back to article Zorin OS 16 Pro arrives complete with optional 'Windows 11' desktop

Zorin Pro 16 is out now*, along with a free Lite edition, complete with an optional "Windows 11" desktop theme. Zorin OS is one of a few commercial Linux distributions which aim to be user-friendly alternatives to Windows and Mac. The OS is open source and pricing is based on a freemium model, with free Core, Lite and …

  1. katrinab Silver badge

    The average persion can pick up a ChromeBook and use it, despite the UI theme looking nothing like Windows.

    So I don't think that is the barrier to Linux adoption. ChromeOS kind of is Linux anyway, maybe not GNU/Linux.

    Most people, the problem is, they ask if it runs $x which is very important for their workflow, and the answer is very often no.

    Wine usually doesn't help. I can think of very few things that work reliably on Wine and don't have a better native alternative.

    I actually think that making Linux look like Windows would make it more confusing. Go into one of the many Windows control panels, which are not the finest examples of software design, and try to administer a Linux system in the same way as a Windows system. It won't work, because Linux isn't Windows.

    Normal people don't do that anyway, they ask people like us for help.

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Phone and tablet OSes are not all like desktop OSes and yet the average Jane or Joe can quickly learn them. The issue for any OS is the software available for it. Bloatware has the most software and many titles Jane and Joe are familiar with. Fruit is not far behind. Linux tends to have an equivalent to the name brand software but often not the name brand itself. If one steps back and realizes to most a computer or phone are really tools to get something done then OS inertia makes a lot sense.

      Zorin historically has tried to mimic the general look and feel of Bloatware. The idea is to make the using Linux less intimidating to non-technical users. I seen many non-technical users adapt well to Linux Mint with Cinnamon. It usually takes a couple of weeks for them to get reasonably proficient and adapt to the Linux way of doing things. So I am not so convinced mimicking Bloatware look and feel is that critical.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        If one steps back and realizes to most a computer or phone are really tools to get something done then OS inertia makes a lot sense.


        Also, I think that one other factor that leads to inertia so far as moving to Linux is concerned is that one simply doesn't move to Linux. Moving to Bloatware or Fruit is a fairly simple process of handing over some money and saying "give me a copy of that operating system please my good man".

        Moving from Bloatware or fruit to Linux...well, which Linux? For distros there are legion, it's not a simple "home" or "professional" choice. You need to decide what category of user you are and find the distro that will work for you. This article is a good example - Mint is more aimed towards enthusiast users," says Zorin. "In our case we're trying to focus on not just enthusiasts, but also new users, less technically inclined users, and making it a cohesive, well-designed experience that will be easier to use." So what does that mean if I'm an enthusiast I have to weight up whether I should go Mint or Zorin (or something else).? And does "enthusiast" imply "got experience and can work out how to do non-obvious stuff"?

        Linux reminds me too much of the old sketch on "Not The Nine O'Clock News" where the guy goes into a hifi shop. Too many options and for someone who isn't already on the inside track, it's easy to gravitate towards "this all looks more complicated and daunting than I'd's easier just to stick with what I know"

        1. Kubla Cant

          Moving to Bloatware or Fruit is a fairly simple process of handing over some money and saying "give me a copy of that operating system please my good man".

          I agree with your general point, but I suspect that the scenario above is vanishingly rare. Most people just buy a computer. They have no real idea that the O/S is a separate thing.

          It's similar to the way that the browser is "the internet", and the broadband connection is "the wifi" (as in the commonly-heard "I wouldn't want to live in an area that has poor wifi").

          1. a_yank_lurker

            I would say people are aware of the OS but they are more interested in running X on the box than the OS. Along as the OS can run X they are happy. The OS is more a short hand for the software ecosystem to most.

    2. J27

      They always imitate the look, which is something no one cares about, application comparability is the key to Windows' control over the desktop.

      1. Dave559

        And, even worse, when there actually is a nice and professional looking Linux desktop "look" (theme), such as Ubuntu's Ambiance theme, they then later get bored with it and decide to drop it in favour of Yet Another Really Ugly Flatso Clone (and if you go to gnome-look, it's sadly full of dozens of similar equally boring and visually unpleasant themes these days).

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        re: They always imitate the look, which is something no one cares about

        Oh yeah! Remember when Windows 8 came out with that start page and everyone went "It's just the look, we don't care about that!"

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Most people, the problem is, they ask if it runs $x which is very important for their workflow, and the answer is very often no.

      My mother uses Libre Office on her Fruity Airtop quite happily. However my sister when she visited her for the weekend had a problem. She uses Word at work and opened one of her documents on mum's Airtop. She said she couldn't use Libre Office as the formatting wasn't exactly the same and needed to be so for her work. Also issues once formatting corrected on Airtop but saved and reopened at work on Word.

