Other software - canonical partners

I was checking the update settings and found out that in the “Other Software” tab, the option “Canonical Partners” wasn’t checked. Is it good or bad to check it? what are the benefits of checking/unchecking it?

also, bonus question. I’ve seen in some places as recommendations or best practice to use the main server in “Zorin Software” tab. as default the server of my country was selected. what’s the aftermath of it?

We always recommend setting source to “Main Server” rather than a country server.
I don’t have an answer to the “Canonical Partners” tick box, only to say I do not have that ticked myself. I don’t know if that is good or bad, just never ticked it.

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Canonical Partners are proprietary software source code repositories. These are almost always free, but not Open Source.
They have been tested by Canonical, but are closed to development as they are commercial third party code.
If you check it to on, it may give you access to slightly more software than you have available. There is nothing bad about checking it and nothing really bad about not checking it.
Much of what is there is also available in a different version in the main Ubuntu repo. For example, Google Cloud and Skype are available on both, with the Canonical partners version being the closed source third party provided version.
For some, that is concerning since third party closed source code cannot be fully inspected. For this reason, default is to have it unchecked.

Why I recommend switching to “Main Server” instead of the country or regional server: I have noticed that when set to a regional server, it is not unusual for a user to experience missing packages when they try to install something. It happens often enough to be noticeable, but should not happen at all- the claim is that all servers contain the same content. The experience is something different.
In addition to this, the Main Server is the first one updated. All other servers are then updated based on a timer, which means that if you are using a server at the bottom of the list, then you may miss out on updates.
Using a local server should offer a faster download speed. But for many, it is not enough to be noticeable and given the above, preferable to use the Main Server given the risks vs speed.

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That is a fair reason not to check it. I am happy with the default setting :smiley:

Software Store itself is another story. After a Zorin update last week and reboot, I had what I consider normal view of Software store with ad’s for “Weather” etc instead of “Amazon EKS”, but that lasted only one day, until next reboot. Now back to the “Amazon EKS” ad, and large number of Snaps on display, which seem to get precedence over apt installs. It is now a case of searching for the latter.
My experience of Software Store, which I was happy to use when I started on Zorin 12, is much depleted. I wonder if normal service will resume with Z16 or whether this obsession with Snaps gaining even more traction.

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This is my fear. Not for me personally as I can handle most installations just fine. But Canonical is getting M$ Maniacal.

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another question. don’t want to create another ticket since I am doing a lot.
what happens with old linux kernels after an update installs a newer version?

They are set to the side- This is good in case the newer version has an issue and you need to rollback to the previous kernel. If they have sat to the side a while and you are confident that the latest kernel runs with no issues, you can run in terminal

sudo apt clean

sudo apt autoremove

to get rid of older kernels.

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Here is a good example of where Closed Source is closing in on FOSS, Free Open Source.
Chromium.

Chromium is an Open Source project for a versatile and modern browser.
Google took Chromium and developed the Closed Source Goofle, I mean Google Chrome.
Some Linux users prefer the Open Source original- Chromium.

So… Canonical… Took Open Source Chromium and - forced it to be a closed sandboxed Snap.

If you open your terminal on most Ubuntu Derivatives, and type in

sudo apt install chromium-browser

It will install it as a Snap- Instead. Your wishes be ignored.
You can install it from Software Store- as a snap.

And if you do as I have done and remove Snap and Snapd from your system, you cannot install it. Not normally, anyway.

I found this guide for how to install Chromium Open Source without Snap:

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now the following come in my mind: where does zorin stand in this topic? do they follow ubuntu or do they do their own thing? I have seen that a lot of apps in the software center are offered as snaps instead of flats or from the repo

Zorin OS is directed toward helping members of Linux familiarize themselves with Linux, from Windows. What the Zorin team values is Long Term Stability. Their personal feelings on topics is largely (and probably wisely) generally unknown.

Zorin OS began when as young teens, the Zorin Brothers saw how their dad struggled with trying to switch to Linux. They thought there should be a better way. They chose Ubuntu to be the base, and built their first copy of Zorin OS on that. This information is provided by an interview I read.
This has remained in place. Since the Zorin Team began, there have been many changes with Gnome, Canonical and Ubuntu. Those changes include the rise and fall of Unity, Gnomes drastic effects with the advent of Gnome 3 and the introduction of Flatpacks and Snap which violate FOSS.
While the Zorin team remains mysterious, The Mint team is… more like me. Outspoken. And I agree with Mints philosophy over-all.

For me, personally, I am not supportive of Wayland. I am unsupportive of Systemd. I am unsupportive of the breaking of FOSS in Snap and Flatpack. I abhor Gnome passionately.
As a tidbit of a clue, I read somewhere that Artyom Zorin uses XFCE on his own machine.
Given this, you would think I would be on Devuan or Mint by now. Strangely, I find I am tolerant of some of Canonicals evils that are present even in Zorin as I have, at least, managed to workaround most of those issues- such as my post about Chromium right above yours.
But I have made Honest and Eager attempts at finding another distro other than Zorin. Until now, none have run on my system as smoothly and as fast, with less CPU usage, than Zorin OS has. I have not yet figured out why Zorin OS shows better performance. And I even finally asked Azorin once… I guess I wouldn’t spill my secret fruitcake recipe.
Or maybe he doesn’t know, either LOL.
From a use of OS standpoint, Ubuntu and the Software Store are generally closer to how Microsoft Operates… and that is less desirable for some Linux users, but useful for those migrating over that are trying to find their Sea Legs.
From a Users standpoint, using Zorin as a base, I have enjoyed the advantages Zorin offers while doing a lot of heavy modification of my own.
Right now, I am on Zorin 15, running all focal repositories with gtk 3.24. Looking over my system, many of you would have trouble recognizing the bits that are still Zorin… and sadly, this sometimes even works against me when I need to test something specific to a users experiences on Zorin OS on my machine, but my modifications to my system make that harder.

