Determining what I need to do to Make Zorin OS work for me?

Hi. Like many of you, I am looking to migrate from Windows and build some level of digital independence from all angles. However in transitioning to Zorin OS, I have the following questions:

  1. How long are the LTS releases? 3 years or 5 years?
  2. After the LTS duration runs its course, how do I make sure I stay on top on keeping the OS up to date?
  3. In Windows, there is Command Prompt. Very helpful for me when I degoogled my phone. What is Zorin OS equivalent and does anybody link me to tutorials on how to use it in the case I want to do something to my phone?
  4. How do I install a HP printer so if I need to, I can print stuff?
  5. What external hard drive type is for Zorin OS? NFTS? exFAT? This is important to migrate my files and everything?
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Hi Amanajosh,
long list of Q's I'll do my very best to answer those.

  1. Ubuntu is supported for 5 years, Zorin is based on Ubuntu so in a FRESH release you'll have 5 years full support as well. Zorin 16 however is already a long time in the running. So, you'll have support for 16 until 2025 (Ubuntu 20.04 is the bases = year 2020 - april release). If however you upgrade, or fresh install, version 17 of Zorin you'll have the full LTS official life-cycle of 5 years on Zorin.
  2. Up to date OS: just keep updating the OS ..... Zorin is running a little behind of the kernel release-cycle but those kernels are LTS-kernels = tested stable. Newer kernels you can always install manually in the Zorin-system: not recommend this ! But for the latest drivers there might be no alternative than to upgrade the Linux in Zorin.
  3. There are flash-tools for smartphones in Linux, this is for advanced users of Linux only. Beginners I'll never underestimate them, but you need first a learning curve to pass. After that learning you can perform tasks just as in Windows but now on a Linux-method. Zorin Connect e.g. is a basic Tool, a little buggy on the smartphone and you need to install it via F-Droid market as a loose apk.
    Google just integrates very well in Zorin, Ubuntu. Google Chrome is a much used browser, Google-Tool for Clouds and cell phones. So cross-platform working (like Apple products) is perfectly achieved via Google Apps.
  4. Hp is the FIRST who supported Linux in the early days. So the driver for a HP printer will work out of the box. Advanced features can be done as well by installing hplip-gui via the terminal. HP's driver is implemented as standard in all Ubuntu's thus as well in Zorin. Setting up a printer is easy with HP, the Settings menu will guide you on the wysiwyg-protocol. Network printing etc can all be done.
  5. Zorin (Ubuntu), can handle all types of external harddrives. exFAT is a part of the kernel, and NTFS is no trouble for Zorin. You can go even further than a Windows allows you. So ext3, ext4, btrfs, exFAT, longer goes the list .... , all can be formatted in the OS of Linux. Formatting to exFAT needs to be done by first installing an extra plug-in for the gnome disk-tool. But those howto's are all over the internet so a good search with a decent search-engine will prompt all answers on the howto's. And of course, there is a good Forum of Zorin and Ubuntu as well. Askubuntu has even tons of methods for troubles should they arrise.

Before you start installing, make sure you have a generic Wifi-dongle nearby. Check if all hardware of your machine is supported by the Zorin-OS. Mind the bomb-traps of Nvidia-GPU's should you have such. (Choose 'Safe Graphics ' if you are not sure, choose 'nvidia -drivers' if you have such a GPU --- installscreen first prompt )
Mind well the learning curve of Zorin 16 or Ubuntu ..... you really need to learn some things first before you start consuming the OS as is.

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Adding to joshuaorbit's post, the Android sdk and sdk-tools can be installed in Zorin. You will use ADB by the terminal (Linux variation of windows command line). It is a much more powerful interface than the M$ counterpart. Much of Linux is still only accessible by terminal, so understanding and being comfortable enough to use it is important. There are many tutorials on YouTube and in text throughout the web, just search learning the Linux terminal. Most will provide examples in Ubuntu, which Zorin is a customization of, so they will be the most helpful.

APT is the package manager for Ubuntu/Zorin and is the best way to install software (snaps and flatpaks are convenient, but due to double sandboxing, may have issues contacting hardware).

Take your time and it is something you will be able to pick up, quickly, by the sound of your interest and experience.

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The way I do it is to keep all my personal files on external drives with NTFS partitions (so both Windows and Linux can read them)... so reinstalling Zorin to the internal drive just wipes the OS and nothing more. So when it comes time to upgrade to a newer version, if there's no upgrade-over-the-existing-installation option available, it'll be a simple matter of downloading the .ISO file, writing it out to a USB memory stick, booting it, and installing.

You don't need a huge internal drive for this... my fully-functioning Zorin Core OS, after removing all packages I knew I wouldn't use and deleting log files, tmp files, and unneeded ZFS snapshots, takes only 5.15 GB. The internal drive is 1 TB... data usage is so low that it still shows 0% full.

