System76 Shares More Details on Its Rust-Based COSMIC Desktop

The upcoming desktop environment will use XWayland for app compatibility and offer features like dynamic rendering.
System76 COSMIC Desktop

Linux hardware vendor System76 shared today more details on the work they are doing for the upcoming Rust-based COSMIC desktop environment for their Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distribution.

In early December 2022, System76 teased us with some of the great new features like HDR support or a smoother NVIDIA experience that will probably be implemented in the next major release of their COSMIC desktop environment, which is being written from scratch in Rust by a team of System76 engineers.

One of the promised features was Wayland support, and today System76 confirms that they are testing an XWayland implementation for the COSMIC desktop, which provides a compatibility layer for applications using X11 to run on Wayland.

XWayland is used instead of the native Wayland implementation to provide out-of-the-box support for all apps until they fully support the Wayland display server. The Rust-based COSMIC desktop also received software rendering improvements, support for animations, and dynamic rendering for multi-GPU systems.

“Your computer has different ways of rendering visuals, depending on what software you’re running and whether or not your system has a dedicated GPU. Dynamic rendering solves for this by determining what rendering program your system should use: OpenGL or Vulkan if you have a GPU, or Softbuffer if you don’t,” said System76 engineers Alex in a blog post.

Some new UI features have been implemented as well into the Rust-based COSMIC desktop like tabs and segmented buttons, which promise to keep COSMIC clean and organized. Moreover, the Settings app received a continuous scrollable list of search results, as well as various improvements to the Power & Battery, Displays, Sound, Region & Language, Wallpapers, and About sections.

For more details and mockups of the new settings, check out the blog post linked above. Meanwhile, System76 is teasing us with an upcoming alpha version of their Rust-based COSMIC desktop environment to test on Pop!_OS Linux, but a release date is yet to be established at the moment of writing.

Also, while System76 is developing the Rust-based COSMIC desktop for Pop!_OS Linux, they said that you will most likely be able to install and use it on other GNU/Linux distributions, so that’s some excellent news right there!

Image credits: System76

Last updated 1 year ago

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