Thursday, 4 October 2012

Zorin OS 6 Lite - The Lite Fantastic

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  23:14 21 comments

Introduction

I have written before about Zorin OS 6 (http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2012/07/zorin-6-best-operating-system-i-have.html) which is the main Zorin operating system for general everyday use.

I am a real fan of Zorin. Very few distributions work perfectly straight out of the box. There is always one hurdle or another that needs to be jumped in order to get the system into a state of readiness.

Generally though once you get past the little intricacies that must be performed to get a Linux operating system working they work very well. For instance recently I wrote an article about Bodhi 2 (http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2012/09/bodhi-210-quick-albeit-little-quirky.html). In that article I noted a few problems I had getting MP3s to play and using the Bodhi App Installer. I have now been using Bodhi 2 for almost a month on my Acer Aspire One Netbook and I have no plans to change it because it fits very well with the way I work on my Netbook. Zorin OS 6 does not seem to have any quirks that need ironing out to get it working. It just works.

This article is not about Zorin OS 6, it is about Zorin OS 6 Lite. Now the goal of Zorin is as follows: 
"The distribution's ultimate goal is to provide a Linux alternative to Windows and let Windows users enjoy all the features of Linux without complications."
Zorin OS 6 Lite is designed to work on computers that have lower resources available than is required to run Zorin OS 6. Zorin OS 6 adds a bit of razzmatazz with the use of Compiz and the applications included have a heavier footprint than Zorin OS 6 Lite.

If you can't decide whether you should run Zorin OS 6 or Zorin OS 6 Lite then the following specifications may help:

Zorin OS 6Zorin OS 6 Lite
Processor700 mhz x86 processor286 mhz x86 processor
Disk Space3 gb2 gb
RAM376mb128mb

(Information copied from http://zorin-os.com/faq.html)


Introduction Zorin OS 6 Lite


Zorin OS 6 Lite is based on Lubuntu 11.10 and uses LXDE. As you can see from the screenshot above the look and feel will be quite familiar for Windows users. There is a single task bar at the bottom with a start button and quick launch icons and in the bottom right system tray icons.

The default look and feel in Zorin OS 6 Lite is meant to imitate Windows 2000. One of the great things about Zorin is the ability to change the look and feel to make it look like another operating system. 


The Zorin look changer in Zorin OS 6 Lite gives you the choice of the Windows 2000 desktop or the Mac OS X desktop.


Connecting to the internet

As Zorin is built on a derivative of Ubuntu connecting to the Internet is easy. If you are using the Windows 2000 desktop click the icon in the system tray next to the clock in the bottom right hand corner. If you are using the Mac OS X desktop the same icon is next to the clock in the top right hand corner.

Both my main home broadband and mobile broadband connections were available. Simply entering the encryption key had me connected within seconds.

Zorin OS 6 Lite comes with the Chromium browser which is good because it is my favourite and it saved me downloading it from the repositories. If you prefer to use a different browser you can run the Internet Browser Manager and install your preferred option.


Is Flash installed?

Generally once I have installed an operating system I try the same things out to make sure I have a base system which can be built upon. After connecting to the internet I always go to YouTube to make sure I can watch videos. Now some of you might think watching YouTube videos isn't really a life or death situation but I use YouTube as a learning aid (http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2012/09/the-5-best-sources-of-support-for-linux.html).

Zorin OS 6 Lite did not let me down. Flash was installed along with the operating system.


Music

The next thing I try after the internet and YouTube is whether MP3 files play within the provided music player.

The music player installed within Zorin OS 6 Lite is Audacious. Now Audacious is nowhere near Rhythmbox in terms of functionality but I was able to load in all my MP3 files and play them which means all the codecs for playing MP3s are installed along with the operating system as well.


Software

Zorin OS 6 Lite is definitely lite on the software front. I have already mentioned that for browsing the internet Chromium is installed and that Audacious is available for listening to music.

There are the standard set of tools that are common to LXDE including calculator and the Leafpad editor. There is also a terminal and sticky notes.

The graphics section of the menu is lacking with just a document viewer, image viewer and scan facility.

In the internet section as well as Chromium there is the Pidgin Instant Messenger program and Postler Mail client.

For Office software there is Abiword for writing documents, Dexter for organising contacts and the Osmo Personal Organiser.

Installing extra software

There are a number of ways to install extra software within Zorin including the Software Center, Synaptic and the Zorin OS Lite Extra Software tool.


Now the item of software missing from the installation that I really needed was a screen capture tool. The extra software application doesn't have one of these listed but as you can see there are some useful tools and so upon seeing the above screen I thought it is always good to have WINE installed as well as the VLC player.

Remember at the beginning of the article when I said that a lot of distributions have one or two hurdles that need to be jumped to get it working perfectly. Well here it is. Upon clicking the install button of any of the applications I received an error.

I decided to run Synaptic instead to install a screenshot tool but the list of available packages was very small. Now at this point I did two things. Firstly I placed the USB drive back into the drive that I used to install the system and I enabled the repository for the USB drive. Secondly I clicked Reload.

After performing these steps a much larger list of software was made available including the screenshot tool which has been used to provide the images for this article.

I then realised that the problem with the Extra Software installer might have been caused by the lack of available software in the repositories so I ran it again and this time when I tried to install VLC player it worked.

