Zorin OS 16.1 experience and why I now use zorin background in Windows for now

I recently installed Zorin OS 16.1 on a Thinkpad T430s (i7-3520, Nvidia NVS5200 GPU, 16GB RAM, Intel ax210 Wifi) to check what Linux can do for me today (Haven't really used Linux since 1997). Congrtulations it is a very important effort and I am glad you can actually purchase the pro edition. I want to even though I am not using it!

For me there are a few Linux distractions that prevent me from enjoying Linux, albeit not directly fault of Zorin.

I use my computers either as a Media consumption device and spend most of my time in Firefox/Anydesk, or on my office Laptop I run Outlook, Office, Visio and fire up some VM from time to time in Hyper-V.

I am providing my feedback based on the first use case.

I notice right away, with Linux, there is no obvious way to undervolt of overclock your CPU, tools like throttlestop or XTU are unavailable.

I installed JRiver 29 which I use as media viewer on Windows, which I happen to have Linux license. Playing back 480p content was not smooth, choppy, unwatchable, and the sound was terrible.

So I installed Nvidia 400-level device drivers as suggested by the author or JRiver, the machine becomes a zombie, and goes into a crash loop each time it tried to start X, which is does automatically, and no way to avoid.

I could find no command line method to revert back from the Nvidia drivers, the whole stack of X applications seems to be re-linked in the process, wow, how terrible. (again not directly fault of Zorin)

A simple way to back down Nvidia drivers were never a problem in Windows, and if all goes unwell DDU is there to help.

I resort to reinstall Linux.

After reinstalling windows I install Nvidia 390 drivers instead. Jriver Video is still choppy unwatchable, sound is horrible.

What is the GPU utilization? I notice Linux does not have a comprehensive task manager like Windows. I try to download and research ways to plot the GPU utilization, but my GPU driver is too old for the recomended tool. In Windows, task manager never complained my GPU is too old to show utilization.

I want to find a task manager for Linux, that also shows actual CPU frequency, very problematic, most graphical tools merely lists utilization, like it is 1999.
On Windows I use Open Hardware Monitor. It lists compatibility with Linux. I follow the Installation guide for Ubuntu 20, but it ultimately fails when I am unable to installing mono.

The sound. Laptop audio is unbearable under Linux. I see many suggestions changing the speakers. Alsthough most probably a DSP profile would sort the issues in Linux if one existed!

I install a DSP framework for Linux audio. I add a few filters to make audio slightly better and notice that playing audio is now taking 50% CPU.

So I stopped the DSP application.

I then decided I wanted to view some pictures stored on on the disk.

I type xv, xv is not part of zoriun/ubuntu. The normal photo viewer is trying to mimic the worst aspects of the windows photo viewer so I try to install xv. Eventually I installed it through snap. Now xv starts, but all files give to it to view fails with "file not found" error message.

In desperation I try to copy the jpg to the windows drive, which is mapped dynamically. Of course the Windows FS is read only, I cannot write to it from Linux. I am god, so I enter 'mount -o remout,rw' xxx trying to make ir writable.

Of course only root can do that.

Again, as root, it seems the dynamic Windows fs mapping is not handled as a regular file system mount, so I cant "mount" anything..

In desperation I share the image over Facebook messenger and reboot into Windows.

In my case, Linux does not make your old laptop faster or better, quite to contrary, it is unusable as a media consumption device for me, video stutters and audio is awful. Where in Windows, it works "perfectly".
Tips for improving audio takes to much CPU or involvs changing laptop speakers, seriously.. It is not the fault of the speakers. Linux users are missing out on Laptop audio big time.

I miss out on visibility into system resource usage, I cant under-volt or overclock.

X11 can hang and there is no way to easily change/update graphics driver apart from complete re-installation.

So while Zorin OS looks absolutely beautiful, Ubuntu and Linux does not provide the same level productivity as Windows, especially not for some older devices Like my laptop.

If Zorin is willing to invest in Laptop audio experience that would make a huge step in a much better user experince compared to slackware.

Why is installing apps, that should be so simple, so complicated and fragmented?

I had no issue with core functionality of Zorin, graphics, Wifi, sleep etc worked out of the box.

I wish the ubuntu installer was a little better in regards to keeping several OS:s in the same disk. keeping Zorin on its own drive works perfectly though.

Just remember, nVidia drivers are proprietary, and I personally have had nothing but problems with them - I prefer the free nouveau drivers for nVidia graphics - not always possible when you have a Notebook that has Intel/nVidia merged hardware.
As for Task Manager it is called System Monitor (in KDE it is KSystemGuard) but is still actually System Monitor!:


You can also get information if you install 'Stacer':

Re overclocking

1 Like

Thanks for that info I loved Stacer on Win but never knew it was available for Zorin .... just installed it and did a quick look at all the goodies .... think I will add that to my taskbar .... well it already added it for me .... :+1:

1 Like

Thank you for a constructive reply.
I just want to share that indeed, I started out with nouveau drivers, but my JRiver 29 app would not work properly, hence the upgrade (in vain, JRiver looked exactly the same with Nvidia drivers). Since it it not easy to get out of the Nvidia drivers i left them as is.

As for system monitor and Stacer, they all share the problem they only show CPU utilization percentages, percentages of what? I like to know if my CPU is running at correct speed. Especially since frequnecy is dynamic and there could be throttles to keep it low. For me, percentages no longer cuts it on its own.

Corefreq seems to provide the closest functionality I was looking for, why can't it be integrated with System Monitor and Stacer?? I will certainly try it. Just too bad it requires a kernel modification.

kitsunyan/intel-undervolt

Seems to be able to undervolt the CPU and provide some of the power management features. Although I could not spot overclocking or ignoring PROCHOT. (Thinkpad P51 will always throw PROCHOT on battery no matter what, preventing it from running fast than 800MHz, so I always embed throttlestop running as a daemon on those machines.)

Thank you, I wil boot into Zorin again and try some of these tools.

swarfendor437
Can you try installing mono or Open System Monitor on your setup? Maybe I am clumsy but I could not get it to install. I am running into issues.

I have Mono installed on my Zorin OS 16 using this method:

Great, I managed to get Mono installed using the guide provided. Strange that we can not right click in file manager and select open with "mono"?
Anyway Mono Openhardware monitor was meaningless as no sensor information was available.

As I understand Mono, it is not a standalone application, but an API that applications and software use.
Not the best analogy... But you might consider it like a language like Python or Java. You can install Java and Python on Zorin OS, but not necessarily "Open with Java".
You can open a java file using other software, however, that uses Java in order to operate and communicate.

Never quite got my head round github and how to install packages from there: