Pop!_OS 21.04 | The Best Ubuntu Based Distro

Pop!_OS is a popular Ubuntu based distribution by System76. They have just released their latest version, 21.04. There are a number of new features in this release with the most notable being the new Cosmic workflow. Cosmic on Pop!_OS aims to give the user the freedom to work with their desktop in multiple ways. Whether you’re a keyboard, mouse or trackpad driven user Cosmic has you covered.

After installation which took just a few minutes on my machine from start to finish you’re greeted with the welcome screen. In the welcome screen you will be able to configure your desktop. If you want your dock to expand to each edge of the screen or just want it shrunken down to a traditional dock you have that option. Or if you prefer to do away with the dock entirely you can go dockless.

There has also been some changes made to the top bar. The main difference here is that the Activities Overview for GNOME has been split into two views for Workspaces and Applications. They hope this will help users stay focused and lead to less confusion. If you want to clear the top bar up a bit you can choose to remove both of these buttons as well as choose the position of your clock.

The application launcher which is bound to the Super key as opposed to the Overview has seen many improvements in this release. Some of the new features of the application launcher include ;

  • Perform web searches
  • Perform Calculations
  • Run a command
  • Open files and folders

These aren’t all the features of the application launcher so you can type a “?” in the launcher itself to see what else you can do.

My favourite new feature of all of this release is the new trackpad gestures. You can use different swiping motions to navigate around Pop!_OS.

  • Swipe right with four fingers to open Applications view
  • Swipe left with four fingers for the Workspace view
  • Swipe four fingers in either up or down directions to move to another workspace
  • Swipe with three things to switch between windows

During my time with Pop!_OS using these gestures made using the desktop a lot more enjoyable. Every time I used the gestures they were smooth and fluid and never missed a beat. 

To read more about the new features in this release click here to see the release announcement for Pop!_OS 21.04

Overall I think this is a brilliant release of Pop!_OS that caters to many users all at once. Being able to adapt the workflow with included options out of the box is something other distributions can learn from. What do you think of Pop!_OS 21.04? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Pop!_OS 21.04 | The Best Ubuntu Based Distro

  • 4 July 2021 at 7:26 am

    Great review, almost good enough to entice me back to a ubuntu based distribution. But I will first try pop!_OS 21.04 on a vitual machine. Cheers

  • 17 September 2021 at 10:22 am

    Really nice distro, I like it a lot and it performs very well even on a 9 year old Core i5 Ivy Bridge Folio notebook. System 76 has done some serious work on this release and it shows. My only tweaks were switching to lighter theme than dark and reducing dock size to better with with my 14″ 1366×768 screen.
    Can’t say enough positives about how well put together Pop OS is and honestly I think it rivals Ubuntu for polished feel.


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