System76, the company behind the Linux distribution Pop_OS, is working on a completely custom desktop environment written with Rust. The company previously introduced its own Cosmic desktop environment, but it is still based on Gnome.
A System76 employee and Pop_OS developer confirms this development in a Reddit thread, in which a user asks if there will ever be a KDE Plasma variant of Pop_OS. System76’s Michael Murphy replies that the company is currently working on its own desktop environment, Phoronix first noted. The developer specifically states that it is not a fork of the Gnome desktop, on which Pop_OS is currently based. “It’s its own thing, which is written in Rust.”
System76’s move isn’t entirely surprising, since the company already has its own desktop, called Cosmic, since Pop_OS 21.04. Cosmic is largely based on the popular Gnome environment, but makes several changes to it. Cosmic, for example, comes standard with a dock. System76 has also integrated a tiling window manager, made minor changes to the top bar and added a launcher, which can be accessed via the super button. This allows users, for example, to open applications, search for specific settings or perform simple calculations.
According to Michael Murphy, the upcoming Pop_OS desktop environment will no longer be based on Gnome, but will resemble the current Cosmic environment in design. The new desktop will also bear the same name and is expected to receive support for both X11 and Wayland, as X11 is a requirement for Nvidia drivers. It is not known when the new desktop environment should appear. PopOS itself, as far as we know, will still be based on Ubuntu.
The current Cosmic desktop environment. Source: System76