The System76 COSMIC Desktop Environment is Promising

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

I tested out the current pre-alpha version of the System76 COSMIC desktop environment today. So far I like what I see though there’s clearly work to be done, which isn’t surprising in a pre-alpha. The biggest change that matters to me is that it’s on Wayland instead of X11. This means VSync will work right now. I love the progress they have so far. It’s looking really nice and polished compared to the current Gnome-Cosmic hybrid they’re shipping in the current version of Pop. The COSMIC desktop is relatively similar to the current Pop desktop so there’s not much of a learning curve. However, I’m switching back to the current Pop! desktop for now, as COSMIC is not quite far along enough for prime time and I’m going to wait until they officially release COSMIC in an OS update before trying to use it seriously, but I’m excited for when they do.

My two biggest concerns going in with Wayland were the Nvidia drivers issue and concerns that XConfig wouldn’t work. There are issues with the Nvidia drivers under Wayland which only manifest when you try to play a game. It became immediately apparent when trying to play GZDoom. For the moment I’ve found a solution which is to run the game in Vulcan mode rather than OpenGL but that isn’t going to work on the vast majority of games. As for the XConfig issue, I’m typing this on Wayland right now and I can still use the compose key and it even includes my custom configuration I created to add more compositions such as the therefore sign ∴. It is worth noting that I tried it out in the COSMIC Text Editor first and thought the compose key wasn’t working on Wayland. However, Gedit still works fine with the compose key on Wayland so it seems the COSMIC Text Editor just hasn’t been coded to support it yet. Knowing this, I’m happy with how things are going and do not have any apprehension.

Love is the law, love under will.