One of the things I love about using Linux is how connected you feel to the community. That’s especially true when the actual creator and CEO of a Linux desktop OS reaches out and personally invites you to give it test drive. And after reading what’s in store for Zorin OS 15 (currently in beta), this one just climbed higher on my list of distributions to discover.
Zorin OS hit the Linux desktop scene about 10 years ago, and has since been marketed as a fast, more powerful and more secure alternative to macOS and Windows. It also bills itself as being versatile and easy to use. Let’s see how Zorin OS 15 will support that message.
For Android users, the new Zorin Connect app is a welcome sight. It’s been designed with deep desktop integration in mind, letting you connect and sync your Android phone and carry out a number of useful activities:
- Sync your phone’s notifications with your computer
- Browse photos from your phone
- Reply to SMS messages and view conversations with your contacts
- Share files and web links between devices
- Use your phone as a remote control for your computer
- Control media playback on your computer from your phone, and pause playback automatically when a phone call arrives
A new desktop theme also makes an appearance, designed “with clarity and simplicity in mind.” It has a few thoughtful touches I’m looking forward to trying. For example, it adapts to the time of day, automatically adjusting the desktop background based on the time of day. It also takes things one step further by switching to the theme’s Dark Mode at night.
Speaking of themes, the Zorin OS blog mentions six different color variations on its new theme, plus Light and Dark modes.
As a Dell XPS 2-in-1 owner, I’m excited for this next one: a new touch interface. Not merely “it supports touch input,” but an interface tailored for touchscreens. Switching this on (which is a one-click action) maximizes space for your apps and other content. Sliding up from the bottom of the screen reveals a panel to switch between apps, open the all-apps grid menu, access system settings and other goodies.
A 3-finger pinch brings up your Activities Overview, and a 4-finger swipe up or down switches between your workspaces.
Deepin 15.9 recently introduced similar features, and it’s great to see Linux distros thinking about users with convertible laptops.
Last but certainly not least — at least on my personal list of notable features (you can read much more on the Zorin OS blog) is the addition of native FlatPak support. Since native Snap support has been available for several versions, this means users get the best of both worlds and the ability to very easily install a massive range of software.
Just a quick reminder that this is a beta release intended for users to submit feedback and bug reports. But once Zorin OS 15 goes gold, I’m definitely giving this a spin.
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