New user feedback / experience

New user feedback / experience

Postby steven6282 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:11 am

Hello all, I wanted to come here and share my thoughts in the hopes that people that work on this distro might take a look at them.

First off, I want to say you guys are doing an amazing job on polishing the looks of linux. This is definitely the best looking desktop distro I have tried out IMO. It's not just because it imitates windows either, the level of polish on the graphics and smoothness of animations and such is well done.

That said, I really think more focus needs to be given on the behavior and usage of linux itself rather than the looks if you really want to make a easy to move into from windows distro. The user experience for the most part is still Linux, and inadequate for the majority of users. I'm going to share some of my experiences and headaches in the past 24 hours since installing the OS. Keep in mind, I'm not a linux newb, I use it every day, but I mostly stick with command line distros for servers because I have yet to find a linux distro that can act as a true desktop replacement for Windows without having to fiddle to get something to work every night.

First off, the live cd / test. This went mostly smoothly as expected. It didn't detect any of my additional monitors but I can't really blame you for that, you can't keep every possible driver on the live cd version to auto detect and install it. So I proceeded with my first installation to a clean SSD. I was surprised by how few questions it asked me during installation, this is a good thing for the average user!! But I was annoyed by the embedded video in the installer with no mute button and it seemed to ignore me clicking the Skip button.

So after getting my first install done, the first order of business was to get my multiple (3) monitors working. So off I go to nvidia's website to get the latest and greatest drivers. Go to install them, oh wait I can't install while in XTerm. No problem, I'll drop to prompt and install it there, oh wait... where is the prompt!!.... Fiddling and research session one commenced. Ctrl + Alt + F1 resulted it a black screen under the default driver for me so I couldn't get to a virtual term that way, and I could find no way to reboot or log out to a prompt only. I found that annoying, and a regular windows user probably would've never made it past this point. After a while of searching and fiddling I found out that if installed the Software Updaters outdated version 304 drivers then it still only detected one display, but I could get to a virtual term. So the first time I did it, I simply installed the downloaded drivers and rebooted. And that was the end of the first installation of Zorin as upon reboot it got stuck in some loop while trying to load the login screen and the screen flickered occasionally but never displayed anything. I probably could have gone into recovery mode and figured it out, but honestly I didn't feel like having to tinker that much. And looking at it from a Windows user perspective that type of thing happening after installing a simple updated video driver is unacceptable.

So, I reinstalled from scratch.. take 2!! This time before I installed the updated proprietary drivers I uninstalled the nvidia 304 drivers. Then I also installed 32 bit compatibility drivers with the updated drivers. I'm not sure if that made a difference honestly but I figured it couldn't hurt. So finally I got to a desktop that had all 3 of my monitors alive and usable. The way my monitors are configured I like to use my middle monitor as my primary. So I first went to display settings where a typical windows user would go and hmm, no way to set a primary display there... Doing a google search has a lot of people seeming to suggest putting you primary monitor on the left in the display settings, but this is silly because it screws up your mouse movement between monitors. I eventually figured out that I could set the primary x monitor in the Nvidia settings program. Then to my dismay the AWN panel stayed over on the left most monitor. It took me around 30 minutes of fiddling to figure out how to move it to the middle monitor. But still a lot of windows want to open on the left most monitor by default, and desktop icons go over there. I gave up on this because I couldn't find any working solutions after a couple of hours of searching. I proceeded to start setting up other stuff. Some things were easy and smooth, like chrome install, but the figuring out how to add a shortcut to chrome on the awn panel was weird. It was also inconsistent in it's behavior, sometimes when I had a program open and right clicked it, it would give me the option to pin it, other times it wouldn't. And I still haven't found a way to reorder the icons down there, can't simply drag them like a windows user would expect... wait scratch that dragging it does work... now yay for another inconsistent behavior. After about an hour of setting up and configuring stuff, I tried getting my sound working right and on 5.1 channels. I have a soundblaster x-fi titanium card. After researching it some, it seems like this card isn't supported well by linux, but it's the only thing I have right now. Anyway, the sound settings is extremely weird, if I set the speakers to 5.1 the subwoofer volum acts as my primary volume.... Also the amount of volume change using a volume button on my keyboard is far to much and I haven't yet tried to figure out a way to adjust that. After all this I figured it was time for a reboot... and that was the end of install 2 because upon rebooting and trying to log in, it would just freeze and never log in (I left it sitting one time for an hour).

I'm still going on install 3 but not without it's share of problems as well. I ran the software updater this time to find out that it will overwrite my updated 351 nvidia drivers with it's older 304 one... I actually did the leg work to recover from that one though rather than reinstalling this time.

But there are so many other quirks and limitations that I've ran into that just make the entire experience less than pleasurable. For example another thing that I never figured out and drove me bonkers, I have a NAS system with SAMBA shares on it for my windows boxes. I proceed to mount these (after install cifs-utils), no problem. But then suddenly after mounting them Zorin OS apparently sees the permission flags on the root folders behind the samba shares and decides that my user doesn't have access to them. Even though they are mounted with a user id and password from the NAS system that does have access..... To get around this I created NFS shares on my NAS, but again here, a windows user would not jump through these extra hoops to get a simple network file share working.

Also, gaming performance is less than ideal. I'm not sure what is at fault for that yet, but just mentioning it here. I for example tried 7 Days to Die, a game that supports linux, and with the same settings that I use on my Windows install on the same machine I get 15 frames per second (I get like 80 on the windows install). I haven't had time to try out any other games yet to see if it's unique to this game.

