Zorin OS 16 Core Frustrations - Not For Me

I've been using Zorin OS 16 Core as my daily operating system for over a week now in my quest to leave Windows 10 and dodge Windows 11, but I have decided to try something else. For posterity, I thought to leave this short list of all the niggles I've butted heads with while using Zorin, which seem to require an inordinate amount of time to research and fix for what are, really, minor UX annoyances. With Zorin OS 16 being projected as a simple and user-friendly Windows replacement these days, I don't think they should exist or at least they should be trivial to rectify for the average user.

For some background, I'm a tech enthusiast and have played with various Linux distros over the years, including brief periods of dual-booting but primarily via virtual machines. I have education and previous employment in web programming, so it's not like I'm scared of using command line tools or following complex guides for things, I just never felt that Linux was right for me on the desktop. My PC specs are:

  • ASUS TUF B560-PLUS WIFI
  • Core i5-11600K
  • 2x 16GB 3000MHz RAM
  • 12GB RTX 3060 (yes I installed Zorin with the proprietary nvidia drivers)
  • 512GB Intel 660p NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
  • 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA-III 7200RPM HDD

However, the last couple of years have seen great advancements on the desktop Linux front, along with my growing discontentment with Windows, so I thought it was time to seriously try and switch. Anyway, here's my list, and apologies in advance for each point being fairly brief:

  • I have a Logitech G910 keyboard so I installed piper / libratbag to stop it constantly vomiting rainbows at me; they don't seem to remember my keyboard LED settings or start on boot, so I have to re-do it every time I login (this may not be Zorin's fault, but the whole point of piper / libratbag is to control Logitech peripherals so it seems odd they literally forget my settings every day).
  • Setting the default system date format without changing the entire locale to en_DK or similar seems to be impossible (see my other thread purely on this topic).
  • Some system application windows don't re-open where I last closed them but do remember if they were maximised when closed, which is really annoying if I want it to be maximised on my right monitor (1920x1080) but it opens maximised on my middle and primary monitor (2560x1440).
    • This is very inconsistent as Discord and WhatsAppQT (installed from the software store) as well as the baked-in calculator app are all fine, but the software store itself and the Files app don't. The windows that don't remember where they were last closed also don't remember if I resize them; sometimes immediately forgetting their new size on close, sometimes they stay resized until after a reboot.
    • I thought it might be the "Centre New Windows" option in GNOME Tweaks, but when disabled they just tile down from the top-left corner of my primary monitor, still not remembering where I last closed them or their sizes.
  • There seems to be no setting for the default file manager to re-launch open windows on login like Windows has. I use this feature a lot and while I could learn to live without it, this alone is almost a deal-breaker for me.
  • What Zorin detects as the 1st monitor is my left screen that I have rotated to portrait; some programs launch on there instead of my middle (primary) monitor every time. The main example of this is the whatsdesk client for WhatsApp, installed from the Zorin software store, and this behaviour lead me to swap it out for WhatsAppQT.
  • Zorin's built in "night light" feature only works on my middle and right monitor, not the rotated left monitor. Even if I disable the rotation settings and reboot, still no orange tint.
  • When I first installed Zorin, despite the live environment booting from the USB using my middle screen and then setting up the monitors after installation, Zorin kept booting with the login screen on the portrait left monitor... but without rotating it! Everything was sideways and it was a nightmare. I had to copy some monitor config file from my home directory to ~gmb3 or something.
  • I have an SSD currently split in half for Windows 10 and Zorin, and a HDD for data which is formatted NTFS as originally this was a Windows-only PC. Dragging images from my the HDD using the default Files app into Discord or WhatsAppQT does not work, but if I open the image and right-click copy from the Image Viewer or copy the file to any directory in the Zorin partition then drag to Discord, it works fine.
    • Opening the file picker dialogue in Discord to manually select a file also doesn't honour Zorin's dark theme or icon settings, thought that's likely an issue with this Discord app than Zorin itself.
    • That file picker also gives "permission denied" errors when I try to navigate to the internal HDD or my NAS, which never appear in the normal Files app, but I don't know how to tell if that's an issue with the Discord app or Zorin or something else.

I think basic OS features shouldn't be this frustrating or prevalent if you truly are trying to attract average Windows users to migrate. I want the basic user experience to be smooth before I start customising things; users shouldn't have to fight for simple things like the baked-in night light not working on 1 of 3 screens, trouble sharing old files from other drives in Discord, or application windows resetting size and position every time they're opened.

This is doubly frustrating for me because I actually really like the look and feel of Zorin overall; I immediately wanted to love it the first time I logged in (after fixing my monitor positions and rotation). I just feel drained from fighting against it for over a week now, so I'm going to try something else.

