This Week in Pop! – April 22nd

Pop!_OS is a Linux distribution by System76, a Linux-based desktop hardware OEM. It is based on Ubuntu, with many enhancements specific to our vision of the desktop, and provides an optimal platform for our hardware, which is thoroughly tested throughout each release. These weekly posts highlight the developments that have been made each week in Pop!_OS.

Weeks of April 08-19, 2018

As we missed last week’s post, this week will contain the progress made in both weeks. The Pop!_OS 19.04 release on the 18th was the main focus for the last two weeks. Although we tried to get `pop-upgrade` ready in time for the release, the feature is being pushed back to the end of the month. Those wanting to upgrade now can continue to use the existing tools for upgrading, mentioned in the System76 support docs.

Desktop Icons Extension (19.04)

With the 19.04 release, Nautilus is no longer handling icons on the desktop. To continue providing desktop icon support in Pop!_OS, we hve added the desktop icons extension to the release. It has some rough edges, though hopefully these will be fixed now that the extension is going to be used by a lot of people in 3.32 and beyond.

Icon Theme

There was a lot of activity in the last two weeks to prepare the new version of the icon theme for 19.04. Third party application icons have been removed from our icon theme due to potential issues with violating the application branding against the wishes of application authors. The icons that remain are being redesigned to adhere to GNOME’s new icon design guidelines. A new ‘bug’ symbolic icon was also added to accompany bug-reporting URLs.

Pop!_Planet offers the older icon theme as an option.

Toggling Dark & Slim Themes in GNOME Settings

On the day of the 19.04 release, Jeremy wrote a patch for GNOME Control Center to add toggles to the Appearances view for toggling between the dark and light, as well as slim and non-slim, variants of the Pop theme. In addition to alternating between the GTK theme variants, it also changes the Gedit theme as well. There are some limitations, though, in that it does not change the shell theme without the user theme extension installed.

It is likely that we will see more features added to Settings over time, to help improve the desktop experience in Pop and further differentiate ourselves from the pack. Would anyone like to see the option to disable mouse acceleration as well?

View attachment 210

Pop Upgrade

Over the last two weeks, the following tasks were completed:

  • Added a `RefreshOS` method to the daemon for GCC to interact with
  • Handle the scenario where a recovery upgrade is canceled (booting back into system partition)
  • `apt-mark hold` the `pop-upgrade` package when performing an upgrade with it, so its not restarted.
  • Added colors to the output of the upgrade CLI, using the yansi crate.
  • Now displaying the cause of an error in the CLI
  • When the daemon status changes before the CLI gets a response, the last known status of that operation is returned.
  • The systemd upgrade had a few issues which were fixed
  • Changes to the Plymouth theme have been proposed to improve the visual experience for an upgrade in progress
  • Fixes were applied to distinst so that installs from the recovery upgrade now work

The good news is that I’ve tested upgrades from 18.04 to 19.04 using both systemd and recovery partition upgrades. Most of the work that remains is completing the integration with GNOME Control Center, and improving the aesthetics of the recovery and systemd upgrades. We may have this ready for use by the end of the month.

New Software Releases

  • Alacritty `0.3.0` (`0d060`) was packaged for inclusion into our repos.
  • Discord `0.0.9` was added into our repos
  • VS Code was updated to `1.33.1`
  • Lutris was updated to `0.5.2`
  • GameHub was updated to `0.13.1-57`

Since the LTT video on YouTube, we’ve had a lot of requests for Discord. As a result, it has been added to our repositories. It will not yet appear in the shop though, as we have yet to add the appstream metadata to our repositories.

We also like to follow the progress of new applications written in Rust, and Alacritty is a particularly interesting terminal emulator that uses the GPU to render the terminal and its contents. Recent changes have made it possible for us to package it on Pop!_OS. Anyone who would like to set it as their default terminal application can do so by running the following command to change it:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

Pop!_Volunteers This Week

  • @stratact wrote a library and tool to aid with creating DEP11 appstream metadata, which is now a Pop! project.
  • @kylecorry31 has migrated development of the Do Not Disturb extension to our repos, which have also been updated. Repo
I am a System76 software engineer, maintainer of Pop!_OS, and contributor to Redox OS. My preferred programming language is Rust, with four years of e...