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Old 02-05-2015, 06:42 PM   #1
provobis
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Smile Trying to use Zorin. Wrong distro choice? Advice invited from Linux experts


Hello Linux experts (because I suspect experts are what I need). Being a newbie I tried to choose a linux distro that I could use most like windows XP in particular, to include apps, maintenance and ease. To me it seemed like ZORIN fit the bill so I installed Zorin 9 on a 500 gb HD and configured a desktop with Cairo Dock (that dock being like the quick launch bar in Windows). So far so good.

Two main tasks I have is finding a back up (clone) utility I can use to clone the entire HD to an external USB HD so that I can simply plug in that clone and have the identical Zorin back exactly the way it was. Secondly I want to install my Canon printer (all in one print, copy, scan, and fax) so that I can use it the same way as with XP.

So far I've been disappointed for both because the clone apps I see available are "dd" (terminal) which does not seem to work and/or if it did the advice is that a clone could take days or weeks? Say what? Is that nuts or what. In windows I can clone my HD in 45 minutes, plug it in the computer and have an exact working copy of the source HD. Obviously days or weeks to obtain a HD clone is not good, and I'm not even sure that if I did it anyway that I would actually be able to plug it in (in place of the original HD),having an exact working copy of all files including boot, system, files and apps.

Next, installing my Canon printer seems unlikely if not impossible because I can't find drivers for that printer available for Zorin.

Did I make the wrong distro choice, and if so which Linux distro should I have installed? Ubuntu? Mint? Or maybe I'm looking for more in any Linux that can be had to date? Any advice please? Save me from having to go back to Windows which everyone knows (including M$oft MVP's)sucks.
 
Old 02-05-2015, 08:34 PM   #2
frankbell
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I would suggest that you stick with Zorin for a while until you get a better feel for how it and Linux work. Even if you don't like it, you can learn from it. Then, if you want to try something different, you will have a better sense of what you will be looking for.

As for a "clone" utility, the go-to choice is Clonezilla.

If you still want to switch, I would recommend Mint.

Regarding the printer, Canon is not well-known for its support of Linux. If you tell us the printer model, though, we may be able to help you. Canon's Asian/European support of Linux seems to be better than its North American Linux support.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-05-2015 at 08:37 PM.
 
Old 02-05-2015, 09:51 PM   #3
provobis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
I would suggest that you stick with Zorin for a while until you get a better feel for how it and Linux work. Even if you don't like it, you can learn from it. Then, if you want to try something different, you will have a better sense of what you will be looking for.

As for a "clone" utility, the go-to choice is Clonezilla.

If you still want to switch, I would recommend Mint.

Regarding the printer, Canon is not well-known for its support of Linux. If you tell us the printer model, though, we may be able to help you. Canon's Asian/European support of Linux seems to be better than its North American Linux support.
Thanks for that frankbell, I wouldn't disagree that I certainly need more hands on experience with Zorin (Linux), but if what I want from that distro is not realistic or practical, wouldn't more experience with Zorin or any Linux distro for that matter just be a waste of time? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to experiment even if only for the fun of it, but I want Linux to replace M$soft permanently, not supplement it. I'd like to know for sure if it can do that, even in time if not immediately. For the clone issue I need to know if what I am trying to do, is doable as well as timely. If not, I would be limited in using Linux only for general surfing for example, not being able to print and save anything I find on the net. As for the cloning backup issue (because I do want a secure and HD backup in case of a drive crash or failure), so a reliable, secure clone as I indicate is important to me.

Thank you for your reference to Clonzilla, which I have understood is a go-to choice as you say. However I'm not certain if I use Clonzilla, that I can copy my HD to an external USB identical HD (installed in a caddy), then take that clone out of the caddy and plug it in to use it in place of the original. Can you tell me if Clonzilla does that? Computer speak and tutors I've seen do not clearly indicate what and how Clonezilla is saving and/or backing up, though I do understand the version I should normally be using.

