Zorin OS 16 is the ALMOST perfect newcomer's distro

I would like to preface this post with a disclaimer. I love Zorin OS. It was my first daily driver Linux distro and it is my number one Linux distro recommendation for newcomers and non-tech savvy people. I have actually reached out to the Zorin OS developers before about updating to an Ubuntu 20.04 base and they replied very quickly. They are amazing and I think the project they are working on is really good.

That said, there are, in my opinion, a few things that hold the experience back.

Half of the layouts are locked behind a paywall.

I acknowledge that Zorin OS 16 Pro is a major part of how the Zorin OS team can continue to work on Zorin. I think it is a good idea for monetization. However, layouts should be independent of this. I am aware that the same look can be achieved by manually configuring the GNOME extensions, but I feel like new users won't be doing this. If someone is coming from macOS and for whatever reason aren't willing to pay 40 bucks for the Pro version, they will have a much worse experience. In addition, the presentation is slightly misleading: the non-availability of the additional layouts on Zorin OS Core is not extremely visible. I think that the monetization model should be based on support, a business model proven to be robust by the likes of Red Hat and Ubuntu. I think all 4 exclusive layouts, or at the very least the macOS layout, should be added to the Core version.

The GTK themes either too bright or too dark

I find default GTK themes provided in Zorin OS, which I absolutely love otherwise, to be situated on the extremes. The light mode is too bright to use comfortably, and the dark mode obscures boundaries between apps because of low contrast. I would love for the themes to be tweaked somewhat. Personally, I think Pop OS mostly nails the lightness and darkness of their themes. Apparently, I'm not the only one who's noticed this: Zorin OS Lite: Pros and Cons - YouTube
In addition, the dark themes with accents tint the entire screen, which, unless using the blue accent, looks pretty bad in my opinion.

Zorin OS Pro is bloated

I think the idea to pre-install professional applications is a good one, I think, but the execution is a little bit flawed. No one is going to want every single one of those applications. I think if you gave the choice of some different professional workflows, like photo, music, video, CAD, development, etc., that might make it that little bit better.


Thanks guys for all the feedback. I understand that this post was entirely my subjective opinion. In addition, after your comments, I understand better where the Zorin team is coming from in doing some of these things that aren't exactly what I wanted. I wholeheartedly agree that it is impossible to please everyone, that they should not even try, and that they have the final authority on what they do with their distro. However, I also think that user feedback should be valued and taken into consideration.

I would like to clarify a few of my points in this post. I have now seen that creating a Pro version with some features that are paid for is probably a better and easier idea than just selling support alone. Ultimately, I still wish it was just support, but I definitely understand that we live in an imperfect world (surprise!) and the Zorin team has their work cut out for them in continuing development full-time. My only concern is the usability for new users. If someone is coming from macOS, are they going to find it difficult to use the Core version. Personally, I have had very little experience with macOS and do not know that the new user UX for Zorin Core is when coming from it, so I'd love to hear you guys' thoughts. As it stands, I'm not sure if I should be recommending Zorin OS Core to macOS users. As far as the GTK themes, I think maybe a poll would be appropriate to gauge general user satisfaction with the themes (although if we put it on this forum it would be somewhat biased towards liking the themes because if someone were repulsed by them, they would be less likely to join the forum). Again, I understand that the theming is especially subjective, and I realize that there are people on both sides of the issue (of course). My stance on the pre-installed apps is still relatively unchanged. I believe that there should be an option to decide which apps (especially professional apps) are installed, seeing as they take a good amount of space both on the ISO and the final installation. Either that, or just decrease the amount of pre-installed apps. I can't find it now, but somewhere on the Infinitely Galactic Youtube channel he has similar feedback, so I know its not just me. Anyway, thanks everyone for the likes, I was absolutely floored. You guys are awesome.


This part is wrong. When you have the setup screen you can select the minimal installation which wont install those "bloated" apps.


Wow... You put some thought into this. I like what you have to say.

Others have noted the Entirety of the Theme Tinting, as well. I think we can all understand how and why this was done... But it may be a bit better to avoid tinting all colors, including the text, in order to have an accent color.

On Themes:
Yuo can't please everyone. Some say the dark themes are not dark enough...
Fortunately, there are some tricks up our sleeves. We can create a custom gtk.css in your ~/.config-gtk-3.0/ directory that can recolor the Zorin Default Themes to suit you.

Suggestions in this area are always welcome. it is true that Zorin OS needs financial support in order to continue as a project.
But the means of going about it could well be served in other ways. The more users make suggestions, the more chances of getting that Just Right.


There are alot of distro's where people can donate to the developers. Personally i don't like the idea of what zorin is doing to hide 4 layouts and charge 50 euros for it. They create a "so called" pro version but compared to core it's only 4 layouts and nothing more. All the bloatware the OP is talking about is nothing extra. People can download those apps just from the store.

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This has been a somewhat hotly debated point, but to be honest, you can theme Zorin much better for free than feeling coerced into 'having to purchase Pro for certain themes'.

Every distro has their own method of self sustainment in order to keep development afloat, and that doesn't necessarily mean that this will always be their option going forward. But there are plenty of distros that fell by the wayside for lack of funding/support/community.

So the question remains: "Would I support a small development team who provides a product that I use, enjoy and want to see developed further?" This is the fundamental question that GNU/Linux users face, and while many do donate to projects they believe in, I have to think that many also just test something out and move on without even giving a nod to the devs that put a lot of time into something.

There is nothing wrong with that, but what has to be understood is that GNU/Linux is essentially community driven and not backed and funded by huge corporations. There is an 'economy' that has to be sustained in order for a product to continue or else it will eventually decay and die.


