Here I am back to talk about Linux again. I admit it; I’m addicted to Linux. I just can’t help myself!
But all you Windows users reading this; please continue reading!
Lately I’ve been talking to a friend of mine about trying out some Linux Live CDs on his new computer, trying to figure out what would be the best distro for someone completely unfamiliar with the world of Linux, or any alternative to Microsoft Windows for that matter; and I stumbled upon Zorin OS. I’d heard of Zorin a while back at version 3; and while it seemed like another nice alternative Ubuntu-based distro, I didn’t recall anything that made it stand out to me. But just recently I’ve started hearing more about Zorin OS on Linux blogs and articles. Zorin OS 5 came out on DistroWatch last week, and then I saw some youtube video reviews about it which peaked my interest (see links below).
So I downloaded an ISO from their newly-remodeled website and tried out the Live CD (DVD, actually; it’s 1.1 Gb.) of Zorin OS 5 Core. There are several different versions geared toward different users, but this is the basic, generic version. I was immediately quite impressed! Even running from the DVD, Zorin OS was fast and responsive, almost as if it was installed on my hard drive. Compiz effects were enabled out of the box and looked beautiful on my 5-year-old HP Compaq Pentium 4 computer. Everything about this operating system feels very polished and professional. And even the core edition comes with a comprehensive array of software pre-installed. Most of the applications are ones I normally use, with the exception of the Google Chrome web browser, which I replaced with Firefox 5. Other software includes Brasero Disk Burner, Libre Office, Banshee Music Player, GIMP, Shotwell Photo Editor, Evince for Email and it also has WINE and Play-On-Linux software so you can run Windows programs and games in Zorin OS. All the multimedia codecs also come pre-installed. The Zorin developers have done a great job making this OS a very simple way for Windows users to get acquainted with Linux. Even the Start Menu is set up similar to Windows 7 (though since I’ve rarely used Windows myself, it reminded me of the KDE Start Menu). System sound effects are also enabled by default, which gave a slightly KDE feel to the OS. But all based on good ‘ole highly configurable Gnome 2.32.
There are so many groovy little details that differentiate Zorin OS from Ubuntu here I can’t go over every one. But for instance, when you minimize a running application to the panel, it gives a lovely thumbnail preview of the app on mouse-over. And the default Start Menu (upper left corner in my screenshot below) is also highly configurable. I think there are about ten different menu styles you can use besides the Windows-like default. (Again, see screenshot below). I totally love the Linux Mint Menu, but after getting used to the different variations in Zorin OS I’ve come to like theirs almost as much. There are many similarities between Zorin OS and Linux Mint; the attention to detail and ease of use make either of them excellent choices for Windows or Mac users to cross over to the Linux side!
My Zorin OS desktop after a little tweaking with my own desktop picture, moving the panel/taskbar to the top and using the Ubuntu Dust theme.
One of many possible Start Menu themes.
So, needless to say, after playing with Zorin OS for an hour or more I decided to install it alongside my Bodhi Linux installation that was already on this computer. And the installation went beautifully so I can now choose to dual-boot Bodhi or Zorin OS on start-up. This should work just as well with dual-booting on a machine running Windows, too. Of course Zorin OS comes with the Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager to easily install or remove whatever software you desire. I think the only thing I don’t love about Zorin OS (I’m sorry, developers) is the Zorin logo. It just doesn’t convey the sophistication and polish of the rest of the OS, in my opinion. But the distro itself is a thing of beauty to use. A light, fast and powerfully good alternative to Ubuntu or Windows.
I just worry a little about what the future will bring with Gnome 2.32 falling to the wayside to be replaced by Gnome 3. If the Zorin developers can continue with Gnome 3 without Gnome Shell, that may be great. Or I’m hoping Gnome Shell will eventually evolve all the features and configurability of Gnome 2.32 for future versions of Zorin OS. Whatever happens, I think Zorin OS has a bright future ahead of it!
Following is the video that got me intrigued with Zorin OS 5: Windows vs. Linux: the Desktop Comparison
And a couple more reviews:
And to finish; something completely unrelated to Linux. This is such an insightful and humorous movie review that I must share it immediately:
Update March 17, 2012: I’ve decided to create a new blog here on WordPress strictly dealing with Linux and Open Source Software for the average desktop computer user. Please check it out at: TheFearlessPenguin. Thanks!
I just popped in to share a few links.
First we have some Linux-related links, starting with a nice comparison of Windows 7 and the Linux distro Zorin OS. Anyone interested in painlessly switching from Windows to Linux may find this quite interesting. And I think this guy does a great job with his videos! Windows vs. Linux: the Desktop Comparison
Then we have an overview of the current shook-up state of desktop managers in the Linux world: The Linux Desktop Circus; an interesting video review of a distro that’s a cross between Fedora and Ubuntu: Fuduntu 14 Review – Linux Distro Reviews; and another OS reviewer who I just discovered on Youtube: Total OS Today.
Here’s an article I found a while back by Roseanne Barr. She’s a wickedly entertaining writer! This is why I love Roseanne: And I Should Know.
Next we have a link to a science fiction book I bought years ago but just started reading because it’s quite popular and I heard it’s going to be made into a movie. It’s called ‘Hyperion’ by Dan Simmons, and is the beginning of the four-volume Hyperion Cantos. Check out the book at Amazon HERE, and info on the proposed film HERE.
Enjoy your weekend…