System76 is primarily known for its Linux-based laptops and desktops, but it’s also the architect of the ambitious Pop!_OS project. This is System76’s attempt to create the perfect Linux-based developer operating system, and today the company is announcing some pretty major updates to it.
Pop!_OS 18:04LTS now comes with a markedly improved installer, heightened security, and new utilities designed to make the developer experience better.
On the security front, new installs of Pop!_OS come with full-disk encryption by default. So, should you lose your laptop in a bar, it’ll be extremely hard for an adversary to swipe your entire codebase. For System76 machines running Pop!_OS, there’ll also be the option to automatically install firmware updates.
Pop!_OS 18:04 LTS also comes with improved battery information, so you can see when you need to plug your laptop in. It also gives you an easy toggle to switch between CPU and GPU power profiles, allowing you to jump between high-performance and balanced profiles as circumstances demand. NVIDIA Optimus users can also choose to use Intel processing when they’re running on battery power, in order to improve device longevity.
System76 has also made great pains to simplify the installation experience, so it installs faster and without as much user input. It’s also decorated with some (rather lovely, if I may say so) bespoke artwork, which is designed to create a story narrative. You can see what this looks like below.
Other enhancements are welcome, but not as major. A new utility called Popsicle, for example, makes it easier to flash ISOs to an USB disk. A Do Not Disturb switch allows you to quash notifications with the press of a button. It’s easier to switch between HIDPI and standard DPI. GRUB has been finally ditched with the systemd bootloader.
The biggest thing worth mentioning is that Pop!_OS now has an LTS edition. That means that if a developer builds their working environment around it, they’ll have a consistent experience for the foreseeable future, and won’t be pushed onto the latest and greatest OS, while still having access to security updates. That’s important.
If you’re tempted, you can download Pop!_OS here.
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