Many people coming from Windows try Ubuntu Linux as their first Linux distribution. But Ubuntu itself, while very good, may not always be the best choice. There are many Ubuntu derivatives and it’s possible that one of those can sometimes be a better bet for those seeking to ease their way into a comfortable Linux niche. Zorin OS is an Ubuntu derivative designed to help make the transition from Windows to Linux as easy as possible.
Zorin OS 4 is the latest release. Zorin OS comes in a number of flavors including:
Zorin OS Core
Zorin OS Lite
Zorin OS Gaming
Zorin OS Multimedia
Zorin OS Ultimate
Zorin OS Core is one of the free versions and that’s the version I downloaded for this review. The other two free versions are Lite and Educational Full and Lite. The Lite version offers the LXDE desktop environment and the educational version is…well…educational.
You can buy the other versions in the Zorin OS store for 10 or 15 euros. I know that some people frown on distro developers selling a particular version of their distro rather than giving it away free. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it since people always have the choice to use a totally free distro if they don’t want to pay. But, for some people, it might be worth a few bucks to get a particular version of their preferred distribution. Each individual has to make that choice for himself or herself.
Zorin OS Core comes in 32 or 64 bit versions. Zorin OS Lite and Educational come in 32 bit versions only.
What’s New In This Release
Zorin OS 4 has a number of new features. Please be aware though that some only apply to the premium or light versions of this distro. Please see the release notes for clarification on what features are available in each version of Zorin OS.
Here’s a sample of the new features:
New desktop theme
Redesigned splash screen
Internet browser manager
Splash screen manager
Better sound menu
Improved file manager
Updated software center
The splash screen manager is a nice touch, though it’s probably not something I’d use a lot. I also liked the Internet Browser Manager. It gives Linux newbies a chance to experiment with different browsers rather than just sticking with the default choice.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
- 700 MHz x86 processor
- 3GB of Hard Drive space
- 256 MB of system memory (RAM)
- Graphics card capable of 640×480 resolution
- Sound card
Zorin OS 4 uses the Ubuntu installer and it’s a piece of cake, even if you’ve never installed Linux before. Windows users should have no problem with it. The install takes about ten minutes and you can watch a helpful slideshow while it completes.
The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Here’s what the booting and login screens look like:
Zorin OS 4 uses GNOME for its desktop environment. The panel at the bottom of the screen has a “Z” as a start button and contains icons for Chrome, etc. Newbies to GNOME should not have a problem using the Zorin OS 4 desktop. Everything is where you expect it to be in the application menus, etc. The look and feel of Zorin OS 4 is quite good. It’s a fairly attractive looking desktop.
Zorin OS 4 uses a customized theme, but all the usual ones are available in the Appearance Preferences menu. More are available online.
The Zorin OS 4 wallpaper has a sort of bluish hippy, space theme. It’s attractive but not particularly distinct. There are some other good wallpaper choices available in the Background tab in the Appearance Preferences menu. More are available online.
Here’s an image of what you’ll find on the control center, admin & system preferences menus:
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.