To date, I've covered a few great Linux distros from privacy orientated to 'for beginners' setups. Today, I want to look into Pop!_OS for more then one reason.
Firstly, it kicks of a series of reviews and articles about a company called System76, a US based company that makes some hardcore Linux desktops and also carries some modified Linux laptops. In other words they fight the good fight!
Secondly because Pop!_OS is very user friendly, improves the overall Ubuntu ecosystem and is heaven sent for Linux gamers! Yeah! I just said that! My son has moved 100% away from Windows and gone full on Lutris with Pop!_OS
Pop!_OS comes out of the box disk-encrypted!
Pop!_OS uses GNOME 3.36 as the desktop environment, I usually go with KDE, but actually GNOME with Pop!_OS is growing on me.
So what System76 has improved on is something they call Automatic Window Tiling. Just toggle it from the top menu (right side of the screen) and it will arrange and organize your applications as tiles with a little gap in between each. This is such a cool feature, especially when you work with a bigger or multiple monitors.
Another feature that I recommend is Show Activity Hint, this highlights the active window so you always know where you are. This feature can be turned off as easily as you turn it on, so depending on what you are doing it's only a click away.
Pop!_OS also has some unique extensions backed in and you don't need to use GNOME Tweaks to manage them anymore.
However, I installed them anyway, as I use my notebook as my main device and I don't see how you can get the desktop off sleep when closing the lid. With GNOME Tweaks, you can switch the auto-sleep off :-)
sudo apt install gnome-tweaks gnome-tweaks
Another cool improvement on Pop!_OS is an new application switcher and launcher. Just hit Super key + / and attach use workspace!!!
This is such a cool launcher and once you get used to it, you'll probably make it your goto!
Pop!_OS even has its own Pop!_Shop which is basically the same shop that elementary.io is using, but it has its own repositories as well. Some apps, such as Signal, are a little outdated and may not even work anymore, but you have the option to switch between Pop!_OS (deb) and flatpack (flatpack) which always has the most recent version. I still prefer .deb and Eddy is pre-installed to let you download and install .deb files.
I am also impressed with the updates System76 is pushing out for the software and even to the firmware of my new Lemur Pro which I've been using for about 14 days now. A review on this little beast is coming up in a separate article.
Last, but not least, as a Nextcloud user I always appreciate when things work 'out of the box' and with the online account feature this is no exception. You just enter your Nextcloud (or any other online account you are using) information and you have it linked with your calendar, contacts, notes etc. If you download FeedReader you can also sync your Nextcloud News feeds with the desktop application.
I, as always, recommend activating the firewall and perhaps installing Firetools or go full Firejail. It's safer, better and makes your desktop experience just a little safer.
If you'd like to trial Pop!_OS you can download it as a normal version or with the nvidia driver optimised as System76 is offering two different versions on their website.
If you are a gamer, this is one of the smoothest game optimized OS around (so good that'll need to order a big ass gamers chair to full appreciate the experience)...however, if you aren't a GNOME fan, your favorite desktop environment is super easy to add.
That's all, folks!
Stay safe and stay secure!
The Privacy Advocate