It’s that time of year again…to end it! In preparation for the New Year, we’re taking a look back at the milestones we reached in 2022.
A YEAR OF NEXT STEPS
This year, we’ve moved into a new phase across a number of projects. It feels like we’re further honing our craft in these areas to the point where we’re reaching a next step as a company, and we’re excited for what’s to come!
The Launch Keyboard Line
Following the release of the Launch Configurable Keyboard in 2021, 2022 saw the addition of two more open source keyboards: The Launch Lite and the Launch Heavy. The 65% Launch Lite and full-sized Launch Heavy rounded out our keyboard line with both a smaller, portable option and a 105-key keyboard with a NumPad.
Next up, we’re looking into adding ISO and other layouts to these three keyboards; more on that in 2023!
Our flagship open hardware desktop got a sizable redesign this fall. We slimmed down the wood wrapping on Thelio desktops into a sleeker accent panel on the front of the system. In addition to enjoying a more modern design, Thelio users now have the option to swap accents whenever they please. You can match your mood, your environment, your workflow, even your holiday socks. Accents include Walnut or Birch wood, laser-etched PCB traces, and Neptune Blue, Martian Red, and Farout Pink powder-coated aluminum.
As a fun project, you can also opt to make your own DIY accent with the Maker Accent! Check out our guide on best practices for working with the raw aluminum panel…and show us your design when it’s done!
Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS
The latest long-term support release of Pop!_OS introduced Automatic Updates and the System76 Scheduler. With Automatic Updates, users can schedule a day and time to update their OS and applications. Meanwhile, the System76 Scheduler increases your system’s performance by having your computer prioritize the window in focus, aka directing more resources to the one you’re working in.
And on a proud note: Linux Unplugged announced Pop!_OS as Best Desktop Linux Distro of 2022!
COSMIC DE (Scroll down for the latest news!)
On the software side, we’re building our own desktop environment (user interface + the underlying software that makes it function) for Pop!_OS, with the help of open source projects such as iced-tk, Slint, Smithay, and many more. This venture will help us accomplish a few things all at once:
- Transitioning Pop!_OS to the Rust codebase, which is more secure and less resource-intensive
- Give our engineers and UX designers more flexibility in adding new features
- Further refining the UX of Pop!_OS to be more in line with our philosophy
- Contributing back to the open source community by sharing and collaborating with development projects used in COSMIC DE
Last month, we posted an update on where things stand with this project and what we hope to achieve. This month, we have a smaller update for you below!
Desktop Giveaway: NVIDIA RTX A4500-Powered Thelio Mira Workstation
PNY, NVIDIA, and System76 have teamed up to give away a System76 Thelio Mira Workstation! Check out the Watch2Win contest for details on entering. There are 16 ways to enter! Deadline for entry is January 31st.
NEW IN DECEMBER!
Launch Heavy has arrived!
As we said above, our fully configurable, fully open source full-sized keyboard is finally here!
Thelio Mega redesign
Now that Thelio Mega has been redesigned, swappable accents are now available with four out of our five desktop options! The new designs take some work to scale up to larger sizes, so last up is Thelio Massive.
New desktop processors
Thelio and Thelio Major join Thelio Mira in offering AMD Ryzen™ 7000-Series processor options alongside 13th Gen Intel. These AMD processors feature significantly higher clock speeds from the previous generation (~4.5GHz vs ~3.5GHz).
Thelio Major also has an Intel i9-13900KS option, a 24-core, 32-thread behemoth that’s 10% faster than the previous top i9-13900K model. For tasks like compiling code or rendering video, this saves users a lot of waiting.
COSMIC DE Updates
Hello, hello! Alex here again with the latest on the upcoming COSMIC DE. While festive December makes it one of the slower months for finishing such a massive engineering venture, our code savants have been maintaining steady forward progress to our destination.
Accessibility is always a factor to consider when talking about toolkits. Are the applications developed on and for Pop!_OS compatible with accessibility features like screen readers? We took a look at AccessKit, a project written in Rust which aims to combine accessibility code from various UI toolkits across the open source ecosystem into a cross-platform, multi-language accessibility infrastructure. Their AT-SPI (Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface) integration is coming along nicely, so it may be time to integrate AccessKit into COSMIC DE.
Top Bar Redesign & Applets
The right corner menu of the top bar is being reworked into several different menus, called applets. Each applet has its own focus and icon, so your computer settings can be viewed at a glance from the desktop. As of now, these are the applets used in COSMIC DE:
As of this month, these applets are now integrated in iced. New features are making their way into the applets as well, like with the Power & Battery applet. Here, we’ve added a toggle for battery-safe charging, which extends the lifespan of your battery by only charging your system up to 80%. The battery icons will change to reflect this mode.
Open source contributions
Open source is a give and take; with the help of existing projects, we can build COSMIC DE to provide the experience we envision. In turn, the pieces we add are contributed back to those projects and help them grow stronger.
In December, our engineer Michael added .svg styling support to COSMIC DE to support our icons. This support is now merged into Iced!
MouseListener is another feature awaiting approval to merge with Iced. This feature allows programmers to set application functionality to respond to mouse inputs — things like clicking-and-dragging a window, right-clicking to open a menu, or middle-click to open a file are made possible with MouseListener.
Jeremy, System76’s Principal Engineer, is now a member of the Rust-windowing group on GitHub. Using their Softbuffer tool, he’s created a software rendering (CPU rendering) backend for Iced, which will be submitted to the project in the near future.
That’s all for this month! Happy New Year to everyone who made this year possible. (And a special secret shoutout to the Illuminati, who may or may not have made everyone make this year possible.)