Show Notes Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 31


Distrohoppers' Digest Episode 31


Hosts: Moss Bliss, Tony Hughes, Dale Miracle, Joshua Hawk

Monthly Foibles 

Updates: Feren OS, Fedora 36, Solus, Slackel, Netrunner

Beautiful Failures: Escuelas OS, LMDE 5, MX 21

Reviews: Slackware 15, Zorin OS 16 Professional, Chimera OS

New Releases 



MONTHLY FOIBLES ...wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Josh - I am Looking for a new job currently. I graduate in about a month now and I hope to get an IT job ASAP. Other than that I have been hard at work keeping up with both of my classes. 

I have also been testing Ubuntu 22.04 daily build with zfs on root. It has been a really good testing period and I have several bugs that need reporting, just gotta find the time. In my opinion Gnome 42 has saved this release of Ubuntu. If they would have stuck back on version 41.3 I would have just written them off completely. ZFS on root has been great. I really love the automatic snapshotting feature and easy rollback. Well kind of, that is one of the bugs I have to report. Grub is not adding my zfs snapshots to its menu. I tried regenerating grub, I tried using grub customizer (which actually shows the zfs snapshots) but for the life of me I cannot figure out why they are not showing up in the grub menu on boot.

Dale - I installed Debian Testing (Bookworm) on my desktop replacing Pop!_OS.  I have been pretty impressed with it overall.  I want to thank Josh for his help installing the Nvidia binary driver.  We got (at the time) Gnome 41.3 working with Nvidia’s binary driver and Wayland, though that was a short-lived victory because I found out that some of my apps that use Electron are not compatible yet. 

Upon arriving home Monday, I updated my desktop which had 470 updates.  I was kinda nervous but it was all installed without any issues.  However, Tuesday there was another group of updates.  There is an update to the entire Xorg server which usually I would be welcoming.  Though this one really has me puzzled and I haven’t had time to research it.  Apt’s dist-upgrade in order to allow the installation wants to remove my Nvidia binary drivers.  Obviously that is not going to go well if I let it do that.  I am not sure I would be able to re-install them.  The Nouveau drivers are updated so that is one good thing I guess.  On the bright side of that, I am now using Gnome 42 Beta. This really surprised me because this is Debian after all.

I installed two Crucial MX500 250GB SSDs on my desktop.  I intend on using them with ZFS in a stripe (RaidZ) to increase the performance of VMs.  I want to see how much of an improvement it will make.  If it doesn’t, I will just end up with an extra SSD.  So that is a win-win in my book.

Installing Debian Testing, then restoring my backups, and installing my applications took up a good part of my week.  So the rest of my week was spent watching YouTube and Discovery+ on my TV.  I also did my usual video calls with remote friends.

Tony - So apart from having 2 holidays since the last show I have been editing Audio for both Distrohoppers and mintCast. If you listen to mintCast they are a little behind on posting the show audio from the 2 weekly recordings so I volunteered to help a little. I’ve the 2 halves of one show and I’m currently working on another. Audacity is being a pain at the moment and took absolutely ages to save the mintCast project I was editing so I did not lose changes already made. For some reason a job that normally takes a few minutes was taking over an hour. It transpired that during the process, the drive I was saving the data to, one of my 4TB backup drives had failed, along with all the 3 plus hours work I had already done. So not only did I have to restart the audio project I thought I would now have to buy a new Backup drive. I decided to try and reformat the drive as all the data is backed up on another drive. So I fired up Gparted and deleted the partitions, created a partition Table and reformatted to Ext4 this worked OK and when I remounted the drive it was seen by the PC and I was able to write files and folders to it. I just needed to change the permissions so that I had read and write access to the drive as the user and not just as root. After trying to write data back to the drive, although it will do it, it is not working at USB3 speeds and hardly above USB1 speeds so there is definitely something wrong with the drive. I'm not sure if it’s the caddy or not, but I will be buying a new drive ASAP.

Moss - We sold my wife’s old Moto G7 Power phone on Swappa for a good price. We got money from the insurance company to pay for the repair on our Hyundai Accent Hatchback, but the body shop found there was a prior accident which was not reported, so we have to pay even more money to get it fixed, as that is not covered by insurance. The car should be ready soon. I’ve done a couple episodes of mintCast and several of Full Circle Weekly News since our last show. I got a PiHole set up on my Pi 3B with help from Bill and Joe at mintCast. And I’m finally ready to file my taxes.

