Zorin 12 Core - Looks Aren't Everything

I jump around Linux desktop distros pretty regularly, and recently I gave the new look Zorin OS 12 64-bit a try. I have used Zorin before - versions 7, 9 and 10 if I recall - and was curious about 12, as the Zorin team have redesigned the user interface for this version.

For a more substantial nuts and bolts review you can see here or here. This is my general impression as both a previous Zorin user and as a distro hopper of some 4 or 5 years.

looks nice (click to enlarge)

Well, I think they needed to bake this a wee bit longer, to be honest. While the general fit and finish is good and seems quite polished, I encountered a problem. I don't believe it's just me, as I tried installing on two different laptops, a Samsung and a Lenovo with AMD and Intel chipsets respectively, and different display hardware. The problem I saw was also mentioned in at least one other review I read (after the fact).

Apparently randomly, the system would become unresponsive for several seconds and I would usually see an internal error message. It would recover and carry on, but this would happen more than once a day and is not something I have been used to in most Linux distros I have tried.

Now this was on an installed system that had been updated using the built-in updater, and the issue occurred both before and after any updates. The two laptops are 4-6 years old, not cutting edge, but not abandoned technology either.

My understanding is that Zorin uses a customized Gnome desktop environment, and while their new look is actually pretty slick to look at and use (see the screenshot above), I can't really get too enthusiastic because of this apparent glitch.

I have since loaded other distros (Elementary OS Loki and Xubuntu 64-bit) on the same laptops without any issues, so I am as sure as I can be it's not a hardware issue.

I also noted that Zorin seemed to use a lot of RAM at idle, relatively speaking (over 800MB on my systems), so maybe it's just a bit top heavy right now. I would still go ahead and revisit this in a couple of months in the hope that whatever little gremlin is abroad has been excised.