Summary

Zorin 6 OS Lite is very good and makes for a perfect base installation to work with. As there are very few packages installed you can customise Zorin 6 OS Lite in any way you see fit. Maybe you want to create a games machine or if you want to use it for everyday use you can always install the heavier office software applications like LibreOffice.

If you have an old computer and continue to run an older version of Windows then you know that the people who created it don't care about you any more, making you susceptible to security risks with substandard software and no support.  It is a much better proposition to run Zorin OS 6 Lite with applications designed to work on older systems and that are still supported.


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About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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21 comments:

  1. Congratulations by the review; I will try Zorin 6 Lite, because I have a HP netbook with a 1.6 GHz speed processor, and Ubuntu and others are a little heavy to it...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, very nice review.
    Is there any driver for wireless...something like b43 driver..broadcom...in zorin os lite?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the wireless drivers are the same ones supplied with Ubuntu. I've tried 3 different computer with different cards and they are all supported in Zorin OS Lite. I can't vouch for the b43 driver because I do not have a broadcom device.

      Delete
    2. Well, Ifeel your pain on b43 heres how to do it...
      http://debianandi.blogspot.com/2012/05/linux-mint-12-broadcom-bcm4311-problem.html

      ----replace vim with nano----
      There will be a few errors that things are not there, just ignore then and continue and it will work just make sure to reboot after and blacklist the sta driver. If you have trouble just google the specific command that you cant get to work and ubuntu like "vim not found on ubuntu" as I had to do to find out nano was what we have stock with Ubuntu/Zorin distros.... good luch

      Delete
    3. The Above link is bad. I buy Ralink usb wifi adapter from Ebay. Just plug them in and they work with Xubuntu, Kubuntu They work with Debian if you install the Ralink firmware package.

      Delete
    4. I like Zorin lite as well, while it will tell me that I have a Ralink pcimia card, it will not install it. When I use the driver finder, it does not locate any drivers. Anyone with a solution?

      Delete
  3. Can you explain how to do this? " I placed the USB drive back into the drive that I used to install the system and I enabled the repository for the USB drive. Secondly I clicked Reload. " I would greatly appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Actual minimums copied from Zorin site:

    For the GNOME based versions (non Lite):
    700 MHz x86 processor
    3GB of Hard Drive space
    376 MB of system memory (RAM)
    Graphics card capable of 640x480 resolution
    Sound card

    For the LXDE based versions (Lite):
    266 MHz x86 processor
    2GB of Hard Drive space
    128 MB of system memory (RAM)
    Graphics card capable of 640x480 resolution
    Sound card

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I have an Asus 900 HD XP netbook with a 900 MHz processor that came with only 1G of RAM, and I have this set up as a DUAL BOOT , can choose between Zorin Lite and Windows XP. and I am finding running Zorin Lite is a PIA, because unless I boot up the machine and walk away for a few minutes letting it do whatever, like the UPDATE MANAGER doing its' thing, the Chrome browser nearly freezes up, and I get those NON RESPONSIVE pop ups. So I have been thinking of trying Firefox instead, or just firing Zorin from this machine. IMO, even 900 MHz with just 1G of RAM is not enough, even for Zorin Lite.

      Delete
    2. you find your issue is lack of ram, than CPU speed, if you run out of ram your having to heavily use on the HDD swap partition and the system can come to a standstill when its happening (windows or Linux OS same thing happens)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the information. I am also going to check this OS. Keep it up friend. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice post i will use this OS thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello... I'm a newbie in Linux world... And now I was running Zorin OS 6 lite dual boot with windows xp in my old-low computer...And I want to ask you some Questions
    Can I use usb wifi on Zorin OS 6 Lite??
    If I want to get some software which compatible with Zorin, where can I get it?
    How about repository???
    I'm sorry if I ask too many questions...
    Thanks for your answers.... ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A usb wifi should work fine with Zorin. Plug it in and boot your computer. Your network icon in the system tray will show all wireless networks if the wifi device is working. (There is probably a blinking light on the wifi device as well which shows it is working). If this does not work straight away you might need to install some drivers to get it working. Let me know the make and model if it doesn't work straight away. I am in the UK and a cheap £3.99 drive I bought in Tesco works fine.

      Zorin uses the Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic and will run debian packages.



      Delete
  8. Is it possible to install Zornin OS on a MAC machine if yes then can you tell me how?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am afraid I have never had a MAC so I don't know the answer to this. It is probably worth asking in the Zorin IRC chat room or on the Zorin forums.

      Delete
  9. Since new Macs are Intel based, Zorin might just work. My very first Linux system was a Power Macintosh 7600 way back in 1998. I used a PowerPC version of Red Hat 5 and set it up to dual boot Linux and MacOS 9. It was a challenge but it worked. I did this because I wanted to run an intranet server from my office, and since my Mac had little to do in a Windows enterprise I chose that platform. The problem was web servers for MacOS 9 started at $500 USD. What I wanted was a version of Apache that would run on Macintosh, and the only thing available was the Apache server bundled into MacLinux.

    In those days it was a big jump from MacOS 9 to any version of Linux or Unix. This isn't the case now since OSX is based on BSD.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What can you do if an old machine a desk top pc uses an ATI graphics card as its default video output to your monitor, ideas anyone. (-:

    ReplyDelete
  11. @davelectronic
    Just get Zorin, burn it on a CD and take it for a test drive on your hardware in a Live session.

    ReplyDelete
  12. your article is full of knowledge.i got a large of information from your article.thanks for sharing.
    HP3-C25

    ReplyDelete

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