UPDATES (Where we discuss what we have learned about distros we’ve already reviewed)

Moss - I’m still waiting for Feren OS 2022, but Dominic has integrated the new Plasma and it’s just a matter of time. It’s beta time for Ubuntu in all its flavors, with release next month, to be followed shortly - probably June - by new Mint. I am running LMDE 5 “Elsie” on one of my machines.

Dale - Solus released Budgie Desktop 10.6.  Slackel released version 7.5 of their Openbox edition.  It has Kernel 5.15.12 and the latest updates from Slackware’s Current branch.  It is available in 32 and 64bit.  I was expecting the yearly release of Netrunner Linux but it isn’t released yet.

Tony - LMDE 5 has been released and I downloaded the ISO and have installed it in Boxes on my laptop. I’ve not had much chance to have a play with it yet but it looks good, although it would be nice to have an option of a Mate DE iso, yes I know I can install it but you don't get all the mint configuration of Mate if you install after the fact. But the Cinnamon DE looks really sharp. 

Josh - Fedora 36 is in beta testing now and is looking like it's on track for an April 19th release. That means Fedora 34 is about done with so you should upgrade before May 17th.

BEAUTIFUL FAILURES - What we tried, and failed, to install or run this month

Moss: I played with Escuelas Linux, mentioned last month, for a while. The distro, based on Moksha and Bodhi, is just not made to look modern; lots of hard, squared boxes. I’m not happy with the fact that you can’t actually have your own login, and the password can be changed but reverts to the original in a short time. I also spent some time on MX 21, and managed to get some things done after bruising my brain considerably, but decided it was not for me. Both distros have left my drives.

But I also have an UNfailure. After all those installations you’ve heard me complain about, where installing Arch, Endeavour or Manjaro on a multiboot system results in kernel panic messages at boot, a fix is out there. It involves simply copying and pasting a line from the boot.cfg of the Arch-based distro to the boot.cfg of the distro which is controlling GRUB. Rather than discuss it in depth, there is a link in the show notes to the video covering it, thanks to Londoner. The guy making the video did, like me, not have an issue with ArcoLinux, I wonder why?

Josh: I tried to upgrade LMDE5 to Debian Testing. It was somewhat of a failure. I got it to work but Cinnamon was all messed up looking. In fact Cinnamon didn’t even look like Cinnamon anymore it looked like Mint's implementation of Mate. Other than that it was all upgraded to Debian testing, but I could not live with Cinnamon looking so strange, so I nuked and paved.

One other small failure to mention. When I nuked and paved, I installed Ubuntu 22.04 and again used zfs on root. Problem being this is my HP Stream laptop with dual core and 4gb of RAM. ZFS quickly ate up all my ram and it started swapping almost immediately. The reason for this is that ZFS caches everything it can into RAM for faster access using its ARC technology. To save everyone's ears I won’t fully explain how it works but long story short I limited the cache to 1gb ram and everything was happy once more. 

Dale: I didn’t have any time for any exploration.

Tony: Nothing from me this month so Let’s move ahead and get Dale’s review of Slackware 15

Dale: - DISTRO NAME: Slackware 15


I first want to say that Slackware was my first Linux distro.  I, with help from a friend, installed it in the fall of 1995.

Slackware is the oldest currently maintained Linux distro.  Version one was released on July 17th, 1993 by Patrick Volkerding and he is still the maintainer.  Slackware supports 32 and 64-bit computers along with a port to ARM 32bit SOCs.  It was started as a side project and named Slackware by Patrick.  He started out using Softlanding Linux System (SLS) which was considered to be quite buggy.  He used it for some projects while attending Moorhead State University (MSU) in Moorhead, Minnesota.  His artificial intelligence professor asked Patrick to show him how to install Linux.  He took notes detailing the fixes that were needed after an SLS installation.  While working with his professor, they discovered that the fixes actually took as long or longer to apply than they did to install SLS.  Frustrated, the professor asked Patrick if the installation disks could be updated with these changes so that post-install fixes were not necessary.  

