COSMIC Store Prototype Replacement for Pop Shop Unveiled

Get ready for liftoff! The still-in-development COSMIC Store will bring unparalleled speed to your Pop!_OS desktop experience.

This year, Linux desktop computing has two significant highlights to look out for. First up, we’ve already seen the launch of Plasma 6 – a huge update setting the stage for the future, creating a solid foundation that will shape the development of this desktop environment for years ahead.

The next big thing on the horizon is happening in about six months. We’re going to see the debut of the COSMIC desktop environment developed by System76, built from the ground up, and it’s set to make its first appearance in the upcoming Pop!_OS 24.04 release.

In short, there’s a lot of excitement around the new desktop environment. It’s expected to shake things up in the Linux desktop scene. The aim is to offer a simpler, more straightforward desktop experience that everyone can enjoy.

This is excellent news, especially for those who’ve been let down by the limitations and not always the most logical interactions that GNOME imposes or those who find that KDE Plasma’s looks aren’t their cup of tea.

In the last year, the team at System76 has been putting a lot of effort into improving every aspect of their still-in-development COSMIC desktop environment. They plan to roll out the first alpha version by the end of May, followed by a second alpha and the first beta version.

In light of this, Jeremy Soller, a principal engineer at System76, has been sharing updates about an exciting new development.

The Pop Shop, which was the go-to spot for handling all the Pop!_OS software, is getting an upgrade. Say hello to the COSMIC Store, a promising new application written in Rust currently under active development.

Pop!_OS COSMIC Store
Pop!_OS COSMIC Store, Image credits: Jeremy Soller

COSMIC Store is coming along quickly, though there is still a lot left to do. It loads nearly instantly, because it uses bitcode to cache appstream data in an optimized format. It uses very little memory compared to the Pop Shop. Searches can be performed live as they are done in parallel. Searching for “e” takes 5.5 ms on my desktop and returns 4601 results.

Jeremy Soller, System76 Principal Engineer

The main selling point here is the speed – we’re talking super speedy, way faster than what we’re used to when considering GUI software managers. This seems to have been achieved through the use of AppStream metadata caching techniques, which were used to avoid PackageKit’s slow search functionality.

Also, we’re happy to share that the COSMIC Store will support Flatpak, which is pretty much the go-to way for distro-agnostic software distribution these days. Wondering if it can be used with other than Pop!_OS distros? Well, since it’s open-source and its code is publicly available on GitHub, any Linux distro can join the party. All they need is the willingness to adapt it to their needs.

To wrap things up, there’s one thing we can all agree on – the COSMIC desktop will shake things up, and everyone in the Linux community is on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what it can do. Let’s face it: the big names in desktop environments like KDE Plasma, GNOME, and XFCE have been around for over two decades. Of course, that’s pretty amazing because it shows they’ve stood the test of time.

Sure, many other names, such as Cinnamon, Budgie, LXQt, Deepin, Pantheon, and so on, have built on those classic foundations, tweaking and twisting them in their own ways. But COSMIC? It’s a whole different story.

It’s a brand new desktop environment, in the complete sense of the word new, built from the ground up, with a company behind it that has the capabilities and ambitions to make it the next big thing in Linux desktop computing. And that’s something we can’t help but get excited about. So, go, COSMIC, go!

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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