A Ubuntu descendant who has so far cared for frowns in this magazine is the commercially designed Zorin OS. In version 12.2, however, the free version can convince thanks to a new desktop.
The Ubuntu variant Zorin-OS from Ireland wants to make it easier for Windows users in particular to switch to the Linux desktop and relies on external similarities. This approach is controversial, after all, when the file manager first calls, every resemblance to Windows comes to an end. Nevertheless, with Deepin and Zorin-OS, there are Linux desktop systems that use their own resources to recreate a Windows interface. The concept now works amazingly well under Zorin-OS 2.2 and shows the flexibility of the Gnome shell on which the Zorin desktop is now based.
A look behind the scenes
By stepping onto the new working environment, Zorin-OS is patterning the Advanced Window Manager (AWN), which in the previous version provided the taskbar with dock and, by the way, a lot of bugs. The reduction to the Gnome shell has done the Zorin surface, now called “Zorin Desktop 2.0,” well. As a glance at the configuration with the sole-solution gnome tweak tool shows, almost all modifications are realized as Gnome extensions. The bottom of the screen continues to fill a taskbar with a hinged application menu on the far left and a dock. The dock picks up running programs with the right click on the “Add to Favorites” icon as application links. This is quite close to the behavior of Windows 10 and has already proven its worth at Ubuntu Unity. Standard programs such as the file manager are from the Gnome standard repertoire and thus mature, if very simple.
The Zorin desktop has as little as gnome with versatile fine settings. But there is a selection dialogue for two other desktop styles in the settings with “Zorin Appearance” – on the one hand with taskbar with program names next to the symbols, on the other hand in the style of a standard gnome. The package sources used in this distribution consist of the official repositories of Ubuntu, the Ubuntu backports and some PPAs of the Zor developers. There are a few applications pre-installed at first: Chromium 63 is the web browser, Nautilus by Gnome serves as file manager, and Libre Office is 5.1.6 on board. The players are Rhythmbox 3.3 and Gnome Videos (Totem 2.0). The graphical package manager is the usual program Gnome software.
Conclusion: Zorin moves to
After the often not very mature previous Zorin issues, version 12.2 can convince and demonstrates the adaptability of the Gnome desktop thanks to shell extensions. The setup on hard disk is done comfortably and in a few steps thanks to the proven installation program of Ubuntu. After installing it from the live system, it is noticeable that not all language packs are yet available and that Libre Office, for example, starts in English. A visit to the Settings and “Region and Language” fixes the problem.