I may end up coming back to Zorin and just putting up with all of this, if the alternatives aren't any smoother, but the first impression has been rather poor for me.

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The frustrations you are describing, for the most part, are almost certainly a byproduct of the fact that Zorin is built on a Ubuntu/Gnome base, that is, "upstream" issues.

Because Zorin is built on Ubuntu/Gnome, you might look at the Ubuntu support forums relating to the issues you've encountered should you decide to continue with Zorin after evaluating other distros.

I've been evaluating Zorin 16 Core for a particular use case at a railroad museum, and, like you, I like Zorin. Zorin works very well for the use case, which involves three computers using Zorin out-of-the-box linked to a LibreOffice database and no modifications at all other than to remove unneeded software.

Based on the six months I've been using Zorin for that purpose, I think that is an excellent choice for users with simple, relatively vanilla setups and simple needs migrating from Windows. During those six months, I've been diligently reading this forum, and I've come to the conclusion that, although I would have no trouble recommending Zorin to friends thinking about migrating, I'd tell them to use Zorin out-of-the-box, with no modifications other than what can be accomplished through settings, for at least 6-12 months after adoption.

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This is some very detailed feedback. A lot of people would have just moved on to something else. That you took the time to really lay out what improvements could be made and how to address them shows strong character.

Glancing over your list, I know we can solve a large number of those as some of them are issues I had first encountered in Migrating to Linux (Which was not very long ago at all).

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I'd like to say that there's no point in just complaining without detail or suggestions to improve, or that if no one points out potential issues then they'll never get fixed, but mostly it's just that I'm British and love complaining so I make it as long and detailed as possible for maximum enjoyment.

That's [mostly] a joke, I actually do believe in providing detailed feedback when making a complaint rather than staying silent or being petulant and entitled. That said, I acknowledge some of my points may not be Zorin issues (piper) and others may be personal preference (date format) rather than actual bugs, but things like window close position and size or night light only working on 2 of 3 screens are things the Zorin team - and prospective new users - need to be aware of.

On a side note, I have been booting a few other distros from USB in the last few hours to decide which one to install and test next, and encountered the same night light issue in pop!_OS while running live from USB. This could be a GNOME / Wayland issue, or even from the nvidia drivers, and might not be something Zorin can directly fix, but here's a photo showing exactly what I mean:

I don't actually have the tint set that strong in daily use, but you can still imagine how horrible it is to use the computer at night or in low-light conditions with all that bright glare coming from the left.

I suggest sticking Zorin OS 15.3 Lite on your list of Distros to try.
It's not Gnome Desktop so - again, you will find yourself in unamilair terriroty. But I find the XFCE desktop to be eeasier to configure, use and also to Remember Your Settings (Save session on logout).
Please LightDM operates with greater strength and less glitch than GDM.

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Similar boat for me. The daily frustrations simply got the best of me. It's the little things that sour me on Linux every time. And the mostly low quality/abandoned apps in the 'app store'.

That's not true. Well, not in my case. I just installed Opensuse Tumbleweed and, oh, that's right, I didn't install it. I tried to install it, but the good folks at Opensuse decided that #2 font size is the best option. Unfortunately, I don't have a telescope handy to read the installation instructions so I canned it and am still running Z16 Pro.

The fact that Opensuse can release an OS in 2021 with an unreadable installation GUI is Linux in a nutshell. I would see garbage decisions like this distrohopping in the early 2000's. Same story today.

I've relegated my Zorin box for torrenting purposes only and run my daily computing tasks on macOS which is a hundred years ahead of the Linux desktop. Do I like Apple? No. That's a hard no. In fact, I absolutely cannot stand Apple as a company. Ditto for Microsoft. But, the Linux desktop is not very good at all (I won't tell you how I really feel) so what choice do I have? You want me to run Windoze? No? Then macOS it is.

You listed having multiple options to install as somehow a problem. You elude to a large variety of problems, but don't say what the rest of them were. We cannot help you if you do not say what the problem actually was.

Having troubles or a learning curve or needing some help - these are normal. For all of us. I post on this forum seeking help and advice, too.
But this requires us to actually post what the trouble is, address solutions and examine their merit. Not just hand-wave at unstated problems.
Yes, Linux operates Differently from Windows. That is to be expected and being frustrated that you must learn a new thing or do something in a new way is also normal. Calling developers work "garbage" is not normal.

Please do not use this forum as your soapbox for your disgust with Linux as an Operating System.

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Try Feren O/S, Ultrabs - it seems to have most things covered and no Gnome. Online help from the developer too on discord.

