLand, obviously you don't have any of that crap either, BUT you cant affordably get a Mac with PCI-Express ports in it. Which is dumbness of the highest order, and has been ever since the G5 tower.

      I am not some uber system administrator or shell hacker. Just a computer nerd that's been gaming all manner of hardware from right back to the Sharp MZ-80. Genuinely the only thing I need to do out of the ordinary in Linux is to compile the drivers for a particularly obscure piece of hardware (a tape drive) - a process that is a bit of a crapshoot unless you really are that alledged shell hacker extraordinaire.

      AUR (from Arch Linux, and in Manjaro) is amazing. Compile-at-home software around a pick-what-you-want UI. Quality of the packages can be a bit of a crapshoot, but tell me how that's any different to the shiat in Windows Store. Or, indeed, within the Apple Store too.

      Just because you CBA to try it out doesn't mean you should dismiss it as you do. For cases where Mac doesn't fit (typically, cost, or games), Linux does awfully well.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the fuck


        Upvoted because of your kind and thoughtful post. But please, I was trying to explain our reasons for using macs, BUT I was not slagging Linux off. I was actually being complimentary to Linux users knowledge.

        My anger was aimed at whoever it was that wanted Windows and Mac users to test whatever it is they wanted testing. After all the snark that win/mac users have to put up with? I don't think so

        My thanks to you and a pint on me

    8. AVee

      Re: Why the fuck

      Linux is for enthusiasts who have forgotten more about their operating system than I ever knew about mine.

      True, I've forgotten an awful lot about Linux. Don't need it anymore, Linux has become terribly boring. I just install and get to work these days...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Why the fuck

        "I just install and get to work these days..."

        Indeed. The ultimate OS is the one that blissfully gets out of the way and allows me to do my job with no histrionics. For my needs, Slackware does exactly that. Try it, you might like it.

        The only time I actually think about which OS I am running is when I'm responding in threads like this one.

  3. jake Silver badge

    I've eyeballed it.

    Typical of Gnome, it is not housebroken and leaves little bits of itself scattered all over the file system.

    One wonders who they jivin' with that Cosmic debris.

    You could make more money as a butcher, so don't you waste your time on me

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I've eyeballed it.

      +1 for the FZ reference, if it wasn't cool anyway!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm. It looks like macOS...

    Can we *please* do better? macOS seriously looks like cheap consumer shite!

    1. sgp

      It's made for people who use macOS... or Windows..

  5. BenDwire Silver badge


    Coincidently, I had to temporarily whitelist Statcounter on my PiHole as it's blocked by default. I wonder how many other Linux users use PiHole or similar to weed out some of the dross on the interwebs? Are their figures reliable enough to detect all us nerds out there?

    And yes, I'm a happy Linux desktop user and have been ever since I upgraded from Windows 7 (See what I did there?!)

    Beer, because the pubs are open again at last!

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Statcounter

      I use an adblocker in all my browsers on all my systems (MacOS, Windows, Android). As do many. This makes the various "free" third-party services like statcounter less reliable (Apple added this to Safari a while back). Add to this the reliance on websites using them for analytics and you have a fairly skewed view of the world. However, given the sheer volume of users without any kind of blocking and you can assume that the broad trends will be valid, just not accurate.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Statcounter

      I have a pihole on centos7 running in VirtualBox on an ooooollllllddddd pre-unibody Macbook with no display, happily going about it's business.... El Reg never had so much white space! Tack on all the no script, facefence etc, I have a pretty clean experience on my MBA 2019 Big Sur in Brave. I see Brave is blocking 6 items here on El Reg as well!

  6. Scene it all

    It looks like WIndows 10, which is probably why they aim it at WIndows users. I have a System76 "Thelio" desktop and the unique hardware design is a joy to work with, No more SATA cables! But I'm old-school - I use MATE desktop on Ubuntu. It is GNOME underneath and still uses a plain old app menu pulldown like Babbage intended.

  7. Claverhouse Silver badge

    An Insult to the Little People

    Ugh, Gnome.

  8. willhalcyon

    Voting G'NO'ME

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. The Sprocket

    Tossers and OS wars. How 1996.

  11. GrumpenKraut

    Note to self: Write an add-on named SANS.

    COSMIC SANS. Because the world needs this.

  12. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Paying attention to keyboard users?

    The team is also conscious of keyboard-driven users who, they said, "prefer a more efficient, distraction-free experience."

    That's ... refreshing. The vast majority of my Linux use (and most of my Windows use) is command-line, so I don't really pay much attention to which window manager might be running, but it's nice they're aware that not everyone wants the screen cluttered with eye candy.

  13. Dave559 Silver badge


    Hmm, it doesn't seem the wisest idea to build a spin-off distro from a non-LTS release of their chosen upstream. You would hope that the Ubuntu LTS versions undergo a lot more rigorous testing and polish, and so the libraries and applications are more stable; especially if they expect their users to be using this for more than 9 months, what will they do about security updates then?

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