Michael Aaron Murphy (Lead developer of the Pop! _OS distribution and contributor to the Redox operating system) made it known recently the confirmation that the System76 team is already in development of a new desktop environment Non-GNOME shell written in Rust.
For those who are still unaware of System76, I can tell you that this is a company that specializes in laptops, PCs, and servers that ship with Linux. For pre-installation, he is developing his own edition of Ubuntu called "Pop! _OS »and that shortly after Ubuntu switched to the Unity shell in 2011, the Pop! _OS offered its own user environment based on a modified GNOME Shell and various extensions to the GNOME Shell.
After Ubuntu returned to GNOME in 2017, Pop! _OS continued to ship its shell, which became the COSMIC desktop in the summer release. And it is worth remembering that last semester Pop! _OS arrived with the new COSMIC environment which it is a refined solution which makes the desktop easier to use, while it is more powerful and efficient for users through customization.
COSMIC continues to use GNOME technologies, but with deeper desktop redesigns and changes that go beyond additions to the GNOME Shell, as splits the standard GNOME preview in two new independent views: Applications and Workspaces
Regarding the new desktop environment on which the System 76 team is already working and in accordance with the new plan, it is mentioned that you intend to get away completely from building your user environment based on GNOME Shell and develop a new desktop using the Rust language Developing. It should be noted that System76 has extensive experience in developing Rust.
The company employs Jeremy Soller, founder of the Redox operating system, Orbital GUI, and the OrbTk toolkit, written in the Rust language. Pop! _YOU already ships with Rust components as an update manager, a power management system, a firmware management toolkit, program launch service, installer, configuration widget, and configurators. The developers of Pop! _OS have also experimented with creating a new cosmic panel written in Rust in the past.
As a reason to avoid using the GNOME Shell, maintenance issues are cited: each new version of GNOME Shell leads to a compatibility violation with the plugins used in Pop! _OS, so it was deemed more convenient to create your own full version of the full-fledged desktop environment than to continue to suffer with keeping tens of thousands of lines of code with changes. It also mentions the inability to implement all the intended functionality only by additions to GNOME Shell, without making changes to GNOME Shell and reworking some subsystems.
The new desktop is developed as a universal project that is not linked to a specific distribution, conforms to Freedesktop specs and is capable of running on top of existing typical low-level components like mutter, kwin and wlroots composite servers (in Pop! _OS they intend to use mutter and have already prepared a link for it in Rust ).
It is planned that the project will be developed under the same name: COSMIC, but using a custom shell rewritten from scratch. Applications will likely continue to develop using the gtk-rs link.
Wayland is advertised as the main protocol, but it is not excluded to provide the ability to work on an X11 server. Work on the new shell is still in the experiment stage and will be activated after the formation of the next version of Pop! _OS 21.10, which is still the main focus.
Finally if you are interested in knowing more about it, you can check the details in the following link