Are you saying that Mint is a better all around alternative to Zorin for my purposes as I describe, or just easier to use in my case?

Then, yes...I've seen that Canon is not that helpful but a make such as HP is for Linux. I find that really frustrating since Canon does most of everything else I need, and HP does not. But in any case my Canon is a MX922. And yes, I recall I've seen mention of off shore Canon downloads that are supposed to support Linux, but also comments that they don't entirely, for example printing text in place of HTML, video, etc. Do you have further?

Once more thanks for your reply. I look forward to your comeback and any other contributions out there.
 
Old 02-05-2015, 10:59 PM   #4
frankbell
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There are two things that distinguish one Linux distro from another: how software packages are managed and how the init system (SysV or SystemD) works.

Debian and Debian-based systems use variations on aptitude (apt-get, synaptic) to install, remove, and manage software; Red Hat based systems use variations on Yum. Once you get down to the command line, though, all distros are pretty much (not necessarily 100%) the same (by the way, that's why you will see that many of the Linux Answers on Linux Questions suggest using command-line commands--the command line is the lowest common denominator of Linux).

Differences in desktop environments are the most noticeable and also the most superficial, as the GUI is not an integral part of the OS, as it is with Windows and Apple; rather, it rides atop the OS. Slackware, for example, comes with six different GUIs out of the box; you can pick a default at time of installation, and switch back-and-forth during day-to-day usage. Zorin is distinguishable by its GUI, but, underneath, it's a Linux distro based on Ubuntu.

I took a look at Zorin once in VirtualBox. As I recall, the default desktop was very pretty, but the desktop environment was rather heavy in terms of the resources it used. It certainly wasn't to my taste, but I've been doing this stuff for a long time and Have My Preferences as to What I Want in My Interface.

As regards Clonezilla, you can point the output to any target that is not part of what you are trying to clone. I have used it, but only a few times and am hardly an expert in using it.

For my own purposes, I do not "clone" Linux installs. On my primary computer, the one that contains crucial data, I simply back up my home directory and such system-wide configuration files that I have modified to external media (a separate location on a network share, in my case).

I have found that, in the event of a fatal crash, installing the OS anew and then restoring data from back-up is ultimately a more efficient course than attempting to recreate the crashed installation in its entirety. Installing anew, for example, would ensure that all updates to the OS would be installed before I restored my data; recreating the system from an image would mean that updates would have to be installed, likely many updates. But that is two or three potential LQ threads in that one paragraph.

Regarding Mint, it is a good all-around distro and a nice job of work. In addition, the maintainers have tried to arrange the default menus so they will not be too difficult for persons coming from Windows-world to navigate, but it is a darned fine distro by any measure. I have Mint installed on my primary laptop right now (and I don't use the default desktop environments, I use Enlightenment, but it's still Mint underneath): I am recommending Mint on its merits, because I use it and find it satisfactory.

One option you might consider is to boot to Live CDs/DVDs of distros you are interested in and test them out in live mode, then choose the one you find most appealing. The one firm piece of advice I do have is this: if you absolutely cannot abide Zorin, once you find a distro you think you can live with, stick with it for a month or so to get the hang of how Linux works. Then, if you want to "distro-hop," go for it, but go for with some notion of what you are going for.

Your response to my post was very meaty--there was much to think about. Frankly, though, I'm tired and have to pack it in. Later.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-05-2015 at 11:01 PM.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 02:34 AM   #5
syg00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by provobis View Post
However I'm not certain if I use Clonzilla, that I can copy my HD to an external USB identical HD (installed in a caddy), then take that clone out of the caddy and plug it in to use it in place of the original. Can you tell me if Clonzilla does that?
Read the link you were given - under the liveCD (which you should use) link there is documentation that includes a disk to disk clone, including screen-shots.

