Trying Out System76's Pop!_OS Ubuntu-Based Operating System

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 18 October 2017 at 11:59 AM EDT. Page 1 of 2. 18 Comments.

Besides Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" launching tomorrow, System76 is also expected to issue their first official release of the Ubuntu-derived Pop!_OS operating system they plan to begin shipping on their laptops/desktops. Curious about their modifications to Ubuntu 17.10, I decided to give the latest snapshot of it a ride.

For those that missed the earlier news this summer, back in June is when System76 announced Pop!_OS as the Linux distribution to be shipped on their future PCs/laptops. System76 had been shipping stock Ubuntu installations on their systems since its founding in 2005, but with Ubuntu shifting from Unity back to GNOME Shell and other changes, System76 found it time to give their own take on a Linux desktop OS.

Most of their changes from Ubuntu 17.10 to the inaugural Pop!_OS release are cosmetic changes to the GNOME Shell and theming of applications, some different application defaults, etc. One fundamental decision made was not using Wayland yet even though Ubuntu 17.10 is defaulting to Wayland on supported systems. With many System76 customers relying upon the NVIDIA proprietary driver, this could be problematic for some.

Early on in the Pop!_OS development cycle they talked of working on a new installer, but shipping for this first release is still a modified version of Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer.

Booting to the Pop!_OS installation, the default theme is pleasant and mostly a stock GNOME Shell user experience it felt with custom icons/theme.

Pop!_OS is still relying upon the upstream Ubuntu package archives for updates and is then just using a PPA for making available its different package updates. Right now in its PPA are just the packages for the wallpapers, themes, fonts, some basic GNOME Shell extensions, and other basics.

On my end, no real complaints about the default appearance of Pop!_OS. It's about time System76 decided to customize Ubuntu to make their preloaded systems a bit more unique.

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