Zorin-developed DE (Desktop Environment)

So I happened to think of this offhandedly when replying to @Aravisian in another thread (click HERE to see the thread if interested). In my experience with Linux, I've come to understand that Zorin is comprised of different parts that the developers take, put together in a cohesive package, and call it "Zorin OS." The GNOME desktop environment is, more or less, dependent on a whole bunch of people and developers who create extensions that constitute the functionality of the OS environment itself (e.g., enabling and/or disabling removable drive symbols in the taskbar). In a way, it's a little worrisome, because whether or not an OS (and mind you, it's not just Zorin; it's also other OSes that depend on GNOME as a desktop environment) works is 100% dependent on GNOME developers and contributors. In other words, in Zorin OS' case, the success and validity of Zorin as an OS is entirely dependent on GNOME and the people who administer (and contribute to) it. It's not like Mac OS or Windows, where both OSes have monolithic companies behind them that control the desktop experience, 100%, and are 100% responsible for their OS with their own people in tow. GNOME cannot lay claim to that. It's volunteer-based, pretty much, and dependent on individual developers who can decide anytime to stop coding for their extension(s) or respective contribution to GNOME itself. Perhaps the next major logical step for the Zorin Group, then, is to create its own desktop environment independent of GNOME, and gain even more control over its own vision of how Linux should be for newcomers from Windows or even Mac OS. I don't know if they'd have the resources for that, but it would be a killer thing if the Zorin Group made it a goal to develop their own desktop environment, and ensure that users have a predictable, long-term desktop experience they can come to rely on in the same way they would have done with Windows or Mac OS that's independent of anything else.



Part of the trouble in pointing to Open Source being community-driven is that when a project gets large and complex enough, forking it or replacing it becomes a monumental task.
It is too easy to suggest "why not just fork it" without paying due regard to the massive work involved.
Gnome, as a D.E., is supported by the Gnome Foundation of many employees. The employees do not encompass all of the contributors, just those that deal first-hand with the implementation of Gnome as an environment.

The ZorinGroups own words and statements have made it quite very clear that they believe in the Gnome direction and that Gnome is the best D.E. for the future.

So, I find it highly unlikely that they will deviate from that. Moreover in light of their statements of dropping support for other D.E.'s like XFCE, in favor of boxing into One Gnome Model, due to having the additional workload of scripting or adjusting support for any D.E.
If scripting for XFCE for Zorin OS Lite, which is so slight that most users cannot tell the difference between Xubuntu and Zorin OS Lite other than theme is too much work; I cannot see how the creation and maintenance of a whole new D.E. would improve on that situation.


I have mixed thoughts about this

I do agree that a real "Zorin desktop environment" would surely be really nice, and I personally think they can make one that looks great and has nice personalization options

However, it is also true that, as Aravisian said, it would require much more effort to create, mantain and update an entirely original desktop environment. So, looking at recent events (Zorin 17 -based on ubuntu 22 LTS- released just 4 months before ubuntu 24 LTS released, having to discontinue Zorin Lite and Zorin Grid being in development for so long that it still has Z15 screenshots) I agree that making an original desktop environment would be too much work for the devs

That being said, now that they only have to mantain one desktop environment (so catching up a bit more closely to ubuntu's release cycle may get a bit easier), and looking at how gnome would prefer not having icon themes and breaking extensions on some versions, I would not be surprised if an original desktop environment for ZorinOS were to be made at some point in the future. If that happens, it won't be soon. At minimum (this is theorizing), Zorin 20 onwards


Yes, Gnome Developer Desicion's are ... discutable (hahaha!). I think that too. But Distro's depending on other Desktop's like KDE too. Maybe there it is a more open Discussion, okay. But the Dependency on this DE's is similar because there are the Interface.

And develop an own DE from Zorin I don't see (I wrote that on your other Thread that You linked). BUT there would be the Possibility to change her Main Desktop to another.

In this Case I would think that maybe the Budgie Desktop could be a good Solution because it has the common Gnome Look. So, the Zorin Design could be fit more. But on Budgie Gnome Extensions don't work. So, the Zorin Team would have to find a Way to bring her Taskbar and Startmenu to this.


Budgie actually wouldn't be bad.

1 Like

I think Zorin OS will adopt Gnome as long as it is the shortest way to achieve its goals. The desktop environment is a means to the goal, not always an expression of the distro's philosophy.

Since FOSS is not subject to any restrictions beyond the license from the copyright holder, Zorin OS does not have to submit to Gnome's decisions. Zorin OS should be able to adopt other DEs if necessary.


I personally disagree and think that Gnome is renowned and that the magic of open source lies in all of this

1 Like