That is the beginning of Slackware, though he had no intentions of calling it a new distro or releasing it to the public.  He figured SLS would eventually release a new version fixing what he had fixed.   After a few weeks, many of the SLS users were asking for a new version.  Patricks' friends urged him to provide his fixes on an FTP server.  Eventually, Patrick did so, titling it as an SLS-like System.  He received so many positive responses that he decided to release it as a new distro called Slackware.  He asked the system administrator of MSU’s FTP server for permission to put Slackware’s installation disk images on it.  The first release consisted of twenty-four 3 ½ inch floppy disk images.  As news spread of the new distro, it began overloading the server causing it to crash often.  This new release eventually caught the attention of Walnut Creek CDROM, which offered space on their FTP servers.

Slackware is a bit of a unique distro.  They make no assumption as to what you want to do with your installation.  It is a clean slate to build from with the exception of choices made during installation.  

They don’t use systemd.  It began using a BSD-style Init system using one script for each run level.  After version 7 they added System V init or SysV init for short.  SysV init uses many subdirectories for multiple init scripts.  For compatibility, Slackware will allow both init scripts to be used so it doesn’t break other software packages.

When it comes to packages and repositories, that is where things can get a bit complicated.  There is no official repo, as the only official packages are provided on the installation media or Slackware mirror sites. Slackware’s packaging system uses compressed tar archives, referred to as tar.gz.  These are binary files along with other supporting files.  There are many other ways to install packages.  There are third-party repositories where people offer pre-compiled binaries or offer scripts that will compile software from source files.  This is where problems arise called dependency hell.  If one group chooses one version of libraries to compile the binary that is fine.  The problem begins when you download from a different group that is using a different version.  When you go to recompile to update your binaries, you could have conflicting versions which will result in a failed compile attempt.  To add insult to injury, it is not as simple as changing the version.  This is because you could end up breaking something else that the system needs.  It can go downhill very fast.  As you can see Slackware doesn’t offer any dependency conflict resolution.

This is how I learned by trial and error, with a heavy lean towards error, to compile software.  I spent a lot of time on Walnut Creek’s FTP server or Washington University in St. Louis Missouri’s FTP server trying to find specific versions of files to satisfy some dependencies.

I will end the intro here because it could easily go on for an hour or more.  If you want to learn more about the history, I suggest listening to episode 219 of Linux User Space.  Dan and Leo do an excellent job going over the vast history.


I used my Dell Inspiron 13.  It has an Intel i5-6200U at 2.3 GHz using HD Graphics 520, 8 GB of ram, and a 128 GB SSD.


I want to point out that it took three times to install Slackware.  For some reason, the first attempt wouldn’t boot unless I used the boot disk that was created during installation.  That was with UEFI enabled.  I tried using CSM/Bios mode and it still wouldn’t boot unless I used the boot disk.  After clearing the UEFI in the laptop and deleting all the partitions.  I tried a third time, and it tried to boot from the SSD but got an error about not being able to load the kernel.  After some research, I found out that the installation didn’t install the UEFI kernel stub.  Once I copied it from the USB stick, It booted fine off of the SSD.  So technically, I never did successfully install Slackware.  Personally, 3 times was enough.  So let's move on to the installation.

I downloaded the install-DVD ISO and wrote it to a USB stick.  There is also a Live ISO that allows you to boot to Slackware to see how it looks before installation.

I booted to a text screen giving me the chance to select a non-us keyboard.  The default was us so I just pressed enter. The next screen is the normal terminal login screen if you don't have a window manager or desktop environment enabled to start at boot. There were instructions to create a partition of type 'Linux', along with a recommendation to create a swap partition using type 'Linux Swap'.  Further instructions are given if you want to enable the swap partition before installation.  From there I logged in as the root user with no password.

I used Cfdisk to create my partitions.  I prefer it over Fdisk because of its Ncurses menu interface.  I created a 600MB EFI partition, 4 GB swap, and the rest of the space for root.  I wrote the changes and exited Cfdisk.  From there I typed setup to load the installation.

The installation was using a Ncurses menu interface.  If you are familiar with FreeBSD, Debian, or Void Linux you will recognize the Ncurses interface.  If you are not, it is a graphical interface that is used in terminal-based applications.  If you are old enough to remember Dos, it looks like an old Dos application. A very simple interface using your keyboard arrow keys, space bar, and enter keys.

