Zorin comes in 2 free and 4 premium editions, in both 32 and 64 bit versions. At the moment, only the “Ultimate” and “Business” versions can be purchased, but “Gaming” and “Multimedia” will be out soon. Zorin’s 2 free versions are “Core” (based on GNOME) and “Lite” (based on LXDE).
Installation proceeded smoothly, and is based on the Ubuntu installer. A welcome screen greets you first, then you choose the language you want to use. Next is choosing to install on the entire computer or else part of it. After that, you select your global location, and pick which keyboard to use. Next is entering your name and choosing a password. Because it’s based on Ubuntu, Zorin doesn’t ask you to make a root password, but it does give you a strength indicator for the user. You can select a picture to represent you or take a webcam shot.
You can see that Zorin doesn’t use stock GNOME 3, nor Unity, for its desktop interface. I am not sure, but I think it is the GNOME fallback session, with AWN’s dock. (AWN is a window navigator for GNOME users that I don’t usually see in distributions. It’s put to good use here.)
After installation, the wireless network was up and running (assuming you configured it during the live session).
One of the first things you notice is that Zorin enables a few desktop visual effects. Some are fine, but things like wobbly windows may not appeal to very many people. If these bother you, you can tweak them here: System Tools > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager.
Software that is installed includes the following:
Office software: the standard 3 LibreOffice programs (Writer,Calc, and Impress), a document viewer, and a dictionary.
Games: Mines, Mahjongg solitaire, Aisleriot solitaire collection (cards), Qadrapassel (a Tetris clone), Sudoku, and FreeCell.
Graphics software: a document viewer, an image viewer, GIMP, Shotwell, Simple Scan, and LibreOffice Draw.
Internet: a desktop sharing program, Empathy, the Chrome web browser, Gwibber, Thunderbird, Remmina, and the Zorin Browser Manager (to install extra web browsers).
Sound/video: Brasero, Cheese, the Totem movie player, Openshot video editor, Rhythmbox, Sound Recorder, VLC player
System Tools includes access to the Synaptic package manager, the Zorin Look Changer, and Ubuntu Tweak. Other tools are also available.
Zorin also installs an onscreen keyboard feature as well as the Orca software for accessibility.
Printer configuration was very easy; Zorin detected my printer without expecting me to search a list.
Like Mint, Zorin ships with all codecs enabled, so you can watch videos and movie trailers, or listen to streaming music immediately. I’m wondering whether support is offered for 5 years, since Zorin 6 is based upon Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, but their website doesn’t say so. I also appreciate the inclusion of several popular games. Zorin has a few features not seen in other distros: exclusives like their Browser Manager and Zorin Look Changer (apparently based on the AWN dock).
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