A Zorin and Pop_OS question

Hi,

Not here to cause any arguments but just interested in getting more information as I was considering three distributions to eventually fully switch from Windows.

  1. KDE NEON
  2. Zorin Ultimate
  3. POP_OS

Now I've dropped KDE NEON from my list recently not because it isn't good but because I think GNOME has better mobile device support. So my two choices now are between Zorin OS and POP OS.

Been trying the beta of Zorin OS 16 and so far it has been a very good experience running it as a VM for the moment. POP_OS seems also a good alternative. From what I can see, and correct me if I am wrong, the only big difference here appears to be that System 76 offers a version of POP OS that includes Nvidias drivers.

But I presume that even if I would install ZORIN or POP OS (non nvidia version) is just a matter of installing the drivers and that is it unless they have done something special which I doubt or am I wrong to assume that?

Now I'm not saying I'm going NVIDIA, I'm strongly considering AMD for the future. But would just like to get your thoughts on this.

And no, I'm not a total Linux newbie, running some Debian servers right now but it would be my first time switching to Linux as my main desktop. I may still use Windows in a secondary boot from time to time for gaming until (fingers crossed) one day more developers wake up and start developing triple AAA games natively for Linux.

Thanks,
Patrick Tessier

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Both of my desktops have NVidia GPU. I am planning to switch to AMD in the next system upgrade.

If you are serious gamer, POP OS is worth for consideration. I hope someone in this forum can give you more information. I myself is not a gamer and the only reason I have NVidia GPU is out of necessity for running macOS.

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Hello:
I don't know Pop_Os mostly.
As for the Nvidia drivers, you can also install them in Zorin Os, it gives you the option at the beginning or, if you prefer, you can install them later. However, you should keep in mind that the support Nvidia gives to Gnu Linux is quite poor. It seems to me that a better alternative is AMD.
Regarding games, the panorama has changed in recent years, thanks to various alternatives, such as Steam.
In the near future, I see it difficult for game developers to massively focus on creating versions for Gnu Linux. There are several reasons for this, mainly the low market share that distributions have in the desktop world (about 1%), compared to Windows or Mac.
Regards

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Thanks to both of you for your comments.

You are right @alexandros that Linux adoption is low. And I know many have been waiting for years for a shift from Windows to Linux to happen in mass. Who knows, maybe many of the people left behind with Windows 11 will finally give Linux a serious consideration which would change everything. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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Having only experienced pop os out of curiosity for a short time i can only make a few comparisons. Pop is supposed to be geared toward and optimized for gaming... if that's your sole purpose, that is what i would go with. Now that the advertisement for pop has been addressed, onto a real world comparison. Pop takes longer to boot and reacts slower for most applications outside of gaming. It's fast. But Zorin OS 16 has it beat. Zorin 16 has been the most efficient os i have come across in some time, if not ever. It's faster to boot (on newer hardware), less resource intensive and more responsive than anything I've ever seen. All applications start with a quickness rivaling android performance. It literally jumps into action and loads without hesitation. The Zorin's have made sure that the OS is responsive, regardless what the software developers do. It's a solid OS, has been since alpha (minor bugs of the astetic nature, support for some devices which has been resolved with the addition of codecs and some driver support) but there are no memory leaks that I've experienced from an average user perspective... gaming on it, though not designed specifically for that, has been smooth and enjoyable. It has also done well with coding IDE's and emulation of hardware (my experience is with android emulation mostly).

Basically you have to take account of your use of the os, what you do the most, what your hardware is (i haven't had any issue with nvidia with my hardware, but it's not the latest gpu). I use VLC player for my movies and it performs great, at any resolution. Streaming has little to no buffering, but many things go into that, not just the os.

