I never used Ubuntu as my daily driver so it is hard to say what is better, but PopOS has been great and has good defaults. It was not hard to adjust despite having used OSX for the previous 12 years. I work from home 95% of the time so working on a desktop was an option and I still have my old 15" Macbook from work around when I need to travel to the office. I will probably just get it upgraded when Apple refreshes the 13" Pro.
Anyway, +1 for PopOS and you do not have to run System76 hardware to use it.
For now, I still use my MBP when I travel. I could probably do OK with the new Air if I wind up needing to upgrade. I would prefer to have 32 MB of RAM though because I run a lot of VM's and Docker images and having the extra RAM for that helps.
Anyway, back to my original point. PopOS has been a pretty easy transition and it worked fine on my custom build. You do not have to use System76 hardware to benefit from using it.
It's not like it's the law that you need to buy Apple hardware.
Honestly, I won't say the transition has been entirely painless - it does take time to adjust to a new operating system, but I have to say, my biggest regret is that I didn't ditch Apple's computers sooner. I love my iPhone but honestly it does feel like Apple just isn't all that interested in their desktop / laptop computers recently.
In college I learned that while Americans say "Kicked the bucket" or "Bought the farm" for 'died', Austrians say "Handed in their spoon". Which is farm more evocative IMHO.
In the Thinkpad community, PopOS is often recommended for the Thinkpad X1 Extreme, because it has hybrid graphics that can switch between integrated and GPU based on your need, and PopOS is apparently the only Linux that supports that.
If not, being able to choose between these has been around for quite a long time.
Even then, I had trouble with even trying VMs as nothing supported the ahead of mainline kernel I needed for my video card. Now, 20.04 may be miles better and much more stable overall, still well behind the kernel I'd been running. Just saying it isn't a panacea at all.
NOTE: Since early march, I've been mostly on Windows in support of a couple legacy projects.
I had the exact same experience, but in December gave up on having linux play nicely with Navi for the time being. I will readily admit to being an AMD fanboy, but Nvidia is really besting them at the software game.
My 3700x CPU has been dreamy from day one.
Nvidia dont adhere to specs. Amd does.
Developers develop for nvidia.
Problems ensue for amd users.
I was forced to grab a 5700xt because of stock problems but it would have been around the same time.
I had one big deal breaker problem but i only had to run a mainline kernel build to tie me over.
In anycase, this sort of thing is standard for new hardware, always takes a couple months for linux to catch up.
Of course then I needed to do some work in windows, and couldn't get any VM software working with the ahead of mainline kernel I'd been using.
I understand the why, just was frustrating and less than ideal.
Nvidia even provide Linux support for the latest RTX cards.
The biggest problem I had was installing the latest proprietary drivers because the ones Ubuntu provide are lagging behind. Sometimes you need to do this via the console.
Nvidia also doesn't support some of the APIs that AMD and Intel do, which causes fragmentation in Linux desktop environments.
I am still waiting for OpenGL 4.1, the extensions listed here, and hardware video decoding, because from where I sitting glxinfo still reports OpenGL 3.0
So yeah, thanks very much for 2D and less than optimal 3D support.
I had trouble with the 5700 XT for the first few months though... Other than running out and buying a new graphics card series when it comes out, most people should be fine.
Can anyone answer the following?
Does Pop inherit Ubuntus snapifictation with 20.04?
Do they release newer kernels for the LTS releases like Canonical does with Ubuntu LTS?
Do they pack ZFS in the kernel like Ubuntu?
Have you considered using Debian?
Personally, I prefer to run regular updates often and full-system upgrades rarely/never, but I also want to use software that isn't ancient. The LTS model gives me half of those things.
I don't know if that's what you're hinting at with your comment about newer kernels, but I've found the testing and unstable branches of Debian to be a far more pleasant experience overall than Ubuntu (either the LTS or the full-upgrade-every-six-months variants).
They're both rolling releases. Don't let the names fool you... If you follow a small handful of best-practices (e.g. enabling apt-listbugs) they can be quite stable. The system on my old laptop has been running without major issues for almost a decade.
The other sticking point is ZFS. Guess I'll have to spin up a VM and play around a bit before I switch to Pop! or straight Debian.
