COSMIC DE, A New Linux Desktop Environment

Submitted by putz3000 on Sun, 05/19/2024 - 21:30

I’m pretty sure I am not your typical computer user or Linux enthusiast. At work, I primarily use Windows (about 98% of the time) with a touch of Mac (2% of the time). However, at home, I lean more toward Mac, although I occasionally dabble in both Windows and Linux based on my preferences or needs. Lately, when I explore Linux, I tend to boot up Ubuntu Budgie. It strikes me as one of the more polished-looking desktop environments.

Now, here’s the interesting part: I recently watched the “LinuxFest Northwest 2024: Meet COSMIC DE” presentation on YouTube, and I have to admit, I’m intrigued. COSMIC DE is a new Rust-based desktop environment being developed by System76—a company known for creating Linux-compatible hardware. They’ve also crafted their own flavor of Ubuntu Linux called Pop!_OS which currently uses the Gnome Desktop environment.

A few years back, I briefly experimented with Pop!_OS, but it didn’t quite capture my interest. Visually, it didn’t resonate with me, and—though it sounds silly—the name bothered me a bit. However, COSMIC DE has piqued my curiosity. I’m drawn to its aesthetics and the functionality they’re aiming to develop. System76 is planning to release Pop!_OS with the new Cosmic Desktop Environment sometime this year (2024). Once it’s officially released, I plan to give it a closer look.

Feel free to check out the video and share your thoughts!

LinuxFest Northwest 2024 Report

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Mon, 05/06/2024 - 14:40

Gary Bummer and I made the trek to Bellingham, Washington this year for LinuxFest Northwest 2024.  Per usual, it was held at Bellingham Technical College from April 26-28.  This is the first time they've held the conference in person since 2019 so Gary and I were stoked.

I even submitted a talk proposal that got approved which was entitled, "Retro hardware preservation with the MiSTer FPGA Project".  It was basically a refresh of my MiSTer FPGA Introduction from Nov 2022.  I took three complete MiSTer FPGA setups so folks could get in some play time with the MiSTer FPGA to see the user interface, what cores were available and how well the games worked.  My presentation was one of three "lab" presentations... that were 90 minute sessions rather than the more traditional 30 minutes + questions type.  Turns out that all of the non-lab presentations got recorded but none of the lab ones did... so my presentation didn't get recorded... which is a bit of a downer for me.  I need to refresh my MiSTer FPGA Introduction video anyway as a lot has happened since Nov. of 2022.  It just so happens that right after the conference ended, I learned of a DE10-Nano clone board that will be half the price of the DE10-Nano from Terrasic... as well as an SDRAM card that will be 25% the cost compared to most other suppliers.  More on that in a later post as I plan on buying one of those setups once they become available so I can report on how well it actually compares.

So, all of the non-lab talks got recorded, eh?  Yes, they did.  Here's a playlist of them.

What talks did I attend?  Thanks for asking.
       Meet COSMIC DE
       The Cathedral and the Bizarre, or Dual-Booting for Fun and Prophet: Using Linux to Enhance TempleOS
       Amateur Radio and Linux
       Learnings from releasing a Linux distro at Microsoft
       Retro hardware preservation with the MiSTer FPGA Project (my presentation/lab)
       Building the Community Enterprise Operating System through CentOS Stream
       Popping kernels for Linux distributions

Gary and I were a bit worn out from the long drive and did not attend any of the Friday evening nor Saturday evening social events.  We did end up buying lunch both Saturday and Sunday from one of 2-3 food trucks they had in one of the parking lots.  It was fairly quick / easy, affordable, and quite tasty.  Saturday it was pizza, and Sunday we got these things that looked like fried egg rolls but you could get anything inside of them and I went with pepperoni pizza filling.

There was a booth area but it appeared to only have booths from companies / organizations that sponsored the conference.  There also was not an end-of-conference raffle.  Also there weren't any tee-shirts for sale which was a bit of a let-down as I always like to pick up as many tee-shirts as possible.  Luckily I ordered myself a tee-shirt before the conference and then forgot to take it with me to the conference.

While I greatly enjoyed the conference, I don't think it was as well attended as previous iterations.  I did fill out the online survey for presenters... and in the email they sent out announcing that, they did mention that they didn't have as much planning time for LFNW 2024 and that planning for LFNW 2025 was going to be much better as they will have a whole year.  LFNW 2024 was kinda thrown together in just a couple of months as they had tried to have a LFNW 2023 in Oct. of 2023 but had to cancel it a few weeks before it was to happen after Bellingham Technical College learned of a significant structural issue with one of their primary buildings... and ended up closing it down for repairs for quite a while.  That explains why 2024 wasn't quite the triumphant return most of were probably hoping for.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot... but I'm really looking forward to next year.