System76’s COSMIC Desktop Environment Makes Progress

The currently developed System76's COSMIC desktop environment is taking shape with the options added to the Panel and Settings.

System76, a computer manufacturer specializing in the sale of notebooks, desktops, and servers, is a strongly Linux-faced company utilizing free and open-source software and offering its own Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, Pop!_OS.

About a year and a half ago, due to a heated discussion between the developers of Pop!_OS and GNOME, System76 decided to go its way and develop a desktop environment from scratch, COSMIC, which to better suits its vision and understanding of functionality.

Recent desktop environment updates have been exciting as more and more COSMIC is beginning to take shape.

COSMIC Desktop
COSMIC Desktop, Image Credits: System76

The panels in COSMIC now support applets – small embedded applications similar to GNOME extensions. However, unlike the extensions, the applets are individual applications running in their process. 

Currently, the COSMIC desktop environment only includes basic applets for notifications, workspaces, apps, battery, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and media controls. However, many new ones will be added soon, allowing full panel customization to the user’s needs.

On top of that, each panel has options for visual styling, allowing you to adjust its size or opacity and add a margin before the edge of the screen. At the same time, Light and Dark Mode and match the desktop mode will also be supported. Finally, changing the panel position on the screen will also be supported.

Finally, the Dock and Panel will have context menus that bring users to each Settings and Applet configuration.

COSMIC Settings, another core component of the desktop environment, has also received a boost in its development over the past month with the addition of Keyboard Input and Wallpaper settings pages.

Wallpaper settings
Wallpaper settings, Image credits: System76

Last but not least, we will add that System76’s devs plan to support HDR in the COSMIC desktop environment, and 10-bit color was added to the compositor providing better color reproduction.

However, while COSMIC is still in intensive development, System76 has not yet committed to a clear schedule for when it will be ready for the general public.

The good news is that the desktop environment will not be limited to Pop!_OS but will be available to any Linux distro that decides to rely on it by including it in their repositories.

While COSMIC will be the flagship experience on Pop!_OS, it’s designed to be useful for people, distros, companies, and organizations to create and offer their own unique user experience.

More details on the current progress made on the desktop environment can be found on the System76 blog.

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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