Canonical's obsession with snap is about to push me away from *buntu, and I'm ready to bail out. I had misgivings about snap from the first I'd heard about it, and my misgivings are turning out to be well-founded.
apt-listbugs is really the main one for me.
When I upgrade, I pay close attention to the package change lists. If packages are set to be removed, especially a lot of important looking packages, I cancel the upgrade and investigate. Usually this means that something has gone wonky with dependencies, or not all of the packages that need to be upgraded in lock-step are available yet. Usually this resolves itself after a few days, but sometimes you can coax a partial upgrade if you find the culprit package and hold it.
Speaking of holding, apt-mark hold/unhold (or equivalent - I think there might be a better way to do this now) is your friend. I usually end up holding packages like the ones mentioned above that erroneously want to remove half the system, as well as any packages that apt-listbugs complains about, unless I've reviewed the bug report and am okay with it. I'll periodically unhold everything (apt-mark showhold | xargs sudo apt-mark unhold), then retry an upgrade to see which bugs or dependencies have been fixed, and then hold any remaining offenders again. Usually this will end up "releasing" package upgrades in chunks depending on the dependency graph.
Apt should probably be louder when big parts of the system get marked for removal. I think this the primary way testing/unstable systems end up breaking, and it's completely avoidable.
My current workstation is running my debian OS that's just been continuously updated since about 2012.
I have flirted with the idea of using Debian testing as a rolling release but generally ended up back on Ubuntu out of laziness as I liked the happy medium of Ubuntu LTS releases between stableness vs cutting edge while avoiding the typical undercooked Canonical "big bang" changes they have in their .10 releases.
Maybe 20.04 is the release that tips me over the edge!
Unbunu provides a nice middle ground between the very stable but very stale Debian (stable) and the and the bleeding edge of something like Arch. Ubuntu does nice stuff like releasing newer kernels for LTS releases but the NIH annoyances have grated on me for the last few years (Mir, Upstart, Snap etc...).
> Does Pop inherit Ubuntus snapification with 20.04?
Not out of the box. You can manually install snapd and use snaps on Pop, but all of the software we ship is Apt packaged, and Flatpak/Flathub are supported out of the box. Additionally, some apt packages which install snaps in Ubuntu (like Chromium) install the apt version of the application in Pop.
> Do they release newer kernels for the LTS releases like Canonical does with Ubuntu LTS?
Yes, we track the latest Ubuntu kernel and ensure that the newest one available is installed. Our kernel is usually a bit newer than Ubuntu's (due to our focus on System76 hardware which, being new, often requires a newer kernel for all hardware features to work correctly). Obviously the newer kernels also have benefit beyond just S76 hardware, and Pop is in no way restricted from running on non-System76 machines.
> Do they pack ZFS in the kernel like Ubuntu?
One followup question; how easy is it to uninstall your default DE/do you provide a minimal install without the DE?
While I appreciate your hard work on the user-friendliness of it I've spent the last god knows how many years building my workflow around i3 I'm loathed to give it up which means 99% of the desktop will sit unused.
Keep up the good work, you folks are doing great things and are a boon for the Linux ecosystem!
Edit: Also any chance of UK keyboards on your laptops? Or have I missed an option when speccing a machine up?
With Mir, it was an attempt to own it, so when some mobile vendor wants to implement it for their devices, they have to consult with them and get some licenses. With Unity 8 and Ubuntu SDK, it was similar. Once prospects of Ubuntu mobiles failed, it was abandoned.
Wit Snap, it is an attempt to own the Linux app distribution space (that's why you cannot have 3rd-party repos), so anyone who want to distribute snaps, has to talk to them.
I have nothing against Canonical trying to make money; but inserting themselves as a monopoly on some layer of Linux stack isn't the way to do that. Community will always route around.
I agree, I had been using Debian as my primary distro for about ten years when I gave PopOS a try and have been using it since. Although I like PopOS I wish they were building on Debian.
I am on 18.04 LTS right now and was very surprised when PopOS did a major kernel version bump to 5 which seems very strange for a LTS. It has also broken my ability to install `linux-image-virtual` which requires kernel version 4.15 and has caused some problems recently. This has me considering switching back to Debian.
PopOS 18.04 does not pack ZFS, I have installed it to make use of reflinks for DVC.
As far as I can tell PopOS is a pretty light layer on top of vanilla Ubuntu. You can still install everything from the Ubuntu repos etc.
