On to the OS though.
First off, the good:
As it uses an Ubuntu base, nearly everything works. Wifi, sound, hard drives, etc all working quite well. There is even 3d support for my Intel HD 3000. No support for Optimus though, at least not OOTB. This doesn't surprise me, it is just a thing to remember. You will have to force your dedicated card in the BIOS to make it work.
It is quite pretty, though often that takes away more than it gives the user. All 3d effects are enabled from the moment you are done installing it.
The fresh install software selection is decent enough, Chrome web browser, Libre Office, wine and Gimp are all included. Not much more of value though.
They made a very strong effort in cloning the Windows 7 interface.
Now the bad.
The 3d effects are pretty for about 30 seconds, then you quickly find that they went overboard and it gets tiresome. For example, the start menu "popping in" wastes my time, and looks tacky. There are much less invasive animations available for that menu that show much more class. The worst part here is that the tools to change the behavior are NOT included.
Screen brightness was set to '0' during install, and on the first boot. Not really an issue, just took a moment to figure out that Linux was overriding my choices with a useless setting.
Zorin needs a bit over 1 minute to boot. I understand I am using a slower harddrive. However, Windows 7 boots in about 30 seconds from it, and Windows 8 much less than that even. There is no excuse for a 1 minute boot time.
So, within 30 minutes of me starting my system, Zorin decided it was time to update. Good news, right? Nope. There were 442 packages needing updated, and you have to babysit this idiot machine. First problem was Flash, which needed me to accept the license myself. No problem. Then comes the constant crashing. The upgrade application has creashed 3 times on me already, the latest one it doesn't even seem to notice has happened. I have been waiting over an hour for it to figure out it died. I have tried closing it manually, but unlike Mint, or Mepis, it won't even figure out that it isn't closing and give me the option to force close. This is a disgraceful oversight, as this means that Zorin is the only modern Linux distro I have used that requires I use a command line to terminate the application.
On this note, I would like to take time to mention that it isn't just the update software that is falling apart, the "Software Center" is as well. These are two applications that are very well polished, and extremely stable on other Ubuntu based distros. Why are than an issue here?
The Windows look-a-like contest is barely skin deep. They re-ordered the start menu, and tried to make it look like Windows. Then applied a Windows-like border. That was it. Once you open the control panel, file browser, etc, ,all similarities end. For those moving from Windows, these are the important parts to work on. The start menu anyone can figure out.
Worse still, the configuration options needed to fix many of the little flaws - are all missing. They include ways to change resolution, printers, and a few other little things, but nothing that could break the skin of the OS.
lastly, ADVERTISING. I have never, to date, seen advertising in my software center. As Zorin is based purely around money this should not surprise me. But when I entered the Software Center, I was greeted with advertising reminiscent of Steam. Of course, this was then backed up by dozens of YES-WE-WANT-YOUR-MONEY games in the database. Some as much as $25. This entire model goes against everything Linux stands for. Once you start advertising in the OS itself, you just kill your own viability as a platform.
Sorry guys, but pass on this one. From the instability to the hack jobs done to parts of the OS, to the missing configuration options, to the advertising, there is nothing here worth having. This is just an honest opinion from someone who already wasted too much time here. Next up will be Vector Linux. A distro based on Slackware that shows much more promise.
EDIT: Corrected pricing scheme.
This post has been edited by waldojim: 17 October 2012 - 10:06 AM