      She has resorted to taking her own laptop down there when she goes to see our parents.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >She said she couldn't use Libre Office as the formatting wasn't exactly the same and needed to be so for her work

        Then she has bigger problems. Don't expect the formatting to be exactly the same in the next version of word.

        Our patent agents have elaborate templates to make sure that the docs come out patent-ish with all the paragraph numbering and cross refs, but it's a full time job keeping them up-to-date.

        Old school guys have some weird nroff-type formatting language and a bunch of macros. They should probably use LaTex but I suspect somebody has patented that.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Laudable ambition

    "we're trying to make an operating system that is simple to manage, set and forget, and also really stable"

    Excellent idea, as what users really need is just that - not constant enforced change. However it remains to be seen whether it's a financially viable proposition. Continuous churn seems to be the only way most vendors can take make money in what is otherwise a pretty saturated market space.

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: Laudable ambition

      This is true, although they are building on Ubuntu, a fully fledged OS, already. So the costs are much lower.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Re: Laudable ambition

      "we're trying to make an operating system that is simple to manage, set and forget, and also really stable"

      And Windows seems like a good example to follow?

      1. TKW

        Re: Laudable ambition

        Stability in terms of appcompat? Yes.

        Everything else? Well......

  3. Robert Grant

    The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

    It might just be my experience, but they run deathly slowly on my work MacBook Pro/personal Windows laptop. I would really like to recommend them. Do they run at Office-ish speeds for other people?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      LibreOffice is fine. Has been for 10+ years now.

      1. Ken G Silver badge

        Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

        The issue isn't how well it works, it's how well it renders MS Office documents. I've had issues with the presentation of MS docs in Star/Open/Libre/Symphony Office and how they present when saved and opened by MS Office. When my colleagues and clients run MS then it matters. I've been using WPS office for years and I'm happy to check out Only Office as a European alternative.

    2. jtaylor

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      LibreOffice runs fine on my 2013-vintage Thinkpad (Windows and Linux). If anything, it feels a little faster than MS Office. I haven't tested with actuarial spreadsheets.

    3. Ocor61

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      I am running Linux Mint fulltime and for me LibreOffice is just as fast as its Windows counterpart, if not faster. I am running Linux on a 10 year old laptop, by the way.

    4. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      I routinely use 100+ MB spreadsheets chock full of formulas, and many of them relying on iterative calculation.

      LibreOffice performance is virtually identical to MS, and MS is more prone to file corruption in our experience. Document/data recovery in LibreOffice has rescued many hours of work that MS was unable to recover.

      The main difference in time is the learning curve of alternative UI. OpenOffice I always found formula editing clunky. Libre has largely adopted MS editing conventions - which does save time and ease transition.

      Off topic - I'd use Python and SQLLite by choice for these types of problems, however IT "job security/money printing" paranoia means that putting proper solutions to problems instead of bodging it in a spreadsheet is rarely an option (principally because cost and time).

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

        I'm retired now, but an upvote for "I'd use Python and SQLLite".

        If you want it fast and secure, this combination work well for small/medium use (i.e. 95%+ of all) websites on OpenBSD (other servers are available - YMMV).

        The spelling "SQLite" would have got you a beer as well...

    5. GraXXoR

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      I run libreoffice 7 on a pokey GPD pocket and pocket 2... its plenty fast enough, even on the older model.

      I guess, we all have subjective tolerances to what indeed is and isn't slow.

    6. WolfFan

      Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

      You must have older versions and/or older hardware. LibreOffice is plenty fast enough on both Win and Mac here; the problem isn’t the speed, LO’s word processor actually loads faster than Word on most Macs, though slower than Word on Windows (gee, I wonder why MS Office is so fast on Windows…); the problem is round-tripping files, especially complicated files, like Word documents with lots of pages, and lots of tables, and lots of figures. Such as the document that I was supposed to be looking at instead of wasting time on El Reg, a 115 page document with 27 tables, several of them more than a page long, and 31 figures and charts and graphs, all captioned. LO makes a thorough mess of it. Word has no problems. Pages has problems mostly with certain borders, which Apple does differently from MS, and that’s trivially fixable. LO, now, LO hates it.

      I opened it in Pages, fixed all border problems, printed to PDF, and now have time to waste. If I was using LO I’d still be working on the damn thing.

      1. Robert Grant

        Re: The thing about OpenOffice/LibreOffice

        Yes, I just downloaded and tried a recent LibreOffice and it is indeed fast :) That's good to know!

        Next up: a UXer needs to donate some time to fix the inconsistent/low res buttons!

  4. Martin an gof Silver badge


    I'd be tempted to give it a tryout, but every time I read an article about Zorin OS my mind skips back to one of the worst Bond films ever made (though oddly enough with two of the best supporting actors - and an honourable mention to David Yip).


