Richard Bucker

Pop!-OS Desktop

Posted at — May 10, 2020

I’ve been a dedicated ChromeOS user for a long while. I like the idea of shielding the user from the OS. Where the interface is opinionated and disaster resistant. When my ChromeBox or Chromebook fails I can deploy a replacement in seconds. Updates and reboots take seconds and because it’s google the project is reliable and safe.

But there is something to be said for the complete desktop experience. A place where apps work… my kids are using Zoom for school and desparately want to be able to green screen the background. So real apps work for real.

The real problem with the real desktop is that the userspace is local and unless you put the home folder on a shared NAS, which creates other security and networking challenges, you end up with one and only one physical home drive.

[update] I like my pop!-os installation. It was as simple to use as I expeted but there are some quirks. First I was using my Brydge ChromeOS keyboard and it is just quirky. As was common a few years ago the spacebar is not as good as others. The sensor seems to be biased to the middle so pressing it on the edges is not useful.

The biggest challenge is it’s overall usability. With my ChromeBox I can switch between any of my other ChromeOS devices from laptops to tablets. I can connect back to my development servers and I can work equally well. The experience is 100% the same. This is similar to the reason that Steve jobs wore black sweaters and jeans and similarly Dean Kane. The context switch takes away from being able to work.

If Pop!-OS wants to succeed then a user needs to be able to own several machines with the same experience, data, and work product across each. Sure; some of this is “enterprise”. Other is networking. But the big difference is that if I get a call when I’m at grandma’s I can use her Chromebox and get work done. No linux experience is going to get me there.