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Paul Em

Switching to Linux made easy with ZorinOS

As a webdeveloper I wanted to switch from Windows to Linux for a while already for obvious reasons, but one thing was holding me back: My Laptop. I own an HP EliteBook 840 with switchable graphics. And as cool as it sounds, it is hell for Linux. The AMD Graphics driver just simply don't work. I don't event want to know how many hours I have wasted on that. I couldn't just disable the graphics card in the BIOS, because I still wanted to play games on Windows.

Recently I got a new workstation tower PC and I can finally disable the graphics card. Now the big question I was facing was:

Which Linux distro to get in 2017?

In my past i was using Ubuntu and Linux Mint - bot good operating systems, but I never really liked the Look and Feel of either. They seemed outdated and I got to admit: I liked the way Windows 10 and Android looks. Flat design everywhere. I want that in my OS!

Papyros

Papyros

This was my first big hope. A fresh and sleek looking OS with Paper Elements everywhere. Too bad it seems it will never be out of Early Alpha (Last Blogpost July 2015 and now updates since)

ChromiumOS

ChromiumOS

ChromeOS, or their OpenSource-base "ChromiumOS" always interested me. But as a webdeveloper the lack of programs and offline support was a No-Go. I found a pretty interesting Guide on how to make it work with Crouton, but I was still not fully convinced. I just need a well working IDE (I prefer WebStorm).

Zorin OS 12

ZorinOS

In September 2016 Zorin released a new version of their Linux distro I have never heard of before. It looks dope as hell and combines known features and looks of Windows as well as awesome Gnome goodies.
I like the Taskbar on the bottom and a Startmenu to access programs, folders and settings as I know it from Windows. But one thing I got used to very very quickly was the amazing search capabilities by just clicking the Windows-button. MacOS and Linux users have known this for years. Windows however search never seized to disappoint me with their worthless search.

Some tweaks and fixes for my perfect setup

ZorinOS did not work flawlessly for me from the start, but with some tweaks I got it running smoothly.

  1. Samba connect: This might not be an issue for a lot of people, but I have a network drive and I just couldn't connect. With Windows it worked without any hassle, but with Zorin I just got stuck at the authentication prompt, although I checked them million times. After checking the Logs I found out it was the Error Server does not support EXTENDED_SECURITY but 'client use spnego = yes and 'client ntlmv2 auth = yes' session setup failed: NT_STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED - 10 seconds on google later I had the fix.
  2. Chrome flickering like crazy: Problem an issue because of the graphics card. But as a webdeveloper this gets annoying pretty quickly. Every now and then chrome just flickers. Disabling hardware acceleration did the trick for me.
  3. Window focus issue: Sometimes a window I switch to doesn't get the mouse focus. I can still work in the window with the keyboard, but the mouse clicks just don't seem to be recognized. I didn't really find a good fix for this, other than reinstalling ZorinOS. So far the issue has not happened again.

I will try to keep this article up-to-date as I discover more tweeks. As for now I am pretty happy with it.

Update 17.Jan 2017

It is 3AM and I almost went in full berserk mode and threw the laptop out of the window. The problem is Bluetooth Connectivity: I love using wireless devices and I have tons of them. The two I wanted to use are my Jabra Revo headphones and my Logitech MX Master mouse. Both of them connect without any hassle, but don't seem to work properly. The headphones only play in Mono mode and the mouse cursor - well - doesn't move.

Logitech MX Master connection fix: After countless tries I finally figured out how to connect: Connect the mouse normally and then power off the mouse. Power it back on and BAM! it should work. If this does not work just like that install Bluetooth Manager from the Software center, power off bluetooth, power it back on, connect to mx master, set as trusted device, power off mx master, power it back on and now it should work.

Jabra Revo Stereo: This one I still have not figured out on how to fix, but I know the issue has to do with the A2DP Sink not being able to set. In the Bluetooth Manager I get the Error "Failed to change profile to a2dp_sink". There are some possible fixes to that online, but none of them worked for me. Will keep this post updated if I find something though.

As for the Windows focus issue - after reinstalling it still remains. The graphics card is disabled in the bios and only the Intel Haswell Chip is detected. The issue appears with the Proprietary Intel drivers disabled as well as enabled...