Concerned about the long-term future of Zorin OS

That response however still doesn't address the biggest elephant in the room: what plans do you have to address this communication gap? This is a common theme in this community, where people keep waiting for answers that rarely come.
You should realize by now that you are "leaking users" because of this single communication flaw.

I'm also not completely satisfied with the answers provided here. A slower moving desktop environment is also more stable, and easier to manage. People already associate "Lite" with "less capable" (even though that is not really the case); you could make this wrong into a right by conceding to this point and simply adding a notice that the latest hardware may not be supported.
This would save you the development effort that you claim to be the biggest burden, score a few points with the community in regards to transparency and communication, and helps managing expectations for those undecided which version to choose from, which is in fact another common source of confusion to people coming to Linux for the first time.

And I must agree with Aravisian on the topic of most common causes of issues are due to adopting bad defaults like Flatpak, not because of the Zorin OS version. It’s almost a meme by now, that we ask "how did you install this package?" as a reflex to every new thread. Wayland is catching up quickly on that trend, especially since Zorin OS 17 came out...
That is just something weird that I've noticed: providing something that definitely works is much better than something that sometimes works.

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I beg to differ on Wayland. It's almost becoming a fait acompli in replacing X. To me it feels like systemd all over again. We should be reducing e-waste, not adding to it.

Am I reading this wrong, or are we saying the same thing? What I meant here:

is that so many issues have been solved by simply switching to Xorg that asking to do the same for other, seemingly unrelated issues, has become a trend, in the same way that asking to use the native package format whenever there's an issue with a particular program. In other words, the default use of Wayland has introduced more issues than it's fixing.

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My take - I look at being a Zorin user, just the same as being in any 'relationship'. I would think we all have seen relationships end due to a lack of communication. As well as many other issues. In this case, with Lite going in the direction of being in the 'sunset' phase, may be compared to lack of communication and finding one has 'stepped out' on the other.

The underlying issue here is, many, such as Aravisian, have worked hard at keeping the relationship together. Has done everything in his power to make it work. But ultimately, there's no future in it, or to keep trying. And this goes for many of you. I've spent the last hour or so catching up reading post on Lite going away, and people's disappointment. I share in that disappointment, greatly! There are hundreds of individuals views posted I can agree with, completely. And I can understand the frustration. We found something that was great. Yes, we didn't like that whenever we went to go out it (new Lite release) took forever for the other one to get ready. And this time it appears when they finally did get ready, it may have not been worth the wait.

It boils down to this. We all have decisions in life to make. Staying or leaving is a part of that. We may not like the outcome, with some being very upset. But there may be something better out there for you. There may not be and you'll carry on with the 'what if's'. Just as upset as you may be, I'm sure there may come a time when the Brothers re-think their business strategy, and more importantly, lack of communication with their customers/users. However, even though the revelation on the future of Lite was poorly handled, I can completely understand the decision behind why they made the choice to do so. It's their choice! I would think it was made with the same care as they do with their implementation of the Zorin Project itself. Attention to detail, and it's ready when they are satisfied. Every company has to do self-evaluations. If they believe the time to work on Lite will take time away from advancing to their end goals and success, they must. I would tend to think this was not a decision made quickly, in haste. But one given much thought.

I'm not a fan of the decision, but any means. I came to be a Zorin user due to Lite. And during the long wait for 16 started using Pro and became a fan. But Pro may not be for you. And you are faced with a choice. Just like I am, with continuing with Pro up to the release of 18, and then deciding to move forward with it, or something else. Just as I will continue to use Lite up to 2029, unless I find something else that suites me better.

None of us want this, or to be faced with this decision. But it's one we now have to make. I support you all with your decisions on what you will do. Life is about being happy, and I wish you all happiness on your journey.

And on a side note, I feel badly for Aravisian. Not to diminish others great impact, but he alone to me stands out as a pillar in the Zorin community. Literally the countless hours he's been helping others, making this community we have that much better. The best! I hated to see that he mentioned he felt 'foolish' with the work he's put in, in keeping it alive. Deflecting the negative into positives by giving what he felt, were valid excuses. I feel bad due to, to me anyway, that takes away his belief and hard work into making Lite what it's become. So I say, Aravisian, please don't feel foolish by any means. Your hard work and dedication is so very admirable, it's made you the type of person, that we can all learn from. And we all know what you personally have put into it. So I'm sorry for this to happen, for your sake. And to many others not mentioned.
So as I said, I wish you all happiness on your journey forward.