  5. naive

    The small market share of Chromebooks in businesses is puzzling

    Changing a desktop operating system would probably not result in a notable reduction of costs.

    Many companies are moving their servers to Azure, they keep their windows desktops, including all that comes with it:

    Things like Exchange, Active Directory, Backups, Security and Citrix are all essential components in any Windows based office environment.

    Small businesses with up to 100 people need several sysadmins to keep this afloat.

    Would moving to chromebooks, with google docs not save significant costs and reduce risks like ransomware and data leaks ?.

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: The small market share of Chromebooks in businesses is puzzling

      Find an organisation of 100 people who can actually all work on a chromebook. By the time you make exceptions for the people who need SAGE, Photoshop, CAD or software dev environments you're going to be running a fair number of Mac and/or Windows devices in addition to the people who live their life in word processors and spreadsheets.

      And if you've ditched your AD environment then they're going to be largely unmanaged (albeit you can do certain bits of Endpoint Management using Google Workspace), but you're only swapping AD for Google Workspace IAM (meet the new boss, looks like the old boss) to protect against the aforementioned ransomware, etc.

      This is why they're popular in education where kids predominantly need a browser and productivity tools, but less so anywhere else.

    2. MrReynolds2U

      Re: The small market share of Chromebooks in businesses is puzzling

      You can compare Google Docs and MS Office online, but not the desktop version. I run up against the limitations of the online versions regularly and end up giving staff a desktop version of MS Office.

      Maybe with the advent of Web Assembly that will change things but I'm not holding my breath.

      Secondly, there are many bespoke and off-the-shelf programs that require a Windows client OS. Only when the program vendors start making cross-platform versions will things change.

      Windows desktop is here to stay in the business workspace until MS themselves get bored of it.

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: The small market share of Chromebooks in businesses is puzzling


        So much your second point. While many of the issues of MSOffice alternatives can be worked around, not being able to run a specific piece of software because you don't have Windows is an insurmountable problem.

        Companies that develop business software that costs multiple thousands of $ (or whatever currency you use) seldom wish to spend additional funds to build and maintain a separate version for any other OS. They seldom spend the money to maintain the Win version worth a damn.

  6. tip pc Silver badge

    Why not just install Ubuntu?

    installing Ubuntu seems easier to me, but at £39 I'd be happy for them to take the support calls rather than me.

  7. Waspy

    I have this on my Dell latitude

    I love it, Zorin 15 really is polished, stable and easy to use.

    I have recently donated an older ultrabook to the mother in law, and for that I went for Linux Lite simply due to its ease of use and low resource requirements but Zorin was also a potential candidate

    1. staringatclouds

      Re: I have this on my Dell latitude

      I have two Dell Precision T1700's originally running Win7 pro one for me & one for my partner

      I migrated both to Zorin 15 when Win7 support ran out

      Zero issues, it worked out of the box, I swapped the email & browser to the same as I used on Win 7 but that's about it

  8. Tron Silver badge

    Sounds interesting.

    LibreOffice is fine. I've used it for years. I export as a PDF if anyone has an issue.

    I used to try Linux installs in the past and they all crashed on installation. Hopefully this will run on anything. A W7 UI would be good.

    Linux is our best shot for distributed web services, software and networking. The big three won't let such stuff on their lawn. To popularise it, we need a consumer-friendly Linux distro.

    We also need an OS we can trust not to be scanning our content.

  9. gerryg

    Biggest problem with LOTD

    I've been using LOTD for over 20 years. I've heard everything about LibreOffice, WINE, drivers, luckily we've lost the winmodem and these days few people try to troll recompiling the kernel.

    I'm surprised about how good WINE has got for the few applications I need it for. The look and feel, usability and compatibility of Libre Office heads ever north.

    I have no interest in debates about distro comparison. They're all good enough. You're talking among yourselves.

    I'm convinced the real barrier to adoption is the psychological contract one enters into with anyone to whom you give Linux.

    If Microsoft Windows goes wrong or that fancy gizmo is not supported on Windows version X+1, if Apple decide that you need new cables for that expensive but gleamy thing. Or it can't be repaired because you you don't live in a large enough town. It just seems to be the cost of being alive.

    You suck it up because you have no control.

    But your friend, partner, whatever, tells you that Linux gives you control. And you no longer need to suck it up.

    So when anything at all happens that is the least bit sub-optimal, you realise something probably can be done about it and that you can load it all on to said friend, partner, whatever.

    There is no prolonged gratitude for having saved a laptop from the rubbish heap, for the several hundred pounds not spent on new kit. They've been given control and they take it.

    Even your nearest and closest.


    Where to obtain

    Where would I be able to purchase this Zorin 16 Pro with the Windows 11 desktop?I use Zorin 15 lite and I am not an expert but enjoy learn more.I am amending my typos.

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