The Road to Zorin 16

This thread assumes the purpose of discussing active developments of Zorin 16 along with updates to it. It is not for the purpose of "when" or expressing concerns- that thread already exists.

As several of us have been sent a preliminary copy of an unstable Zorin 16 "alpha", not ready for production; (Please do not share or try to distribute); we can discuss our findings here and compare notes. Later on, perhaps this thread can be used to cover changes and upcoming improvements or features.

For now: I will start with flaws.

Scroll wheel direction is reversed. Scroll up for down and down for up. This is terrible. Utterly the opposite of normal.

To fix this:

Open System tools > Settings > Mouse and Touchpad: Click the toggle switch for "Natural Scrolling" to "Off".
Mouse Natural Scrolling should not default to On, IMO.

prtscn key does not take a screenshot.
Zorin Appearance > Themes is a bit odd. It does not show the themes, but rather, individual color settings. This could be an improvement. But it also may confuse.

The copy I have is not lite- it is Gnome. I hate Gnome. I really hate Gnome.
When Zorin 15 was released, I was not impressed.
So, I am a hard audience to please. I am critical and I am starting this out with a Bias against the very desktop environment.

Yet, this copy of Z16 actually makes Gnome more tolerable. Major improvements have been made to the Panel (Taskbar) making it much more user friendly, available on multiple monitors and configurable with an easy to access Settings window. This is not in Ubuntu 20.04; I know this because I already tried it.
Software Channel provides a Clear Source right in the toolbar of the package being installed. This is a drop down menu. Scroll down (Or Up?!) to view all sources. On mine, for several packages I looked at, "Zorin OS" is listed as a source.
There's a Lot of Snap - and this worries me. A Lot. What oh, What is canonical up to.
But I consider this to be a stark and huge improvement to the Software Store.

The Zorin App menu > System Tools > is improved and also has Boot Repair.

There is supposed to be a Photo Editor included that allows fast editing without running Gimp. And... I cannot find it. Anywhere. All photos open in default Photo Viewer (a build of Eye of Gnome). No editing.
Gimp is the latest version- and I do mean the latest. For me, this is a huge bonus. OK... Well, I usually just install it from source, not the repo, in order to have... But it is great to not have to.

Prior to this, I have been running Ubuntu 21.04 Interim OS. This is not entirely stable and is an interim, so only supported for 9mos. Not LTS. However, it has allowed me to run and test a lot of the newest stuff.
I had lost any anticipation for Z16, as many of you know. I figured, I would just stick to Ubuntu 21.04 or my own home built OS (that only a few of you know existed til I blurted it out here).
But running Zorin 16 Alpha unstable through a USB bottleneck (through a HUB, at that) should be snail-slow. It isn't. I will probably install this build for further testing... And since KDE connect is a viable and working alternative to ZorinConnect am actually feeling enthusiasm for Zorin 16 Lite. I still hate Gnome. Even improved Gnome.

EDIT: Cannot find "Software & Updates" app in app menu.

EDIT 2: Conky-manager repo for Z16:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tomtomtom/conky-manager

EDIT 3: I have installed the Unstable Zorin OS 16 alpha to a 60gig partition on HDD (a bit risky). I have now tested zsh, cinnamon and various other features on it successfully, with the latest packages available.

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Finally got the 16 downloaded. In it now. So far, you were right, the trackpad natural scrolling has to go. Makes things difficult. I noticed that when I disable it on both mouse and trackpad the animation of the scroll is jumpy. The animation jumps suddenly. Does more like a three line jump than single line, but I haven't messed with the scroll speed for the touchpad yet. It's not as visually smooth as when one is still in natural. It seems to disable to scroll ability after scrolling a time or two, if both are natural off. Touchpad becomes unresponsive to scroll (two - finger). Enabling edge scrolling only allows for a scroll or two and stops responding, without errors. I also attempted to enable persistence, editing grub file with --persistent flag, and it hasn't worked. When I hit the try zorin button or close the dialogue box with the "x" it gives a can't find link error, then goes into xserver couldn't idle channel 2, something like that. I'll get pictures and post them from my phone. Also, if you press ctl + c in the boot process where it is getting the checksum it continues to 75% regardless before exiting. If people use zorin as persistent usb the checksum will change anyway, correct? At first boot I can understand, but is there a way to disable it after the first? Still going through it. I did notice that the refresh rate automatically is set to the highest permitted. I guess it's understandable to show off Zorin's pretties. But must you change the brightness to full? 70 or 80% should be enough. Isn't the brightness setting recorded in the bios, or is that OS specific also? More to come.

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Moving the taskbar to the left or right sides of the screen elongates the zorin icon, only the zorin icon, like there is too much padding added to the sides. Reminds me of ascii art. In taskbar settings behavior tab has a setting to allow favorites on secondary panels, but there is no way to create a secondary panel on a single monitor.

Why did they change from snap to flatpak? It's a completely different market, that's why the improvement in appearance.

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This is known and Azorin had warned us of the known bugs they are fixing. I think the only reason we are seeing this alpha build is the recent thread - otherwise, they would not have let us see this in this early state.

Both were always available. Z16 adds Flatpack as default supported.