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They can be, yes.
As I said. Since a user can install XFCE, the decision is not major to an individual. It is only major to the community. However, that decision alone is not the issue.
As others have posted, it raises a lot of the hard questions to the forefront.
And some of these hard questions are addressing why the stated reasons do not add up.

I did address this privately in the Moderator forum. Since other users are raising them neatly and simply here, it is safe and reasonable to include my comments to the ZorinGroup in that space:

Many users will ask the hard questions:

  • How is it that you say XFCE adds complexity and duration to development when you also say that you begin work on Zorin OS Lite after releasing Core, yet Lite is released swiftly, within a couple to a few months in sharp contrast to the far more lengthy Core release?
  • How is it that you can say that XFCE requires so much patching, when as a desktop, it comes with the features and functions missing in Gnome and with Gnome, it is well known and documented how much you must do with adding extensions, resolving their conflicts and the variable extensions support versions against the Gnome Versions?
  • If the cost of Pro was based on the statement that it was doubled to accommodate the inclusion of Zorin Pro and Pro Lite as a bundle, how will this change affect future pricing?
  • What about the long time and heavy user feedback about Gnome Software Store? You comment about getting feedback on XFCE / Lite... yet... I mean, on the forum, we see a lot of user feedback. A Lot. Is all this XFCE related feedback diverted and shunted directly to your mailbox?

And many more. From delays or just long release periods without any stated delays...
From lack of a roadmap and lack of a clear direction to lack of communication.

The concept of a Zorin Roadmap goes back a couple of years. It was quietly swept under the rug.
What began to get to me was the slow realization that the effort you describe, I was doing singular.
The ZorinGroup never checked on us. Not ever. They never asked how were things going, or do we need anything. They never initiated any topics on how to improve things or how to address issues. They only appeared after we had to take steps to get their attention. This is not even normal for very busy people. But it is normal for people who really do not care.

This is not new, or sudden and the announcement of Lite coincides with an event that happened a few days before in which they demonstrated such a disconnect and being so out of touch as to be unbelievable. I was already looking at the door when they announced what the plan was for Lite.
They are not a part of their own community and they never have been. For me, these many actions demonstrate a gearing toward other interests than the User Base. To me, that is anethma. It is like polluting your own ecosystem because you are laughing all the way to the bank.

I appreciate the sentiment, but I can see no other way for it. When you look at the history above and all of the signs I kept ignoring or explaining away... When I think of the users on this forum that asked the hard questions that I posted excuses to until they gave up... I made a mistake. I enabled. I should have stepped back and let the ZorinGroup step up and own up and learn how to do what I was trying to do.
Deep down, I recognize it is because I knew that they never would.

No longer will I divert the hard questions. No longer will I support this direction. No longer will I continue a mistake.
Feeling foolish can be a great learning experience. It protects the future. It helps us make wiser decisions and weigh merit and evidence against 'wanting to believe.'
Which is one of the most important lessons we can ever learn to secure a strong future.

