Improving support

There are things that, in my opinion, are missing in the help section of Zorin Os:
What to do after installing Zorin Os. Generally newbies have to resort to pages that refer to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
2. How to use Zorin Connect. Since it is a prominent feature of Zorin Os 15, it should be clearly explained how to use it. At least, in my case, being a very basic user, it was not easy and I had to look for help in other web pages.
I also want to refer to the feedback. I think there is a need for better communication between the developers and the community. We usually find out when they release a new version of the distribution and nothing else. It would be very enriching if, at least once a month, the developers would let us know what they are doing and have some kind of correspondence, at least for that day, with the community through questions and answers.
I love Zorin Os. As of version 15 it has become my only distribution, both at work and at home.
In my opinion it is the reasons mentioned above that prevent Zorin Os from becoming more popular.
Regards

7 Likes

Interesting post, cause guess what? Many here agree with you, including me, which is why I no longer use Zorin OS. Literally 0-communication for months! And then, when several of us complained about the lack of communication, then they showed a select few, the private alpha of OS 16.

They have had the public beta released for quite awhile now, and should have full release coming fairly soon. I also agree with you about support based topics, as well as a FAQ. These are issues that haven't been resolved, since it was all brought to their attention.

If you go to System76's website, on behalf of POP OS, you will see tons of support from the FAQ section, they got tutorials on just about everything regarding their OS. And as I understand it, while I haven't had a need to directly contact them, I've heard that if you do, you will get some additional support if needed.

It is very clear that the Zorin dev's need some help in multiple areas, but they don't appear to be seeking help to make improvements. This is their choice, but equally its my choice to switch distro's, as I have done. Truth is, when you buy a brand new 2021 computer with top tier hardware, you need the latest kernals and driver support.

OS 15.3, which is based off of the now dated Ubuntu 18.04, will not support my system, its just too old! And since the release of Zorin OS 16 got seriously delayed, I'm sorry, could not wait for them, I installed POP OS 20.10, haven't looked back since.

So you have some really good valid points, many of which have already been brought up before. But its good that all of us, and hopefully the dev's see these posts, to show them how important communication and support is.

2 Likes

This is a bit of a downside in naming components to match the system name. Many people will try a search for "Zorin Connect troubleshooting" instead of looking up GSConnect or KDE connect -both of which have a lot more documentation.
How is someone migrating from Winders to know to look up GSConnect?

Swarfendor used to write manuals for Zorin, which included extras like After-install.

Whether or not one will be made for Zorin OS 16 is anyones guess... Since Swarf switched to Devuan...
If not, can one of us fill that post? I, for one, would not want to try. However, I would be game for a Collaboration across many members to attempt making one.

Very well said. Agree 100%.

2 Likes

My assertions are based on constructive criticism.
I was looking at some surveys, made in some blogs, in relation to which distributions had been the most used during the year 2020 and I was surprised to see that, among the most named, Zorin Os occupied a marginal position, although it has more than enough merits to be in the top positions.
I know that comparisons are odious but I want to refer briefly to Linux Mint. Every month, they publish on their blog news about the distribution, and even answer some questions. That's why I miss this in Zorin Os. For me it is very important to keep some kind of contact with the community. Feedback is important, especially in Gnu Linux. I even proposed to generate a contest so that the community could propose wallpapers.
The lack of communication became evident when there was no official news, at least for most of the community, about Zorin Os 16.
I think that small steps like the ones I have described would help Zorin Os become more popular in the Gnu Linux community, especially among Windows newcomers.
The user manual mentioned is known to me, but, my English is less than basic, so I would not be able to contribute in that area.
Finally, I would like to thank the moderators who, unselfishly, intervene in the forum, for their help.
Regards

6 Likes

It is indeed constructive criticism and as such is always welcome.

Your English is clear and far from basic from reading your posts above.

I'm not sure what we can do about an "Unofficial Manual for Zorin 16" as I guess @swarfendor437 will not be interested in doing another now he has moved on to Devuan. Swarf was able to create the Z15 Manual from his Z12 Manual. It would be harder and time consuming to start from scratch and beond many of us. Maybe this could be the subject for a new thread e.g. "Volunteer/s for writing Z16 Unofficial Manual Needed".

