Zorin OS 15.1 an alternative to Windows

On the 14th January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for PCs still running Windows 7. Which means that if you want to keep on using windows safely with regular security patches being applied then you will need to upgrade to Windows 10. If you are really dead against upgrading to Windows 10 then why not use this as opportunity to try something different…

Introducing Zorin OS 15

Zorin OS is grabbing a lot of attention as one of the best Linux distributions with over 17 million downloads since it’s original release back in 2009. The thing that’s unique to Zorin is that it has been designed to look and feel like a traditional Windows desktop out of the box and the thinking behind this is to make the transition from Windows to Linux painless. Starting with the default desktop

The Default Desktop

As you can see, the layout is very similar, if not, actually better as the system groups your applications by type. If you wanted to edit a video click on the sound and video menu item and you will get access to all your sound and video applications. You also get access to your files in the same way as you do in windows.

Applications

Zorin OS is pre-installed with a lot of applications. To start off with you get LibreOffice suite. It is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats but the document layout and text presentation can vary. You can install the Microsoft Core fonts to improve text presentation however, as for document layout, well I’m going to be up front here you will need to install extra software. You can find out more about that by reading an earlier article called working with Office documents on Linux.

You can install additional applications via the software icon on the menu. This will take you to the software library where you will be able to search, download and install your chosen applications. You can also download applications via the web as you would in Windows.

You can even run some windows applications on Linux but you have to use a a piece of software called Wine which is basically a Windows application compatibility layer. Not every windows application is going to run on Wine and configuration can be a bit fiddly but it’s another option if you need to run windows applications.

Editions

Zorin OS is available in 4 editions, Ultimate, Core, Lite and Education editions. The Ultimate edition with cost you £33/$42.95. The Core, Lite and Education editions are all free. The reason behind charging for the Ultimate edition can be found here.

Zorin OS can run really snappy on computers as old as 15 years so you can breath new life into an old PC. The system specification for each edition are as follows:

Zorin OS Ultimate, Education, and Core

CPU – 1 GHz Dual Core – 64-bit
RAM – 2 GB
Storage – 10 GB (Core & Education) or 20 GB (Ultimate)
Display – 800 × 600 resolution

Zorin OS Lite

CPU – 700 MHz Single Core – 64-bit or 32-bit
RAM – 512 MB
Storage – 8 GB
Display – 640 × 480 resolution

Conclusion

I’ve been using Zorin for about 6 months now and have found it to be very responsive and pleasing to use. If you are interested in trying out Zorin OS you can run it from a USB stick without touching you current operating system but bear in mind it is going to run a lot slower than it would if it was installed.

It looks like Windows but it’s a Linux system with that in mind give it a chance. There is always going to be a learning curve when migrating to an entirely new operating system but I think that Zorin OS is going to make it less painful. In my next post I will look at what alternative software is available if you are considering migrating from Windows to Linux.