On June 18th, The Zorin Group released Zorin OS 6 Core (and Zorin OS 6 Ultimate) – a Linux Distribution perfect for beginners (or those curious about Linux). Zorin OS 6 is based on the popular Ubuntu Linux, but with a few enhancements that makes it look, act, and feel completely different.
Zorin OS 6 System Requirements
If you want to know whether or not your computer will be able to run Zorin OS 6 (Core or Ultimate) … your computer must have:
- 700MHz x86 Processor (CPU)
- 3 Gigabytes of Hard Drive Space
- 376MB of Memory
- Graphic Card supporting resolutions of 640×480 or better
When you compare that to Windows 7, which requires a 1GHz Processor, 16 Gigabytes of Hard drive Space, and 1 or 2 Gigabytes of memory, you start to get the idea that Zorin OS works very well, even on older computers.[notification type="error"]
Zorin OS 6 also comes in a lite version, requiring 266MHz Processor, 2GB hard drive, and 128MB of memory – which might be a better idea for an older computer.[/notification]
Zorin OS 6 Features
Zorin comes with a number of software titles pre-installed. These include:
- Libre Office (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, and Presentation Programs)
- G.I.M.P. (Photo editing, retouching)
- Google Chrome (Web Browser)
- Mozilla Thunderbird (e-mail program)
- Rhythmbox (Music player)
- Openshot (Video Editor)
- Games (Solitaire, Sudoku, Mahjong, and more)
Now, that’s just a small example of a few of the programs you get (most of which are available no matter which Linux distribution you’re running) – but there are a few exclusives to note:
Zorin Look Changer – This tool will help you customize the look and feel of your desktop environment. Zorin OS 6 Core allows you to choose from a Windows 7 style desktop environment, one resembling Gnome 2, and one that looks like Windows XP. Those who purchase the Ultimate version can add Macintosh OS X, Windows 2000, and a Unity-like similar to Ubuntu desktop environments as well.
Zorin Web Browser Manager – While Zorin comes with the Google Chrome Browser already installed, the Zorin Web Browser Manager allows you to easily install Firefox, Opera, or Midori browsers as well – saving users the hassles of having to install them manually.
Zorin Background Plus is a feature only available in the Ultimate Edition. It allows you to set a video file or animated wallpaper as your desktop background – kind of like the Live Wallpapers on some android phones.
Also, since Zorin is a fork of Ubuntu Linux, you can also easily download any of the programs available for Ubuntu.
If you are new to Linux, or if you are curious about it – Zorin OS is one of the distributions I would suggest. For the most part, it’s easy to use – especially since you can customize the desktop to look and act like other environments you might already be familiar with (such as Gnome 2, or Windows.)
There has, however, been some criticism about Zorin OS – the issue being that certain “features” are not available unless you pay for the Zorin OS 6 Ultimate distro. In some ways, I can see their point – Linux has (almost) always been free. Linux also has strong ties with the Open Source community (which also believes software should be free). Therefore, paying for a Linux distribution feels off, somehow.
But I really do not get it. Zorin OS 6 Core is available for free – and what you get for the paid Ultimate distro comes down to a few minor system tweaks. Some Linux companies have, in the past, charged for a wide variety of things – from offering support to specialized features – so frankly this is nothing new.
Personally, I’m of the mind that … well, since there are so many Linux Distributions out there – if you don’t like one, chances are you just might like another … and if not you can always learn how to spin your own. There are ways of getting all the features offered in Zorin OS 6 Ultimate for free, using other programs available for download from third parties.
I also happen to like how I can change the look and feel through the Zorin Look Changer. Most other Linux distros do allow you to switch from one desktop environment to another, such as switching from KDE to Gnome or LXDE to Openbox – which requires you to log out of the system, switch environments, and then log back in with the new environment. The problem I have with this is that not all programs work with every desktop environment – so I constantly find myself switching environments to use the program I want to use. However, with Zorin – everything is based on Gnome 3 so by switching looks, that’s all you are doing – making it look different – no need to log out and hope your programs work in the other environment.
From what I have seen, Zorin is a great Operating System for those who are new to Linux or just want to try it out. Remember, you don’t actually have to install it to your computer to try it – you can just pop in the Live CD, reboot your computer, and try it without any modifications to your current system. Or, you can install it alongside your current windows (or Linux) system and it should work just fine there, too.