I did a conversion and my ZFS install came over just fine (and my pool import from my janky CentOS built pool was shockingly simple-- only hiccup was that I didnt have SMB and NFS installed yet when I did it so the exports failed, but everything else worked).
Now my only complaint is that the Ubuntu implementation of Gnome does superkey+arrowkey Windows style AeroSnaping and In the two days or so I used it I got really used to it and that is not the default behavior in PopOS and haven't figured out how to tweak it yet. Its a really nice desktop environment and I have heard great things about the Pop Shell but havent played with it much yet. Now I just need to figure out how to prune out all the snap crap I installed and all the libraries I installed trying and failing to compile stuff from source. I am lost without yum. I know people hate it but I know it like the back of my hand and apt is different enough (and Canonical documentation is laughable compared to RHEL) to make me feel a little lost in the weeds. But native ZFS and Nvidia have been a godsend. A modern implementation of kvm/qemu is super nice-- my VMs are so much easier to manage now. And I'm really looking forward to playing with Wireguard again now that it has kernel support.
Packages are generally a bit newer vs. Debian
They release newer kernels throughout the release
A defined 2 year release cycle
Generally better supported by 3rd parties
Support available if needed (I've never used it but some businesses won't buy anything without support)
To be honest all Ubuntu would give me these days is a preconfigured DE, but XFCE default on Debian works fine for me.
Also, now I run the same distro on my Dev box as in production ;)
Their decision to support Flatpak by default, to create a recovery partition which allows the user to reinstall the system without losing data (in a no-brainer way), and their overall attention to detail won me over. Kudos to the team for creating this distro and making it available for other computer brands.
I'd really hate into being drawn into another energy-consuming VHS-vs-Betamax or BD-vs-HDDVD drama. I'd much prefer a single statically linked binary if at all possible (though it may not be given that browsers or browser runtimes on which many modern "apps"/packages are based have accumulated way too much crap over the years, which I think is the actual problem).
Flatpak allows anyone to run a repo and for users to track updates from several repos. The server is open source.
Snaps work fine. Flatpack works fine. Both solve real problems that people have that the old ways of doing packages didn't solve.
But the neat part is that in the "Gaming" card, it swaps Firewatch (a game/movie-with-buttons notorious for its gorgeous daylight scenes) to Elite: Dangerous (a game set in space, which is pretty visually dark).
If the same attention to detail is present in the OS design itself, it's bound to be some good.
its the best experience I've ever had with linux on a laptop, everything just works with no fuss
Also according to someone on Reddit, Ubuntu 20.04 works flawlessly on it sans fingerprint reader. Dell's website says fingerprint reader support for Linux is coming later in 2020.
I wish there was an option with a Ryzen 4000 and discrete graphics card, but it is still really compelling and I would buy one in a heartbeat if it was not for the fact that I wouldn't be able to get it serviced in my country.
So much time and effort goes into building an _entire_ distribution when, at the core, 90% or more of the thing is identical to Ubuntu LTS. Am I missing something?
Also... the name with the exclamation and the underscores is one of the most user hostile and nonsensical things I have ever seen in open source, since brainfuck the language.
I have high hopes for future Ubuntu (desktop) release which seem to be making moves in the right general direction, but at the moment PopOS is probably where I am going to hang my hat.
It's not _exactly_ a diff, but here's a link to the Pop!_OS github page, which contains 149 repos (only 16 of which are forks) https://github.com/pop-os
> one could take Ubuntu and run a few shell scripts (I am grossly oversimplifying) and boom you are now running Pop.
(Note: I don't currently use Pop!_OS and think the name is absurd)
I suppose booting the live image and dumping packages to a file, then diffing that might be one approach?
You might also want to archive all of /etc, and compare - but that might introduce too much noise.
> So much time and effort goes into building an _entire_ distribution when, at the core, 90% or more of the thing is identical to Ubuntu LTS. Am I missing something?
I think there's a lot of effort that goes into polishing the DE/WM for a specific flavor of Ubuntu. I say this as someone who installed i3 on Linux Mate, and when using Mate now, I see i3 notifications manager.
ElementaryOS for example is a perfect case study.
> I say this as someone who installed i3 on Linux Mate, and when using Mate now, I see i3 notifications manager.
