Zorin uses an incredibly outdated ubuntu base and kinda unsupported so moving to debian seems like an obvious choice, because stability and update cycle.
i wouldn't say the 20.04 base is outdated, as it does still receive security updates and is fully supported. You may not get the newest native apps with it, but you can get the newest apps as flatpaks, snaps or appimages if you really want to
im guessing one of the reasons of why it's taking so long is because they are undoing the mess Canonical made + adding the usual zorin improvements to the ubuntu base
but it is kinda true that the effort needed for zorin would very likely be much less if the base was debian instead of ubuntu, as debian is the base ubuntu is based on so many programs would still be compatible and it would also mean getting rid of Canonical's weird decissions
but at the same time, not every ubuntu program is compatible with debian, despite it being its base, and with how Zorin aims to be a distro that is just ready to use for everyone out of the box with a big freedom of software to choose from, I think they are still gonna prefer Ubuntu, as that would mean being compatible with debian packages and ubuntu packages out-of-the-box
This is paradoxical.
Debian has long been the most stable base and to that end, only provided the most stable working packages. For this, Debian was often criticized for being too far behind the latest and greatest packages (including the latest and greatest faults, regressions and bugs.)
Now, Debian releases their most recent release that is pretty much all new and shiny...
What does "kinda unsupported" mean? Zorin OS is 100% fully supported.
Debians update cycle is slower than Ubuntu or Zorin OS.
(Personally, I have always been agreeable to the idea of Zorin OS moving to a Debian base.)
I would go further, and move to a Devuan base. There are a number of small distributions that are derivatives of Devuan. That said, whether it was because I was trying to install Devuan 5.0 on a small old hard drive of 160 Gb on eldest's notebook, it only proferred Ext2 and not Ext4 as Devuan 3.0 did on the desktop, and fell over a few times. It would be good if SystemD (and Pulse Audio) are dropped for SysV Init or rc6 etc, and ALSA over Pulse Audio but that can't happen because the latter is embedded in the Gnome DE. Just because an update cycle is slow isn't a bad thing - BSD is usually a two-year cycle and for good reason, nothing released unless it is working solidly. (Posted from my GhostBSD drive!):
whilst I love how fast some of the other init systems are (runit my beloved), I don't think for such a user-facing distribution a big change from "mainstream" distros is a good idea. Right now you get the benefit of using any solution made for ubuntu or Mint and having it work out-of-the-box with any issue on ZorinOS.
If you introduce a different init system, a lot of these solutions will no longer work.
One may argue that this may incentivise more community-effort to solving these problems with other init systems, it would also make for a bad user experience, especially when upgrading from current ZorinOS Releases to a future release.
I think they are no longer finding gnome extensions they need.
They directly contribute to said extensions more often than not, or make their own.
Zorin uses custom gnome extensions that give the desktop and taskbar the functionality you are used to in windows. I believe one or two are others work, the rest are designed and installed purely by ZorinGroup.
Much of the Plymouth files and behind the scenes efficiency and stability is also pure ZorinGroup, as you don't find the responsiveness or cpu efficiency on other Ubuntu based distros, as you do here in Zorin. Some come close, but still don't achieve it without moving to another Ubuntu base version.
I'm willing to bet that much of the delay with ZorinOS 17 comes from having to port those extensions to Gnome 40+.
I agree and will go a little further with that idea... because they most likely have to rewrite most of them and possibly create new extensions in order to maintain the level of functionality we are used to in Zorin.
As well as it has been noted that LibAdwaita wreaks havoc on some gnome-extensions.
With GTK4/Libadwaita the theming API from GTK3 that allowed modifications was reduced with many API elements removed. This makes it difficult for theme developers to achieve the level of customization they could with GTK3.
Libadwaita applications use internal styles (or hardcoded), which are not part of css or modifiable by themes. This means that while you can change some aspects of the appearance using a theme (mainly just colors), many UI elements will remain in their default styles.
Applications that have LibAdwaita as a dependency or that use LibAdwaita are forced to utilize the default Adwaita styles.
Per the Statement from Gnome Developers:
The developers of GNOME and LibAdwaita have made it clear that third-party themes are not officially supported. They state that themes might not work correctly or consistently, discouraging their use and development. This is a move by Gnome to intentionally break and discourage distro or user themes.
Potential for Visual Glitches: Since LibAdwaita is designed to disregard or disallow theming, applying such themes can lead to visual inconsistencies or glitches. This isn't a direct prevention mechanism, but it acts as a deterrent for those wanting a polished UI. This also artificially provides the facade of "support" to Gnomes claim that themes break applications. They can with LibAdwaita because LibAdwaita is structured to break themes.
For a distro like Zorin OS, they may need to use something like
libadwaita-without-libadwaita package from AUR in order to achieve their distinctive Zorin OS look and feel.
I would be curious about what @swarfendor437 might have to say, given the ramifications that this action by GNome has on users that have dyslexia, photosensitivity, visual impairments and the like.
This where my mind had gone. I get eye strain with light themes.
With LibAdwaita, some libAdwaita-dependent apps on gtk4 are hardset to Adwaita-Light.
Even setting the gtk4 theme to Adwaita dark did not work on all the applications... Which is almost worse. Because you are comfortable until you launch a necessary app and it blinds you with sudden unexpected brightness...
But isn't there the option to set legacy applications to a dark theme in Gnome Tweaks? Or does that only apply to Gnome 4x? On any Gnome 4x distro I could easily do that.
I was testing on Ubuntu 23.10.
As I understand it, GNome Tweaks only effects gtk3 apps (Which are still plentiful and the vast majority of apps).
It can also happen in KDE too. Dark main pane in Dolphin with blinding white navigation pane on left. Took me a while to find a good all rounder.
Will postback later.
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