Pop!_OS is a popular recommendation for Linux beginners and gamers alike. But, what are some of the reasons that Pop!_OS stands out from other Ubuntu-based distros available? Why should you consider it as a daily driver for your computer?
I switched to Pop OS from Ubuntu three years ago and it has been my daily driver since then.
Let me point out the benefits of choosing it as the operating system of your choice.
Reasons to Pick Pop!_OS Over Other Linux Distributions
Note that some of the reasons listed could be entirely subjective to what you want, and how you expect your desktop experience to be.
With that in mind, let me highlight why I chose Pop!_OS as my main OS over other Linux distributions:
1. Separate NVIDIA/AMD ISO
In case you have a system with Nvidia GPU, it is not feasible to make it work using Nouveau (an open-source driver for Nvidia cards).
Well, you get a working display, but you cannot utilize the benefits of your graphics card.
For instance, you will encounter stuttering and performance issues with almost every task that needs to utilize the GPU.
Hence, the proprietary Nvidia drivers are the only solution to make things right.
And, to conveniently add the proprietary driver out of the box, the distro needs to include it in the ISO itself or offer a separate ISO with Nvidia’s latest available proprietary driver.
While you can always manually install the proprietary drivers, it is not always a flawless experience.
The procedure should be similar to that of installing Nvidia drivers in Linux Mint for most of the popular Linux distros if you are curious.
Note that, at times, you will need to troubleshoot or re-install the correct (or an older driver version of the driver) to use Nvidia graphics properly.
But, if you get a separate ISO for Nvidia-powered systems, or an Nvidia graphics installation mode (like Zorin OS), it eliminates the hassle of installing Nvidia drivers manually.
This is not just about the ease of use, but Pop!_OS always works out of the box with the help Nvidia ISOs offered.
I have had issues with Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and a few other distributions when I tried to manually install the proprietary drivers. So, Pop!_OS is a breeze to set up for my system with Nvidia graphics.
2. Automatic Tiling Manager
Without a tiling manager, you need to constantly drag and drop (and move) your active windows to organize them for quick access.
So, a window tiling manager makes it convenient to automatically organize the active windows of any application that you launch.
Of course, the experience with a tiling manager will differ as per your screen size, but even if you have a modest 27-inch size display, it should be a noticeable experience.
I find myself using it all the time, even without a big monitor (or a dual-monitor setup).
I have never used it on a laptop, but at the end of the day, having an automatic window tiling manager (that you can enable/disable) sounds like a useful feature.
It helps with enhancing your multi-tasking capabilities without necessarily moving to different workspaces.
3. Ease of Use
Why do you think Ubuntu is one of the best Linux distributions?
It manages to offer an easy-to-use modern desktop experience for years now.
Impressively, System76 has managed to polish the user experience in Pop!_OS up a notch on top of Ubuntu.
Hence, Pop!_OS is not just another Ubuntu distro, but the presence of an application launcher, application library, dock, workspace customizations, and various other optimizations lead to a unique desktop experience.
For my use-case, it feels better than Ubuntu. Not to forget, it also includes some of its tools like Popsicle that comes in handy later down the road.
4. Newer Linux Kernel
Ubuntu may not feature the latest and greatest Linux Kernel, especially when it comes to LTS releases.
However, Pop!_OS tries its best to offer the latest Linux Kernel releases even for the LTS releases. For instance, Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS packs in Linux Kernel 5.11, but Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS features Linux Kernel 5.13.
For most users, this may not be a big deal, but Pop!_OS pushes newer Linux Kernel faster than most other Linux distributions.
If you want your latest and greatest hardware to work well with Linux distros, Pop!_OS is a fantastic bet.
5. Application Launcher
Application launcher comes in incredibly handy to quickly launch an app or navigate between active windows.
The ability to invoke the launcher using a shortcut (or maybe a macro linked to it, as I use it) makes it one of the quickest ways to launch applications and navigate between them.
Of course, you can install tools like Ulauncher to achieve the same. However, having it pre-configured and working out of the box without any troubleshooting is convenient.
6. Fast Upgrade Process
Even though upgrading Linux distributions is usually hassle-free, Pop!_OS tries its best to refine and improve the upgrade process with every update.
For instance, with Pop!_OS 21.10, they introduced improvements that would prevent conflicts in the upgrade process and make it a seamless process.
In fact, I upgraded from Pop!_OS 21.04 to 21.10 in a few clicks without any issues.
7. Thrives to Improve the Modern Desktop Experience
Pop!_OS may not be a lightweight Linux distro, but it focuses on providing a top-notch experience for modern desktop users.
While there are plenty of good Linux distributions for older computers, it is equally important to aim for newer-gen hardware.
Pop!_OS does that incredibly well considering System76 also tests the distribution on latest hardware configurations with their laptops.
In addition, Pop!_OS also offers out-of-the-box tweaks that makes things easy for a user in terms of OS experience. While Linux is all about tweaking and taking control of your system, Pop!_OS seems to be succeeding in making it a mainstream option and a viable alternative to Ubuntu that could prove to be better for some.
Bonus: Package Updates
System76 has recently switched away from Launchpad to its own repositories with the Pop!_OS 21.10 release.
It should let them push updates faster, and take control of packages to ensure the best experience for users.
This should also make the Pop!_Shop more useful. So, yet another reason to keep using Pop!_OS on my machine.
Pop!_OS does a lot of good things.
And, if you are confused with choosing a Linux distro that is easy to use, compatible with latest hardware, and fits various use-cases, I would recommend Pop!_OS.
The above-mentioned reasons are why I stick to it even after I tried switching away to Zorin OS and Linux Mint for a few months.