Moving on, where I've been, and a few updates with my Linux journey

(Apologies in advance for the huge wall of text)

Hi everyone, as you have probably noticed I've been inactive for quite a while here and some of you may have been wondering where I went. I've been bouncing back and forward between Windows, Linux and macOS for a while now until a few months ago, where I decided Zorin (and Gnome in general) wasn't for me and moved back to KDE Neon (my first distro!).

Where I've been and what I've been doing
About a month after Zorin OS 16's Alpha was released, I recently got my hands on the beta to test out and to be fair I wasn't exactly impressed (Everyone has their own taste, I still love Zorin as a project in-and-of itself).

Before that, I was testing out Fedora 34 and Gnome 40 as well which I didn't really like. After that I bought a MacBook Air (M1 model) as my current laptop was in repair repeatedly for about 6 months (Lenovo customer support is useless, I can elaborate in the comments if anyone wants to know). I ended up selling that MacBook a little while later after my current laptop returned from repair as I found macOS was not for me either, and the M1 CPU couldn't run Linux at the time.

Thoughts on Zorin OS 16, Gnome and moving to KDE
I didn't like the new theme and icons (I have an extremely specific taste to how I like things), and I was fairly dissappointed as it seemed like Paper and the Zorin OS 15 themes (which were my favourite themes at the time) was starting to loose support for the new Gnome versions.

Due to my specific tastes, Gnome going downhill (in my opinion anyways) and not wanting to customise Zorin, I decided to switch back to KDE Neon again. Keep in mind I had little experience making KDE look how I wanted, but I perservered and pushed through. There were also bugs with Gnome that I found didn't exist in KDE (and vice-versa) which pushed me to switch.

"Coming back home" to Neon
Due to my previous Ubuntu experience from Zorin OS I found the switch easier, and after a while of watching YouTube tutorials and browsing r/unixporn, for inspiration, I figured out how to set up KDE to my liking and became comfortable with it. I switched back for a number of reasons, listed here:

1. Look, feel, and customization:
Gnome and Zorin weren't as customisable as I liked. It was mainly simple things like making a Windows/macOS/custom layout, visual changes (like my never-dying bias to the 15 themes) with Gnome, broken themes in Gnome 40, etc. Even little things like having a nice blur effect on the taskbar/dock didn't work how I wanted them to.

In fact, I have a "formula" for look and feel that each system I use must follow (for me to use it): It has to have a good balance of beauty, presentabilty (has to look professional and presentable whilst also having good taste) and modern looking without going over-the-top. Zorin OS 16 didn't really satisfy me in that respect, whereas KDE gave me the freedom to make it exactly how I wanted. Having a layout tailored to how I use my computer is an absolute must, and having KDE I can do that.

2. Stability and performance
These are very important factors for me as a student. I simply cannot have my system breaking down as much as Zorin did. In fact, I've reinstalled Zorin at least 10 times due to something breaking, especially considering how fragile it seems to be (or it may just be my stupidity). KDE on the other hand has not broken once no matter what I do.

Performance also seemed lackluster in both 15 and 16: Minecraft Java would crash upon launching, and RAM usage seemed a bit higher in Zorin OS. Trying to run a virtual machine would lock up the entire system, and even animations would stutter and lag. KDE Neon on the other hand has been very smooth: it can run games and VMs with no issue, animations are smooth, and apps launch a lot faster. I have not tested the XFCE versions, but I have a feeling the issue may be due to the older drivers in 18.04. Regardless, I am happy with the performance here.

That's about all the ranting I have to do about that. Needless to say, I would absolutely recommend Zorin OS to a new user vs KDE due to its sane defaults and ease of use. Regardless of my thoughts on Gnome, KDE is more complicated (in some ways) which I've learnt to deal with. Personally I feel Zorin was more of a stepping stone to something new and better, and in that respect Neon was not a good first distro :joy:

Me and the forum
I likely will keep my account but I probably will be a lot less active than I was earlier, but I will still continue to recommend Zorin OS and be around to help new users every once in a while. Maybe if I build a new PC I will install Zorin OS on that...

