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July 7, 2012

6

Zorin 6 Review

It’s been a long while since Linux distros have tried to emulate the look and feel of Windows. Most distributions thought it would be the best way to get Windows users who are fed up with the constant virus and malware threats to switch to Linux and it has not been a successful run back in the day with Linspire and Xandros closing up shop a long time ago.

Now enter Zorin OS 6, a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 12.04LTS that gives you that Windows feeling with their added touches.

Installation of Zorin OS 6 was quite a simple task. It is the same installer that Ubuntu and Ubuntu variants use so if you’ve installed Ubuntu before you will feel at home.

Zorin comes with their own desktop aptly named Zorin Desktop Environment which is unique to this distribution. It gives the developers more control over the look and feel than using GNOME or KDE for its desktop environment.

Changing the look and feel of your desktop environment is important to some and Zorin makes it possible for you to change how Zorin behaves with the Zorin Look Changer. This application allows you to change the feel from a Windows 7 menu  (default)  to a Windows XP or Gnome 2 feel. There are options to make it behave like OS X or Ubuntu’s Unity desktop but you will have to pay for those extra features. zorin-6-2012-06-30-13-06-48

Zorin Web Browser Manager is a nifty tool for those who want to install, remove or add a second browser. By default, Google Chrome is the default web browser but adding Firefox, Opera or Midori is done quite easily by clicking install underneath the browser icon and then from there it will download and install the browser of your choosing.

The popular WINE application comes as part of Zorin OS. WINE is an application that allows you to install and run Windows applications without the need of Windows being installed. For more information on which applications can run, check out WINE’s homepage for further information.

The Ubuntu Software Center makes its appearance in Zorin OS. It is where you can download and install and remove programs. You also have access to Synaptic Package Manager for those who feel a little bit more techy and want to try it out. Update Manager is also available in Zorin as it is the program used to notify and install any system and application updates.

The menu system in Zorin is handled by AWN (Avant Window Navigator) and you can customize how the icons and system bar look and behave but by default it looks great as it is.

Conclusion

Zorin is a wonderfully made distribution that takes the feel of Windows and makes it so simple if a new computer user would be in front of it, they would think they were using Windows. Linspire and Xandros used to be the major players in the field of creating Windows-esque distributions but still lacked a lot of oomph which many years later now exists.

The look and feel of Zorin is great and would highly recommend this distribution for those who are beginners in Linux or those who aren’t and need a way to stop those calls from family members about viruses and system being slow.

More Information

Homepage: Zorin
Screenshots: Zorin OS

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 9 2012

    I used Zorin 5 for a while and I found it to be really easy to use and as stable as Ubuntu.

    The compiz effects are a nice novelty and it is really easy to customise the look and feel generally.

    Installing new software is easy as is connecting to the internet.

    The base installation comes with a good array of software so most of what you might require is there to begin with.

    I downloaded version 6 yesterday and plan to install it this week.

    Reply
  2. Jul 9 2012

    First, my hat is off to the programmers who obviously spend a lot of time doing something that so many of us can’t or won’t do, trying to devise a usable operating system alternative to Microsoft products.

    I would like to submit some feedback, though, from the perspective of the end user. I was a long time user of Zorin 5. For the most part I was very pleased with Zorin 5. I really like the desktop effects, especially the ability to easily modify the mouse pointer. As some one with eyesight issues,that was very important to me and Zorin 5 was the only Linux based distribution that I found that allowed this functionality.
    There was one issue that continually bugged me, though with the Zorin 5 environment, the message pane list in Evolution was double spaced. I searched the web for a resolution to this, but never found one.
    So, I was very eager to try the Zorin 6 distribution. However, I was very disappointed in Zorin 6. The ability to manipulate the mouse pointer was withdrawn and the double spaced mail list issue Evolution was not addressed.
    Furthermore, I was forced to search for a fix that would allow me to use my USB devices with the new Zorin 6 distribution.
    I’m sure there must have been a number of things improved in the “upgrade,’ but the ones things that really mattered to me were not. In fact the user experience for me was worse than with Zorin 5. I was left with no choice but to downgrade back to Zorin 5 or look for another alternative. I was very disappointed.

    Reply
  3. Jay Matheson
    Jul 17 2012

    Thanks for the review, I just found your website today via the RFD forums and look forward to visiting here often.

    I hope the Ubuntu 12 LTS spinoffs like Zorin 6 will enable me to finally start putting linux on older windows systems that I normally reformat for friends and family once or twice a year.

    The hardest sell for most people I know is abandoning MS Office, as often attachments and files do not maintain their formatting 100% on free alternatives. I might see how stable MSOffice works on WINE.

    Reply
  4. Jared
    Jul 24 2012

    :) I can’t believe people still remember Xandros. I actually use Zorin. It’s a nice distribution although to say it is like Microsoft Windows doesn’t do it justice. Microsoft Windows sucks. Zorin doesn’t. It may have some similarities although I think Zorin should stop advertising it as such a distribution. They can advertise as being easy to use… a good replacement to Microsoft Windows, etc. but don’t try and act like you cloned Microsoft Windows. Don’t try and clone Microsoft Windows. It is what we are all trying to get away from.

    If it is a clone it’s a bad clone. If it’s not a clone then it is a great desktop.

    The only thing I wished is they would team up with ThinkPenguin.com. ThinkPenguin is awesome. The company ships a ton of freedom friendly hardware and it’s not just making fraudulent claims like everybody else. All the major distributions and hardware vendors claim freedom and none are free. They might be based on free software for the most part although they aren’t 100% free. This company gets it. They understand the difference. And in doing so they properly support Linux. Something you can’t do with hardware requiring proprietary software. If distribution developers understood that hardware for Linux would work so much better.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Jul 25 2012

      I covered Xandros a long time ago as well as Linspire then Lindows and everyone tried to mimic the look and feel of Windows. Zorin does have a Windows feel to it in regards to the menu itself. There are plenty of newbies out there that have used Windows but keeping with the feel is a positive if one wants to switch them to Zorin.

      The thing that works against a place like ThinkPenguin is the fact they are not really known and people are worried about their service and support where with a name brand machine you should be guaranteed service and support, although once it comes to Linux forget about your support.

      Reply

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