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Zorin OS 17 Introduces a Hybrid User Experience to Linux Distros

Zorin OS 17 has landed!

We are just a few weeks away from the end of 2023, and what a year this has been. This year has been all about open-source software, privacy, cybersecurity and, of course, AI.

Although Christmas Eve approaches, there are still plenty of new app and distro releases being introduced. One such release has been the long-awaited Zorin OS 17 that we had the courtesy to look at earlier this month thanks to Zorin OS 17 Beta.

If you are a Windows-first user, you might just think of ditching it for good because Zorin OS 17 features exciting UX additions to consider it as a daily driver.

But, the wait is now over. The stable version is out, and without further ado, let's dive in!

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🆕 Zorin OS 17: What's New?

a screenshot of zorin os 17 welcome app and system information

Powered by the reliable Linux kernel 6.2, Zorin OS 17 is a long-term supported release (Until June 2027) based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS that has been said to be Zorin OS's most advanced version ever.

Some key highlights of the Zorin OS 17 release include:

  • UI/UX Improvements
  • Better Performance
  • Updated Application Suite
  • New Desktop Layouts
This is a big release, grab a hot beverage, or a cold one (we don't judge) before you begin.

UI/UX Improvements

Let's start with the star of this release, “Spatial Desktop”, which sees a 3D desktop cube being added to Zorin OS that allows you to seamlessly switch between workspaces. It is not enabled by default. You can choose to toggle the effect if you like it.

According to the devs, this is meant to give users better contextual awareness of what's happening.

a screenshot of zorin os 17 spatial window switcher

Thanks to that, there is also a new “Spatial Window Switcher” that replaces the usual 2D window switching dialogue with a 3D switcher.

a screenshot of zorin os 17 advanced window tiling

Zorin OS 17 also features advanced window tiling as you can see above, it allows for various kinds of window tiling with support for keyboard shortcuts.

a screenshot of zorin os 17 zorin menu

Zorin Menu has been revamped for a faster search experience, it also supports universal search, letting you search for anything on your system.

a screenshot of zorin os 17 quick settings menu

There is also a new quick settings menu similar to what you might have seen on many popular distros.

Better Performance

The developers have claimed that speed was one of their priorities when working on Zorin OS 17, which has resulted in it running better on a wide variety of hardware configurations, both old and new.

Furthermore, thanks to the performance optimizations implemented across the board, apps now open faster, loading times are reduced, and animations are more fluid.

Updated Application Suite

a screenshot of zorin os 17 refreshed software center weather app and new power modes

With this release, the software store sees an upgrade, it is now faster, with new design elements all around. The weather app also sees a similar treatment, with a more pleasant looking interface and some new options.

There is also a new power mode option under the settings menu that lets you tweak your system's performance.

New Desktop Layouts

a photo collage of zorin os 17 new desktop layouts gnome 2 like is on the left chromeos like is on the right
Left: GNOME-2 Layout Right: ChromeOS Layout

And finally, we have the two new desktop layouts with Zorin OS 17; one is a GNOME-2 like layout, the other is a ChromeOS-like layout.

🛠️ Other Changes and Improvements

Those were just the highlights of the release, here are some other changes that you shouldn't miss:

  • Implementation of Parental Controls feature.
  • Updated drivers for better compatibility with newer hardware.
  • New Zorin branding that is now bolder and more refined looking.
  • The RDP protocol is now the default when Remote Desktop sharing is enabled.

For more details on this release, you can go through the official announcement.

📥 Download Zorin OS 17

Zorin OS 17 Core and Pro are available to download from the official website right now. Keep in mind that the “Pro” variant is a paid offering that has some added perks like additional layout options and pre-installed apps.

For existing users; If you were running Zorin OS 17 Core Beta, then you just have to run the Software Updater to get the stable Zorin OS 17 release.

However, for users of Zorin OS 16.x, they will have to wait a few more weeks to get the upgrade. This will most likely be made available through the Software Updater app.

If you are running an even older Zorin OS build, then I suggest you refer to the official upgrade guide.

💬 Will you be waiting it out? Or Will you be doing a complete reinstallation? Let us know!

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