My Comprehensive Feedback on using Zorin OS

Before I even start rambling on, I'd first like to give a huge thanks to ZorinGroup, and anyone else which has contributed to Zorin OS!
You've all really made a great product, but of course, I'll need to elaborate a little more than just that :wink:

I've been using Zorin for quite a long time, not only for myself but also outside of my personal use, for a couple of friends and a Youth Center¹ for instance


The Good

Of course, I'll first need to mention the good things, the things I liked and which I could see as useful for everyone

Zorin-Exec-Guard

Zorin-Exec-Guard is the program which checks files you downloaded from the Internet, and compares them to a database of applications, to see if they're already natively available from the store, or to recommend you alternatives.

I love the idea, though, it would be good if there was a way to allow submitting your own applications and having Exec-guard fetch the database every once in a while, to support more applications, especially over-time

The Layouts

of course, I cannot talk about Zorin OS without talking about the Desktop Layouts feature they provide.

They allow anyone from any OS to get going on Zorin quickly, without having to re-learn a desktop's layout, and that's a great thing!

Though, I'm not sure if having the macOS layout in the paid version is all too good of an idea, because sure, it is quite popular to have that layout, but considering a big part of the user base also comes from macOS, maybe this should be re-considered in the future :thinking:

Customizability

Out of the box, Zorin already offers a lot of customizability without being overwhelming through the Zorin-Appearance app. Not only are the afforementioned layouts here, but also a ton of other options, including fun ones like Jelly Mode!

And through GNOME Extensions, it can be customized even further!


The (kinda) Bad

Whilst praise is always good, there can't be much improvement without talking about the not so good things

PulseAudio issues

Many distributions have replaced PulseAudio by PipeWire.
if that be Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, Fedora, or others, all of them have switched to PipeWire for better Audio, especially in terms of quality, latency, and stability

I think Zorin should follow this approach soon, as across many machines I have seen tons of Audio Issues, which were immediately resolved by simply disabling and masking PulseAudio, and instead running PipeWire and WirePlumber

Including PipeWire properly would also improve Wayland support, just as a sidenote :wink:

The Installation Process

Ubiquity, the Installer Zorin uses generally works, though can be a pain at times. This is mostly seen with (for instance) Ubuntu-Drivers making the installer take literal HOURS to advance past some steps, making it a generally worse Installation experience compared to other Distributions

I would suggest using something like ElementaryOS's installer, which generally handles it a lot better than Ubiquity, and is even easier to use, with icons and such to indicate what you're currently doing (e.g setting up your user or enabling encryption)

The Software-Center

Whilst the selection of software is great, with many (if not most) applications covered, there is one FATAL flaw:
GNOME-Software on Zorin is severely outdated, and due to that quite buggy.

Installations will flat out not start for 15 minutes, updating won't do anything, and it often hangs on hardware which should be able to run the software without problems.

Not to mention the information which is missing due to the older version which was introduced with recent versions (for instance the additional details on privacy and licensing)

Lack of support for recent Linux developments

Whilst things like Wayland are there on Zorin, it's lack of pre-installed packages on Core/Pro for providing proper support to this is quite dissapointing
PipeWire for instance has to be setup manually together with WirePlumber


Conclusion

Overall, a great distribution, not only for beginners, but for anyone really
There are things which can be improved, yes, but that does not disqualify ZorinOS from being one of the best put-together Linux Distros by far

PS: Looking forward to the Zorin 17 release!


Footnotes

¹ - Youth Center - A place to spend your time in, mainly targeted at younger people, where they can meet up with their friends and get provided ways to entertain themselves, food, drinks, and so on

4 Likes

While I agree with most of the statements posted above and the fact that if you install using the Something Else it can be a long drawn out process ...

But I just installed the Zorin 16 Lite (installed along side Win 7) and it was amazingly fast and completely painless and worked right out of the box .... but because I installed and use Cinnamon DE on my copy of Zorin 16 Pro I installed it on the Lite version to keep things simple when going back and forth between distros

As to the Software Store that is spot on ... when I first used 16 Pro I tried oh so many programs in the store that really stank .... there are a lot of much better ones available out there you just have to find them but I suppose if you are just starting out it is better than nothing .... but coming from a Win background they leave a lot to be desired ....

All in all I recommend Zorin to everyone and I can honestly say I love it and is my daily driver no matter which version I am using ... (on Lite right now) ....

I've personally had way better of an experience than some other people
In the Telegram group for example, it's not rare that people wait 4-5 hours just to get a step further in the installer :confused:

currently I recommend Linux Mint to newcomers because of the included tools, the bigger team behind Mint, as well as the Software center which works a lot better than GNOME 3.38's Software center (thus also Zorin's)