This is case and point why desktop linux sucks so bad. And it really bolsters my question: why are so many people reinventing the wheel for so many different things? Why do distributions need to have their own of everything? And if you do, hey that is great but why do you then need to wrap it into a different OS that is really just a popular one with a lot of tweaks?
I am coming from the perspective of someone who hates 'state' period ... or specifically determinism. So if I cannot reliably go from A to B to C (distributions) by just adding/removing packages and/or a kernel or two ... then the entire thing puts a bad taste in my mouth and makes me feel like the OS I am running is actually just a bunch of duct tape and garbage.
The irony is that under the hood linux is literally just plain old files on a disk. Yet if an XFCE Manjaro user asks somewhere publicly to switch to Gnome ... the solution ultimately tends to be "reinstall the Gnome ISO and copy your shit over"
One way to do that would be to install each version of each variant you are interested in on a VM (of exactly the same config each time), script a filesystem scan that always outputs the same order and sends the result to a central area where you can do a simple text diff on the output or load the results into a db of some sort for deeper analysis. You could even automate it to an extent.
I'm not entirely sure what you'd learn of much use, and you won't learn the differences between matters of real hardware support, but it might be an interesting exercise anyway.
This would only really be useful for comparing similar distributions, i.e. Ubuntu variations of similar vintage. There is so much different between, say, Ubuntu and CentOS, or Ubuntu now and Ubuntu last year, that there are too many differences for a filesystem level compare like that to be meaningful at all.
Just take a look at all the variations in this HN thread on the spelling of it. "Pop", "PopOS", "Pop OS"... I only counted two that used the full name "Pop!_OS".
macOS was nearly confusing (was first Mac OS X, OS X and now macOS) but is still recognisable in the software ecosystem with its exact full name still used.
The name "Pop!_OS" on the other hand looks so cryptic that its users have simplified the name to just “Pop OS”. It’s likely that someone will create a distro for the sake of renaming it. I won't be surprised to see a renaming soon.
Searching for "how to burn a CD pop os" has less useful results than "how to burn a CD ubuntu", but I think that's a user base size issue, not a naming issue.
When you think about it, most developers use Mac OS with a ports system (brew), combined with Flatpack-like packaging for some big apps. I think this is what the Linux Desktop needs to emulate to get more market share. Linux definitely has a huge advantage by being able to run docker containers natively.
Of course one can always cobble something together for their own use, whether that be so amalgamation of WM+associated utilities or hammering on KDE or XFCE until it kinda takes on the desired shape, but nothing can replace a purposefully designed, opinionated DE.
> but Debian is really not the best distro if you want to customize things or have a relatively rare toolchain (common for developers)
Could you elaborate? I've been doing a lot of desktop (dwm) customization lately and haven't found ubuntu to be limiting.
Quick glance and looks like it's bringing together the best of tiling WMs with the polish of Pop!_OS.
I recently installed Ubuntu 18.04 and set up i3 via Regolith, and I'm trying to figure out if it's giving me anything other than a new set of keyboard shortcuts. But something about it seems a lot slower than a week ago before I upgraded from bare i3 on 18.04.
I don't know how other people use i3, but I didn't see anything about stacked / tabbed layouts. They've become so baked into my workflow that I can't use anything without them for my personal laptop, at least- work forces me to use macOS :(
I'm very torn about flatpack versus snaps versus debian. This fragmentation is awful.
I'd like to see a ZFS (with encryption) default soon as well.
I’ll be upgrading from 18.04, so I hope to see a lot of new stuff. Finger crossesed, without much hiccups.
I am used to mac and thinkpads, and one thing I used to enjoy was the x200 keyboard along with the trackpoint and 3 mousebuttons in reach from the thumb, does lenovo hold a patent for this, or is there any reason this type of cursor input is so rarely seen?
I'd gladly pay a premium for the option to get a more ergonomic keyboard.
Pop is great. The mouse feels better (but I can't increase scroll rate?), the window manager keys are so sane. I just realized you can turn on Emacs input for the keyboard, so C-a always means home (like os x!?).
I went to the Pop website  to get codecs working (Twitch), super easy.
A Ryzen + Pop!_OS is my new "Mac Pro", to replace my 2010 5,1 model. I recommend it, having used distros from Red Hat 9 to Mint/Ubuntu to Gentoo to Slackware.
