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My Poop_OS! review
Oh whoah waowie, a heckin desktop review!
I get it. These reviews are sort of annoying to hear now. It's always the same dumb shit, no matter where you go, so I don't intend to make a habbit of it. If you don’t want to read it, then I understand. You can just skip past this one bros.
Anyhow, I wanted to get a review out there for Pop_OS because I've found it to be genuinely useful. POS is like the more functional version of default Ubuntu without snapd and a better GNOME desktop. Yeah yeah yeah, I can hear you now stroking that epeen, “GUI desktops are bloat! Use a huwindow manager you casual!” And I've used WM's before too, but damn it I like my floating windows. Bite me!
Now, Pop_OS is pretty much exactly how I would setup the GNOME desktop without having to go thru all the trouble of enabling and installing extensions, just for GNOME to wreck it a few months later in an update.
Look at that, it has app indicators, which are still a required thing no matter how much footfreaks want to bitch and moan about them. We still got to have em!
It has a dock bar that STAYS visible, and it’s re-sizable! No more clicking that bullshit “Activities” button, just to launch or flip around between applications. And, since it’s re-sizable, you can save on workspace realestate by reducing that awful fat finger tablet dock to a more manageable size too.
I guess the light theme and dark theme options are alright. I didn’t mind the dark theme much, but I think I prefer my Dracula setup more. Anyhow, everything blends together pretty well here from either theme, so good job System76.
There’s also an included recovery partition, which is nice for recovering your system after tamping with a config file that bricks the install. It's a little more friendly than a busy-box or the standard terminal heavy rescue or emergency modes.
Of course you have all the botnet sign in features too, for those of you that just need to have a Microsoft account tied in here. I’m actually not so sure what it does. I see that it says stuff about calendar and email, but does this actually work? Wouldn't know, I don't have any accounts with them!
The Pop Shop application center is pretty good. It supports flatpaks, which I prefer to snaps, it includes flathub which is fantastic, and provides the option to install from the local package manager if the package is available (it isn't always accurate though.)
It even includes firmware updates for supported devices. My Dell laptop is considered a supported device under the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS), so will occasionally receive NSA BIOS backdoor upgrades this way. If you have a supported device, it really is a first class experience.
The default applications with POS are alright I suppose. I’m too use to my XUbuntu defaults, so usually just replace them with those. Thunar for file explorer, Mousepad for basic text, and the old Galculator (not sure if that was ever a default.) I'm not a big fan of Nautilus.
Also on the note of file managers, POS comes with the CIFS utils which is the first time I've seen that work right out of the box from a Linux desktop. I was able to connect to my NAS server no problem! However, Nautilus is a little flakey here; you have to prefix "smb://" to specify the protocol, and that "connect" button to the side doesn't work either. Have to press the enter key. Thunar works better.
Who doesn’t like a little gaming? Given the semi-rolling release nature of POS, it’s not a bad choice for gaming. I know a lot of Linux gaymers prefer Arch for this sort of thing, but for those of us with a life /s, POS is a little more stable in this regard and will release OS version upgrades as they see fit.
Gaming on POS has been a breeze for me, but I’ve always made sure that my hardware is well supported by Linux. I use an AMD GPU in my gaming rig, and it’s all worked out great with Lutris + WINE DXVK and Steam + Proton. One problem I did encounter after upgrading the OS version, Lutris defaulted itself to the CPU onboard graphics for rendering games, which took me awhile to figure out why performance had suddenly tanked. Fortunately I found a toggle in the settings and was able to fix it.
The bluetooth dongle that I use also works well with my speakers, but it’s still a bitch to get the damn Wii-motes to pair up properly with Dolphin emulator. They do work, it just takes some finagling.
The PS2 emulator still runs like trash; but it always has (both native and thru WINE.) I don’t know how the hell people get this piece of shit to run games at 4K without performance issues. Wish I could play my Jak games and arcade racers again without breaking out the old PS2.
- Battery life on POS has been just fine for my Dell laptop. It’s not as good as what you would see with Windows, but it’s not bad either. I have a 12 hour battery, but it will last around 7 – 8 hours on POS, so long I’m not doing anything too extensive.
- There are some additional features of POS, such as a window tiling function and I think some sort of a keyboard layout selection function. I don’t have a need for any of these features though, so I never used them. Not sure if they’re any good or not, but maybe other people would be interested to know.
- POS picks up the house printer no problem, and it also picks up some of the printers at work too. I can’t say if it’s very functional with Xerox MFP type printers since those are only accessible from the corporate network, but it would be interesting to know.
- The application finder “Show Applications” is alright, I suppose. It would be great if I could pin applications on here instead of being presented with a list of frequently used.
- I have noticed that when I suspend my laptop and pack it away in my bag, it will sometimes build up in heat. I don’t know why that is, because it doesn’t happen with XUbuntu. Maybe it's those backdoor BIOS firmware upgrades. It’s a mystery to me.
- The qt5-settings and styles package should be included by default so that the system GTK theme is also applied to QT applications, such as KeePassXC. It’s nice to see that System76 thought to include a flatpak package to theme flatpak installed applications! (Just don't forget to install it.)
- Last nitpick. The default Cosmic desktop layout is just clunky! That dockbar is WAY too fat and in the wrong layout and just gets in my way. Move it to the left side as a vertical dock and reduce it down in size by as much as 4-times. Floating dock bars along the bottom just waste vertical space.
So that’s my review of POS. I like it and recommend it for anyone that needs an OS that just werks. It's become the new Ubuntu of Linux distributions in my eyes being easy to use, looks good, and works well.
I don’t want to shill their store here, but System76 do sell computers too. I much prefer building my own though and re-using old parts and old PC’s. It isn’t always necessary to throw old hardware away, unless it’s absolutely toasted junk.
Thanks for reading my blog!
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