System76’s COSMIC Desktop Environment Makes Progress

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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  1. Another waste of time and money. Instead to agree on several distributions and desktop environments 100s of them is not enough so make few more.
    Why those developers just do not support more work for Debian/Ubuntu and Red Hat or work on some Linux applications ?
    Flathub is huge positive news for Linux community so why not go that road instead of building countless new roads ?

    • Man, that is slightly limited as a perspective on things.
      Why should we invent cars when we have horse-drawn wagon? Better to help improve the wagon…
      It’s very easy why… Sometimes you are bounded by a vision you don’t believe in or you see limits to. And every suggestion you make ends up being ditched without much logic or so much as an explanation. Sometimes, you just want to give direction yourself.
      Red Hat projects like Gnome or wayland are not known for being open to contributions other than just plain code (I’m talking design, UI, features, etc…). They want to control their products and it’s fine that way.
      But why would 3rd party developers contribute to something if they don’t like it and for which their suggestions are rejected? This makes no sense.
      There are many sensitivities, many workflows out there, it’s normal that people or organizations with the drive to follow their own vision end up doing so, and it generally offers a different perspective that will please to some and find its user base, big or small. I applaud System76 for having the courage to do it. I welcome it.

      At some point, the decision to pursue your own vision is the obvious one if you want to make your idea happen. Why do Red Hat fanboys always whine about people not wanting to slave contribute to something that doesn’t work for them and for which their ideas for improvement are dismissed?

      I don’t want anything to do with Flathub myself, as contrary to you I believe it’s bad news for the actual Linux community, so if we have other means to install apps that suits me better, there again, I welcome it. And we have.

      • You just do not understand how business works and what is good for business.
        Linux gives away for free OS and has only 3-4% market share. Why ? Mostly you do not want it to make business (exceptions are Red Hat and openSUSE).
        When water pipes started to become widespread in the beginning manufacturers started doing all kind of those but soon they discovered what businesses and people in general use and like and standardized on those sizes so you can go in Home Depot and buy 1/2″ 3/4″ 1″ 2″ pipes but not other sizes. Same was with everything else. With time you just have to move on to simplify things and listen to what consumers want.
        You Linux guys are just nuts.
        Most people like just to turn the key or start the button in the car and don’t want to know anything about the engine.
        You Linux guys want everything to do with engine and do not want to provide regular people with ignition key or start button.
        That is why you have 3-4% market share and you will be stuck there forever unless you change the way you are thinking about what regular people (consumer) want.

        • Regarding System76 and what they are doing I personally think they are heading in the wrong direction. I like their computers but regarding Pop!OS and Cosmic they could do with Debian (they based their OS any way) everything they did with Pop!OS just add what they wanted and that Debian includes that in their version. It would be much more beneficial for Linux community and for them as business.
          Same with Gnome and Cosmic.
          They will loose at least some customers with the way they are heading now. I have been with Debian for so long that I do not want to change to any other version.

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