I agree with you. This distro is really great, I like it. But what I found for now, not a really great support. Especially if you are new to this distro.
Every new user ( like me) looking for great site, great support ( forum, community, devs) That missing here.

1 Like

I have some questions, for my own curiosity/edification, not playing devil’s advocate. Do we know the proportion of support seekers who used the

  1. Unofficial manual?
  2. Tutorials section on this forum?
  3. Search feature on this forum?
    I only have vague data on Q2 & Q3, based on my anecdotal experience I don’t think there are many and I don’t know what proportion of total Zorin support seekers those few amount to.

I think answers to Q2 & Q3 may be helpful toward determining how much effort may be reasonable toward a manual. Apart from that sole conjecture, I only have those questions.

  1. Using the unofficial manual requires knowing that it exists and where to find it.

  2. & 3. - There are a lot of unknowns here. How many people use it that we do not know about on this forum? The forum seems slightly more active lately, but it is not hopping mad. Given the number of Zorin OS users vs. daily questions asked on this forum... it gives the appearance of being a very small percentage.

On the Zorin OS Homepage, you can click "help" which directs to guides and tutorials first. Second listed is this forum and lastly, the Zorin OS Ultimate purchasers Support which states:

If you have purchased Zorin OS Ultimate, you can get support for installing Zorin OS on one computer directly from the team.

While this is relevant only to the installation of Zorin OS; anecdotal evidence- We have seen threads started on this forum from some users that were directly requesting support from the ZorinGroup for other issues. How often does that happen? How often does the ZorinGroup simply address those questions rather than defer them here or elsewhere?

What is known is that there are numerous tech articles on "What to do after installing Ubuntu".
https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=what+to+do+after+installing+ubuntu
But not a lot that deals with Other deviation Distros like Manjaro, Zorin, Mint etc. For those, relying on the forums seems to be the primary way. I think a lot of people will try a search based on distro name, rather than build name.
"How to customize Manjaro."
"How to install apps on Arch."
"How to set numlock on at boot on Zorin."

Trivial it may seem, a person migrating from Windows is familiar with these search patterns. "How to uninstall apps on Windows." "How to clean the registry on Windows." To this person, searching based on the Actual Name makes sense.

The new Zorin OS Tour app may be able to do quite a bit toward helping point users in the right direction.

2 Likes

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking my comments into consideration.
I know that there is a help section on the Zorin Os website, I have visited it myself. What I am asking is to add a section on what to do after installing Zorin Os and another one on how to install Zorin Connect.
I agree that Windows newcomers are not much given to getting into forums but rather getting information in a more direct way.
I have no complaints about the support provided to those of us who have purchased the Ultimate version, I think it is adequate.
What worries me is the little information that is given to the community regarding news of the distribution. This, I insist, was evident with Zorin 16, where most were on tenterhooks for not knowing anything officially about it.
For me it is necessary that the developers have a more direct and constant channel with the community. Feedback is very important and should be given over time, not only when a distribution is made available in beta. I have been able to observe that those projects that manage to maintain an adequate feedback not only remain in time, but also grow and achieve greater diffusion.
Regards

3 Likes

Well, like I said, this has been discussed before, and the devs are choosing to run their ship the way the want, and basically, I feel as though we're being ignored.

Maybe more people like yourself will help wake them up to the realities of communication. But I fear it's just not going to happen.

But you never know, some people can change, so I suppose the devs can get better. But what I've seen over the last year's, leaves me with doubt.

1 Like

In my opinion, you bring up many good points to consider when writing the manual.

I should have clarified my perspective. I was referring to support seekers, not users. Based on downloads, and even discounting that number, the total proportion of support seekers is small, given that users are around a million. I’m looking only at that those support seekers, not total users. I’m also disregarding any support seekers who visit other sites but not this one. In sum, I define support seekers as the number that visit this site (not just posters). We may not have these answers but they’re useful questions to keep in mind.

Given that definition of support seekers, what can we glean from the posts? You have mentioned some points. Some other examples in my mind are, for example, checksum queries, for download verification. Those are mentioned in tutorial threads but questions still come up. Another is Wine support. Also mentioned in tutorial. Both topics will also come up in searches. How can the manual be written (assuming the manual is easily found) such that support seekers will easily find answers to such frequent questions?

In conclusion, my questions revolve around (a) how to structure the manual’s organization/flow (b) what content to include in the manual. Both (a) and (b) would benefit based on observations of existing forum behavior.

