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Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:41 pm
by Del369
My last install was Zorin OS 9 Ultimate, that was my first Linux OS and I got to know her over 2 years and grew to love her and all of her quirks, like:-

The Monitors that just didn't want to be told which was primary, ever.
The USB 3 drive I had to buy an on/off switch for and split the cable because it couldn't be seen on a cold boot (but was fine on a system restart or any Windows os)
The NVidia tearing issue that ruined any and all videos unless I manually used the "metamodes force pipeline full" (or however it went) workaround at every boot.
A minute or more to boot
At least 30 seconds to shutdown.
Some wierd screwey Pulse issue I never did get fully resolved.
The regular system freezes/lockups that needed a reboot.

Overall though she served me well and taught me much, and then two weeks ago I learned that her little sister was released OS 12, so I logged in and scored a copy of Ultimate, backed up my home folder and some other stuff and took the plunge overwriting OS 9, I've been using her for about 2 weeks now and I have to say I'm smitten, though it wasn't all roses and long walks on the beach from the start by a long shot.

So here's my first impressions:-

The Good.
Etcher - wonderful, pretty much followed the instructions and it worked like a charm (much much easier than Unetbootin when I installed OS9)
Monitor positions - this alternates between 2 and 3 of them, under OS11 it was done by 2 different scripts, when I forgot them my primary monitor would always be the one I didn't want. Now I re-ordered their positions in settings, once for normal use and once for when I take a monitor away and use it for working and OS 12 not only remembers their positions over reboots she also adjusts and remembers how I want it depending on the situation 2 or 3 monitors, and she has no doubts which is the primary monitor either.
The elusive USB3 drive, this was a welcome suprise, I did a lot of research into this and saw lots of posts that strongly suggest it's related to a hard coded sleep function, basically the USB cable won't initialise unless replugged into a fully booted system, but not on OS 12, she picks it up on boot every time no problem.
The NVidia tearing issue - Actually fixed by NVidia in the 370 drivers and newer (gksu nvidia-settings look for advanced setting and the apply metamodes checkbox per desired monitor) sorted, no more ruined videos.
The new themes, love the dark green theme, it's not just the look, it's the feel, there's something sleek and sexy that OS9 was somehow missing.
Cairo Dock, love it, with reservations, see below.
Nemo file manager replaces the horribly castrated Nautilus (see below) this is amazaing even has a terminal built into the file manager (see WebUPD's full installation instructions)
Stability - overall she's fantastic, once she's up and past the login screen she's rock solid.
Way quicker at booting (20 secs ish) and at shutting down (10secs ish)
The new integration of installing downloaded packages through the GDebi (if I'm not mistaken) also directly integrated into the browser simplifies things a lot.
That weird assed Pulse issue is no more.
General App intergration like Firefox, Chromium, Thunderbird, Compiz, Skype, Kodi, Libre Office, the .pdf viewer etc all work flawlessly.

The Bad.
And oh this one is bad, the login prompt, login and your back to the login prompt, one way that got me through it was deleting the saved user dconf profile from terminal (ctrl-alt-f1) and restarting the lightdm service, this was great till it wasn't, but luckily I use Timeshift (highly recommended) for backups, but with both of these I lost my desktop profile, it's a minor hindrance and solved by manually adding "user\share\icons and user\share\themes to Timeshift's list of files to backup and I also take a full copy of \etc\*.* as well, since doing this I get everything back.
Linked to the above the issue actually looks to be related to Cairo dock, I haven't traced down exactly what yet but I'm suspecting themes at this point.
I did have one or two system freezes in the beginning but they seem to have gone now, they certainly aren't a cause for concern at this point.
Nautilus - Oh what did they do to Nautilus? there's not even any workable settings now, completely useless and completely discarded on this system.

The Fugly.
Sorry Docky you were amazing under OS9 but Cairo has definitely stolen your crown now, simply put it just doesn't work well with OS 12 (16.04)

I realise most of the above is Ubuntu 16.04 related but it does all directly relate to the Zorin OS 12 user experience and all in all the user experience (from my POV) is fantastic, I love it, combined with Timeshift to pull me back from the brink of disaster in under 7 minutes (and because of this unresolved Cairo Dock issue I have had to use it a good few times)

All in all I'm a VERY happy camper. so 9.5/10 :D

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:05 am
by Swarfendor437
I was a bit gob smacked by some ot the things you quoted above Del369 - like you got Compiz working or was that only after you installed Cairo Dock? I can't get it to work at all on Default or Zorin Desktop.
The issue with Cairo Dock is that it could well be down to the fact that there have been no updates since 2013 (See the notice right at the bottom of the page as a clue:

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:57 am
by star treker
Good post, I too have a love hate relationship with Zorin Os 12. And I know exactly what you mean about nautilus, its like a dummied down shell manager. You can't get sharing to work no matter what you do, and it won't let you alter sharing permissions. Why have a GUI if you can't even use it? BTW, I have that screen tearing issues with my Nvidia graphics as well, and even despite the fact I am running the exact driver version meant for my system version 304.

