Appreciation for ZorinOS and open source in general

Recently, I had to setup a laptop for someone. Despite my best intentions, we ended up settling for Windows 11 instead of some flavor of Linux for several reasons. I've used W10 and W11 before, but I've never had to install them myself.

My verdict: I honestly cannot believe how a company valued in the trillions of dollars can be so negligent with their flagship product.

For one, there were no Wi-Fi drivers to begin with; we didn’t happen to have another computer to download them, so that alone set us back three days because without them we couldn't continue with the installation. Considering you actually pay for this stuff, that was a massively huge waste of time.

Next, I wanted to setup accounts for one admin and a minor. I was pleasantly surprised that Windows would ask me about this by entering the birth date, so I did, hoping that it would then allow me to continue creating another account for the administrator. What a horrible mistake to make. For some reason, it only created one account which was both the admin and the minor at the same time. No problem, I thought, except that upon reboot it asked me for the “parent’s” consent to login. Which is ridiculous for two reasons:

  1. Why would you block access to the administrator account?

  2. Why does a minor need that much supervision? If the parent is not around nor available to unlock the computer, no work can be done?

The fact that I have to fight the OS from the get-go it’s just so painful…. Oh, and I even got a BSOD while rebooting! :rofl:

Seriously, I'm so glad and thankful that we have things like ZorinOS because I'm not sure what I'd do without it at this point. Just this week I've setup about a dozen new installs of several distributions, both on bare metal and virtual machines, without any issues whatsoever… and it’s free, in every sense of the word!

Thanks for listening to my TED rant talk.

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It is interesting as many users from Windows comment that they never had these issues on Windows but did when installing Zorin OS.
I have experienced this issues tons of times over the years on Windows and while with GnuLinux, you can go grab the drivers elsewhere pretty easily or use mobile phone as hotspot, with Windows getting those drivers outside of their Automated Device Manager was often like pulling teeth.

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I have 3 machines on Windows 11 with secondary operating systems using Mint and Zorin. It's been a while but I didn't have driver problems on Linux nor Windows. I do recall on a friend's older Toshiba Satellite laptop, there was a Broadcom WiFi device and I had to re-insert the Mint USB to find the driver on the USB and it worked fine. I think this was a few years back shortly after Mint 21.2 was released. Regarding the account issue with MS, I already have an Outlook.com email address so it was a non-issue for me.

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Interesting conversation!

In the early days of Windows, which were Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, the operating systems didn't generally carry any drivers for your system, you had to manually go to a website to download, and install the driver yourself, there was no such thing as a driver manager, or software store back then.

Before the internet was a thing, you had to install your driver off your official floppy disk, for the hardware in question. CDROM drives did not function, without their accompanying driver. And even when the internet became a thing, most people didn't have computer's hooked up to the internet at home yet.

So, that meant that either you had to go to a internet hooked up computer in school, ( because they were early adopters of the internet back then ) or you had to go to your local library, download the driver to your floppy disk, in order to install it on your computer later. Then due to the computer virus's outbreak, then libraries made new rules to no longer allow download of files.

In 2021 when Windows XP came out, it made people's lives far easier, as finally an operating system came out, that had most of your drivers already included. Although, usually those drivers were universal drivers, that were included with the OS. If you wanted better performing drivers for your video card, sound card, network card, CDROM drive, you had to install your official proprietary driver.

For the most part, WindowsXP was one of the smoothest running OS's that Microsoft developed, and when you combine that with the visual eye candy, and better memory allocation, you really got the sense that it was a pretty well flushed out OS, very cherry, people loved it, including me. But like all OS's, it eventually lost its relevancy, because it lacked the ability to utilize large capacity HD's.

When Windows 7 came out, it provided us a lot of the things we enjoyed about Windows XP, but it was setup to utilize large capacity HD's, and it could use later versions of DirectX, it was better multimedia and gaming capable, and overall, a more flushed out OS, with mostly good driver support.

Unfortunately, the installation medium, didn't include a driver for my old Acer 2012 notebook computer's CDROM drive. Windows 7 came out in the late 2000's, yet it had no updated driver support in the installation medium for a 2012 notebook computer, and though it had the ability to phone home to get a driver, for some strange reason, did not find one.

The catch 22 with Windows 7? ( Oh your going to love this! ) So without a CDROM driver, I can't install a new copy of Windows 7 on the old notebook, using the ROM drive. So, naturally Windows 7 is new enough to install via USB thumb drive right? Correct, but there's a proviso. The Windows 7 installation medium had a common bug, it was not able to utilize a USB 3.0 port, it could only use the previous standard, USB 2.0.

Do you know how incredibly slow a USB 2.0 port is for installing an OS? Be thankful you don't. It was so slow, that it caused the installation to crash. So there I was, up a brick wall, with literally 0-way to install a new copy of Windows 7, since the original version that was installed on my computer, got corrupted. Sucks to be me right? In 2012, they already stopped shipping computer's with installation disks.