It is 39 Euro.
Or do you have to pay a surcharge where you live? :roll_eyes:


Ubuntu does not force you to pay anything and yet afer 13 years or so they still live. People who wants to donate will donate. But to charge 39 dollars or 47,19 euros for 4 items, thats bad!

Look at ubuntu, this system can be easy used with zorin



Could you please correct the price?
See my above comment.

it is not the same for everyone.
If you are outside Europe it is 39 Euro.

Ubuntu / Canonical is backed, however. Zorin OS is not backed by any corporation.
This is actually one of the reasons to support Zorin OS. In so doing, it is our interests being heard, not a corporations.

One of the most common comments I see on the forum for why someone chose Zorin OS Pro is that they wanted to support the project. No one ever says they got Pro for the Layouts.

The layouts are a "Thank you." A perk to those that supported Development.

This is why I call it "Choosing Pro" instead of "Buying Pro."

I still think your points and the O.P.'s points are valid for consideration. But so are mine.
That comments on the forum suggest a desire to support development is not in itself Statistical Evidence that the majority of those who choose Pro do so for this reason.


I created a poll.
Please come and vote.

Thanks for fixing my typo @Aravisian !
It is almost 2 AM here and my attention is a bit scattered :sleeping:


Since I first heard about this I have given it a lot of thought and of course this is just my opinion .... but we need to look at the Zorin OS from a business perspective .... none of us knows (or wants to know) the financial situation of the Zorins .... that is strictly their business .... the fastest way to go out of business is to be paying out more than you take in ....

So keeping that in mind if you take in $10 you can't pay out $25 to hire extra help ... you have to increase you cash intake .... hence you find sponsors to help replenish your cash flow .... as what the Zorins are doing .... they now have several sponsors .... now when you take on these folks you have to keep them happy or they will no longer help you with your enterprise .... these folks are your bread and butter ....

Now you can't just sit on your laurels if you want to grow so you are constantly looking for new sponsors and that takes time away from other duties you could be performing with in your company ....

So how to raise more capital .... well you could borrow the money but that means it has to be paid back with interest .... so while you gain money in the short term you loose money in the long run .... not the ideal situation unless you can use this loan to make much more than you will have to pay back .... should you miscalculate even the least little bit you may go broke ... and so all your customers (us) will have to go else where for their product ... (and we sure don't want that to happen ... do we)

So now we look for other means to fund our business ... how about contributions .... great idea .... should this be amount be mandatory or voluntary ....

  1. Mandatory ..... how much and in what time frame ..... weekly .... monthly or yearly ... to much may put people off .... to little may not create the desired effects .... but you do know how much you will be getting from those that do sign up ...

  2. Voluntary .... good idea but you never know how much you will be getting so that will be a huge gamble .... unless you have a huge contributor base ....

So what to do ....

  1. Well it is possible that a yearly fee could be the most desirable way to create extra income .... weekly or monthly may be fine but has more chance of people jumping ship and now that income is lost somewhere at sea ....

  2. Excepting contributions should be on a personal bases and above and beyond the mandatory funding .... with maybe possible extra benefits .....

So what can we do to help ....

For one quite comparing Zorin to other distros this ain't other distros .... if the other trips your trigger go for it no one is holding you here ...

Quite trying to put pressure on the Zorins to do things you want to see happen .... a suggestion is fine but constant complaining will do no good ... believe me the old expression "the squeaking wheel get the most grease" sorry folks that ain't happening .... we had a seminar one time and the speaker said "that wheel get changed" ... LOL

Don't expect Zorin 16 Pro to offer heaven and earth because it doesn't and most of us know that in fact I used 16 for several weeks before i went to Pro and didn't really expect anything as the desktop photos din't mean squat to me as I use my own pics ... I only want to help out the founders .... would I support a yearly fee .... yes but only yearly as I don't want to be bothered paying any other way ....

Was I said this is my thoughts and only my personal opinion .... you have yours and I support your views and ideas .... ther is no perfect solution and only the Zorins can decide what they want do ....


Interestingly, the rollout for Zorin Ultimate / Pro averages to about a year and a half to a year and eight months. Some users alternate between going Core for a release, then Pro for a release, doubling the time in between choosing Pro.


That would work also but I thought we would have to pay for pro again when the new version came out ... either way would be great ...

You're right, and my response didn't address certain entities such as Canonical (who are a corporation with corporate clients that also happens to produce a free desktop OS).

And this can certainly be a confusing point for those who are new to GNU/Linux.

My reply to your question was intended to be in the 'spirit of GNU/Linux'. Which is essentially a freely created, freely distributed and open system available to anyone who has the desire to try it. However, distros are a constantly evolving thing that require time, effort and support to be able to sustain. Considering this, I don't think it unreasonable to support something that one finds themselves so passionate about and relies upon very much.


I had 15,3 Ultimate but installed Zorin 16 Core when it was still in beta since I was eager to use its improved input system.
I had to reinstall Zorin 16 Pro when it was released, but I was OK with that. I prefer to do installation time-to-time so that I do not forget how to do it.

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Poor FrenchPress .... it's 9:00am here and a lovely sunny 30degrees C .... ho hum .... oh no now I gotta log my electric bill .... it just came .... WAAAAAAAA .... LOL

Get some rest lady you deserve it ...

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Interesting I just got a notice that my post had to be cleared by a moderator ..... have I been a bad boy ??????

For some reason, the forum artificial (un)intelligence trapped your posting. I just approved it.
If you have not done so, please add your vote in that thread I created:

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