Installation Notes for Giocoso 3 on Zorin OS

Zorin OS has been around since 2009, so it has staying power. It's based on Ubuntu, with Gnome and XFCE desktops available by default -though you'd be hard-pressed to recognise them as such, since the look-and-feel is heavily modified so as to provide a 'near-Windows' user experience. The distro is actually a commercial product, though the paid-for Pro edition seems mostly to distinguish itself from the free 'core' and 'lite' versions by providing extra layouts and theming options. Fortunately, as mentioned, the distro is available in two free versions, called 'Lite' and 'Core'. Lite claims it's good for running on ancient hardware; Core is alleged to be suitable for more recent hardware. Actually, the underlying difference seems basically to be that Core comes with the Gnome desktop environment and Lite comes with XFCE. Visually, it's difficult to tell the two editions apart.

For Giocoso testing purposes, I built a new Proxmox virtual machine (4GB RAM, 32GB virtual hard disk) and installed the Zorin 16.3 'Core' version. The operating system installer prompts to apply any available updates and/or install additional hardware drivers and multimedia codecs: I selected both options. A 'dark pattern' option is simultaneously-offered to 'not participate in the census': the cunning grammatical twist to the negative there means that if you leave that option unchecked, you will be reporting telemetry data back to the Zorin mothership... so select that option in order not to do so. I have grave views on developers who pull stunts like that: the usual convention is that, if you want people to participate in surveys or feedback, you get them to opt-in positively: a check mark would mean 'please sign me up', a lack of a check mark would mean 'count me out'. Here, though, the casual use of the negative means telemetry is opt-out, but only by positive selection of a box! As it turns out, the census is really just a 'ping', rather than full-on Microsoft-like telemetry... but it's still a dirty trick, and makes me instantly dislike the distro a lot.

Anyway: to the Giocoso installation. The first thing to say is that Zorin's default choice of terminal colours makes life quite difficult when installing Giocoso:

The light yellow on white background is practically illegible! It is easy enough to fix, of course -by changing your terminal's in-use profile. You could also simply choose to squint and bear it 🙂

If you persist, the installation is painless. However, the desktop icon to launch Giocoso will appear as a mere text file unless you right-click it and select the option to allow it to be launchable:

Once you do that, the proper 'Beethoven in Headphones' icon will appear and Giocoso can be launched (you could also do it from the main menu: the Giocoso launcher there appears under the 'Other' menu item). Unfortunately, you will discover that though it's based on Ubuntu, Zorin doesn't inherit its parent distro's ability to display album art in-terminal correctly:


The fix for this is either to edit the configuration file (Administration -> Option 3) and set 'Attempt to fix album art display' to yes, or to set 'Display album art in its own window' to yes. I chose the former option and achieved this:

It's nowhere near perfect, but it's at least usable.

At this point, I'd usually mention a third possible fix: install the Konsole terminal emulator and run Giocoso in that ...but even that doesn't work on Zorin (though it works on almost all other distros I can think of). The version of Konsole you get by installing it on Zorin has no ability to display in-terminal graphics at all!

One other display quirk I noticed: when selecting to play music by search filter (Play menu, Option 2), immediately after submitting my selections, the screen just went totally black. What it was actually doing was displaying the 'Do you want to save the results in a playlist' dialog, but for some reason, it wasn't visible... until I randomly pressed the left/right cursor keys, which made the thing pop into existence:

Failure to display anything at all happened quite consistently, I'm afraid. In general, there was a noticeable lag in displaying the borders around the main program window as you switch between (say) the Play and Database Management menus, sometimes resulting in parts of the screen not displaying correctly:

No other distro I've tested has such godawful screen handling like this -and since it's the same code that runs on other Ubuntu-derivatives without a problem, there's little I can do to fix, or even propose to fix, it. In general, whilst Giocoso will run on Zorin acceptably in regard to the business of actually playing FLAC files, it doesn't otherwise run very nicely on it -and that means I can't honestly recommend it as a distro for music-playing-with-Giocoso purposes.

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