I never heard of the metamodes I think you called it so I have no clue as to what or where that is. I will say this though, in the Nvidia Xserver Settings app, the place where its supposed to be loaded with settings for your graphics card, including the option to set it to only use high performance Nvidia GPU? All of those settings are missing. So I feel pretty screwed on that, oh well, life goes on.

I gave a review of Zorin myself, of course after the recent networking issues regarding it, I ended up settling on a star rating of 3 out of 5. Zorin OS 12 could have been awesome, but its just ok.

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:04 pm
by Del369
Damn I had a nice reply for you guys and lost it.

Yes Swarf, Compiz was before Cairo, but I hit the login prompt before Cairo to I think, only deleting the dconf user profile got me through the first time, after that I made sure I backed up with Timeshift after each successful boot (they only take a couple of minutes as they are incremental anyway) I didn't know Cairo was done I thought they picked it up again, thanks for the info.

OS12 with Timeshift.jpg

and Star, I'd advise make a backup, then install the 375 drivers (as long as your card is compatible) reboot, backup, then do a gksu nvidia-settings click advanced on the following screen and apply the fix per monitor, reboot and make a backup and you should be set :mrgreen: :-

NVidia XServer Settings.jpg

Couldn't agree more on Nautilus, that was going to be a deal breaker before I came across nemo, so glad I didn't have to go back.

She's a definite 9.5 :D

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:59 pm
by star treker
Ya, I can't run any of the latest drivers for my system, especially under linux, I've already tried and it bricks the system. And I think its because I am using an older driver, might be the reason why all those settings are missing in my Nvidia settings GUI. Even after typing in the terminal code you suggested, its still missing a lot of stuff so ya, might be driver version related. I'm just going to have to live with it for now.

Now you mentioned Nemo, such a cute name, named after Finding Nemo I am most certainly sure lol. Either that, or Captain Nemo LOL :P So I take it its a file manager shell like Nautilus. What do you do just install Nemo onto the computer and use that instead? Or do I have to remove Nautilus first, before I can install Nemo?

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:53 pm
by Del369
I just followed these instructions, i did replace Nautilus, but I didn't try to uninstall it as there are more than likely dependencies that the OS relies on.

Install Nemo with Unity patches in Ubuntu

Don't forget make a quick backup before you do anything :mrgreen:

For the driver that is what you are attempting to install, it is feasible that it needs to have something in between before getting on newer drivers, or it could be the hardware simply isn't up to it, so what Video Card do you have? and what System? (make/mode)l or Motherboard/Processor/Ram types?

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:01 pm
by star treker
Acer V3-771G I7 Quad 2.2GZ - 3GZ Turbo 16GB RAM, Nvidia 640M Video 512GB SSD Zorin OS 12 Ultimate 64-Bit

Its a hardware limitation I know it is, its a 2012 notebook, and most computers can only have between 2 to 4 driver updates before the next one BSOD's the system. I was able to get the 352 driver to mostly work well under Zorin OS 9. But something about Zorin OS 12 causes your OS to be bricked if you install such drivers. Thats when I had Zorin's premium support help to locate the right driver for my Nvidia graphics and it turns out it was the older 304 legacy drivers.

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:32 pm
by Del369
Wow I've never heard of that before, well firstly I wouldn't say it's old, it looks like a beast :) I'm running 2008 gear and it's running fine albeit the graphics card is about 2 years old.

