The new version 16 of Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and the Gnome desktop and has the usual programs from Firefox to Libre Office in the latest versions. The already very finely honed design has been revised and the overall system has been optimized for performance. In fact, it is extremely fluid to use, controls react promptly, and animations do not seem overloaded. Software can be installed from the Ubuntu repository, the snap store and from Flathub.
Upon request, the system can switch between light and dark theme to match the time of day and the pre-installed active wallpaper subtly changes its color tones during the day , similar to what is known from macOS. After installation, a tour introduces the user to some of the functions. At first glance, Zorin OS looks like an interchangeable Ubuntu descendant that has been given its own theme – albeit a particularly elegant one.
But when you use it for a long time, you notice the many details that the developers Artyom and Kyrill have come across Have respected Zorin. Zorin OS can handle fingerprint sensors, can be controlled by gestures on the touchpad and can be connected to the smartphone with a KDE Connect descendant called Zorin Connect. Steam has to be installed afterwards, but including Windows games it works right away and with just a few clicks of the mouse.
With most Linux distributions, users have to lend a hand to different degrees in order to carry out the final configuration steps . Often they cannot avoid commands on a command shell. This is how Steam only works under Ubuntu after you have manually installed a few libraries. This may be part of the concept of some distributions in order to adapt the system to their own needs in every respect, but presents users from the Windows and Mac world and especially less IT-savvy people with challenges that their computers can do without long tinkering just want to use it.
Everything works right away
Linux has made huge strides in this regard over the past few years. A number of Linux distributions are trying to do better, but almost all of them still have things that don’t work right away, packages that have to be installed manually, and settings that needlessly be made manually. Zorin OS 16 is probably the Linux that currently comes closest to this “just works” claim.
Everything worked out in the test without reworking that would not have been necessary after a fresh macOS Installation would be required – not to mention Windows. In fact, Artyom and Kyrill Zorin have orientated themselves since the first version in 2009 to their father, whom they hired as a tester. If he couldn’t handle something, they didn’t explain it to him, but changed the system until he could handle it. An example: Windows users are used to downloading installation files with the extension .EXE. Of course, this approach does not work under Linux, which poses serious problems for many less IT-savvy people.
Windows apps with WINE
If you double-click on such an installation file under Zorin OS, two things can happen: Either the program in question is also available for Linux, then you will be directed to the installation option in the software store; or if this program does not exist, then Zorin OS automatically offers to run the program directly with the Windows compatibility framework WINE, which will also be installed when the opportunity arises, if it is not already available. At most there is still the risk that the Windows program will not run under WINE, but Linux is not Windows.
Zorin OS started as a school project for second teenagers who then just went on and founded a company, to further develop and market their distribution. Zorin OS takes a different approach than most other Linux distributions in that a “Pro” version is offered at a price of 46.41 euros. The Pro version contains a larger selection of background images and desktop layouts, including one that is based on Windows 11.
Core, Pro and Lite variant
Much more software is preinstalled, but it is also included in the free ” Core “variant can be installed without any problems. For users who do not like the fact that many programs are pre-installed that they do not use at all, the “Pro” version also offers a minimal installation that corresponds to the scope of the “Core” version. Installation support is also included in the price. For this pricing, the distribution is hostile to some people who think Linux should be free. This is not fair, because the free “Core” version can be used without any compromises and, with the exception of the additional desktop layouts, everything can be installed in the usual way.
Zorin OS is not really for old Linux – Rabbits who have decided on a favorite distribution, or for purists who feel offended by the fact that the system reacts sensibly to a “setup.exe” file. It is not at all suitable for Arch users: inside, who really want to configure every detail of their individual Linux themselves.
Recommendation for beginners and those changing over: inside
Instead, we can make an absolute recommendation for everyone who has been with have flirted with the topic of Linux and want to venture into or switch or have frustrated earlier Linux experiments. Surprisingly, Zorin OS is also very suitable for tinkering and distrohopping. It is so easy to maintain and quick to set up that it also works very well as a permanent secondary distribution on a separate partition, which is always quickly to hand if the person you are experimenting with causes problems.
The purchase of the Pro version is not necessary, but a nice gesture to show the developers that you appreciate Zorin OS for a long time. In addition to the paid “Pro” and the free “Core” version, there is also a “Lite” version, which is currently still in version 15.3. With Xfce as a desktop, it is particularly resource-saving and is intended for computers that are older than 15 years.