As for Mint vs Zorin, Mint is well rounded, and has the advantage of being able to (usually) use any Ubuntu solutions you find on the web. If you search "Canon MX922 linux drivers" you'll find plenty of Ubuntu solutions. Pre-packaged. Big advantage.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 07:23 AM   #6
KC1DI
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Hi provobis and welcome to the world of Linux where choice is the big thing

as others have said zorin is ok I used it a while back but didn't suite me that well (been using linux since 1993 or so)
I like Mint also it's a good all round desktop, I prefer the mate or KDE desktop at the moment. Cinnamon is good but resource hungery compared to the others.

Ubuntu is ok also. but as others have mentioned most of these distros have live cd/dvd/usb images that you can test to see what you like.

They are very versitile - Clonzilla works for me, but as others have said I just back up everything i want to reinstall that way I can carry important stuff from distro to distro.

Happy computing and you'll learn a lot along the way if you stick with Linux.
read all you can. find a machine you can play with without it being your primary machine and try different things learn the command line as it is useful in all linux distributions. Most of all take your time try what interests you and before you know it you'll be the expert.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 07:51 AM   #7
provobis
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"For my own purposes, I do not "clone" Linux installs. On my primary computer, the one that contains crucial data, I simply back up my home directory and such system-wide configuration files that I have modified to external media (a separate location on a network share, in my case)"

Then do I understand for backup you use a default system tool such as déjà dup? I first tried that to see how it worked and it sure does the job instantly (instead of days or weeks for a clone). But then looking at what was backed up I was not sure it saved everything I would need to restore or how to do the restore. (Sorry if I'm too slow.

"Regarding Mint, it is a good all-around distro and a nice job of work. In addition, the maintainers have tried to arrange the default menus so they will not be too difficult for persons coming from Windows-world to navigate, but it is a darned fine distro by any measure. I have Mint installed on my primary laptop right now (and I don't use the default desktop environments, I use Enlightenment, but it's still Mint underneath): I am recommending Mint on its merits, because I use it and find it satisfactory"

Based on what you say looks like mint might be a better choice for me. As you see syg00 tells me basically the same thing, plus recommends a Canon MX922 solution that seems promising (thanks syg00). Well so far it looks like I should go with mint as long as I can configure a desktop the same way as in Zorin. iI do appreciate the help and any more advice is welcome.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 08:07 AM   #8
provobis
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by KC1DI View Post
Hi provobis and welcome to the world of Linux where choice is the big thing

as others have said zorin is ok I used it a while back but didn't suite me that well (been using linux since 1993 or so)
I like Mint also it's a good all round desktop, I prefer the mate or KDE desktop at the moment. Cinnamon is good but resource hungery compared to the others.

Ubuntu is ok also. but as others have mentioned most of these distros have live cd/dvd/usb images that you can test to see what you like.

They are very versitile - Clonzilla works for me, but as others have said I just back up everything i want to reinstall that way I can carry important stuff from distro to distro.

Happy computing and you'll learn a lot along the way if you stick with Linux.
read all you can. find a machine you can play with without it being your primary machine and try different things learn the command line as it is useful in all linux distributions. Most of all take your time try what interests you and before you know it you'll be the expert.
Thanks KC1DI, I already replied as you can see pretty much along your suggestion. As for "read all you can" (in other words experiment and try everything) much as I would like to, I'm no spring chicken and don't know how long I'll still be around. This is why I need to replace all my windows crap now, with a stable and comprehensive Linux system environment I can use securely and immediately....with no time to play.

Thanks again and have a good one.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 08:43 AM   #9
JeremyBoden
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List your essential Windows applications.
If Linux can replicate (or better) that list, then you can proceed.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 09:58 AM   #10
JWJones
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Realize that both Zorin and Mint are Ubuntu (and therefore Debian) based distros. Any hardware issues are likely to be common amongst all of them, although I do think Mint does a great job at ironing out some of my gripes with Ubuntu.

