As far as Linux distros go, I’ve been a fan of Zorin OS for years. I still have fond memories of using Zorin OS 5 Core for longer than I use most Linux distros. The problem was, that in my opinion, the quality of Zorin OS Core fell off in the following years. With Zorin OS Core 12, that fondness for Zorin has returned and then some.
The first benefit is that Zorin OS 12 Core is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS edition. In the past Zorin would release distros that were either a generation behind the current Ubuntu distro or would release one that was not based on the LTS (long-term supported) distro. So in this instance, Zorin finally nailed the timing in their current distro.
The second thing that really impressed me is that they finally abandoned the AWN Dock which has been long abandoned by its own developers. In its place is what they call Zorin Desktop 2.0. According to the release announcement…
We have entirely reimagined the Zorin Desktop environment in Zorin OS 12. This new version of Zorin Desktop is powered by Gnome Shell and packs an enormous variety of new features.
While it’s not as customizable as something like the XFCE desktop, it still has enough options to keep it looking fresh. As a matter of fact Zorin has three different desktop settings. You can have a Gnome 2 type appearance, a Windows type appearance and a Unity type appearance. If you like Unity on Ubuntu I recommend using Zorin instead as the desktop isn’t as torturous as Ubuntu’s.
Lastly, the last time I tried a Zorin OS Core installation, it appeared to me that it was a resource heavy distro. That has changed with OS 12 Core. Right now I have it installed on my Acer Cloudbook 14, which only has 2GB of RAM and a 1.60GHz Intel Celeron processor, and I have had no hiccups or any chugging. So if you’re looking to re-purpose and old laptop, Zorin may not be such a bad choice.
The only issue I had was that OS 12 Core cones with Chromium pre-installed as its default browser which gave me some issues. I removed that and installed regular Chrome and have had no problems since.
Zorin OS 12 Core is not only a great Linux distro for beginners and Windows users, but for intermediate Linux enthusiasts like myself.