Well, this might be a bit embarrassing, but I’ve just installed ZorinOS on my laptop. Yes, you may throw rocks at me because I stated quite the opposite in my previous blog post, almost three months ago.
Sure, most of what I wrote a little while back still stands. My desktop PC, for example, still runs on Windows 10 Pro, and it will on the long term. Being in need of a stable desktop for photo & video work is still the main reason, since Darktable is quite far from Adobe’s Lightroom and most FOSS video editors I’ve tried deal quite poorly with HD footage at 60 fps (general software stability issues aside, of course; I know how it feels to have the video editor simply crashing during rendering and being unable to recover a large chunk of the project file).
However, I was wrong comparing Microsoft Office 365 to Libre Office. Even though I sometimes still perceive the former to be „better” (mainly because each company you work for beats you to death with it, out of pure reflex and narrow-mindedness), it’s only after using it for one month that I begin to observe why the latter is still the reasonable choice for me.
When I decided to ditch Linux in favour of Windows, I was coming out of a relatively stressful period and not having to worry much about tiny bits that are not yet smooth in the Linux world felt like a breath of fresh air. However, I do understand now that I’ve been living under a rock and sticking to some old & outdated habits, using the wrong distro for the wrong reasons, in a wrong way.
So, how is ZorinOS, anyway?
Smooth & cool. Based on Ubuntu, even though you might not really notice it at first. The user interface is great. Neatly designed, simple, functional and intuitive. Very easy to install and all drivers work like a charm straight out-of-the-box (special keys, Intel thermal stuff, Wi-Fi, media codecs, etc.). It looks great and it runs better than Windows 10 on my old laptop (well, old from the market’s point of view, since it’s only about 6 years old).
It comes with the all the basic stuff you might need, and Syncthing is available in the store (I will come back to this in a dedicated post about how one may use Android without any Google software, mostly relying on free & open source apps), as well as many, many others.
In fact, it’s a full-on Linux system hidden under a very tightly integrated user experience. Which is what I really need. Oh, by the way: that Windows Subsystem for Linux I’ve been praising a bit before? Ends up being totally unreliable once you try to actually do some work on it and the whole thing just randomly stops working.
Who knows? Maybe once I find a way to use Darktable better for editing my photos (or once I become a real photographer), I might return to Linux on the desktop, too. After all, Lightworks worked great on in (a little unstable at times, but mostly fluent) and proprietary nVidia drivers are available.
However, ZorinOS is the kind of system targeted at normal PC users, not geeks and technical-minded people. And I love this! An average Windows 10 user would find it very easy to use. Also, there’s the ZorinConnect app, which links your smartphone to your ZorinOS instance, and I must say that this way better, tightly integrated and feature-packed than Microsoft’s „Your Phone Companion” tool available in Windows 10.
Maybe it’s just me being more used to Linux that Windows. Each time I find Windows:
- preparing update modules (a process that takes a lot of CPU and disk usage) while I’m working, even though I do NOT want updates
- forcing me to install updates when I shutdown or restart the system
- facing me with trivial limitations that I could easily overcome in the FOSS world,
I’m thinking „Geez! Wouldn’t have to deal with that if I was on Linux!…”. And as far as my laptop is concerned, I really don’t have to deal with that stuff any more.