Zorin OS has much the same in the form of the Terminal application. The scripting language used is bash. It's a pretty intuitive scripting language (at least, until you get into using grep, awk, sed and regex), so you should pick up on it in short order.

Zorin OS comes pre-installed with a bunch of different print drivers for various printer manufacturers, (Brother, HP, Lexmark, etc). And it's got the ability to automatically detect and configure the printer, same as in Windows.

You can use whichever you like.

One caveat... avoid SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drives... the magnetic tracks overlap to increase storage density, so any time you write to a file on one track that shares an adjacent track that's got data on it already, that adjacent track has to be rewritten elsewhere to ensure data integrity. That fragments files badly and slows overall IOPS.

Stick with PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) drives, aka CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording).

Here's a list of CMR drives of 2.5" size.

The Seagate Exos Enterprise-Grade 7E2000 (ST1000NX0313) looks like the one I'll be using (2.5", 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 128 MB cache, CMR) for the internal drive and the larger Exos or IronWolf drives for external drives (in USB enclosures), then I'll give the existing internal drive and USB drives to my kids.

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Just curious, how did you degoogle your phone?

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My prior phone (Blu Life One X3) I de-Googled just by going through each and every line of code to strip out any references to Google. I crashed it about a bajillion times, but I had the ability to quickly reload from backup, so that didn't matter. The battery went bad on that phone, and no one sells replacement batteries, so I went with a Teracube 2e Emerald sold by /e/Solutions. The Teracube 2e sold by Teracube isn't de-Google'd, the same phone sold by /e/Solutions is de-Google'd. You can also buy the phone from Teracube, then load the OS from /e/Solutions to de-Google it.

The nice thing about the Teracube is that it's parts-replaceable. Power button stops working? Order a new one and swap it in. Main board malfunctions? Replace it. Screen gets cracked? Put a new one in. Battery goes bad? Just pop the back of the case off, the battery slips out, you slip a new one in.

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Interesting. I'm currently running graphene os on a pixel 6. I might take a look at that /e/Solutions Teracube.

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I, too, would like to remove certain Google and phone provider's preinstalled apps, the usual ones that I never use, can't be uninstalled easily and need an app that can do it. Then the phone needs to be rooted.

You can debloat your phone even if its unrooted, using GitHub - 0x192/universal-android-debloater: Cross-platform GUI written in Rust using ADB to debloat non-rooted android devices. Improve your privacy, the security and battery life of your device.
If you news help, pm me

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Google is very tricky... on my old phone, each of their services, once running, would scan for and start all the other of their services... you could kill a service for about 2 seconds before it restarted.

And that "Advertising ID"? It's fake... in the database, they actually use a "fake-ad-id" tag that contains the real advertising ID that Google and all its advertisers use and which never changes, no matter how many times you push that "Change Advertising ID" button.

The "Advertising ID" you see, the one where you can push a button to change it? It's misdirection, something only you see.

I proved this by changing the 'fake-ad-id' tag to a certain phrase, then checking which other apps picked that phrase up. Every single app using Google's advertising platform picked it up, whereas none of them picked up the advertising ID you can change. That means you're tracked with a GUID that never changes.

So I just stripped out all of that code. No ads, no ad tracking, no aGPS (modern phones don't need Assisted GPS (where it connects to networks and cell towers to 'get a better positional fix')... their TTFF (Time To First Fix... the time from cold startup until it sees enough satellites to get an accurate position) is fast and they're generally accurate to less than half a meter even without aGPS)... no Google aGPS SUPL tracking, nothing.

aGPS, while it started out as a way to get GPS to get a positional fix faster, is now nothing more than another way to track you. As is NFR (Near Field Radio)... go into most stores nowadays and look up... you'll see something that looks like a smoke detector, but it doesn't have any air holes. That's the sensors to track your phone via aGPS and NFR. They can literally track you throughout the store, then sell that data to marketers... or whomever they please.

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I've been trying to convince the devs of my phone's OS to bring back Root ADB. My phone used to have that, but an update took it away. The cutting-edge revisions generally have it, stable versions don't.

But think about it... if you have Root ADB, you have the ability to grant the permissions an app needs, even though it's not really running as root.

Then, the only obstacle to get around is that most root apps check for su (as a quick-n-dirty proxy to see if the phone is rooted), and they error out if they don't find su... so we need a fakesu stub that just reports that su is available so the app doesn't error out, then we grant the permissions the app needs to run.

It's the best of both worlds... we run the phone non-rooted, but we can run whatever root-only apps we want.

If you get a rogue app on your phone that queries for su to do something nefarious, it'll try to run because of that fakesu stub... but it won't have root permissions, so it won't be able to do much.

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Have a device compatible with Lineage OS or /e/. /e/ is a fork of lineage OS

The rest like Calyx, Graphene and a few others are limited to mostly Google Pixel phones

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