Once in the installation, I selected “setup my swap partition”.  Since I properly configured it before setup, the swap was automatically selected.  I pressed enter to continue, which asked the question of wanting to check for bad blocks during the formatting.  I selected the default of no.  Once it was completed it showed me what it will look like in my /etc/fstab file.

After pressing enter, I was asked where I wanted to install Slackware.  It defaulted to the only option of /dev/sda3.  I pressed enter and chose the quick format option using Ext4.  The other options were Ext2, 3, Jfs, ReiserFS, Btrfs, F2fs, and Xfs.  Once completed it showed me what it will look like in the /etc/fstab file.

The next screen asked if I wanted to format the EFI partition, so I selected yes.  It automatically selected Fat32 as the partition type.  Just like in the previous partitions, it showed me the fstab information.

The installation continued on to the installation source selection.  You have the option of installing from DVD/CD, USB stick, hard drive, NFS, FTP/HTTP, Samba, or a mounted directory (folder).  I chose the USB stick.

The installation now wanted me to choose my software categories.  The default is everything.  To name a few, they are Documentation, System Libraries for KDE and Xfce, Networking, Development, etc.

This is followed by selecting the prompt mode.  This is an important option to select.  The recommended is Full which installs everything, which is about 15+ GB according to Slackware.  The other options like menu, expert, or newbie will provide information on every package.  If you have plenty of time to kill, go ahead and choose Menu or Newbie.  I am not saying it is bad, actually, it is quite detailed.  It just takes quite a while because once you are in that mode, you must finish it. Because I have installed Slackware many times, I chose the Full.  If this was a system I am going to be using for a long time, I would go through and select what I want to be installed.

After about 10 or so minutes it finished.  The next screen is a nice feature that most distros do not do.  I was asked if I wanted to create a boot disk for my installation.  Since I had a spare stick, I decided to do it.  It scanned for the stick and a window popped up asking to confirm it was correct.  Once completed it asked if I wanted to create another one.  I just chose to continue with the installation.

The installation saga continues with the notification that I am using UEFI.  The installation explains that Lilo (The Linux Loader) only works with computers using a Bios.  The question of “install it anyway or skip” was presented.  Since I created the EFI partition I chose to skip it.  eLilo is the Linux boot loader for EFI-based computers and chose to use it.  A follow-up question of creating a boot menu entry was asked.  I chose to create one, it had a caveat that you shouldn't do this on an Apple computer.

The next question asks if I want to enable the GPM application.  It allows cut and paste ability in the terminal.  The default is yes and that is what I selected.

Wait! There's more! <sigh> Install Slackware they said, it will be fun they said. LoL

Now I get a choice of configuring the network.  It starts off with the name of the computer.  The next question is the domain, it requires one so I just usually type local.  I don't have any need for Vlans (virtual lans) so I skipped that.  The next on the list is how you want to configure the network.  You can use Static, DHCP, Network Manager, and a couple of others.  I chose Network Manager.  It asked me to confirm my choice so I did.

The never-ending installation continues with asking me what services I want to be enabled at bootup.  You can enable SSH, Samba, NFS, etc.  I left it at the default except I de-selected ssh.  The remaining were regular services like cron and Syslog.

I was asked if I wanted to select screen fonts, though at this point I just want the installation to be over.  So I passed.  The time had come to select my time format.  Yes, let's groan together.  My options were Hardware clock or UTC.  Now, this is a tricky one.  If you are coming from windows, you will want to choose no (Hardware clock is set to local time).  Most Linux distros will default to using UTC.  So I am just going to stick with that.  The following screen is my time zone selection.

The questions continue with the default text editor.  The default is NVI, with other choices of Elvis (thank you very much) and Vim.  I don't know any of them so I chose the default.

Now I get to choose my default window manager for X.  Since I only have Plasma installed, it sounded like a good choice.

The setting of the root password is the last task!  Once completed I pressed enter which brought me back to the main installation menu.  I selected Exit.  I was prompted to remove the installation USB stick.  The last menu asked if I wanted to power off, reboot, or enter the shell to make any other changes.


I didn’t have any.