I hope this gives you some idea of the experience, finally having a responsive and efficient os that doesn't overwhelm your system to achieve it. You will be hard pressed to find another equivalent. That is why I've stuck with Zorin, purchased ultimate edition and participate on this forum. If nothing else it's worth a full install to try (the live image will give you an idea, but it's limited by the usb). Do the same with pop os... the only thing you sacrifice is time and a few write cycles (only somewhat important on ssd and NVMe drives). Make sure to read up on the recommended things to do before installing (most of its common to any dual boot with windows, but it's a great reminder) in the tutorials category of the forum. Heads up, pop os REQUIRES a 500mb efi partition, zorin does not.

I hope this was helpful and you decide to be a part of our growing community.

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I just checked with GParted.
It shows my EFI partition is 521.00 MiB in size (Zorin 16 beta).
Am I missing out something in here?

I thought all Ubuntu/Debian based Linux OSs reserve this size for EFI partition.

Zorin can be installed in Legacy, without the UEFI partition.
Pop_OS! is only available for UEFI machines.
One of the strong points of Zorin OS is that it can be installed on older machines, breathing new life into what may have gone to the recycler.

Zorin doesn't change the size of the efi partition, unless it creates it... if it is to be created the default size is only 20 or 30mb.

The only thing i can say is that you either specified the size as 512mb or had pop os on your system. Other distros do not require such a large efi partition.

No, I do not have any other OS on this system. It was a clean installation.

And I am not a such advanced user to specifies the partition size. I usually let the installer to partition the disk during the installation and I've never seen the size other than 521.00 MiB (at least in Ubuntu/Debian based OSs).

I'm not sure how it was created that size, part of the algorithm to default to a percentage of the drive maybe. My observation was that pop os will not continue the installation unless you specify a 500mb partition. Elementary and zorin are not so strict.

Being that the efi partition only holds boot information, maybe grub, it seems a bit excessive since updates to it do not happen often and tend to be small in size if they do occur.

Firstly, thanks @337harvey for your comments and of course everyone else.

From my experience, any OS I have installed using UEFI requires 500 mb as far as I know. That doesn't bother me much though. At the moment I'm debating if should install ZORIN with Windows 10 as a dual boot option or just remove Windows 10 from my laptop and install it there. My move to Linux will have to be a transition. I have found most of the software I need to replace all the ones I have on Windows which is a good first step.

Gaming will be a bit harder to do. I'm a flight and space sim fan and a big problem is finding drivers for the joystick I use, VKB. That is the part that has always been a pain and has nothing to do with Linux not being able to do it but lack of support from the developers. I can't blame them for say, they follow the money.

I'm really hoping (and I know this will sound familiar) that Windows 11 is going to motivate people to move away. The reason why I think now is different from before compared to the Vista era well, Linux came a really long way. Progress has been ENORMOUS in terms of applications, productivity (office apps), the desktop with GNOME and KDE, we are looking at an ecosystem that can really be used by someone who only does emails, productivity stuff, web without the need for Windows and feel right at home.

I've stuck with Windows because I thought Microsoft had changed since Satya and while that may be true to some extent, they are not back with their same old tactics and many will be caught in the web of this new Microsoft vs Google battle that is about to be reignited. Suffice to say, I had enough. Sure, there are Microsoft techs I do like, I enjoy Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, I love C# and the .NET CORE Framework, but all those are not open source and can fully be used under Linux.

It is really time for Microsoft to stop pushing their own OS. A waste of time and effort. I hope those who will be faced with upgrade issues because they can't go 64 bits will realize they do have other options out there. What an incredible waste of material.

One thing is clear for me since I started to install my own server systems, stuff like OPNSense for my network management, using Debian for servers, Nethserver for DNS redundancy, etc, why would I waste so much money on Windows Servers when I can get things done on Linux just as easily if not easier in many cases? I used to think Linux was intimidating but that is just because I didn't sit down to really take a look at it and really taking the time. And it is not true that the Linux community is arrogant. I mean some are not helpful but the same is true for many other communities. There are many people out there willing to help.

I feel I am going way off topic here but just wanted to voice this out hopefully helping some people or someone who is open to something new and look for alternatives to consider their / is options. In my view and from my perhaps small but growing experience, there is NOTHING we can't achieve with Linux and we would all benefit from a common base.