Re your graphics woes I did come across this thread:-

From that it looks like you have 2 graphics cards, Intel and NVidia and the Intel side 'might' be loading and failing (from the thread above) and I know that they do develop driver packages for these twin video card systems, you might want to look at Bumblebee drivers and see what their progress is with 16.04, I don't envy you that task though it does look like quite the learning curve, but your laptop looks great and if your determined and know how to get out of seeming bricked situations........ :)

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:01 am
by star treker
Ya, you know how you get out of bricked situations? Redo Backup! I can't say this enough people, backup your computer, seriously, it aint no joke. If I counted how many times I have lost a computer due to virus's or something I did, it make your head spin. Use Redo backup, to backup your entire drive. Then when something bad happens that you can't get access to your computer no matter what, then use Redo Backup to restore your drive to the previous state, which also means make backups often with Redo, as in once a month if you make lots of changes to your system, software wise, and your data.

Infact, when last I was figuring out the video driver situation, I did brick the system again, but because I had a Redo backup, I restored the backup and I was back and running without having to do a reinstallation of the OS, apps, and configurations. And for the record, you are correct, my system is favoriting the Intel GPU. And for some reason the driver didn't install prime profiles in the Nvidia X Server Settings app, which is why most of the c*** is missing in there. And when I try to use the terminal command for switching to Nvidia GPU, it throws an error, because Prime profiles is not installed.

I honestly hate the fact that Acer put two GPU's in this thing. I know why they did it, because when the system would switch to Intel GPU, it saves on battery usage considerably. And when Windows 7 was on the computer, it was able to auto negotiate when that happens seemlessly, that is before the BSOD's started out of nowhere. Truth is, I bought this as a gaming machine, not just for its portability. Its capable of playing Fallout 4 at between 20FPS to 30FPS, and thats saying something. And as such, I forced the machine to high performance mode, as I had no need for the crappy Intel GPU, which can only handle HD streaming tasks respectively.

But alas, my system favorites the bleeping Intel GPU, with no way to force it to use Nvidia GPU so I am pretty screwed. Take a lesson on this, not everything is perfect on Linux. If you expect to switch between Windows to Linux and that everything will be rosy, then you expected too much. There is work involved, and a little more terminal then I'd like. However, I don't mind learning a little bit as I go. I just don't like for important things to go wrong, sorry to say, I consider the Nvidia GPU to be a very important thing that I need. Thanks for the link, I will be checking it out now.

Re: Zorin OS 12 Ultimate - The Good the Bad and the Fugly.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:15 am
by star treker
Alright so here's an update, I decided that a sacrifice had to be made to get better performance, and I knew full well what it was going to do in the process. So here's the good news, I followed a recommendation on a Ubuntu website to purge my current 304 drivers, and then to get and update to the 367 drivers. Which of course since its one of the newer drivers, it comes with prime profiles. Which as I expected, fixed not only the issue I had with missing options in the Nvidia X Server Settings App, but it also allowed me to finally once again utilize my Nvidia GPU! Testing in Doom, perfect performance!

But here is the bad news and where the sacrifice was made. There is a bug that for some stupid bleeping reason, has not been fixed yet. Its a bug with Nvidia prime and Linux. So once prime has been installed, it messes with your kernal, and your display. So that when you get to the login screen, its all f**** up. And when you login in, for about 2 seconds you get graphics that scare you that your computer has taken a dump, but then wala the desktop is loaded.

If you installed a custom curser which I did Comix Cursers, you will then notice that your custom curser only shows when viewed over the panel, and in apps, but now when hovering over the desktop, your curser changes to default. And you will also noticed that all of Zorin extensions are off. You gotta turn them all back on, and you got to turn user themes back on too. See what I mean? It totally fu*** with your desktop and login, its a pretty nasty bug.

You can see why I restored my system after the last time this happened cause I was just too freaked out I couldn't handle it. But its either just bleeping deal with it, and whenever a program error message pops up, deal with that too. All this to be able to use my Nvidia high performance GPU. Or, restore the system again to going back to POS graphics with no acceleration, but more system stability, see thats the trade off. To be honest, I wish I could have both, but this is Zorin Linux were talking abotu here, it wasn't optimised properly, this much is clearly obvious.

I might be switching to Ubuntu Mate in the future, I've been hearing nothing but excellent things about it, and I just got a feeling that its going to work right from the box for me. I say this because the guy who has been recommending it as his number 1 OS for over a year now, and still uses it, says he has had no problems with it, not even once. Thats amazing, cause I have had lots of problems with Zorin.

I'm sorry, but being able to use my Nvidia GPU is peramount, as the Intel GPU can't do nothing but HD streaming. Big woopdy do, it can't game for c***, and It takes a century to render a video in Kdenlive with the Intel GPU. I still think I made the right choice, but the costs just give me such a nasty taste in my mouth, like a bad Saturday night with the wrong girl.