I signed in as root so I could create my user account using the adduser utility.  I added my user to the recommended groups like wheel, audio, video, etc.  I rebooted by typing shutdown -r now and signed in upon reboot.   I typed startx and a few seconds later, I was at the Plasma desktop.  I was surprised to find that Xorg was already configured for use.  This was due to the laptop being all Intel and support is in the kernel or openly available.  By default, Slackware will boot into run level 3 which is a non-graphical (console) multi-user mode with networking.  Slackware uses run level 4 for a graphical login.  I could have enabled run level 4 to boot to the SDDM.  I instead booted to the console and typed startx to start Xorg.  It reminds me of using Linux back in the 90s.  The same for when I was using Dos and having to type win to start Windows 3.  

Well, enough nostalgia, Plasma was at version 5.23.5, Framework was at version 5.90 and QT was at version 5.15.3.  Linux kernel was at version 5.15.19.

Since it has been a while, I decided to follow the documentation along with helpful YouTube channels.  The Slackware Document Project is a great resource.  There are many HowTo documents and a search function.  I found the search function quite handy.

I enabled sudo for my user, which required using the root account via su.  There are many ways to configure sudo.  Since I was already a member of the wheel group so I could use su.  I enabled the wheel group to use sudo.  I also had to edit the /etc/profile to add /sbin and /usr/sbin to the default path.

Up next was configuring the package manager.  By default Slackware uses pkgtool.  It is a ncurses menu-driven interface.  It allows you to install or remove packages that are available locally on the file system. There are also command-line tools called installpkg, removepkg, and upgradepkg.  These are similar to APT or DNF except there is no conflict resolution.  Pkgtool and the other command-line tools expect that you know what you are doing.  With that said, packages provided by Slackware should have limited issues as they are precompiled binaries.

Slackpkg is a great addition to Slackware.  It has been around since version 7 but not officially used until version 12.  It uses the aforementioned command-line tools.  Before it was created, updating Slackware’s packages was tedious.  You needed to check the changelog on their website to see what has been updated.  Then you needed to find the file on a Slackware mirror and download it.  After downloading you used installpkg or pkgtool to install it.  Slackpkg automates this process, though you still need to know there are updates available.  This isn’t any notification system in Slackware.  Like in the previous utilities there is no dependency/conflict resolution.

I configured a mirror to use with slackpkg, which is an easy process of uncommenting (remove the # in front of mirror URL listing) in /etc/slackpkg/mirrors. I needed to then update the gpg which is what their mirrors use for encryption.  Once configured it also works similar to other utilities like APT or DNF.  Slackpkg search, slackpkg install, slackpkg remove, etc

Once I updated the system, I checked the versions of the few packages that were installed.  Firefox ESR was at 91.7.1 which is the current version available.  Plasma remained at 5.23.5.

Now in order to install packages that are not provided by Slackware, I needed to use 3rd party repositories.  I chose Slackbuilds because I had limited time due to working being busier than it was last month.  I wanted to see how it worked and seemed to have quite a few binaries.  I didn’t have a lot of time to wait for packages to compile or read through long dependency lists.

I downloaded Signal and Telegram.  They installed with no problems.  I tried my hand at installing flatpak.  It required a few dependencies and some environment variables to set.  I want to thank the group in the Linux Saloon for their commentary on getting this to work.  As I said, I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to this level of configuration.

Once installed and configured, it worked fine.  A definite plus for Slackware, I am sure the Slackware greybeards’ veins are popping out of their foreheads now.

The other 3rd party sources and utilities will be listed in the show notes.  They are Slackonly (binaries built from Slackbuilds source packages), sbopkg (a command-line utility that uses the Slackbuilds repository), Slackpkg+ (update to Slackpkg that has dependency resolution), slpkg (It automatically computes dependencies to install packages), slapt-get (Based around how Debian's APT works, it also has dependency resolution similar to how APT does the same.  Lastly, there is Alien Bob. (A collection of binaries and build scripts).


 18 GB of space used on the SSD

 559 MB of memory used reported by free -h.


I used the Slackware documentation quite a bit and the OldTechBloke Youtube channel.  Slackware uses the forums at for support.


I didn’t have a chance to try this.  Lilo and eLilo support dual booting.  You could also configure Grub as it is installed.


