Zorin OS 12.4 Core
Ubuntu-based distros are a dime a dozen. Shashank Sharma wonders if Zorin is yet another newbie-centric derivative, or something more…
Ubuntu-based distros are a dime a dozen, and Shashank Sharma isn’t easily impressed. Is Zorin something special?
Till about the mid-2000s, the Linux community spent a lot of time discussing the reasoning for, and existence of everincreasing number of distributions. Didn’t we already have enough? Wouldn’t the time and effort in creating and maintaining yet another distribution be better utilised in service of an existing project?
Such existential questions were frequently bandied about, with no clear answer to the question of proliferation of distributions. However, somewhere along the way, the proliferation spread away from desktop distributions into niches such as business and server distributions, and others. It’ not known just how much this proliferation is responsible for the everexpanding Linux users, but we’re now at the point where people no longer condemn new projects. Which is a good thing too, or we would have been denied the large number of relatively new distributions that are aimed at new users.
Zorin OS, which was started in 2009, is based on Ubuntu and like its parent, the project has strived for two new releases each year. What sets Zorin apart from similar distributions aimed at newbies is its design philosophy, which would appeal to Windows and Mac users. Couple its design with the choice of bundled software, specifically the inclusion of Wine and PlayonLinux out of the box, and it’s easy to see how the distribution has fostered a dedicated and passionate community in relatively short amount of time. For users dissatisfied with the open source alternatives to their preferred proprietary applications, these applications can be used to install games and applications designed for Windows within the Linux installation.
Neat and fast
Unlike many of its peers, the project still produces variants for 32-bit machines, and recommends this for older machines with less than 2GB of RAM. You can use the Zorin Appearance tool to change the layout of the desktop, all of which feature a launcher at the bottom left of the screen on the Gnome 3.18.2 desktop. Even on a single core 2GHz machine fitted with 4GB of RAM, Zorin is appreciably faster than its parent, and most other Gnome-powered desktop distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora.
Apart from the usual compliment of multimedia and internet tools, Zorin also features DejaDup backup utility and a browser manager to install additional web browsers such as Firefox, if you dislike the default Chromium.
For users interested in even more applications and support out of the box, the project also produces a variant called Zorin Ultimate. Unlike the Core edition however, which is available as a free download, you must shell out €19 (£17) for this version of the distro.
The project hosts disappointingly brief guides on a handful of topics such as installation, configuration of wireless and graphics cards and installing applications. Thankfully, these terse write-ups are complimented by the community driven forum boards, which also host user contributed tutorials and guides.
Unlike many other desktop distributions such as its parent Ubuntu, or its peers like Linux Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE and others, Zorin doesn’t maintain a to-do list, nor provides a list of exciting-sounding features that may ship with future releases. This information is released when the project prepares to unveil its early releases to the public for beta testing.
For the past few years, the project has released two editions each year. The latest edition, already the second release for 2018, will be the last in the 12.x series. The next major release, based on Ubuntu 18.04.1, will be announced in autumn, and while there are no details for now, the project has termed the upcoming edition as a huge release. Watch this space!
If you’re interested in an easily extensible distribution that’s also fast, intuitively designed and pleasant looking, we recommend giving Zorin a try.