For hardware recognition, you might give a live PCLinuxOS disk a try, it's pretty well known for hardware detection, or at least it used to be.

Having said this, it isn't a bad thing to stick with what you are using, learn Linux, and try to find solutions to whatever issues you may be having.
 
Old 02-06-2015, 11:03 AM   #11
DavidMcCann
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The last time I reviewed Zorin, I ended by saying "In the ‘cleaned-up Ubuntu’ category, this version of Zorin OS is comparable with Mint and Snow, and well worth considering." I'd still stand by that. The two problems you had were not really Zorin problems.

The backup problem seems to be solved. You don't really need to back up a whole disk, only /home. If you lost your HD (a pretty rare disaster), you would just restore from the Zorin installation disk and repository. Don't forget that in Linux, all the configuration information for the OS and applications is stored in /home, to a reinstall will work just like the original.

This website, for example, offers a printer driver:
http://www.driverlook.com/canon-pixm...inux-mac-os-x/
A package in deb format will install in Zorin.

Printing from a specific application is a matter for the application, not the printer driver. The rather elaborate procedure is
1. The program generates a postsscipt file and passes it to CUPS
2. CUPS checks your available printer and passes the file and the name of the printer to foomatic
3. Foomatic gets ghostscript to convert the ps to a bitmap, using the instructions in the driver.
4. Foomatic gives the bitmap file to CUPS which sends it to the printer.
Divide and conquer!
 
Old 02-06-2015, 11:12 AM   #12
provobis
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Thank you both M Jones and McCann
 
Old 02-07-2015, 10:34 AM   #13
provobis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
I would suggest that you stick with Zorin for a while until you get a better feel for how it and Linux work. Even if you don't like it, you can learn from it. Then, if you want to try something different, you will have a better sense of what you will be looking for.

As for a "clone" utility, the go-to choice is Clonezilla.

If you still want to switch, I would recommend Mint.

Regarding the printer, Canon is not well-known for its support of Linux. If you tell us the printer model, though, we may be able to help you. Canon's Asian/European support of Linux seems to be better than its North American Linux support.
I'm back! Decided to try Mint alongside Zorin so did a dual boot. Something went wrong and I had to wipe the HD in order to start over, so installed Mint on the HD I wiped clean. The install went well as far as I could tell, except that the default Mint desktop I got had a greyed out task bar at the bottom, with blurred "menu" text and start button icon on it. Clicking on either either "menu" or blurred start button gives me a greyed out menu field with nothing in it. I thought maybe I had a corrupt iso download so I did downloaded again and tried the install again. Same thing again. As I type this I'm trying a third time on my second computer to reinstall a third iso download. I'm posting this with a third computer. (BTW the live cd also has the same greyed out menu /start with the same results).

This is really weird. I never had any problem doing this for Zorin. Do youhave any idea what the trouble is? I'm asking you first because you were the first to respond to my post. Thanks

Last edited by provobis; 02-07-2015 at 10:37 AM. Reason: add word
 
Old 02-07-2015, 09:07 PM   #14
frankbell
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Quote:
The install went well as far as I could tell, except that the default Mint desktop I got had a greyed out task bar at the bottom, with blurred "menu" text and start button icon on it. Clicking on either either "menu" or blurred start button gives me a greyed out menu field with nothing in it.
I have installed Mint a number of times and have not encountered anything like this, so there's definitely something wrong. I have no idea what it might be, but, if the problem recurs on the next install, post more information, including the make/model of the computer and its specs. If you can get a terminal open (try CTRL-ALT-T), take a look at the log files in /var/log/, particularly /var/log/syslog, /var/log/mintsystem.log, and /var/log/boot.log.

And I commend you on your tenaciousness.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-07-2015 at 09:11 PM.
 
Old 02-08-2015, 08:25 AM   #15
JeremyBoden
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Me too.
You can get into a Command entry screen with CTRL+ALT+F1
 
  


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