/>
X
Innovation

Zorin OS puts on a masterclass for what a desktop operating system should be

Jack Wallen believes there's one Linux distribution to rule them all, and it's not the one you think it is.
jack-wallen
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
hands-on-with-zorin-os-8-linux.png
Zorin

I've used nearly every possible desktop operating system known. I've experienced nearly every incarnation of Windows and MacOS, I've used just about all the various Linux distributions over the years, and I've even test-driven some rather obscure OSes that looked promising but never really came to fruition.

Throughout those years, I've used desktop operating systems that focused on ease of use, efficiency, security, and so many more ideas. I've also landed on one or two OSes that I deemed to be the "best of" for many categories. But truth be told, there is one operating system that never fails to show off exactly what a desktop should be. That platform is Zorin OS.

Zorin OS is as functional as it is beautiful. It makes those who've never used Linux feel perfectly at home, all the while showing them just how elegant a desktop operating system can be. More than that, Zorin OS is highly functional out of the box. 

Once you've installed the OS, you'll have everything you need to be productive, such as:

  • A web browser (Firefox)
  • A groupware suite (Evolution)
  • An office suite (LibreOffice)
  • An image editor (GIMP)
  • A weather app
  • A to-do app

And thanks to Flatpak (which is installed by default), you can quickly install third-party, proprietary apps (such as Zoom and Spotify) all from within the GUI Software management tool.

Also: What are Flatpak and Snap and why are they so important to Linux?

But it's not just the ease of use and beauty that helps Zorin OS jump to the head of the desktop operating system game. There's much more to it than that.

Let's dive in and find out why Zorin OS is a master class in desktop operating systems.

Judge this book by its 'Appearance'

Although I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, Zorin OS makes a good case for doing just that. This desktop operating system has a very special trick up its sleeve. Once installed, if you open an app called Zorin Appearance (Figure 1), you'll find that you can select from different desktop layouts. 

The Zorin Appearance app.

Figure 1: The Zorin Appearance app is where you can configure the look and feel of your desktop.

Image: Jack Wallen

Before I dive further into this, know that you can get a free version of Zorin OS and a paid version. The free version (Zorin OS Core) offers four different desktop layouts:

  • 2 different KDE Plasma-like layouts.
  • 2 different GNOME-like layouts.

If you purchase the paid version (Zorin OS Pro), you get four more layouts:

  • A MacOS-inspired desktop.
  • A ChromeOS-inspired layout.
  • A Ubuntu-inspired layout.
  • A traditional Windows-like layout.

The Zorin Appearance app also allows you to configure the desktop theme, enable animations, move the title bar buttons, configure the Super key action, configure desktop icons, and customize your desktop fonts. Many users, however, will find the default desktop (Figure 2) is elegant and usable enough that it needs no tweaking.

The default Zorin OS desktop.

Figure 2: The default Zorin OS desktop is quite lovely.

Image: Jack Wallen

It all just works

The claim "It all just works" shouldn't be a bellwether for if something should be used because every operating system should "just work." But sometimes you experience a piece of software (or stack of software or operating system) that works so well that you almost forget what you're using. That's the best way I can describe Zorin OS. It only takes a few minutes with this desktop to completely forget you're using Linux -- an operating system that was once called an OS specifically made for elite hackers and developers. 

Zorin OS doesn't just work, it works with a level of ease and grace many other operating systems should strive for. Just log in and get to work. For example, sharing a folder to your network is as simple as right-clicking a folder, selecting Local Network Share, and following the prompts. Zorin OS even adds your user to Samba, so you don't have to worry about launching a terminal window and issuing the commands sudo smbpasswd -a $USER and sudo smbpasswd -e $USER (which has to be taken care of on most other distributions). 

Also: Cool things you can do with the Linux desktop that you can't do with MacOS or Windows

You also won't have to worry that the OS is going to fall apart on you, causing you to lose precious time. And because Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu Linux, you can be sure it'll remain stable and easy to use.

Seriously, I know this might sound like hyperbole, but Zorin OS really is that good. How good is it? Even though there are plenty of Linux distributions (such as Linux Mint and Ubuntu) that many claim are the best for new users, I would say they all pale in comparison to what Zorin OS has to offer. 

If you're looking for an OS that is equal parts beautiful and user-friendly, you will not find a better option than Zorin OS.

So, what are you waiting for? Download a copy of Zorin OS, install it, and find out why I hold this Linux distribution in such high regard.

Editorial standards

Related

How Cockpit can help you more easily manage your Linux machines
The Cockpit first login window.

How Cockpit can help you more easily manage your Linux machines

Unblock streaming services and secure your downloads with these Windows VPNs
xps-gi3iuj1fwxi-unsplash.jpg

Unblock streaming services and secure your downloads with these Windows VPNs

How to use the handy SSH management tool in Chrome OS
The Terminal entry in the Chrome OS launcher.

How to use the handy SSH management tool in Chrome OS