Pop!_OS is a free and open-source Linux distribution, based upon Ubuntu, featuring a custom GNOME desktop. The distribution is developed by American Linux computer manufacturer System76. Pop!_OS is primarily built to be bundled with the computers built by System76, but can also be downloaded and installed on most computers.
Pop!_OS provides full out-of-the-box support for both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. It is regarded as an easy distribution to set-up for gaming, mainly due to its built-in GPU support. Pop!_OS provides default disk encryption, streamlined window and workspace management, keyboard shortcuts for navigation as well as built in power management profiles. The latest releases also have packages that allow for easy setup for TensorFlow and CUDA.
Pop!_OS is maintained primarily by System76, with the release version source code hosted in a GitHub repository. Unlike many other Linux distributions it is not community-driven, although outside programmers can contribute, view and modify the source code. They can also build custom ISO images and redistribute them under another name.
Pop!_OS primarily uses free software, with some proprietary software used for hardware drivers for Wi-Fi, discrete GPU and media codecs. It comes with a wide range of default software, including LibreOffice, Firefox and Geary. Additional software can be downloaded using the package manager.
Pop!_OS uses APT as its package manager and initially did not not use Snaps or Flatpak, but Flatpak support was added in version 20.04 LTS. Software packages are available from the Ubuntu repositories, as well as Pop!_OS’s own repositories. Pop!_OS features a customized GNOME Shell interface, with a Pop!_OS theme.
There is a GUI toggle in the GNOME system menu for switching between different video modes on dual GPU laptops. The are three display modes: hybrid, discrete and iGPU only. There is a power management package developed from the Intel Clear Linux distribution. Pop!_OS uses Xorg as its display manager, with Wayland available optionally, as Ubuntu has done. Wayland lacks support for proprietary device drivers, in particular Nvidia, while Xorg is supported. To enable use of Nvidia proprietary drivers for most performance and GPU switching, Pop!_OS uses only Xorg to date.
TensorFlow and CUDA enabled programs can be added by installing packages from the Pop!_OS repositories without additional configuration required.
It provides a Recovery Partition that can be used to ‘refresh’ the system while preserving user files. It can be used only if it is set up during initial installation.