Pop!_OS 20.04 Review: Best Ubuntu based Linux Distribution

4 min

We review the latest Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS – arguably the best Ubuntu-based distribution today.

Pop OS 20.04 LTS - Desktop
Pop OS 20.04 LTS – Desktop

Pop! OS is a fairly new Ubuntu-based Linux desktop distribution, developed by American computer manufacturer System76. System76 created Pop! OS to use on its hardware lineup as a pre-loaded OS. However, due to its customizations, the built-in driver support – it gained popularity and it is arguably the best Ubuntu-based distribution today.

Based upon custom GNOME desktop environment, Pop! OS is free software with part of the components are proprietary like drivers, Wifi, media codecs, etc. It comes with pre-loaded software such as LibreOffice, Firefox, Geary, etc and it has its own “Pop Shop” from where you can download curated applications specifically ready for Pop! OS. 

POP OS Workspace
POP OS Workspace

Apt is the default package manager for Pop! OS with Snap and Flatpak support. When you try to download Pop! OS you would see two options – an Intel/AMD graphics ISO download and an ISO with NVIDIA option. So, if you are using an NVIDIA graphics card, you do not need to worry about the driver and whatnot.

The latest Pop! OS 20.04 is a game-changer in the Linux distribution space which is already crowded with too many variants of Ubuntu flavor. With the stability and performance boost in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Pop! OS becomes an ultimate Ubuntu spin where you can safely migrate.

If you are running earlier Pop! OS 18.04, then you would experience a lot of changes in this release, a lot. 

Before you jump into the feature of Pop! OS 20.04 LTS, here’s a quick glimpse on the system requirements for this OS:

Pop! OS Minimum System Requirements

  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16GB storage space
  • 64-bit processor

Pop OS 20.04 – Features

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Auto Window Tiling

For those who are not aware, Tiling is a way your application window dialogs occupy space on your desktop. So if you open two applications, both of them would take half of the screen. If you open another two, each of them would take 1/4th of the screen space.

Window Tiling
Window Tiling

This is very productive and useful if you use a large screen monitor, or, even a laptop as well. 

Pop! OS 20.04 brings Window Tiling by default with easy navigation and configuration. You can easily turn it on and off from the top bar.

Window Tiling Option
Window Tiling Option

The top bar aka system tray now shows applet icons in Pop! OS 20.04 by default without any GNOME Extensions. If you are familiar with other minimalistic Ubuntu derivatives such as Xubuntu or Lubuntu, you should know that already how useful the system tray icons are.

A new extension app which is part of GNOME 3.36 release also there to manage all of your extensions.

Light and Dark theme available support in GNOME.

The new Application launcher is introduced which you can activate on the fly – no matter what you are doing or where you are in the desktop – by pressing super + /. This opens up a search box where you can type any application name and select to open. This is very productive and handy if you are a heavy user. See this in action below.

App Launcher
App Launcher

GNOME 3.36 also introduced a new login screen and improved notification box with do not disturb icon.  

Pop! OS software app – Pop Shop added support for Flatpak apps installation directly from Flathub. You can now directly install Flatpak apps with a click of a button if it is available for the applications.

Pop Shop
Pop Shop

Applications and updates

Pop! OS default and pre-loaded applications are already with the latest versions. Along with GNOME 3.36 below applications are pre-loaded and their versions.

  • Linux Kernel 5.4
  • GNOME 3.36
  • Hybrid graphics support
  • Auto Window Tiling
  • Added Flatpack support
  • Firefox 75 web browser
  • Files – file manager
  • Geary – email client
  • Popsicle – USB Flasher
  • Eddy – GUI based deb file installer
  • Image viewer
  • Scanner App
  • Weather App
  • Calendar and Contact app
  • LibreOffice 6.4 office suite


If you are interested, download the Pop! OS from the below link and give it a try. Again, there are two options – AMD and NVIDIA ISO for download. Choose carefully. 

In summary, Pop! OS is the best Ubunutu based derivatives today with all of its features targetting to all types of users – beginners to advanced, students to professionals.

On a serious comparison, this distribution can be an alternative to Windows and migrated Windows users as well. The learning curve is not that steep, has plenty of options with GNOME, and of course its focus on STEM with support for a development environment for deep learning, bioinformatics, media production, and engineering. You get everything at one place – stability of Ubuntu, hardware drivers built-in, GNOME, additional features for productivity, curated applications for developments in Pop! Shop.

So, what do you think about Pop! OS? Let me know in the comment section below. 


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