back to article Pop!_OS 22.04: New kid on the Ubuntu block starting to show real muscle

US Linux boxshifter System76 has released the new LTS version, 22.04, of its custom Ubuntu remix, Pop!_OS (or "Pop" for short). The Reg FOSS desk took it for a spin. There are, as we mentioned recently, a lot of Ubuntu remixes out there. Some are official, some unofficial; some track every release, and some only the Long Term …

  1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Pop does not include Canonical's Snap packaging format,

    Hooray! That sounds great. Oh, hang on, there's more ...

    instead bundling Flatpak.

    Oh dear. Off it can fuck, then.

    1. Belperite

      ...uses systemd-boot to...

      Bye.

      1. Mostly Irrelevant

        Grub is better because largely unmaintained software is so hot right now?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      They could write their own and call it Crackle.

    3. ragnar

      > instead bundling Flatpak.

      > Oh dear. Off it can fuck, then.

      A Linux distro, bundling some widely used software?! I've never heard the like!

      Just uninstall it if you don't want it?

      It's not like they've done a Ubuntu and insisted on putting the browser in it.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        It's not like they've done a Ubuntu and insisted on putting the browser in it.

        That's a slight improvement, but I would still want to know if they only distribute anything I need that way. Still, Xubuntu 18.04 is good for another year, so I have time to decide where to go.

      2. VoiceOfTruth

        The initial response was alas all too common in the Linux world. It's absolutely toxic.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          toxic

          There are very good reasons to dislike snap and flatpack, and it's not just a case of "the user can turn it off", because the more popular these nasties become, the more software distributors will use them as the only supported means of install..

          The way that they package up applications into their own sandboxes a bit like Android, means that the user has much less control and scrutiny over what the app is actually doing.. Apps have extremely limited interaction with the OS and eachother, meaning that the extensibility and flexibility aspect of using Linux is lost.. They pollute the OS's mountpoint list as each snap application makes its own loopback device.

          Basically, it's great for proprietary software vendors, but terrible for users and even worse for third-party software developers who want to make extensions or forks to what is supposed to be open-source software.

          We should be educating people on how to build software from source, not forcing them to install some containerised crapware and not ask questions about it.

          Your ignorant dismissal of [people with strong opinions about software]? being all too common in the Linux world, is sadly all too common in the Windows world...

          1. Sirius Lee

            Re: toxic

            "We should be educating people on how to build software from source..."

            Yeah, because *everyone* want to spend their lives doing that. "Hi Gran, did you update your Linux today? How did you get on compiling everything/"

          2. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: toxic

            Flatpak and Snap exist because the horror shows called dpk, yum, etc, are monsters from the Id.

          3. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: toxic

            -> We should be educating people on how to build software from source, not forcing them to install some containerised crapware and not ask questions about it.

            Bill: Hi Bob. I was thinking about using Linux. I want to write a letter, nothing heavy.

            Bob: Well first you need to compile LibreOffice. That should only take a couple of days on your system.

            Bill: Oh, is that necessary? Can't I just use LibreOffice as it is supplied? I need to get this letter typed up.

            Bob: You should not do that. You should compile it from source.

            Bill: OK, I'll give it a go. How do I do it?

            Bob: Well first you need to download the source code and the build tools.

            Bill: Oh, what's that?

            Bob: I'll show you...

            [several days later]

            Bill: Oh, it says there's an error. What do I do? What about my letter?

            Bob: Well you can learn C++. That should only take you a few years to get up to speed.

            [several years later, Bill successfully fixes a bug]

            Bill: Hi Bob. I'm still trying to print that letter. The CUPS gui for HPLIP doesn't work.

            Bob: Did you download the source code?

            Bill: No, I'll do it now.

            [twenty minutes later]

            Bill: Oh there's an error.

            Bob: Well now you need to learn Python. Then fix the bugs, then print your letter.

            [a few weeks later Bill finds the bug and fixes it]

            Bill: I tell you what, Bob. I listened to you all those years ago when I was young and slim. Now I have a beard, a beer belly, and a penguin hat. It only took me 6 years to print my letter. I've decided I'm going to thank you for your help. You see this great big can of cold baked beans? I'm going to pour it over your head. And great bolshy yarblockos to you.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: toxic

            Agreed. Snap is a massive pain in the ass.

            I recently had to deploy some obscure project for a firm that had a "snap" package mentioned in it's build doc. What the doc didn't point out is that you had to install the snap package at a very specific point in the build process in order to ensure you get the right version of said snap package. I discovered that at various different points during the build, if you performed a snap update you could end up with a completely different version of the snap package.

            I don't think snap itself is a necessarily a bad idea, I just think the way snap packages appear to be managed leave a little to be desired.

          5. Baximelter

            Re: toxic

            Speaking of toxic . . . it's a variety of GNOME!