Windows 10 was out by this time period, but like all of you other techies out there, we all learned the evil truth that Microsoft was really doing with Windows 10. There was no way in heck, even if Windows 10 installation medium had a driver for my ROM drive, or could install via USB thumb drive using a 3.0 port, would I even let that piece of smelly garbage even touch my computer, let alone drive it!

This is when I decided to switch to Linux, and I went to Zorin OS 9. Linux is just far better folks! Linux has your drivers, no need to pull your hair out! Linux doesn't destroy your privacy, and mine you as their personal product, to use against you for ill gotten gains! In 99% of Zorin OS installs, go smoothly, and for the 1% of Linux installs that don't go well, the Zorin team are there to help guide you, for the techies here on the board.

Modern Windows OS's can't be installed or run on antiquated hardware, not so much for performance reasons, more to due with their TPM required BS. But I read the feature bio on the new Zorin OS 17, they managed to somehow drop the memory requirement to 1.5GB. Guess what? Computers from 2005 had 1.5GB of RAM, which means you can run a machine that old on the new OS 17!

Windows 11 is even far worse then Windows 10, its not an OS for you, its an OS for Microsoft, to use against you, to take the choice from you, to use you and your data, time and time again. If you don't want to be the product anymore, then take back your soul, and live with freedom of choice, and a happy life, with Zorin OS! All the problems that Zenith has had, just proves Windows is a piece of garbage.

I've never used Windows 10, nor Windows 11, and I have no reason to, nor any wish to do so. If you have issues with Windows, and you choose to stick with them, I can't help you, you will have to ask Microsoft to help you, because I don't know the latest Windows operating systems enough to provide tech support.

But if you really want whats best for you, take my advice, use Zorin OS, you will breath better, you will live better, Zorin OS is the serenity that you seek.


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I suppose all operating systems can have flaws like this but what strikes me as shocking is the fact that you're paying for a brand new computer, and you can't even get past the installation screen. If at least there was an option to set things up later, it would've been a different story.
The obsession with all things connected it's detrimental to the consumer, both to the user experience and privacy.

Absolutely agreed. Windows 7 was a decent improvement as well, before all the telemetry shenanigans. Although my experiences installing both XP and 7 have been much smoother, lucky me :grin:

Windows 10 was released in 2014 I think? I had a laptop two years prior to that, and it wouldn't update. It's a true wonder how this difficulty in installing anything has remained a trend for decades. That's when I was completely out for good. I was able to try a few distributions: Ubuntu, Mint and Manjaro. No problems whatsoever installing any of them.

Believe me, I tried to make that argument but the requirements are what they are and some people are simply not as open minded as others. In all fairness, Windows 11 doesn't feel as bad as W10 in terms of UI/UX, I actually kinda like it... but it's an evil in a poorly made disguise.

However, my muscle memory remembers only Windows 7 and prior. Even things like the Control Panel are now unfamiliar to me, and so cluttered that makes the KDE settings look like they were neatly organized by Marie Kondo.

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I've already posted elsewhere about Windows 11 issues. My eldest has Lupus and one of the symptoms is severe brain fog. Because she has been used to using Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and needed to run Educational software during shielding from Covid, last year meant upgrading to Windows 11. What I learned through internet search on my dumb smart phone, is that the easiest way to install it once you have the USB installer setup is to disconnect it from the internet during install. This means you don't need a Microsoft Account and you can set it up the old fashioned way of just your user name. I have donated my Notebook for her to use which I installed MX-Linux 23.1 KDE and made it look like Windows 11 so as not to confuse her. I also added Educational software GCompris etc. and due to visual issues, everything is white on black, and Comic Sans is systemwide, but I will be installing Comic Relief font as a better alternative to Comic Sans. And it installed without TPM2!

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I too find this topic interesting and StarTreker and others have brought up very good points about using Windows. Here I am, I have installed Zorin on an external drive booting off of a Windows 7 machine. Tried doing the same with a Windows 10 and a Windows 11 machine with poor results.

I don't like Windows wanting to lock me in on what OS I put on my computer considering that I bought it, I don't think that is the proper use of the concept of "fair use" which most corporation do not respect and to the detriment of a computer/consumer user. Unfortunately, the laws in the US have been changed to alter the implementation of "fair use".

Having said that, Windows I am sure will be good for some users and it does have some good uses with good software options, but at what cost to the consumer? The telemetry/spyware is alarming and not conducive to respecting a person's privacy.

For me, I will eventually ditch Windows completely, but for now due to some software I can't install in Linux, I will have to use it. Also business wise, most businesses run Windows. My daily driver is Zorin, but if I have to use AutoCad or Photoshop, I go to Windows. I do use Gimp too but I don't think Gimp has styles like in Photoshop. Gaming too is an issue.

Finally, I do want to say that I love Linux, Zorin and open source. My thanks to all Linux including Zorin developers, for such a wonderful distro and for the ability to use Linux. In my opinion, Zorin runs better then a lot of other distros I have tried and used. Open source is wonderful because it allows collaboration between many people to get code done in a very productive way and also and most important if there are vulnerabilities in code (security wise) they can be addressed quickly.