Your case is different than the issues that @Ultrabenosaurus presented. The issues that he/she/they presented are "a byproduct of the fact that Zorin is built on a Ubuntu/Gnome base", common to Ubuntu/Gnome and derivatives.

I cannot speak to your bad experiences with OpenSUSE. I have never used OpenSUSE and (in all likelihood) never will.

But I can speak to operating systems in a general way.

Over the years, I've used a lot of operating systems at one time or another -- System/3/32/36/38, AS/400, UNIX, XENIX, OS2, PC-DOS, MS-DOS, Linux, and, of course, Windows in many varieties as it developed over the last 35 years.

Each had strengths and each had weaknesses. None was able to do exactly what I wanted to do in exactly the way I wanted to do it. Each required compromises and adjustments on my part. Some were closer than others, some not close at all.

I currently run Windows 10 on a production desktop and production laptop, Windows 11 on a test desktop, Solus OS 4.3 Budgie on a production desktop, and Zorin 16 Core on a test desktop. Like everyone else, I have issues with each of those operating systems, but I don't waste time banging my head into the wall. Over the years, I've learned to approach each operating system on its own terms, use the tools and methods embedded, leveraging its strengths and accepting its limitations.

Linux might not be a good fit for you at this time. That's something for you to decide, but given your antagonism toward the alternatives (Windows and macOS), you might consider continuing to explore Linux distros for a few days to see if one comes close enough.

If you are unwilling to consider "Windoze"** and Linux doesn't fit your requirements, then, as you say, "macOS it is". I have family and friends who swear by it, although my exposure to Apple operating systems is confined to iOS, which I really like.

===================

** As far as I am concerned, when middle-school name-calling starts, intelligent discussion has stopped.

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@tomscharbach thanks for the thoughtful reply. At this point, I'm running three computers on my desk:

Macbook Pro for everything computing.
Minisforum i5/GTX1050ti Win 10 mini pc for gaming only.
Z16 Pro on HP mini pc for torrents only.

My plan was to migrate from macOS to Linux and relpace my aging 2015 Macbook Pro with a StarBook Mk V.

The funny thing is, the only games I play are actually native to Linux (98% CS Source and 2% CS:GO), so if I could get around my daily 'Linux obstacles' I could run Linux exclusively and kick Gates & Cook to the curb.

95% of my daily workflow involves manipulating images, resizing images, and compressing images.

Manipulating images is me mostly using the 'retouch' tool in the default macOS Photos app to remove logos and other identifying marks from pictures of machinery.

Then I export those images to a folder.
I Select All and open them with Preview.
Select All within Preview and > Tools > Adjust Size > Change Width to 600px > Select All > Save.
Lastly, I drag all images into ImageOptim and I'm done.

Working with 20 - 30 images at a time I can get the job done in about 5 minutes.

Using Linux, any flavor of Linux, would mean hours of work. I'm not exaggerting -- it took me about 2 hours to do the same work but I didn't even finish. I gave up, opened up my Macbook, and got it done in no time flat.

I think I have every photo editing app available currently installed on Zorin but I haven't found anything that actually is worth using.

Regarding image compression apps that are quick and easy to use, I installed Trimage, Image Optimzer, Converseen, OpenResizer, and Squeezeimg but none of these apps are very good, some are ok, others are just terrible -- like the developer just didn't care.

The other 5% of my daily workflow involves manipulating pdf files, adding/removing content from pdf's, and signing pdf files. I can do it all quickly and easily and for free using the macOS Preview app but at this point I will have to pay for Linux pdf software to accomplish the same because every FOSS pdf tool or pdf editor I've tried is simply not very good. How's that for irony?

@ron_jeremy It sounds to me like you would be best served by replacing your old MacBook with a new MacBook, whatever you think of Apple as a company.

Macs have been the gold standard for creative visual and imaging work for the last twenty years, and for good reason -- the software is better than anything available on other platforms, and the hardware is designed to support the software.

I think that is slowly changing as software for other platforms gets better over time, but the people I know who do that kind of work still prefer Macs for the most part. Apple focused on that market segment, and it shows.

I understand that MacBook Pros with a new generation 12-core or 16-core M1 chips (as opposed to the current 8-core M1 chips) will be released later this year, and it might be worth waiting to see what the new generation looks like before buying anything.

As you observe, some FOSS software is very good, but a lot of FOSS software is just not up to standard. I've looked at a lot of different FOSS programs over the years, and the quality -- both design and function -- varies widely, and there are huge holes in the FOSS software landscape. It is frustrating.

At this stage in development, FOSS software seems too focused on the one hand, and too unfocused on the other, sometimes at the same time. It can be maddening.

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