  2. karlkarl Silver badge

    "feel fast, modern, and powerful"

    The word "modern" appears a few times. Can anyone explain what is "modern" about the feeling that this Linux distro gives? It looks and feels the same as the first day Gnome 3 was released back in 2011. And even that is debatable as to whether it was more "modern" than Gnome 2 or just different and more tablet like (as was the fashion back in the old 2010 days).

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The word "modern" appears a few times

      I always take that as a warning.

    2. MrDamage Silver badge

      I've always read "modern" as

      "We tried very hard to look like Apple, but we implemented it like Microsoft."

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: I've always read "modern" as

        Nice one. How does The Damaged Dictionary define "native"?

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: I've always read "modern" as

          Stereotypical English Tourist.

          Take it out of it's environment, and it's just "Wot? Wot? Does anybody speak English?"

          1. Mostly Irrelevant

            Re: I've always read "modern" as

            American tourists are the same, just louder.

  3. VoiceOfTruth

    POP!_OS

    Well it's YALD, but I grant them this time they at least have a real reason as they supply their own hardware too.

    I'm giving it a spin in VirtualBox, the disk encryption page could use a tiny change. If I don't want the disk encrypted, (usually I do, but not for testing in a VM), the toggle selection is sticky. On other pages the Return key goes to the next page. The space bar toggles this toggle and so does the Return key. You can't click out of it either. Confusing. I had to tab to get out of the toggle, then press Return. It then takes me to a page where nothing seems to be happening, but I can see the disk indicator light going like the clappers.

    A few other things could do with some improvement. For time zone in the drop down list, if I search for London, London, Kiribati comes up first. Well it wouldn't be the first London I would think of in the world. The list doesn't seem to be sorted either. There is London, Kiribati, London City Airport..., and London, East and South East England. Does anyone know the difference between the last two? And is London really classed as East England rather than South? If anything isn't it at 0 meridian? London, Ontario, Canada gets two entries. While these small things are mere niggles, they are there nonetheless. They are the sort of thing that, if they existed on Windows, the penguins would be peering down their nose at.

    I think I know what to expect when it gets installed. It's YALD with some different bells and whistles. But, as I say, I give them a pass as they have a good reason this time. I have no idea how optimised it is for their hardware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: POP!_OS

      Yawn, why not save yours and everyone else's time by not posting the same response to any Linux article.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: POP!_OS

        Why don't you stop being an Anonymous Coward?

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: POP!_OS

      For time zone in the drop down list, if I search for London, London, Kiribati comes up first. Well it wouldn't be the first London I would think of in the world.

      It may not be the first London you would think of (nor would I), but when ordered by time zone, it most definitely is the first (UTC + 14:00).

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: POP!_OS

        You may be on to something, but it still doesn't quite make sense. The order is/was:

        London, Kiribati

        London City Airport, East and South East England, UK

        London, East and South East England, UK

        London, Ontario, Canada

        London, Ontario, Canada

        Groton / New London, Groton / New London Airport, Connecticut, USA

        London-Corbin Airport-Magee Field, Kentucky, USA

        London, Kentucky, USA

        It seems to me there is the equivalent of `grep London` rather than there being any kind of sorting. And as this is UNIX, why not count from 0?

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: POP!_OS

          And as this is UNIX, why not count from 0?

          Good question, but I just continued in the same way you started with the first London that came to your mind.

        2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: POP!_OS

          "any kind of sorting"

          As already suggested, they are in time zone order, and within that North to South. So, longitude and latitude. Most time zone maps I see start at the international date line. The fact this list does the same makes sense to me.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: POP!_OS

            Connecticut comes before Kentucky? Strange map you have.

    3. MJB7

      Re: East England

      I agree that London is definitely in the South of England rather than the East - but not because the 0 meridian goes through London. The zero meridian is irrelevant. England is more to the west of the 0 meridian than to the east; Scotland _entirely_ so. It still makes sense to talk about eastern Scotland and the East Riding of Yorkshire (again, almost entirely in the western hemisphere)

  4. Rich 2

    Oh dear

    “… it uses systemd-boot to…”

    I’m afraid that’s where I lost interest

  5. deive

    Not a big fan of systemd and the rest, but this has been my only OS for a couple of years now and with Valve's Proton it's all I could want.

    All the power of linux with some of the few good UI parts of both Windows 10 and MacOS, without their problems, is how I'd describe it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      By the few good parts of W10 do you mean those where it's finally caught up with KDE?

  6. VoiceOfTruth

    The POP!_OS Store

    If this meant to be the easy way to install software I don't know what the hard way is. Well probably I do, that would be something like apt and its mind boggling options (don't smirk in the corner, fans of yum, yum is every bit as bad).

    It's a very pretty app, but what does it have? I searched for Mysql. It has a handful of results including CQRLOG - an advanced logging program for ham radio operators, HotelDruid -a property management system for hotels, Conduktor - beautiful and fully-featured desktop for Apache Kafka. What is doesn't have is Mysql. Before anyone steps in and says 'but it is a desktop-orientated distro', let me interject and say 'yes it is, but is there not a Mysql client at all?'

    Let's have a look for Chrome. Chrome exists (as mentioned in the article). But searching for Chrome also returns 'useful' results such as Shortwave - listen to internet radio, and Postman - a complete API development environment. I am fairly sure that if I am searching for Chrome, I would like to find Chrome and not Shortwave. Linux distros have forever fallen down on this. It's as though all these package managers (an app store is a package manager, don't say that it's not) just do the equivalent in pseudo code of 'pkg list-all -vvvvv | grep something'. I don't understand why they (the developers) do this.

    1. ragnar

      Re: The POP!_OS Store

      So that people who don't know how or why to type "pkg list-all -vvvvv | grep something" can install software easily?

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: The POP!_OS Store

        Well then they have failed, haven't they?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The POP!_OS Store

      Why would you even want server software to appear in an app store? What's going to happen, grandma double clicks on MySQL, it installs, and then as far as she can tell, nothing else happens. The distro's package manager a better way to install server software and related tools given you're going to be setting it up with the terminal anyway.

      Does Google Play or Apple's app store return grepped results? No. Why should this?

      If you're going to complain, at least be coherent.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: The POP!_OS Store

        Did you read my comment properly? I think not. Let me refresh your memory: 'Before anyone steps in and says 'but it is a desktop-orientated distro', let me interject and say 'yes it is, but is there not a Mysql client at all?''

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: The POP!_OS Store

          I did read it, that's why I said "install server software and related tools".

          What are you going to do with just a client apart from look at the error message in the GUI saying it can't connect to anything? Or perhaps granny's going to engage in a bit of blackhat work to supplement her pension and connect to MySQL databases left open on the Internet? Please do let me know how useful this supposed feature would be.

  7. Proton_badger

    Systemd

    I guess I'm one of the few old-timers who actually likes Systemd. Everything from the unit files to managing services at runtime and the journal. I understand the reasons why some don't like it but for me it is really nice and quick to work with.

    Pop sounds interesting. I'm over the days where I messed around with distros and Desktops all the time and I've just settled on Kubuntu but I have to admit Snap has been a bit of a nuisance, not sure if Flatpack is any better? Snap/Flatpack solves one problem but introduces other irritations.

  8. Eltonga

    Installs fast... does everything fast...

    OK, we are all grown ups and know that speed comes at a price.

    What are the specs of the machine in which this test was done? Not asking for a full featured benchmark but at least give us an idea, ElReg...

    What's the footprint of this thing? Heavier than plain vanilla Ubuntu? Lightweight?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: Installs fast... does everything fast...

      [Author here]

      Fair point. I used to test on a Thinkpad T420 but I've more recently switched to a Thinkpad W520, partly on the basis that while it's a lovely box, it's not very portable, and so it doesn't matter much to me if an OS install messes it up.

      It's a quad-core 2.8GHz Core i7 from about 2008, with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SATA1 SSD for OSes and a ½TB HDD (SATA2) for the shared /home partition and swap. It has an nVidia Quadra 1000 GPU with Optimus-style GPU switching.

      So, it's a decent machine, but quite old now. Currently it boots in legacy BIOS mode with both drives formatted MBR.

  9. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Facepalm

    Zzzzzz....

    Yay! --yet another Linux distro. I've lost count. Is that eleventy billion now, or eleventy billion and one?

    Can't wait to see all these exciting new applications that actually do *stuff*...

    Oh. Wait. It's just the eleventy billion and first version of the desktop file manager, preferences window and installer screen. Plus the same tired old half dozen or so actual applications that every other fecking distro has.

    Wake me up when one of these companies actually produces a new distro with a new killer application. Not just yet another skin on the bloody file manager.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Zzzzzz....

      -> Plus the same tired old half dozen or so actual applications that every other fecking distro has.

      To me the Linux desktop distros are a bit like the UK high street. They might have a different coat of paint, but basically they have the same shops everywhere: Caffe Nero, Starbucks, the same mobile phone shops, Evans cycle shops, ...

      Yes, a distro may have prettier icons. But after a few seconds that novelty wears off and I actually want to get stuff done. Then I'm in the same LibreOffice as every other distro.

      I did give Pop!_OS a pass as they do at least offer hardware too.

  10. Greywolf40

    OK, nice, but what apps are available, other than the usual mail- browser-wordproc-imageproc-workalikes of the MS/Mac stuff? Pretty GUIs are nice, and all that, but they're a dime a dozen. Hell, my phone has a pretty GUI, but the main reason I bought a new one was the camera. As good as or better than a DSLR for everyday work, and much lighter.

    In short, I don't want to see "news" about a new Linux distro, I want to see news about a new Linux app. One that will crush the competition. Fast, compact AI-powered video processing could do it for me.

    Really.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Coming soon: a new note taking app; and secondly a new package manager, this one using lmdb and written in Rust.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that good

    On a new computer I tried it instead of Mint and regret it, for many reasons I won't bore you. But just one - you cannot even drag files or create shortcuts on the desktop you have to follow a convoluted procedure, and as for doing the same to the taskbar, just forget it.

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