Do your own verification as well!
Hopefully they've also fixed the problem where Firefox causes massive periodic disk I/O which freezes my whole computer for minutes on end.
I even got the OS to get stuck with modal requestors that you can't dismiss.
SMB browsing is the first thing I try on a new distribution, because it's almost always broken.
You guys need to realize that great companies such as Apple have a certain design ethos(some people resonate with it and some don't, but they have a very strong design language) and it comes from the top-down. Steve Jobs had a deep sense of appreciation for Japanese architecture, IBM in the 60's had hired Elliot Noyes, and Braun was aesthetically lead by Dieter Rams. IBM Thinkpads had hired IDEO design and bunch of high class firms to design their products. Nikon hired Pinin Ferrina. Study the history of hardware companies and what made them great.
System76 has the potential to be the most amazing linux-based computer company in the world - but they don't have the right type of leadership. Leadership needs to have good "taste".
But this is just such a strange thing to say:
"System76 if you're reading this, please hire a new design team that is on par with Apple, Google, IBM, etc. and a new industrial design team that has competence at the level of Bang & Olufsen, Apple, Braun, etc."
That is not only absurdly expensive, it disregards the actual situation: open source work in general suffers from a lack of designers willing to be involved. If this was a simple thing to do, I'd wager System76 would have already done it.
On a personal note, I'd much rather they get to a point where they're fashioning their own hardware... otherwise I'm staying on a Macbook, because I'm not going back to plastic shells. The software design can wait, it's not like it hasn't already done so for years.
I'm intensely curious about this stance. Apple popularized the aluminum case in laptops, and having owned a dozen each of aluminum and plastic/carbon fiber notebooks, aluminum is just... worse. It's heavier, more expensive, and every substantial impact is a permanent mar on the finish. Why is non-plastic so necessary? What advantage is there?
The weight doesn't bother me, and in fact I _prefer_ it having some body to it.
Regarding impact... my 2015MBP doesn't look a day old. It's tanked hits that would break other laptops.
>> That is not only absurdly expensive, it disregards the actual situation: open source work in general suffers from a lack of designers willing to be involved. If this was a simple thing to do, I'd wager System76 would have already done it.
I seriously doubt any statements that claim "if they could, they would have done" when it comes to great design in software or hardware. It essentially boils down to what the leadership thinks - if they think design service/teams are a cost center, forget about it. It will never ever improve. If the founders and the leaders of the company think that design is a core aspect of what they do and it should be part of everything at the company - from letterpads, to building design, to how they write and speak - then there is no way they cannot succeed.
I've used Pop!_OS on my personal computer, and I consistently use it professionally because of how nicely it works for getting CUDA running on NVIDIA-enabled systems. I definitely prefer it over stock Ubuntu. Keeping GNOME for switching between workspaces but hiding the application bar by default makes the most of smaller screens is great. The combination of flat graphics, clean lines, geometric design notes, and color scheme choices resonates nicely with me.
I haven't had a lot of experience with their hardware, but I also think the choices in the Thelio line of desktops (which I believe the only product they have full manufacturing and discretion over) seemed really nice with the wood accent and low-key etchings on the metal.
I really like System76 design. They do a great job at making Linux systems seem friendly and worthy of consideration as Mac/Windows replacements, especially for a small company.
I also find their website much easier to use than Dell’s or Lenovo’s, and their branding and copywriting has more personality.
On the hardware front, their upcoming in-house laptop project will be worth keeping an eye on. It will start to give them more design flexibility over their current range (which is not designed in-house): https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/11/20/syste...
If you get the chance (post-corona), stop by the factory, meet the lead designer Kate, and be amazed. She's a visionary.
If you mean the design of the hardware, I'd be interested to hear what you dislike about the Thelio – the reviews I've read have generally evaluated it as one of the best designed/most distinctive/prettiest desktops on the market.
(If you mean their current laptops then, yeah, those aren't designed in particular. But presumably that will change when they start designing/manufacturing those themselves instead of reselling Clevo/etc)
lol, I'm sure they'd love to, are you offering to pay the salaries?
> There is already Apple if people want to buy a computer like an Apple.
100%. If what you want is an Apple computer, I promise we won't be offended if you buy an Apple computer.