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_DKor 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
- 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.