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You said it, the fair use clause gets bent in whatever direction best serves the suits wielding the term. While I was setting up that W11 a few ads disguised as "personalized suggestions" appeared from time to time on the side of the screen.
It's just mind blowing to me how this has become so common that most people don't even bat an eye to this. And on the other hand, Linux still has the stigma of being something archaic reserved for those with a computer science degree.

@zenzen: yes, I too find a lot of Windows 11 helpful "hints" if you will very intrusive and like you said, people are for the most part unfazed that they are giving away so much personal info. I can't remember what YouTube channel it was right now, but the person hosting their security videos about WIndows 11 showed the amount of files Windows used to "call back" home and the list was staggering. From files to personal account info and them more items. I knew Windows collected a lot of info but this was mind blowing.

In some ways I like Linux being part of a smaller segment of computer users, for I am afraid once it gets big, privacy and open source software would go out the window (no pun intended) :grinning: and on the other hand sometimes I wish there was more support from computer manufacturers. I am a bit on the fence on that one.

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Spending more money does not make it better, because it is easy to waste money. Microsoft appears to have lost sight of its goals and be too busy investing in AI technology to save face.

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I wonder if I am alone in wishing Bill Gates was still at the helm.

The reality is that for all the complaints during his time - of which there are plenty and all are valid - Microsoft appears to have gotten much worse after his departure.

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I'm not too worried about that. One of the greatest strength of open source is resilience. The are no share holders to please, so to harsh decisions are unlikely to happen. Even if they do, there are plenty of distributions out there that would continue to evolve as a community.

Mmmm, I'm not so sure about that, they are not a trillion-dollar company for nothing, after all. They've simply realized that not enough people complain or do anything about it, so they continue to get away with it.

I'll take Windows XP or Windows 7 any day of the week over anything that came out after that.

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@zenzen:

You bring up a good point too. The fact that people as a community come together to create projects is precisely what I like about Linux and the many options people have of using a variety of distros and countless software is what to me computing is all about. In Linux, the computer then does not become only a tool but it becomes a useful avenue for an individuals expression. Not that you can't with Windows, but you don't have the restrictions that Microsoft imposes on you, not to mention all the money you have to spend in getting software than in Linux you can use at no cost and in many cases, is superior to its Windows counterpart.

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Harsh decisions do happen, though. And RedHat does have Shareholders as Gnome Foundation has stakeholders whom Gnome vaguely calls the Advisory Board. One of the stakeholders for Gnome is Canonical.
GnuLinux has been known for the heavy drama of all of the above.

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That's true, we should keep an eye on what they are on because while they make good products (I guess this can be subjective) they also operate under their own terms. However, I still think there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

For example, when RedHat announced the sudden end-of-life for CentOS 8, the reaction was to create new alternatives to that right away, almost like a hydra.
Another example is with System76 and how they stood up to the challenge to create their own desktop environment, still in the works, due to disagreements with Gnome. Which is similar to how other alternatives exist today such as Linux Mint and the Cinnamon desktop (please correct me on this).

One of the main criticisms to Linux that I see often is that the ecosystem is too fragmented. But it's actually a symptom of strength and resiliency.

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I too have an optimistic outlook, because Zorin 17 was my first major Zorin OS update and the results were satisfactory. Even if Gnome and Ubuntu make poor decisions, they will not develop Zorin OS.

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I found this and thought was an interesting short video, which I think you'll agree with:

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I do agree with him. One of the most aggravating is Gnome Devs publicly saying users should contribute to the Gnome Code if they want features or functionality, but putting up numerous roadblocks to contribution.

The comments of one developer cannot be construed as the focus of all developers. GNOME is not for everyone. Nor is KDE, Cinnamon, or Xfce. Everyone has different hardware and different priorities. I am not big on GNOME but like what Zorin does with it which is only adding a few extensions and making it look slightly better and easier to use. I am not that much of a fan either for LXqt, MATE, Xfce or KDE but like what they have done too much like GNOME. It will never be perfect and to expect everyone to happy is unrealistic. GNOME receives a lot of resources from Canonical and Red Hat thus it is natural for GNOME to cater more to their wants (which may be community driven too). But like always, there will be many Linux users who complain about something. Expecting the entire Linux community to be happy is never going to happen given how fractured Linux it is to begin with. Good or bad, if they get upset for some reason, something gets forked which is either a waste of resources or a win for the community. And even when that happens, not everyone is happy! It’s a viscous circle in Linux land. But, most of us are practical and can make compromises. If you don’t like GNOME, don’t use it and move on. Meanwhile, I am very content with many aspects of GNOME and how it works in Zorin. Just like I am very content with Mint Cinnamon or LMDE. Use what you like and works for you.

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Money is necessary to fulfill a purpose, but someday, making money becomes the only purpose. That may be also inevitable in the world of FOSS. I recall that Joi Ito had a fundraiser for Mozilla. Large organizations are prone to corruption. It may be a wise compromise for a small organization to use deliverables from a larger organization, as Zorin OS does.