This is not exactly a goodbye to the forum, but more the distro itself. I'll likely be more active in the KDE Forums. Thank you all for the help everyone has provided.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

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Hello:
In relation to what you point out I can say that "each computer is a universe", what works very well for you in one could be that it does not happen with another.
I know Kde, I have used it, but, in my opinion, it has too many customization options that can overwhelm a novice and a basic user.
An intermediate option could be Linux Mint, with Cinnamon, as it allows you a certain degree of customization, without overdoing it. Moreover, it has always been my second choice, after Zorin Os.
The philosophy of Zorin Os is clear: limited customization options (as in Windows), so that the user can use it from the beginning, without major problems.
I must confess that, sometimes, overwhelmed by problems with some drivers, I have tried to go back to Windows 10. However, the excessive consumption of resources, its forced updates that sometimes introduce more problems than they solve, the excessive consumption of resources (for all the programs running in the background), spyware, among other reasons, have made me not support it for more than a few hours.
I love Zorin Os and intend to continue with this distribution.
Regards.

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Sometimes, Linux is a journey where home is whereever is beneath your feet.

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I've never used KDE Neon, but it sounds to me like it's Ubuntu LTS with KDE Plasma as the DE. Couldn't you get the same results with Zorin (or any distro based on Ubuntu LTS for that matter) with KDE Plasma installed? Or, is there something special the KDE dev group does to Ubuntu that makes it special?

Just being curious.

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Not entirely sure, but you're correct that it is simply Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS releases) with Plasma. The reason I chose it over something like Kubuntu or Zorin with KDE is because I'm used to using Ubuntu-based systems, and Neon gives me the latest KDE releases straight from their PPAs.

I'm not exactly sure what they do that makes it "special" apart from being an offical KDE product, since vanilla KDE is essentially the same on every distro. I do like that there is not much bloat by default (you don't even get an office suite or mail client by default) since I can mix and match software I'm used to and there is no long uninstalling periods where you have to go one-by-one deleting all the useless bloat (cough cough Kubuntu cough). It makes it easy to just apt install your packages and move on without going and deleting every single app one-by-one.

As far as I can tell the KDE devs haven't done much else apart from enabling offline updates (which I hated and immediatly disabled).

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Each distro has devs and for some of them, each dev has Secrets.
Zorin Group has a few and they are not talkin'.
Sometimes, it is the secret ingredient and sometimes, there is no secret ingredient; you just think there is.

I have installed Plasma and Trinity at different times on Zorin OS 15. Have not done so on Zorin 16, yet. My biggest issue is in... Plasma. I think it is a great desktop but... I cannot make heads or tails of it. It does not always follow logical placement... I admit that there have been times when using Plasma, that I started to open terminal and type in "regedit."
With Gnome going the way that it is going and with Gnome 40 being the thing that it is... I may end up having little choice but to migrate to the Plasma Desktop. So I may as well install it on Zorin OS 16 and give it another whirl...

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That makes a lot of sense to me. I don't like a lot of bloat in my OS, either. I'd rather have a distribution that is a little light in the apps and libraries and I'm more in control of what gets installed. That's one thing I really like about Q4OS.

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Each dev has Secrets. Zorin Group has a few and are not talkin'.

See, the lack of communication between devs and users was really starting to annoy me as well. Even a small little "Hey, the new release is coming in x days!" would've sufficed. But nope, not even a peep unless they were pushed which I do not like doing, especially with devs who are being nice making free software for the community, asking nothing in return but a small donation for the months of work they put in.

It's really off-putting to see that you have to push, demand almost, to know that there is indeed a new version being worked on, and it will indeed be released soon. Really disappointing.

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Yeah, I liked Zorin for its sane defaults. I like choice, not just in my apps but my desktop layout as well which is another benefit I see in KDE - I want something that is logical to me, adapts to my workflow, and gets out of the way when I need it to. I stuck with 15's default "Windows 7" layout since it was the closest to Windows 10 which I was switching from, but I've since found a dock and top bar is much more logical to me.

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The first thing I do in installing Zorin OS is disassemble it. Then I put it back together exactly how I want. I broke it a lot in the beginning, learning how to do this. And I avoid giving any How-To's on it on the open forum - as I suspect that others will break their system, then point the finger. At someone.
But if you sat at my computer, aside from seeing something like "Zorin Appearance" in the app menu (That won't launch if you try), you would not recognize it as Zorin OS at all.
What I personally like about Zorin OS is its raw power. I have tried many distros on several different machines and Zorin OS delivers performance on all my computers that is unmatched. Yes, I can replace systemd and I can remove the Zoriny things like Flatpak and Snap. But I cannot seem to figure out how to install the Jet Engine that Zorin OS does. I bluntly asked Artyom Zorin about it once, even... But he didn't really answer.

Your experience has been different than mine and I suspect it comes down to Graphics Drivers - Which to use, which to choose is a tricky venture at the very least. Some distros go for the cutting edge that works well on newer systems whereas Zorin OS goes for Tried-n-true. I do not use Nvidia or massive AMD graphics cards so... I never deal with those issues.