Also just another tidbit that I find a little annoying and a lot of windows users probably would too. A vast majority of windows / programs will not remember their location state between uses. For example the File explorer, always opens in the top left position 0,0 on the monitor that I launch it from. Terminal does this as well. It would be really nice if all programs acted like windows and remembered where they were closed and reopen there by default.

All in all like I said, you've got the looks part going great. But it has a long ways to go before it's ready for general PC users :( Even myself being a very techy inclined individual ( I'm a computer programmer ) and loving to tinker with stuff, I most likely won't be continuing to use it as a primary desktop because for my primary desktop, I just want things to work and not have to worry about every update making my desktop unusable for the rest of the night while I manually dig through config files and such to fix something. I really really want to be able to switch to linux desktop as a primary OS because I do not like the direction M$ is going with Windows 10. But alas, it looks like I'm going to have to deal with Windows 10 for a while :(
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steven6282
 
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Re: New user feedback / experience

Postby Swarfendor437 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:59 pm

Hi steven6282, and welcome to Zorin! Sorry you have had a bit of disappointment in terms of your experience. I agree, migraters need to experience a familiarity and ease of sorting things out without having to go 'too deep'. We have to remember proprietary code (and perhaps proprietary behaviour will likely get included in TPP/TIPP which the US are trying to get a deal on with unelected Bureaucrats in Brussels with Joe Public unable to see the fine detail until 30 years after its signing at the end of this year (and as an aside, GM foods being sold without consideration for Joe Publics repulsion). It would not surprise me to see M$ having copyright on Window snapping et.al. They funded a right-wing organisation which asked a computer programmer/engineer to delve into Linus Torvalds work to find any link to Unix - when he didn't he was asked to look again!)

Firstly, I appreciate you are a 3 monitor user but the average Joe just has one (like me!). 304 drivers are deemed to be the most stable with Zorin 9 - this may change with future releases - for me the Linux Nouveau drivers are all I need and perform better than nVidia proprietary drivers - and bear in mind I made reference to an article that appeared in a PC magazine which stated that Russian crackers (not hackers!) were able to utilise GPU processing power to take over machines to launch attacks at other machines - hence proprietary can open a whole can of worms.

After you did the install, did you follow Wolfman's excellent post-installation guide? You may also need to change your server location for updates to 'Main Server' - again this will hopefully be resolved in future releases.

As for your multi-monitor issue you may need to install 'xrandr':

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xrandr

As for the Panel, I have posted in Brainstorm that perhaps Zorin should give up on a dead project of GnoMenu and a 'reborn' but limited functionality of the Avant Window Navigator (bottom panel) and switch to something like MakuluLinux uses - Cinammon desktop with Mate Menu etc (check out MakuluLinux "aero") and both left and right windows keys launch the menu in MakuluLinux "aero". It has a lot going for it - against it - audio issues which are resolvable (like Windows 10! :lol: )

For the terminal, it is the same across a fair number of distros - Ctrl+ Alt+ T or Menu | Accessories | Terminal.

Alt F1 will take you to an external Terminal not running in X - to switch between Graphical mode and none-graphical Alt+ F7 for Graphics, Alt+ F4 for 'command' prompt.

Also you may wish to PM the brothers Zorin (AZorin and zorink) the brothers behind the distro so they can feed this in to their 2 developers.

Thanks for the input - but don't be too disheartened by what you have found - compared to other distributions, Zorin is still young - it is a fork of Ubuntu and that scrolling screen during install is common to all Ubuntu Forks.

A good video to look at is the history of GNU/Linux (no GNU = no Linux! ;) ) on YouTube - I don't have the link to hand but Free Software (cf. Open Source) is not about "free" as in "free beer" but the ability to do with your computer what you want and how you want it and to help the wider community of similar free thinkers. Just search for anything about Richard Stallman - you can start by going to stallman.org. ;) :D

Just to add, all Moderators are volunteers and not developers - just experienced users to help beginners on the road to freedom! :D

[Other distros you may wish to try: MakuluLinux - if you want traditional GNU/Linux then avoid the "fun build" and "aero" releases, Netrunner 16, LXLE 14.04 (think it has xrandr already present in the build), BlueStarLinux <- not for Noobs!, SolydXK, Debian 8 ("Jessie").
ElementaryOS (if you can cope with a 'Mac' look panel).]
https://vimeo.com/user15592214
https://trisquel.info/
https://www.opendesktop.org/member/257685/

Machine: ASUS X470-PRO, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core, 16 Gb RAM, ZOTAC Geforce GT1030 (2 Gb)
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Swarfendor437
 
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Re: New user feedback / experience

Postby Swarfendor437 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:17 pm

Was this Zorin 9? Zorin 10 RC? or Zorin Final? I have had no issues with Zorin 9, some with Zorin 10 RC, and provided you don't mess with things in 10 final (like me! :lol: ) you should be good to go! :D
https://vimeo.com/user15592214
https://trisquel.info/
https://www.opendesktop.org/member/257685/

Machine: ASUS X470-PRO, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core, 16 Gb RAM, ZOTAC Geforce GT1030 (2 Gb)
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Re: New user feedback / experience

Postby Swarfendor437 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:13 pm

OK it is Final - when RC comes out it is just the free Core version - you have the Final Release of Ultimate. :D
https://vimeo.com/user15592214
https://trisquel.info/
https://www.opendesktop.org/member/257685/

Machine: ASUS X470-PRO, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core, 16 Gb RAM, ZOTAC Geforce GT1030 (2 Gb)
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