Usually, news stories on this august website cover things that are happening or products that exist, so it’s an unusual feeling to bring you a report that something doesn’t exist and won’t be happening. That, alas, is the case for the 22.10 version of popular Linux distro Pop!_OS, which not only doesn’t exist, but isn’t even in development, according to a report on OMG!Ubuntu.
The latest Pop!_OS release (22.04) uses Gnome 42, with System 76’s own COSMIC desktop environment over the top, and it’s the development of this that has led to the skipping of an Ubuntu generation. The new COSMIC desktop environment is being built in Rust rather than relying on Gnome extensions, and in a Reddit post, developer Michael Murphy explained why: “There is little need to rebase Pop onto 22.10. 22.10 is not a LTS release, so if we were to release it, we would be forced to repatch and rebase Pop every six months after until the next LTS in 24.04. It takes a lot of effort to support multiple releases of Ubuntu, and the 6 month release cycle really eats into development time and stability of the product.”
Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, Canonical’s all-conquering Linux flavor that uses a year/month system for its version numbers. Releases come out every six months (April and October) and Long Term Support (LTS) releases every two years in April. Canonical's Ubuntu 22.10 release, therefore, would be October 2022 and brings a beta of the Gnome 43 desktop with it. The Ubuntu release is then used by developers such as System 76, creators of Pop!_OS, as a base to integrate its changes into their own releases.
Happily, the latest version of Pop_OS!, 22.04, is an LTS version, so will be supported until April 2027. Xorg is its main display manager, with Wayland available as an option. The OS has supported Raspberry Pi installation since version 21.10, and the 22.04 release included UI improvements such as window tiling and automatic updates and upgrades.
Pop!_OS has out of the box support for AMD and Nvidia GPUs, and uses its own repositories as well as Ubuntu’s, and integrates some non-free software such as Wi-Fi and GPU drivers.
So while a new Pop!_OS 22.10 featuring Gnome 43 would have been nice, a fully developed and stable COSMIC desktop environment in the near future sounds even better. If you fancy trying Pop!_OS, there are three download images, one for Nvidia users, one for Raspberry Pi owners (a tech preview), and one for everybody else.