Slackware is a very stable distro, once you resolve any dependencies issues.


Slackel and Salix OS.  They are compatible with Slackware packages.  I haven’t used Salix but Slackel is more like a regular Linux distro.

RATINGS:Ease of Installation 

                                new user                                3/10

                                experienced user                   6/10

Hardware Issues                                                  10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)             10/10

Ease of Use                                                           5/10

Plays Nice With Others                                          x/10

Stability                                                                   8/10

Overall Rating                                                         5/10


I am surprised about how much and how little Slackware has changed since the 90s.  I can say that it is easier to use than it was back then. Though, it still stays true to its roots today.  I think with the Slackbuilds, the updated slackpkg+, and the ability to use Flatpak are definite pluses for Slackware.  I am sure the purist will turn their nose up at Flatpaks.  In their defense, once you know how slackbuilds work, you will not need Flatpak, unless the software is only available via Flatpak. I read that Appimage will work on Slackware but not 100%.  Again, it is dependent on the dependencies they were created with.

One thing I didn’t mention in the review that should be mentioned is the current branch.  That is Slackware’s rolling release for a lack of better explanation.

I would say if I have tried Arch and like the minimalist feel of it.  Though, you don’t want all the compile time of Gentoo.  I would recommend trying Slackware.

Moss: - DISTRO NAME: Zorin OS 16 Professional

INTRO: First, a disclaimer: I contacted Zorin OS about doing a review of their newest system, and they responded by giving me a free key to their Professional edition, formerly called Ultimate, a $35 value. They asked for no favors, and do this for anybody who wants to review Zorin in a public forum. I really liked this distro, despite my great dislike of Gnome 3, but I’m certain that my review was not affected by the fact that I got a free copy.

Zorin OS was initially released on July 1st 2009. Their entire concept was to make the move from Windows to Linux smooth by providing a system which is very much like Windows without losing its Linux-ness. It has been fairly popular despite them charging for the pro version. Zorin developers are also known for the fact that they upstream a lot of the work they do to Ubuntu.

The Zorin team offers various flavors of Zorin OS to users. There are two versions available as free downloads called "Core" using Gnome and "Lite" using Xfce, with "Pro" versions of each of these available for download with a purchase through the project's website. There are also two educational versions.

The Pro versions offer additional desktop themes that resemble different versions of Windows or MacOS or other Linuxes, and come preinstalled with popular FOSS programs. These programs could also be added on the free version. Finally, the Pro editions of Zorin OS also provide a collection of commissioned wallpapers to choose from, and installation technical support.

I did try out Zorin OS 16 Lite just this morning. I do not have a Pro version of this. The desktop is Xfce, and the Zorin devs recommend using the non-Lite version unless you have older hardware. The interface looks very much the same but it takes more to configure it and requires more clicks to activate things. If you’re an Xfce aficionado you may find it to your liking, and there were no noticeable hiccups in installation or operation. RAM usage at boot was 630 MiB.

MY HARDWARE: I am using my Lenovo ThinkPad T540p, featuring an i7- 4810HQ CPU, 16 Gb RAM, and both Intel and Nvidia graphics, on sdb2, a partition on my 512 Gb SSD. 

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: Installation was simple enough, it’s the old Ubuntu installer that everyone is used to. I installed the version with Nvidia drivers on sdb2, one of three partitions on my second SSD.

If you’re multibooting like me, Zorin may not successfully install Grub, as we discussed in mintCast 383. Use Grub Customizer on your preferred installation to fix it.


As I’ve stated before, I do not like bright pastels on the screen lock and background. I do not understand why people who much prefer dark mode in their windows have bright glaring pastels for their backgrounds and lock screens.

For some reason, my T540p's brightness controls do not work, and they don't have a power control in the usual place so I'm still searching for it and this thing is hurting my eyes. I found these settings and keys work fine in Zorin Lite, so I don’t know what the issue is. I thought I couldn’t find the themes settings, but they were already open in a background window which I was not aware of.

Zorin did not copy the Wi-Fi password over to the installation, something Dale and I have been either pleased or irritated about depending on various distros.

My Brother printer was added automatically, which is rare.