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I think one thing we are all guilty of. Dependency on using an OS that has the look and feel of Windows, the more current the better. What we really need is a system with a working menu, even if it only looks like a simple menu, like Win2k instead of relying on Zorin Appearance in both versions. I think the roadmap of Zorin has become a burden and that they had good intentions but sometimes we bite off more than we can chew and as the GNU/Linux landscape changes it becomes more difficult to weave a clear path. An analogy on a motorcycle instructor course conference I attended tells of how the weary cow wanders across the field back to the cow shed, and man comes along building winding roads based on the weary cows path home, with hairpin bends to boot. Take a look at Antix. It has a win2k style of menu, and uses ice-wm to keep everything lean. We have become too dependent on the Windows comfort blanket. We need to be brave and choose paths that don't have heavy resource usage, and I would argue this is where Gnome fails, where systemd fails, and where pulseaudio fails. Pulse audio for me on any distro has caused issues, and yes it is present in PCLinuxOS has Pulse Audio, I am eagerly awaiting delivery of an old graphics card to amend this issue. Wayland, as I understand it is being pushed through via IBM. Does this sound familiar? People new to GNU/Linux won't be aware of the history behind systemd that Red Hat (now owned by IBM) was the distribution trying to make systemd the default init system and more. It has become an unwieldy gooball on GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux prides itself on following the Unix adage that "code should do one thing only and do it well". This is what led to the rift in Debian developers, the majority of whom left to form Devuan, just as OpenOffice developers left to join The Document Foundation to create LibreOffice. I believe PCLinuxOS KDE is light enough to replace Zorin Lite, and being KDE already looks more like the comfort blanket. Another option might be Q4OS which also has a light version of KDE, earlier editions resembling Windows XP, but with the disadvantage of being dependent on systemd. In addition to all this is the debacle of snap, flatpak, and App Image when apt and Synaptic Package Manager just work. How many posts have their been recently where users have posted issues with apps because they are flatpak, to be advised to install the Apt package? Or people posting that the Software package has crashed and Aravisian advising on how to reinstall. This is one area where Zorin could have made a stand, forget about 'Software' and use Synaptic Package Manager as the default software source. It appears that all big players, Gnome Software, and KDE Discover have the same issues as Windows Store does. That is one part of Windows we do not need. People need to learn that if they want a better OS they need to be prepared to do some learning. With standard GNU/Linux things don't change too much, look how Windows has continually messed with the interface, the Menu, even as far back as Windows 95 with Start which held "Shut Down". We need an OS that can stand on its own merit, not a lookalike (or workalike) of a poor OS.

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I don't think that the Layout is a Problem. Even the xfce Desktop has a Taskbar and Startmenu. I mean, when someone have a good Workflow with this, why not. The same with the Software Stores. It delivers a Graphical Interface which can offer on a simple Level Software to install. Synaptic is a good Program, yes. But in this Way it isn't so good.

The Main Problem I would see in the technical Base of this Stuff. I mean, to have it is nice but when it doesn't work properly it is not very useful. So, the technical Base must be better.

Snap and Flatpak ... a Topic for itself. But for a new User these Options deliver an additional Way to install a Program. But here comes the Point from above: technical Base.

Most distributions have a panel, what I was referring to was Zorin Appearance. They don't need to have so many different layouts. The one thing that does my head in with xfce is the Panel Editor where icons don't state the name of an application but just refers it to what it is, a launcher, when in KDE you can just drag an icon to a new position in Edit mode, and in xfce you need to sort the vertical order out to match horizontal layout. I found this very confusing when I first used it, and before Zorin Lite.

I think need is a strong Word. To have the Choice of the Layouts can help the Users to find the right One for themself. They can test what works the best for the own Preferences.

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I'm not entirely in agreement with these two points.

Making something intuitive is much more preferable, and the whole idea of Zorin OS: to make something familiar enough that people can start working from the get go. I wouldn't call this a lookalike by any means, but if it's the price to pay for keeping things simple, I'd be happy to call it that.

Synaptic works great, but doesn't look that way and it isn't all that straight forward to use. It's hard beat an interface with a single button that says "Install".
Flatpaks and Snaps are also not offered, and as much as I don't like them as the default option, they are useful to have around; sometimes they are the only option available, even. In that, I agree that Zorin OS could've made something different and change the defaults. This is a small change that has a huge impact, without sacrificing user choice.

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Apper uses a graphical interface and lightweight and preferable to KDE's Discover.
20 minutes 20 seconds in:

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Doesn't look too bad, and I'm sure it works just fine... but is still quite bland.

The Software Store can be slow, even without Flatpaks or Snaps, but has all the little things that help make the overall experience that much better: screenshots, developer information, reviews... I think the major drawback is lack of control over dependencies when installing/removing software. That is something I'd like to see improved, and the ability to enable/disable Flatpaks/Snaps from the settings as well.

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Well just been running Lite 17.1, and sensibly, there are only two appearances in Zorin appearance, Windows 7 and Windows 2K/XP with regard to the Panel (Dash).

I have read all the above feedback, and lots of other items in the forum. I have used Zorin since Z-5 and Z-6 Ultimate. On my small notebook I ran Linux Lite until Zorin adopted XFCE. It was well done, and eventually I switched to Zorin Pro Lite on my main PC. It seemed so much better than the Gnome version which to me seemed a little 'clunky". I will continue to use Zorin Pro Lite until 2029, and worry then what to do. Technology changes all the time, and it is hard to imagine what may be available then.

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