What strikes me the most is that this and other changes such as Software Channel showing the Source clearly and unavoidably in the toolbar; The lack of user friendliness in gnome-panel being addressed with an array of settings; These show that many of the issues we have discussed on the forum have been heard. That ZorinGroup was working on it.
Perhaps they did not say anything because they wanted certainty they Could address these with extensions. But, I believe they should have put that on a Roadmap. We all know that not everything planned can be implemented. Learning after the fact left everyone frazzled.
But it is great that these were heard and addressed and I think these are exceptionally great additions to Zorin OS, especially for new-comers that find the Taskbar / Panel baffling.

This is an interesting point: Those of us on the forum are kind of stuck with having to learn all this new stuff in order to help others. This is not unusual, but it is a bit sudden or a lot all at once. Hopefully, newcomers with patience will arrive.
I could swear I saw that availability, but would need to log into the Z16 tester to check.

The different layouts offer additional taskbars, but one cannot be added. I'm sure this will come to the forum as to why another can't be added in a specific layout.

I did breeze through the known issues, but I am mentioning things as I see them, sometimes the known issues escape me. I'll try to be more efficient and only list things that were not covered as known in the future.

But the issue for the zorin button, taskbar says small...I think they might want to know it's elongated, or only half visible as it currently is.

how do you do a screenshot?

I started this thread so we do not have to PM the ZorinGroup and they can read all collected observations in one place easily. So all observations help and if they already know of something, they can gloss over it.
I was trying to be reassuring to you, not tell you to not to.
txt spk, u kno. Can be hard to really convey full meaning.

Yes, I noticed Prtsc was not tied into it, too. Kinda annoying, though it can be added to the keyboard shortcuts in the usual way.
Otherwise, type "screenshot" into the app menu and the gnome-screenshot application will be offered.

I tried another workspace, but I'm curious. When you click the workspace icon to switch it shows you the workspaces in the top right corner of the screen.

Shouldn't this be near the icon, for convenience. It was a minute before I noticed them in the right side. Had to hunt it down. It also breaks your flow while going through things on the taskbar. Could it appear similar to an application showing the open windows from the taskbar?

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This is the errors i get when i click try zorin or close the install dialog box.

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I guess video codecs have yet to be included? Tried an .api and it complained about a codec, but in the software page it said remove, not install...

and .mp4

Man, you guys have been hitting the Alpha testing like crazy! I'm really hoping that the Zorin Dev's appreciate, cause you guys are going full force on it lol.

I really hope that Zorin OS 16 does not default to putting the panel on the left side of the screen, cause I hate that. The panel needs to be at the bottom of the screen.

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No, it's at the bottom...that's just my preference.

We wanted to participate. They answered, finally, so we are giving it a run for it's money.

It is quick for a gnome distro. Xubuntu was slower than this, and this is on usb yet. I'll wait till beta to install on hard drive.

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Same. It is quick.
I just did a simple test by highlighting all the images in my Pictures directory and then "open in Gimp". This is an evil act.
On the old, this would take a while. On this alpha, they just blipped into existence at about 1/15th of a second between each. I've never seen Gimp load that many images in one go so fast.
For making Icon sets, etc... this is a real boon.

EDIT: i should point out, I already did this test in Ubuntu 20.04 and in Ubuntu 21.04 and it is much slower. I should probably video this. Whatever ZorinGroup knows that we do not know is definitely their advantage.

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I was surprised how fast gimp loaded...and libreoffice. and they included evolution!!!!!!

It's a shame that the videos aren't working. I was attempting an evilness as well...two movies, and youtube and access gimp and office...there's some strain. My hardware can take, but it looks like the distro can too

Interesting! I have literally caused GIMP to error out on loading too many high resolutions photo's, on older distro. But this is cause I ran out of RAM, and thats with 16GB of RAM believe it or not.

See, thats why I say, when it comes to serious production work, you really do need at least 32GB of RAM, otherwise your work will be really bottlenecked by your hardware.

For testing, you could just install the needed codecs.

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Zorin has always incl. Evolution, I think. Well... always as far back as 12 lol...

I am using 16gigs RAM, now. Prior to this new machine, I was on 8gigs. All those icon sets and Themes you saw before- made on that.

59 pictures in less than a minute...wow. No, it used to come with thunderbird i believe.

32Gb of ram...

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Yes, having plenty of RAM most certainly helps. I can't wait to experience it with my new machine lol.

I have a feeling I might know the magic that Zorin OS 16 is doing in the background as far as speed. Since OS 16 is newer, it being based on Ubuntu 20.04, means it should be working with newer hardware.

The point being, new CPU's have newer instruction sets, are more effecciently in their offhandling to memory and fourth. Also, you have more cores and threads.

If OS 16 was designed to make fuller use out of newer CPU's, well there's your answer fellas, on why OS 16 is faster. I wouldn't put it past the Zorin team to enhance Ubuntu further, cause thats what they do.

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I know they backported a higher gnome-shell. But... As I already said, Ubuntu 20.04 (direct) and 21.04 are slower.

Compare it against Pop_OS!, then?

Yes, 32GB of RAM on POP OS is gonna be so fast, it be like when Marty got the Delorean to 88MPH, we saw some serious BEEP.

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Font package not included...corrupt data? Got blocks instead of text. I'd upload a screenshot, but it's to large...probably the background.

Edit:

it was