I got a notice that some drivers needed updating, but an automatic update had been performed and I wasn’t sure whether it took care of that. I found an easy to use driver finder app, and it said I was already using the latest Nvidia 470 driver, and I didn’t need any other proprietary drivers. The system has automatic updates feature installed, so when you boot, the system will be using system resources to check for updates. During this time, you are locked out from doing updates using Terminal or other resources – and it doesn’t always tell you when it’s through. There is a way to turn off automatic updates, but that is not recommended for new users.

I opened Firefox. The main page is a Zorin OS start page with Google search. After logging into Firefox and all my stuff loads, everything looks and works just about like I expect it to.

I did all my post installation files such as Ubuntu restricted extras and my games, gDebi (although the Zorin program manager is probably based on gDebi), and cool-retro-term, something I’ve become enamored of recently. I ran sudo apt purge libreoffice*, but found it actually didn’t purge everything. Then I found that Synaptic was not installed, so I installed it and completed the purge.

If you like KDEconnect, Zorinconnect is basically the same thing. I don't use this app, but it's here.

The Zorin program manager is less strident than before about whether an unknown package is dangerous. The purpose of this warning was to teach people moving over from Windows that you should not install just any old thing that you come across, and it served its purpose. The GUI program manager feels a bit laggy and has a bug when it comes time to finish an app installation. I had an update to Telegram via flatpak that never seemed to get done, but when I gave up waiting and rebooted, it was installed and ran fine. This happened a few other times, and also happened on Zorin “Lite”. This is the worst thing that happened during the review period.

If you want to add an app to the taskbar, you have to right-click on it in the menu and add it to Favorites; the term means something else to Plasma users.

While Zorin is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, it installed with kernel 5.11 and upgraded to 5.13. You also get wobbly windows and translucent panes standard, so if you like those, you’ll love Zorin. I read that Zorin updated the version to 16.1, looked around for how to upgrade, and found that it had already been done. I like to be asked, but at least it was easy.


Zorin runs pretty much like a reasonably-well-themed version of Ubuntu Gnome, but feels friendlier. New users should have few issues with this distribution.

I did have an issue with Stacer. I installed it and ran it to check for disk usage, but the next time I attempted to run it, it could not be found. I tried running it from the Terminal, and was told it was not installed, but I then attempted to install it and was told I already had the latest version. So it’s here somewhere, but won’t run.

I don’t know enough about Gnome plugins to make my desktop run, such as workspaces. This was a significant issue in my using the system. This is not an issue on Zorin Lite.


As configured, I'm using 1,031 MiB RAM, which is not terrible for a Gnome-based system, and Stacer reports 25.3 GiB used on the SSD. That seems to be quite a lot, but was apparently not bloat. A large portion of that is flatpak libraries, and it looks like they included the entire flathub repo.


The Zorin team really wants your experience to be the best, and have friendly forums and other help available. I observed the forum use, although I didn’t need to use it myself.


Yes, it surely does. I have had zero issues with it, after using Grub Customizer as stated.


I’ve had issues in the past with the desktop not loading after the 4th or 10th boot, but no issues at this time. Basically it’s just Ubuntu LTS with a newer kernel and some useful tools, so stability should not be an issue.


Ubuntu, Linux Mint, MakuluLinux, RoboLinux (minus the pentesting tools you pay extra for)


Ease of Installation new user                                             8/10

                                experienced user                             10/10

Hardware Issues                                                              10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)                         10/10

Ease of Use                                                                      10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                                     10/10

Stability                                                                             10/10

Overall Rating                                                                    9/10


There is a lot to like about Zorin, and if I were on the Gnome bandwagon this would almost be a perfect 10. If you like Gnome or Xfce desktops, you will find little reason not to switch to Zorin, and you might just keep it.



Chimera OS is not your typical Linux distro in fact I don’t know if you can really call it a distro. It is based on Steam OS 3.0 and uses the Steam Big Picture mode as its UI. This is what the Chimera devs have to say about the OS: “ChimeraOS is an operating system that provides an out of the box couch gaming experience. After installation, boot directly into Steam Big Picture and start playing your favorite games. If you want Steam in your living room, you want ChimeraOS.”


I ran this on bare metal this time I was using my Acer Predator Helios 300 with i7-11800h CPU, 16gb 3200mhz RAM, Nvidia 3060 mobile GPU and a Samsung pro 840 ssd.


