In December 2021 my trusty old thinkpad blew up its battery and left me without a good mobile computing option, due to availability and also a bit of curiosity I opted for a MacBook Air with the M1 Arm processor.
Up until this point I was a Linux only user and kept moving between Ubuntu and Fedora, with one little excursion over to Manjaro-KDE. Why did I move all the time? Because I always managed to either mess something up or because something wouldn’t work on one OS but the other.
So when the Mac entered my life I pretty soon became a full time Mac user, at first, everything just worked, as advertised.
But even on the Mac I started running into issues, mostly coming from the fact that Apple decided to lock down parts of the OS or just plainly decided not to include drivers for something as simple as Ext or NTFS formatted disks, because obviously everyone uses Apple formats these days…
Anyway, a while ago I opened it and somehow after a reboot my user directory was gone and what ever went wrong was on my backups too, so I started the painful process of reinstalling everything which took a couple of hours. Then I had to reinstall my entire software stack, all in all I lost a day.
And that got me thinking, if a Mac really was that much better or easier for me and the answer was no.
So I had two options, either shoot my self in the foot and use Windows or go back to Linux. I ended up on Linux.
This time around I decided not to go with my usual two candidates but try something else. The first distribution I ever bought. And it was worth it
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu based distribution, don’t get me wrong here, it’s nothing new or special in any way.
But since I installed it last December, I have not had a single issue with the OS, nothing went wrong, everything worked like a charm out of the box.
I really have to tip my hat to the developers and maintainers here, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that must have gone into testing to keep it so stable.
But here are some things you might want to know about it.
They are a bit behind in terms of software releases, the desktop environment is still Gnome 3, the display server is still X11 and audio is still done via pulse, while most other distribution moved on Gnome 43, Pipewire and Wayland.
But, hear me out on this, maybe that is why I have so few issues.
I like to use a product called nomachine to remotely connect to my desktop, on any other distribution I had two issues.
1.) My monitor would not auto adjust to my laptop
2.) Audio doesn’t work at all
Why? Issues with wayland and no proper pipewire support
I use Remmina to remotely connect to windows machines a lot, one big issue
Often the feature to directly capture keyboard input would randomly die and at some point I’d hit Alt+F4 and quit my connection instead of the remote application.
Why? Not sure, but only happens on wayland…
I also like to use barrier, which is a sort of software based kvm switch, so I can move mouse and keyboard input between multiple machines on my network.
Just does not work at all with wayland, no chance.
Literately every time I upgraded to a new version of Gnome some extension I used to make the desktop environment work to my needs broke and wasn’t supported for quiet a while.
Don’t get me wrong, X11 and PulseAudio have their own share of issues and I am rather certain, that most of my issues could be solved, if the software I use properly implemented the new standards.
But they are mostly projects done by developers in their spare time and I am just grateful they exist at all, so I am not going to point my finger at them, that just wouldn’t be fair.
Let me put it like this, my software stack doesn’t support the new stuff and personally I don’t need it, so not having the latest and greatest is not a big red flag for me.
But it got me thinking. Mac OS releases annually and there are tonnes of bugs in it, Windows releases feature updates annually and we all know what a mess those are. Fedora releases two versions per year and so does Ubuntu.
Zorin OS updates every two years…
Maybe the reason it is so stable is, that they take the time to get it right instead of just shooting one out right after another.
This is taken directly from their homepage:
We release major new versions of Zorin OS roughly every 2 years and are tentatively planning to launch Zorin OS 17 in the 2nd half of 2023. However, we follow a “release when ready” policy, so we don’t have an exact date set for the launch. This time frame is subject to change based on development progress.
If you wish to be the first to know when Zorin OS 17 will be available to use, you can subscribe to our newsletter.
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In the meantime, we recommend that you use Zorin OS 16, which will be supported with software updates and security patches until April 2025. You will also be able to directly upgrade from Zorin OS 16 to 17 shortly after its release.
“Release when ready” That part is what got me to try it out, to be honest.
But what made me stay is, that every program I downloaded was in a version, that perfectly worked with the OSes software stack
Also please mind, Zorin 16, the version I am on was released in 2021 and will be maintained until 2025 which means I get 4 years in which my PC works exactly the same, every time I turn it on, also very nice in my book.
So all in all yes, for me, this is my no headache OS, 3 months running without a crash or error message popping up or something randomly stopping to work is way longer than I am used to these days.
Two things just came to my mind…
A blog post about a computer not crashing should not exist, since it should be the default
I just wrote about how good one distribution is over others, maybe I should upgrade my mailbox size prior to publishing this….