That being said, I did try POP_OS yesterday and while it is fine, it is really using the native GNOME approach which I do not like as much as the flexible UI choices ZORIN offers. Another point for me is, POP_OS is developed by a company while ZORIN is community based. Now why is that important for me? A company can disappear while a community working on stuff there will always be someone around to pick it up. I realize this arguable but I would bet any day on OPEN SOURCE stuff over proprietary or company based stuff if there is a choice out there. If there is one thing OPEN SOURCE has shown is just how we can get things done when we unite out best talents without all the BS of the proprietary stuff.

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As I understand it, 500 +/- MB is pretty much the current standard for EFI partitions using auto-install. Zorin 16 on this computer auto-installed a 537 MB EFI partition. On my production computer, Solus auto-installed a 512 MB EFI partition, and Solus documentation recommends 512 MB for users electing to manually set up partitions. I'm not familiar with other distros at present.

The EFI partition holds at least two (current and one back) kernels as well as other information, but that isn't enough to use up 500 +/- MB in most cases (e.g. my EFI partition on this computer (Zorin 16 and nothing else) uses only 76 MB of 537 MB available at present).

I'm not sure, but I think that the 500 +/- MB standard is intended to give the partition "breathing space" for dual-boot installations (e.g. Windows 10 uses about 100 MB for EFI). It doesn't create much of a problem except on really old hardware with subminimal hard drives.

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That statement is not true. Zorin is developed by the two Zorin brothers. Whilst not a big company, it is still a business, albeit a small family business.

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I'll have to be careful with this. I started to use EFI not long ago and had some bad experience trying to install dual boot OSes in the past. When I would install Windows 10 and then Linux and would lose Windows 10. But I think that was because I didn't pay attention to where the EFI partition was installed and scrapped the disk during a Linux install. So was my fault.

My other concern is, what if I want to remove Windows one day, how to many an EFI partition that I do not yet know so I'll have to do some research on that.

Thanks for the correction.

I guess my statement should have been that it is funded completely by the community.

I suspect that you ran into a classic Windows/Linux dual boot issue when you installed Windows then Linux. Windows creates a 100 MB EFI and that isn't enough to support dual boot with Linux after a kernel refresh or two.

I think that the current advice is to install Linux first with a 500 +/- MB EFI, and then install Windows second. That's what I've been reading in the Solus discussion boards, anyway.

Personally, I've had so many problems of one sort and another with dual booting that I don't use it any more. It was crazy-making and I'm crazy enough as it is.

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@tomscharbach Yeah I had issues as well with dual booting. The problem if I install Windows AFTER is that then Windows bootloader will take over and you have to reinstall grub after I think, at least I remember doing that a very long time ago when not using EFI but Legacy.

I'll probably end up install Linux on my laptop first. I can't really scrap my current setup since I am working from home and using my main machine for all backend development. So my hands are tied. The willingness is there though. All I know is Windows 11 is not going to get installed on this machine. As I reach 2025 I guess I'll have decisions to make when Windows 10 becomes officially unsupported.

It does sound like I am taking two steps back but I'm just being careful. But in my mind there is no doubt that LINUX is the best option if I was not stuck my gaming and work.

If this info interest you, I am currently running Windows 11 on three unsupported systems. All you need is to modify the installer and a Windows registry thereafter.
It is also possible to install unmodified Windows 11 as VM on the unsupported host including Zorin OS.

Thanks for confirming this. It is exactly my observation.

Yup. I haven't installed Windows 11, but I spent the afternoon yesterday with a friend who has, and I really didn't like what I saw.

Windows 11 is the antithesis of what I want in a UI -- about as far away from the absolutely minimalist design (no transparency, no gee-haws, no squiggling windows, no animation and so on) -- that I want as you can get -- so I don't plan to install Windows 11 at all.

I don't know what's driving the changes in UI design lately, but I get the feeling that the whole world is designing for hyperactive, over-caffeined 20-somethings. That's my old man grump for today.