Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distro that seeks to stand out amongst the many Linux distros around. It is touted as “a replacement for Windows and MacOS, designed to make your computer faster, more powerful and secure”. So what’s the deal with Zorin? Is it worth your attention in the sea of distros? Let us take a look at what makes this distro stand apart.
How To Install Zorin OS?
Installation of Zorin OS is pretty straightforward. All you need is a bootable USB maker such as Rufus or Etcher to make a bootable drive. Since Zorin is based on Ubuntu, the installation is pretty much the same. Just follow the installer to set it up. You can install Zorin on the entire hard disk or dual or multi-boot with other operating systems.
The default appearance mode of Zorin OS 12 is powered by Gnome shell and has a Windows 7 look and it does look pretty. It comes with the very modern and nice Paper icon theme with its bold colours and flat appearance. Much like Gnome 3, there is support for Activities overview. With a tap on the “Super key”, you can see, close or organise every window on your desktop. You also have new workspaces added dynamically to make more room for you.
There is also support for Universal search. In Activities overview, you can search for installed applications, application in the store, files and even inside of apps on your computer by typing. Rich and actionable notifications have been added so apart from being informed, you can also take actions without interrupting your workflow.
Zorin Appearance modes
One key feature of Zorin OS is the effort to provide familiarity regardless of your previous desktop. Zorin Appearance lets you change the desktop to resemble the environment you're familiar with, whether it's Windows, Gnome 3, Gnome 2, MacOS or Ubuntu Unity (Note that the last 3 appearance themes are only available with the Ultimate edition). Depending on your choice of appearance, everything on your desktop is right where you would expect it so the learning curve is quite minimal. All these are available via the Zorin Appearance app.
The Zorin appearance app even allows you to customize more detailed aspects of your desktop UI including fonts, animations, the panel and more.
Zorin comes with some specially built applications to complement the user experience. There are apps for Maps, Weather, Photos and Videos. The Photos app like I mentioned earlier even has support for online accounts such as Google Photos. The video app also works with online video sources including Vimeo and Youtube as well as other news channels. The default browser is Chromium to provide an awesome user experience. There is also a software store where you can browse, install and update your apps.
Zorin OS 12 ships with support for high-density displays and automatic display scaling based on your screen. It also comes with touch gestures for touch screens laptops and tablets. There are gestures for Activities Overview (3 finger pinch), workspace switching (4 finger swipe) and others. It also supports automatic display brightness control for devices with inbuilt light sensors. There is also Google integration. You can link your google account so you will have your google drive files in your file manager. Your synced photos will also be available in the Photos app.
Download Zorin OS
You can download Zorin OS by going to the download link on their download page here. Zorin is available in 2 main editions. First, there is the core edition that comes with all the core essentials for the everyday PC. It comes with LibreOffice suite, some useful accessories and utilities, Windows and Gnome 3 desktop layouts and support for some Windows application via PlayOnLinux. And then there is the Ultimate edition which comes with software for all your business, media and gaming needs. The Ultimate edition comes with everything in the Core edition as well as with business and media apps, over 20 games, added MacOS, Gnome 2 and Unity desktop layouts and support for Video wallpapers. But this comes at a cost (19 Euros) so unless you have to pay for it which you don’t. The latest iteration of Zorin OS, version 12 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and will be supported until April 2016.
From the short time that I’ve been using Zorin OS 12, I find it quite capable and excellent. It has been designed to be familiar regardless of your previous desktop. Zorin feels smooth in daily usage and I didn’t encounter any major bugs. You should definitely give Zorin a try, it just might be the one for you. The developers are working on adding 3 (Lite, Educational and Business) more variants to the Core and Ultimate editions. Do you have and experience with Zorin OS? Share with us in the comment s below.