Pop!_OS (“Cosmic”): System76 is working on the new desktop based on Rust

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The Linux distribution Pop!_OS from the system and Linux distributor System76, which is based on Ubuntu and is particularly popular with gamers, is to receive a completely new desktop based on the free system programming language Rust . The new desktop environment should be called “Cosmic”.

A completely new Linux desktop for Pop!_OS

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The US company System76 already calls its interpretation of the Gnome Shell a Cosmic desktop and uses the so-called “Cosmic-UX” for its current operating system Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS, among other things. As early as November last year, the distributor announced that it was working on its own user interface, the Cosmic desktop without Gnome. However, the corresponding detailed information has so far been almost completely missing.

Rust, Wayland, Iced and GTK4

According to a post on the company's blog, that's about to change, and for the first time System76 is making official specs for its upcoming desktop environment.

  • Future versions of the Cosmic -Desktops will not be based on Gnome, but will be written from the ground up in the free systems programming language Rust.
  • The new Cosmic desktop will have its own compositor for the Wayland display server protocol, which will provide a better Support for features like HiDPI, HDR and scaling.
  • The new desktop environment should enable a smooth experience for users with graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.
  • By developing its own compositor in Rust, resources should be saved and components used more efficiently. This should increase reliability and stability.

Another important core component of the new desktop will be the cross-platform open source application tool kit “Iced”, which will also be used as a GUI library for Rust. In addition, there is “libcosmic” as a widget library and current GTK4 applications.

System76 would like to deal with virtual desktops (Image:  System76)

New panels, menus and docks are also to be added, which are also to be implemented on the basis of the Iced library.

We're building a stronger Pop!_OS in the form of a faster, more responsive desktop environment, COSMIC DE. What you see on-screen when you use Pop!_OS will be rebuilt in a new codebase to improve the feel and functionality of the OS.

System76

Das Release for the new Cosmic desktop, which will also be usable on other distributions, is planned for the coming year. Progress can be followed via the project page on the GitHub developer platform.