You are first greeted with a really nice looking grub menu with the Chimera logo on top, if using legacy bios, otherwise grub is bypassed. I just clicked on install and then it loaded to a ncurses installer. The first option was to select the disk you wanted to install on so I selected the disk I wanted. It warns you to be sure you wanna select that disk. It then downloads the Chimera OS image because it is based on Steam OS and has an immutable file system where it's all one big image and instead of upgrading individual packages it replaces the whole system for each upgrade. After downloading it unpacks the image and then installs it and it's all done, super simple.


First thing I noticed was with my 2 external monitors plugged in it actually displayed on the correct monitor that I wanted it to. I don’t know why it chose that monitor but it did. I immediately noticed it was extremely choppy to the point where I had to use the arrow keys to navigate. Even then the screen would only update every 5 or so seconds. I decided to reboot and unplug my monitors and see what happened. It rebooted and all was well with my laptops' built-in display. No choppiness or anything like that, it was now running as expected. Long story short I talked to some people on the Chimera OS Discord and they told me it was because Arch has an issue with nvidia optimus graphics switching when using external displays. They told me to change some things in the xorg conf file and then all was well with my external monitors also.


Chimera OS is extremely easy to use once it's installed and is working as intended. If you ever played with Steam's Big Picture mode it's the exact same thing. The UI works well with a controller or mouse and keyboard. I really do think anyone could use this without having too much trouble.


GB of space used on the SSD - 5.6gb

MB of memory used reported by free -h. - 553mb

EASE OF FINDING HELP: Extremely easy especially if you go to their discord. I never had devs sit there for over an hour and troubleshoot a distro with me and actually find a solution!

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I did not test this but it seems to be using grub on legacy bios and systemd boot on uefi so I would assume it would play well with other distros. Note you will have to use one of the f keys to switch distros with systemd boot.

STABILITY: I had no issues with this at all and it gets frequent updates.

GAMING EASE: This is where it gets tricky. I actually did not have a good gaming experience on Chimera OS especially compared to Linux Mint. Most games were choppy, even easy to run ones like Valhime. The frame rates were atrocious compared to Mint and it was night and day to Windows performance. I couldn't even play a game like Metro Exodus at all; it just would stutter and be extremely slow. All this to say that I am also Running Nvidia drivers and Steam OS and Linux were not built for them so maybe with AMD graphics others will have a better experience.

I would love to give this a pass for gaming but on my hardware setup it's a definite no go.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT: Steam OS (when it is released)


Ease of Installation new user                                         10/10 

                                experienced user                            10/10

Hardware Issues                                                             3/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)                      10/10

Ease of Use                                                                   10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                                  8/10 (most likely plays well)

Stability                                                                          10/10

Works with Games                                                         1/10 

Overall Rating                                                                 5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: I really wanted Chimera OS to work but it was not meant to be. I was hoping I could maybe get a small glimpse into the Steam Deck by using this distro but sadly I was mistaken.


from 02/15 - 03/23

AV Linux MX-21

pfSense 2.6.0   


EasyOS 3.4.1

Berry 1.36

SmartOS 20220224

Ubuntu 20.04.4 - ALL Flavors

Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie,

Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu

batocera 33

Manjaro 21.2.4

Snal 1.15

Hyperbola 0.4

Slax 11.2.1

Nitrux 2022.02.28

Arch 2022.03.01

Freespire 8.2

Archman 2022.03

Endless 4.0.3

Exe 20220306

SparkyLinux 2022.03

Tails 4.28

ArcoLinux 22.03.08

LibreELEC 10.0.2

Zorin OS 16.1

IPFire 2.27-core164

Elive 3.8.26

Robolinux 12.04

Obarun 2022.03.12

Linuxfx 11.1.1108

OSMC 2022.03-1

Clear 36010

CloudReady 96.4.6

Alpine 3.15.1

KDE neon 20220317

EasyOS 3.4.3

Lakka 4.0

LMDE 5 "Elsie"

Bluestar 5.16.15


Moss: Our next episode, beginning our 4th year, will be recorded around April 27th. 

For chatting with us further, you may choose to join our Telegram group, our MeWe group, or our Discord channel.

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