Ubuntu 20.04 proper or Pop! OS?

On March 1, 2020, Alan pope posted a youtube video where he nuked his laptop and put a clean install of Ubuntu 20.04 (daily build). I watched it and liked what I was seeing so I decided to do the same. I liked it so much that my obsessive distro-hopping came to a complete stop. I did do a clean install of the Beta to be able to properly help with finding bugs and then again when it was released. Last Sunday I was watching the live taping of DL and Rocco said that he had been using Pop!_Os for over a year on his main machine and that was what I was planning on doing on my main laptop but with Ubuntu proper. I took a spare SSD and put Pop!_OS on to see the difference between the two and now I am torn as to which one I should use. I do nothing special with my computers, so my needs are basic. I’ve been a Linux user since the mid-1990’s and windows free since 2004 and have seen MANY distros come and go and actually didn’t see the need for Ubuntu when it first was coming out LOL. I’d still be using Xandros if it was still around because that was my favorite distro of all time. I know that what distro you use is a personal choice but I would really like to hear other opinions on these two distros.

I find a good rule of thumb for trying out distros is to work with them (and only them) for a month. I did this with Ubuntu, Manjaro and Pop!_OS and have to say that I am liking Pop!_OS marginally more.

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I probably cannot help you there as I do not user either of those distributions but you said one thing:

For me that means that Ubuntu is installed and it works, so why change? I know, the distro hopper always tries to find a reason. :wink:

A lot of people here like and use Pop but if you are happy with Ubuntu I see no reason to switch and I think I am more in the camp of Ubuntu proper. The best would be to have another machine lying around and install Pop there.

Yeah, I am on day 6 with Pop!_Os and so far I am really liking it. I do try to use a distro for a period of time but I almost feel guilty for even trying Pop because I swore Ubuntu was going to stay on unless I had some major problems with it. I basically was trying to see what Rocco saw in Pop to be using it so long.

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I do like the support from the system76 staff on their github. I do like the polish of the distro and that the only thing I need to do is to just install software. And that it is based on Ubuntu. So it is the whole package which made me stick on Pop.


A difference to consider is the accessibility of applications out of the box, ubuntu ships with snaps and pop ships with flatpaks. so depending on which you rely on more it may be more convenient to go with one or the other for ease of access and general support by the staff of choice.

Getting snaps to work with Pop OS is as simple as doing a apt install snapd. :wink:


I have solved the distro choice by moving all my work to the virtual machines, so I do not have to choose only ONE distro. I use the best distro for the task. I’m not a gamer, so it is not really difficult. The Host OS (zfs) and Virtual Machines (ext4) are:

  • For the Host I use a minimal install of Ubuntu 20.04 with zfs, but without the auto-snapshot BS of Ubuntu, I purged zsys. I choose Ubuntu for the high quality of its Workspace Management.
  • I use Xubuntu 20.04 for all my normal office work, because of its efficiency. It is loaded all the time for torrents, emails, KDE-Connect and WhatsApp.
  • I use Ubuntu 16.04 for banking, Paypal and Newegg since 2017. I still love Unity and I want to use it for another year. For security I use it exclusively for this purpose. It is only loaded for say ~1 hour/week.
  • I use Ubuntu Mate 20.04 for my multi media apps (family videos and old LP/CD music), again mainly for its efficiency.
  • I use Ubuntu 20.04 for all experiments, mainly for its reliability. It keeps the other VMs clean and operational.
  • I use Windows 10 Pro mainly for the Dutch TV Viewer (Windows only).

I keep a number of other VMs on my nvme-SSD to keep myself informed:

  • Linux Mint 19.3, a classic
  • Peppermint 10, it interests me for its efficiency and the “integration” with Office 365.
  • Pop! OS 20.04 to have a look at the i3 type of window manager next week.
  • Ubuntu DDE 20.04, because I like Deepin

I have ~40 other VMs on a zfs datapool (2 HDDs, Raid-0) and it includes WfW 3.11, Win 95, Ubuntu 4.10 and many others from 1990 till 2020.

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I agree also if I may make an addition I would add the snap store for easy access to the permissions
apt install snapd snap-store

Wow, pretty cool and impressive setup you have there @BertN45 :slight_smile: Maybe Qubes OS would also be suitable for your approach, but I have not given it a thorough monthly try yet. Anyways, isn’t it a great time to be a Linux Desktop user and have all this options at our hand :slight_smile:

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I wouldn’t over think it too much because both Ubuntu and Pop will work great for what you’re doing with the computer. With that said, I have always liked the complete package that System76 offers with all that they are doing and all of the love they put into Pop.

There is no one thing about Pop that is a show stopper to make you want to use it. It is the whole package put together. The new tiling feature might fall into that category but that might not interest you.

I think you will have arguments for either one, Try them both and see which one you enjoy the most. I personally enjoy Pop for it’s ease of use, beauty and the people behind it.


Well, I have two laptops… one on Ubuntu 20.04 and one on Pop!_OS 20.04.

I think they’re both amazing and don’t see any reason in picking a favorite… :sunglasses:

Right now I have Pop on my main laptop and Ubuntu on a thinkpad (which has been running Manjaro KDE) so I can compare the two. Pop is probably going to stay on here for a while so I can really test it out.

Man, that brings me back. I remember how excited I was when I brought home a boxed copy of Xandros Professional and got it installed. On your actual topic, I initially used PopOS because it came on my System76 laptop, but I’ve also used straight Ubuntu since the 20.04 release. They’re both solid but I prefer some of the quality of life improvements PopOS has added to their distro. The UI tweaks like making dark mode actually dark, not having the menu bar on the left, and the power switching options for my graphics card put PopOS on top for me. Your mileage may vary.


Pop was very easy to just instantly like.

I did discover that I like Pop os over Ubuntu and until two weeks ago was using as my main distro. Fedora 33 beta is running right now for the first time ever on my main laptop. I have never used Fedora past two hours ever. Basic Gnome is just working for me. Maybe I just need a break from Ubuntu based distros.

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If you’re not even having problems with the Beta of Fedora 33, that sounds like good news for when it’s actually released. I am looking forward to that, especially due to its use of Btrfs.

I have a KDE Neon + Pop!_OS combo on my gaming desktop, and I gotta ask: Does Pop!_OS release HWE kernels on their repos? I currently have HWE-edge kernel installed, which jumped me to 5.8.0.

Regarding NVIDIA graphics, I switched back to driver 450 from Ubuntu repo, instead of Pop!_OS (no 455 from Ubuntu). 455 was being weird on my desktop + it was asking me to remove everything related to 455, even after removing older packages + Pop!_OS doesn’t have HWE-edge kernels nor modules, and I installed linux-modules-nvidia-450-generic-hwe-20.04-edge, so I switched back to Ubuntu kernels.

I’m seeing linux-image-generic-hwe-20.04-edge, linux-headers-generic-hwe-20.04-edge, and kernel appropriate linux-modules in the pool for Pop_OS!

You’re right. Odd I’m not seeing it on my Neon 20.04.