I recently switch to Pop!_OS as my primary Linux distribution. So far, I have been impressed with the speed, reliability and user experience.

In 2019, I shared my setup process for Linux, at the time, Fedora 31. This article will follow a similar approach, focused on my setup process for Pop!_OS 21.04.

Once Pop!_OS is installed, I immediately run the following three commands to confirm my Linux kernel version, as well as update and upgrade the software.

uname -r

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade


If an NVIDIA graphics card is installed, I use the following command to confirm the latest proprietary driver is installed.

nvidia-smi


If required, update the driver from the “Pop!_Shop” by clicking the “Installed” tab. If a new driver is available, it should be shown in the list.

When using a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus technology, I switch the operating system to “Hybrid Graphics” by selecting the “Battery” dropdown in the Top Bar. Enabling this setting will require a system restart, but should help balance battery life and performance.

Once complete, I make a few changes to the desktop to suit my workflow. Thankfully, the Pop!_OS defaults are already well optimised, therefore I do not install any third-party extensions, etc.

In “Settings”, I configure the following options. Any option not specified is left default:

  • Desktop > General > Super Key Action = Workspaces
  • Desktop > General > Top Bar > Show Workspace Button = Off
  • Desktop > General > Top Bar > Show Applications Button = Off
  • Desktop > Appearence = Dark
  • Desktop > Dock > Extend Dock = Off
  • Desktop > Dock > Show Launcher = Off
  • Desktop > Dock > Show Workspaces = Off
  • Desktop > Dock > Dock Visibility > Alway Hide = On
  • Desktop > Docker > Dock Size > Customer Size = 24
  • Desktop > Position on the Desktop = Left
  • Desktop > Workspaces = Fixed Number
  • Desktop > Workspaces > Number of Workspaces = 2
  • Desktop > Workspaces > Placement of Workspace Picker = Right

With the Pop!_OS desktop configured to suit my workflow, I start installing software. The following steps include the installation process for my common software.

Open a browser (e.g. Firefox) and download the following Debian (.deb) packages:

Open the “Terminal” and navigate to the “Downloads” folder. Install each application individually using the following command.

sudo apt-get install ./<Installer Filename>


Once complete, open the “Pop!_Shop” and install the following applications. Where available, I select the native “Pop!_OS (deb)” package. Flatpak is a great package manager, but not always as tightly optimised for the specific Linux distribution.

I now install any application that is not available from within the “Pop!_Shop”, starting with Docker. Open the “Terminal” and run the following commands.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install \
    apt-transport-https \
    ca-certificates \
    curl \
    gnupg \
    lsb-release

curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg

echo \
"deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu \
$(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io


Alongside Docker, I also install Docker Compose.

sudo curl -L "https://github.com/docker/compose/releases/download/1.29.2/docker-compose-$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose


Once complete, I install VMware Workstation Player, which is my preference when running local virtual machines (e.g. Windows, etc.)

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt install build-essential

wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0" https://www.vmware.com/go/getplayer-linux

chmod +x getplayer-linux

sudo ./getplayer-linux --required --eulas-agreed


Finally, I run the following commands to enable the embedded firewall and install/enable restricted formats (DVD, MP3, QuickTime) as well as Microsoft fonts.

sudo ufw enable

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

sudo apt update && sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

sudo fc-cache -f -v


With all my software installed, I start each application and complete any required setup process.

I usually start with 1Password, followed by any application that requires data to be downloaded (e.g. Dropbox). The majority of applications will automatically detect the operating system theme, if not, manually select “dark” mode from the application preferences/settings/options.

To enhance Ulauncher, I add the “File Search” and “System” extensions. This can be done from “Ulauncher Settings”, specifically the “Extensions” tab.

To conclude, I download the latest Windows ISO and create a local Windows virtual machine using VMware Workstation Player. The only application I install in the virtual machine is Microsoft Office.

With these steps complete, I run one final update and upgrade.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade


Pop!_OS is now ready for action! Enjoy!!!