I see. I personally have 3 distros on my list, number one being solus, just for the fact that it is a standalone distro (but the official apps library is a bit smaller). mint and zorin are, as for now, my second place. but I use zorin now and maybe the main reason for that is zorin connect and the wider apps list than solus. mint is also very good but it had some small design “issues” I didn’t like, mostly related to design consistency. I bought the ultimate version just to support zorin and the zorin team. but I really wish they would invest more in the zorin/ubuntu repositories than in supporting snaps. I mean, snaps are good but why offer snaps as default when there is the app in the repo. it would be good if the team behind zorin would be more transparent and give use some milestones information about what’s to be expected in the future.
hahah this conversation is taking a different path now.

but would be awesome and more than awesome if zorin somehow would become more independent, something more on its own. use the ubuntu repo (or do something like opensuse where you can use deb and rpm as if both are native). they can still keep the ubuntu dna under the hood but maybe become a rolling release distro (or where upgrades are smooth as that), and take their own path from now on… can we make a request about this? does the zorin team accept user input?

This is actually where the problem is. Ubuntu is the entity pushing the Snaps. And the apps are NOT offered in the repo; Snaps are not set as default.
Rather, Snaps are offered, ONLY. This is why I say that Snaps break the spirit of FOSS.
Moreso in that Ubuntu / Canonical had pledged in the beginning that Snaps would not replace APT - standard apps- then broke that pledge. That violation is Huge.
https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3906
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23052108
I just found this article, too:

While we asked the system to install the native package, what we actually receive is the snap. The user is given no choice, no warning. If they weren’t paying close enough attention, they wouldn’t even realize what happened. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this is subversion.

While Canonical does allow for companies to create “branded” versions of the Snap Store, it’s just a cosmetic change and doesn’t allow you to run your own server.

In addition to all this, well after the release of Snapd, it has been discovered that it is a Security hole. Just to add injury to insult:

100% Feels Like Microsoft.

I think we can all agree on this. If there was One Thing I would ever ask from the Zorin Team- Less silence.
The Zorin team makes an announcement infrequently. And we are all understanding if there is a development delay, updating users during such is one of the most important things a developer can do.
If a person is late with their rent, they are far better off keeping the landlord informed and update regularly- otherwise, the landlord is likely to be much more harsh in their judgment of your reliability as a tenant. This is true for many different fields.
I mentioned above certain modifications to my system- The stress factor in that was that I was willing to put off some projects and wait a bit for the release of Zorin 16 which comes with gtk 3.24 and so on. But with that being delayed and no updates on it ever given… I got tired of waiting and did some “upgrading” myself.

Artyom Zorin has stated in the past that they are capable of completely replacing the Ubuntu Repo.
This- makes my eyebrows raise. But it is an interesting concept, and if that includes the Debian method rather than the Canonical Method, I firmly believe that would go over VERY well with the users.

I think there is a certain difficulty in this: Zorin Ultimate.
Zorin Ultimate is how the project is funded. It is quite clear that choosing Zorin Ultimate is a way of supporting the continued development of Zorin OS. The Zorin Team does not mislead the reader nor at any time make claims that imply, suggest or outright say that Zorin Ultimate will give better Performance, Propreitary (and otherwise unavailable) software or Extra Things you otherwise could not normally get or set up on your own. You may note that the Zorin pages and Download pages are not cluttered or shady looking. They are crisp, direct and clean. It is one the strongest points in Zorins OS’s favor- your initial viewing is trustworthy.
But the Zorin Team relies on users choosing Ultimate sometimes and a Rolling Release may make it… well, less necessary, to choose Ultimate as frequently.
On Top of this, Rolling Release is not a picnic. For many, a Stable release is preferred, with Rolling Release more geared toward those willing to act as Beta Testers.

Yes, they listen. Whether they agree is another matter. This is true for many groups. let me give an example.
Hypothetically, let’s assume that the Zorin Team Hates Gnome Desktop. However, as it is an offered and dominant desktop, this causes them to think it is popular and wanted; even if they personally disagree. They will continue to offer Gnome. However, if they receive enough feedback that says differently, then they are in a better position to consider offering something different; again irregardless of their personal opinion of Gnome. The more feedback they receive, the better they know how to address these issues.
Just as we might say we would like to be updated by the Team on Releases and News, the Zorin Team could like to be Updated on User response just as much.
Many users stop talking when they get what they want out of Zorin OS, and just disappear. And many users, should Zorin offer something that they do not like and feel they could do better elsewhere, silently leave, with Zorin Team none the wiser. Feedback helps.
In fact, the Zorin Team instituted “census” a while back to try to get some information on how much Zorin OS is being used (Which can, by the way, be disabled by the user). The census does NOT gather any personal information, does not spy on you or any other nefarious activity- But it made some users nervous and claims started to appear saying that Zorin was spying on their users.
Catch-22.
The more feedback users give the Zorin Team, the better.

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yeah, a lot of the users don’t understand the importance of telemetry. they are afraid of it and don’t even bother to read what information will be gathered. and then they complain when things don’t get updated how they like. the dude “linux experiment” explained it very good in a recent video. by the way, where do I turn the telemetry on/off?

those articles about security and snaps seem a bit old. isn’t there any update?

You can sudo apt remove --purge the Zorin-os-census if you would like to opt out.

None that makes much difference. Zorin OS is built off of Ubuntu 18.04 which is older than those articles (except maybe the OMG Ubuntu one. They might share a near birthday.)

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