3 Jul 2012

I always come back to Zorin OS

I have been a Windows user for many many years, going back to Windows 3.1. I always shunned Apple because of the ridiculous cost, and frankly the elitist arrogance of its users. I always felt that Windows (ironically, because of its monopoly) left less chance of compatibility issues with other users, and more choices in terms of software. Over the years, I grew to dislike Microsoft as a company. Yet when it came down to it, Windows was my security blanket - a familiar place that I felt safe.

About seven years ago was my first experience with Linux, specifically Ubuntu. Through virtualization (VirtualBox always worked best for me) I was able to explore this operating system. My first impression was one of much confusion. Of course, it was a completely new element that was quite intimidating. The fact that so much was done through the command line really scared me. It didn't take long for me to just forget about it and move on with Windows.

Through some life circumstances, I had to make a drastic career change, which ultimately lead me into the IT field. For almost two years, I was out of work. During this time, I went to school and acquired some certs.

But I also became obsessed with Linux. It actually started with Ubuntu Studio 10.10. Being a musician and amateur recording engineer, I found it amazing that this capability was available for free. Again, it was somewhat intimidating, but at the same time, exciting. I learned so much about Linux from this experience. And I couldn't get over the fact that it could do what I had spent so much money in software to do - FOR FREE!

This snowballed into an unhealthy obsession of trying out every Linux distro that I could. I tried Ubuntu (and the official variants Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu), Zorin OS, Mint, Debian, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva, etc. And no matter which ones I try, I always come back to Zorin OS. It's not because it is the most Windows-like (which is nice), but it's the fastest and most stable, and in my opinion, the best out of the box with its combination of features and apps.

Now that I have become free tech support for all of family and friends, I have replaced many infected/bloated/corrupted Windows systems with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate, and every one of them is so happy now. If I leave the default Windows 7 interface, the transition is so stupid simple for them.

One such friend recently called because he could not get NetFlix to work. I told him that he would have to go back to Windows. He flat out refused, and was willing to cancel his NetFlix instead.

For a family member that has a bunch of snotty Mac-user friends/clients, I gave her Zorin OS 5 Ultimate with the Mac OS look, and even added the Mac OS X Lion theme/icons. Her friends/clients cannot believe it. It looks like a Mac, but says Toshiba on the outside. There are so many of these stories from all of my family and friends that I have converted to Linux.

I am now using Zorin OS 5 Ultimate as the OS on my personal laptop, as well as on my personal home file/print server. Although I still work in a Microsoft environment, I use a Dell laptop loaded with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate to do everything.

I cannot wait for Zorin OS 6 Ultimate. I will happily pay for the work that is put into such a fabulous distro.

This is a guest post by Joe Chang, which won the 5th prize in the joint Zorin OS contest.


  1. Zorin lite 6 saved my old Dell Dimension 2400, making it run as smooth as it did back in the Spring of 2004 when I bought it. It is a great OS. I may try Zorin core 6 for my laptop, which is a modern machine.

    1. Give Core a go. I wrote about this version already.

    2. I have now tried Zorin core 6 live on my fairly new laptop. It is very interesting and I am pondering whether I want to install it on that machine. I am happy with Zorin lite on my old machine, which, as I said, runs perfectly for what it needs to do - which is not all that much. It is used by my son, who studies computer science, to mess around with.

      I have Mint 13 installed on my fairly new laptop - a Dell 15r (n5040) - but that OS is terribly flaky. In particular, no matter what tweaking I do, the load averages remain surprisingly high - circa 2. to .6 (probably averaging out at about .5) or so while idling for the 5 minute reading. The other readings from from the TOP program are all quite normal, something a friend who is knowledgeable about Linux confirmed for me. He thinks the issue is Cinnamon but, if I run Gnome 3 or fallback, I still get high load averages but all else works normally - other than having to endure Gnome 3, which is not endurable for a normal laptop, in my view.

      Cinnamon, while in many ways better than Gnome 3, freezes, usually in part so that it can at least be restarted, far more often than it should and even Cairo Dock does weird things - e.g., after using skype 4, Cairo dock will just decide it needs 100% of one of the CPU's in my I3 - which is common problem, by the way, not a freak occurrence. So, I am none too pleased with Mint 13.

      What stopped me regarding Zorin core is the pain of moving all from Mint to a new system. My inclination will be to set it up so it has more in common with a Mac than Windows - although I am not much concerned that the look installer does not include the Mac look in core. I was quite impressed with how it worked live - basically flawless. No crashes. Everything I tested - other than stuff you cannot do live - worked exactly as it should. My screen size, wireless, touchpad, webcam, etc. were all properly detected and worked flawlessly. So, I am really tempted.

    3. Thanks for the detailed report, Neal.

      I think you can get Mac interface in the Ultimate version of Zorin OS. It is easy to get via donation.

    4. @Neal: I've been hopping around trying to find a suitable distro for my Samsung N300 I3 laptop. Based on the review here and others, I am going with Zorin Core 6. If you want to move to Zorin, use Parted Magic file manager and delete all files EXCEPT .firefox .thunderbird and .liferea ( of course, DO NOT DELETE the standard HOME directories ),if any of these are installed. Go thru a standard install with Zorin. This will give you the Firefox stuff and Thunderbird that you already have populated. Regards, Pandy3011.

  2. The Mac look is also available in the Educational/Gaming version of Zorin OS.

    Nice article.

    1. That's interesting. I thought that Mac look is Zorin's "hook" for the Ultimate edition. :-)