When Canonical announced the death of the Unity desktop environment, it sent shock waves through the Linux community. After all, Ubuntu is probably the most popular Linux-based desktop operating system and switching to GNOME was changing its trajectory. With Unity, Canonical was promising Ubuntu would be an OS that could scale from smartphone to desktop with a focus on convergence, and then suddenly, it wasn't. Overnight, Ubuntu became just another desktop distro — not necessarily a bad thing.
While this hit many people hard, computer-seller System76 was probably impacted the most. The company only sells machines running Ubuntu, meaning its entire customer base would be impacted by Canonical's decision. Not content with simply following Canonical and embracing vanilla GNOME, System76 has decided to take its future into its own hands. Today, the company releases the first alpha of an all-new Linux-based operating system called "Pop!_OS," which will eventually be the only OS pre-loaded on its computers. While it will still be based on Ubuntu and GNOME, System76 is tweaking it with its own style and included drivers. In other words, the company is better controlling the user experience, and that is smart.