I really appreciate how well you worded and expressed this. This has been a thorn in the paw of Zorin OS users for quite some time. Although I continued to attempt to help users on the forum, there have been long stretches of me posting here without being on Zorin OS at all.
I returned to Zorin OS with the introduction of Zorin OS 16 Alpha/ Beta and the Beta has impressed me a great deal. The Z16 Beta shows that the Zoringroup listened, even if they did not speak and that matters as much as speaking does. More, really... as anyone might speak a response without really hearing you or caring about what you had to say.
ZorinGroup seems to post Notices on Twitter... that Zorin OS users then relay here. That bothers me a bit more.

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I agree with that, it's good they listened but I would've liked to be informed about what we want, what we like, etc. Even if they had a topic asking about new features and letting users know "Your idea has been taken into account - thanks for your feedback!" would've been a great way for users to know they were being listened to.

I get that the devs likely want to create hype and surprise everyone with the new release, but I still strongly believe the devs should not be silent. We need to be at least told that we are being listened to, instead of feeling like the devs have gone on holiday and are ignoring us. That's how it felt, at least to me.

Even their posts there don't really contain a lot of info. Look in the replies and you'll see the devs barely ever respond to questions, again leaving users feeling ignored.

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Not just you... I have often felt that way, expressed that and so have many others.
I am a member of this forum at this time and a current user of Zorin OS. I will note the praises of Zorin OS that they are due, and that is often. I will note that Zorin OS is even worth paying for.
But this issue- is a Very Big One. I had noticed your sudden lack of participation on the board. But that is not very unusual... Kabuki-kai will also vanish for months at a time. Some folks spend less time on Discussion boards.
If you are stating this as a factoring reason in no longer using Zorin OS - I hope your message echoes like a thunderclap in the ZorinGroup home office.

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You've answered so many user questions here and have helped so many people with their Zorin troubles that, at one time, I thought you were part of the Zorin dev team. :smiley:
I'll admit, however, that at this moment I'm not reading and posting to the forum from my Zorin Lite OS.

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That's another one! The Discourse Moderator Robot LOL!
Fortunately, recommendations for (live) moderators and level 4 members have been submitted to the ZorinGroup for review or approval and ZorinGroup has replied to that.

I also do it from a Shop for a large part of the time - as well as moderating a Science Forum (Very different user I.D.). I've heard that before... I was accused of being the Forum Administrator a couple of times, too. And more than once -of being a BOT. :smiley: Not sure I could take that offensively lol. New stuff alerts my phone, too. I spend more time heading to the computer than sitting at it. But late at night - I am usually theme building or making an iconset enjoying some quiet time in the AC and more active on the forum.
I am a fortunate person in that my family and I all work together in the same place. This allows me a certain luxury in being able to monitor and post far more often than I normally might. I am the only Active Member and Poster in the house (I hold no truck with Sock Puppetry) but some of that which I post is suggested or recommended from across the entire household.
Customers have often seen the Shop Computer, decked out in the theme I created for it, running Zorin OS and ask about it. I actually talk about Linux with Mechanical customers quite frequently. (Sidenote and FAQ - is Linux used in Cars. No.)

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That's cool that they're interested about it, I'm attending a course tomorrow for Linux users (mostly new users as far as I can tell) so I'll be able to show off my decked out setup and help some users there. I also wanted to go since I enjoy meeting new people and talking about Linux. Hopefully there'll be a few people there.

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Yes, I do as well. That's one of the reasons I left it, as well as the others listed above. I'm sure this will bounce around enough that it reaches the Zorin devs, and hopefully they take action on this and apologise at the very least. I don't expect them to bend over backwards for their users, but I would like them to be more open with users.

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Feren O/S may be worth a look see - they seem to make customisation and standardistion easy without looking under the hood - just a thought.

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Just looking at the minimum system requirements posted on the Feren website..... a recommended 20 to 50GB of hard drive space?! Holy cow!

It reminds me a lot of Elementary OS.

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20GB for a 64-bit OS is like the bare minimum these days, you need to leave free space on root - and it's also a good idea to have a separate /home partition (or have it on ZFS.) Not sure why 20GB would be considered "beyond the pale" for a modern distro install when 500GB SSDs aren't exactly expensive anymore.

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Not to me. Just sounds like too much bloat and forces me to unnecessarily having to upgrade equipment that is perfectly fine as is. But that's the world we live in today. No sense of frugality or conservation... just go get more!

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