There are a few Linux distributions that have always caught praise from certain circles in the community but have never really made much of an impact on me for whatever reason. Pop!_OS was one of them. The key word there is was. I gave it another chance purely based on the fact that the upcoming 20.04 release ships with it an extension that has been dubbed the “Pop shell”. What the “Pop Shell” brings with it is a rather well polished tiling dynamic to the GNOME desktop environment. Think i3 the tiling window manager but with all of the additional benefits that GNOME has to offer. That in essence is what you are getting. You also don’t have to wait until final release as it’s been included in the beta version which you can get here. They have beta images for Intel/AMD and Nvidia.
So along with the “Pop Shell” and all of the usual polish you get from Pop!_OS you also benefit from the latest version of the GNOME desktop, 3.36.1. You might also be pleased to hear that as it’s name suggests it’s also built on top of the latest LTS version of Ubuntu, 20.04. One of the other new features that has made it’s way into this release is out of the box support for flatpak packages with the flathub repository. It also brings with it a new application launcher and switcher which can be triggered with the keyboard shortcut ‘Super + /’.
All of this has got me very excited for the final release when it comes round and I’ll certainly be spending a lot of time with the beta release until it gets here. Let me know in the comments below what you think of this release and whether the “Pop Shell” is something that interests you!