2 Likes

"Reading the manual."

I think I grasp the idea, here.
That said, the "Users Manual" was a tangent I created and I get the feeling it is detracting from the OP's points. I raised it as a possible solution but...This refers to only one aspect of the support that the OP was referring to.

The manual could be a possibility. It would have to have a modern approach, agile, easy to read and, at least in a first stage, oriented to newcomers.
When the help forum is started it should have a prominent, attention-grabbing place under the heading "If you are a Windows newcomer", for example.
As a suggestion it should start by giving a brief explanation of what Zorin Os is and how to install it. Then, before the first steps, delve into the operating system, establishing its similarities and differences with Windows, its organization, operation, etc. Then a section "What to do after installing Zorin Os", where it would be suggested to install proprietary drivers (Ubuntu restricted extras), among others.
It should be available in several languages, not only in English, (French, German, Spanish...).
Finally, it should be colorful (I have seen some black and white manuals that are not attractive).
All this is just a suggestion.
Regards

1 Like

Newbies seeking help here on the Forum from past threads and Tutorials is hampered by the way the Forum is laid out IMO. There is no ability to mark important threads sticky within a section. Even the Tutorials section looks like a random pattern of threads, with Swarf's "Unofficial Manual" thread now languishing second from bottom. You would never find it unless you knew it was there. When I want to point a user to it, I have to go and hunt for Swarfs thread. That would be no different, even if we were to make a new Manual for Z16 and advertise it in a new thread.
Using the Search function here on the Forum may reveal past threads that can offer solutions to a specific question or issue, but I suspect many people simply start a new subject. Hence we see the same issues recurring.
I guess the devs could expand the "Help" section of the website to include a "What to do after installing Zorin OS" item or maybe a FAQ section, but I think we all recognise they have limited resources at their disposal.

3 Likes

Just FYI, Azorin has pinned the manual in Tutorials after reading your post.

3 Likes

I agree with all your points. They are valid. Personally, I really like Zorin OS and I look forward to the next versions of it as well but the lack of documentation, really annoys me and I believe makes Zorin OS look less professional. It could probably even lead to me(or potentially other users)changing distros. If an issue for a new user arises, 7/10 times they have to post a thread in the forums. Many people do not want to do that. When I was researching Zorin OS, I found the lack of documentation very weird and originally I was very cynical of the OS. Eventually, after reading several user reviews on it, I decided to give it a try. That brings me to another point. Is Zorin OS(not the ultimate versions) fully open source? As in is it possible for a user to build the current public build of Zorin OS from the source code?

Zorin OS, including Zorin OS Ultimate, is open source. If you wanted to and had the time and expertise, you could build a clone of Zorin OS Ultimate on your own.
As I understand it, Zorin OS is what the Zorin Group does full time. If they did not do it full time, we could only imagine the gaps between release dates and the silence that would cause. Choosing Ultimate supports this development, but Ultimate is not exclusive. It is a want, not a need.
Finding all the documentation: as you point out, is not so easy. Rather than search outside, I searched within by dissecting Zorin OS.
I have no intention of making a Zorin OS clone, don't get me wrong. But I would like to know how, just in case. Plus, it shows how very little I know and how much I have to learn. :expressionless:
You are able to search the public packages included in Zorin:

As well as backtrace those to other open source, like GSConnect and Arc Menu.

1 Like

Hello:
My intention in referring to feedback and help has not been to criticize but rather, to contribute.
I have said it and I will continue to say it: I love Zorin Os, I love it, I have been using it professionally for more than two years.
I know how the Zoryn brothers started this project and I admire and respect them a lot for it. Moreover, I use them as an example in a subject I teach (I am a professor), where there is a section oriented to the creation of companies.
It is for all of the above that I want it to do better, to grow, to have a bigger community. I know you have limited resources, but I don't know if it would be so difficult to publish a few brief notes about what you are doing to keep the community informed. Reviewing the blog I can appreciate that, at the beginning, they maintained a more fluid communication.
Regards

3 Likes

The only problem is when @swarfendor437 pulls the Unofficial Z15 Manual down from his file share site as he has suggested when Z16 becomes mainsteam ZorinOS release.

It would be pretty epic if we could get together and update the manual for Zorin 16.