My experience with Zorin vs KDE Neon

So very recently, I was trying out some distributions that I'd never tried on one of my computers and by accident I stumbled upon KDE Neon. The website and screenshots did not impress me but I wanted to try it out since it was based on Ubuntu 20.04. I was absolutely blown away from the 1st second I booted the live image up. It checked all the boxes for me and for me it was an experience unlike anything else. The sheer amount of customization was unbelievable... almost everything could be customized in the system... ranging from the workflow of the machine to all bits and pieces of aesthetics.... all from a GUI tool. The Plasma desktop environment was(is) a dream come true for me :smiley:
But KDE Neon has some disadvantages compared to Zorin as well. For instance, it comes with very few preinstalled apps so I had to manually install some apps and set a lot of things up. For me it was very fun to set it up and learn how to use it in the meantime, but I think it's going to be more of a chore for the average user. I'd say that Zorin (Specially Z16) works great out of the box with the default configuration. There are a lot apps, things work outside the box, etc. It leaves a great early impression on the user. I've switched to Linux in January 2021 and Zorin was the reason I was able to make that jump. Other distros really did not entice me. If I had tried Neon as my first distro, it wouldn't have left a good impression on me and it would've been possible that I would've never made the switch.
I'm not saying one is better than the other. It is very clear that Zorin and Neon target different users and are not really meant to be compared to each other because Plasma and Gnome are just two entirely different universes.
I've been using Neon on my daily machine for a week now and I've been very happy with the experience so far. I still prefer and use Zorin on my other devices and when it comes down to recommending a good Linux distro to others... I'll go with Zorin as it leaves a much better first impression.


If you enjoy kde desktop environment that much and prefer it over gnome, you could always install kde (or xfce, or cinnamon) in zorin, choose at login whether you want kde or gnome and enjoy your custom zorin os.

If there's something you want done on Linux, most of the time a search will provide a how to. If it's original enough to not have a way, the Linux communities are pretty good about finding a way in order to improve the experience for everyone.

Edit: Zorin 16 is also based on Ubuntu 20.04 :wink:


I have also tried Kde Neon. As it is said it is geared towards more experienced users, as it has so many options that it can overwhelm a newcomer.
An intermediate option is Linux Mint, which also has several tools to facilitate your customization, but not as much as in the previous case.
As for Zorin Os, it is often forgotten that the philosophy behind it is to become a bridge between Windows and GNU Linux. Being this way, its configuration options will be much smaller because, on the one hand, Windows is not very customizable, and on the other hand, this way it avoids that the newcomer from Windows, can feel confused.
I have done the experiment of putting a person to work with Zorin Os just installed and he has had no problems to quickly adapt to this operating system (obviously I am talking about someone, at a basic user level, who has never used Gnu Linux before).

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That is a possibility but in my opinion, the existence of Neon make this option obsolete as you can have a functioning KDE Plasma dekstop right out of the box while on the other hand it takes a lot of effort to set up Plasma on top of Zorin and there is the chance that something might go south during the installation process. And at the end of the day, apart from the preinstalled packages, I don't think that there will be any difference.

Yeah I'd say that it varies by community but my experience with the Zorin have been very positive. There are a lot of good people on this forum :smiley: I can't say the same about every Linux community.

Totally agreed. Before making the move, I have had heard a lot of praise about Linux mint but when I tried it out, it lacked the elegance of Zorin and the customization of KDE. So for me, it fell in a middle ground that it achieve nothing.

I have had similar experiences. Since I became familiar with Zorin OS, I recommended it to a whole lot of people and I even let them try the live image and immediately, they knew what was what. They were not tech enthusiasts but as long as they were concerned, their computer did what it always did but better.


Regarding what you point out about changing the desktops that a distribution brings by default, I think the same.
Lately I have done some experiments in this regard and it has not been as easy as I thought. Obviously a distribution that uses a certain default desktop is optimized for it (although, I must confess, it has been very interesting the experimentation).
Now, the Gnome desktop has been criticized a lot, mainly because of its resource consumption. However, it seems to me the most adaptable desktop for the new challenges that are being presented. I am referring to the fact of being able to have a Gnome-based distribution that can be easily installed on a tablet. That's the path that Microsoft has taken with Windows 11. If Gnu Linux doesn't understand this, its share of the desktop market will continue to fall until it practically disappears.
I agree that Linux Mint has not evolved in its appearance (although it is a matter of taste), it looks outdated and ugly.
I also agree about the community and their willingness to cater to newbies.

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Agreed. Also Gnome is unchallenged in the touch-experience area. Other desktop environments don't even come close to it. I was trying out some linux distros on a Surface Pro and Gnome was the only usable desktop environment. Gnome really shined when I was navigating the desktop with touch input. credit where credit is due, I'd say that the Gnome engineers have nailed the UI and UX for those types of hybrid devices.


Neon was my first distro, I'm using it again after about a year on Zorin.