back to article Like its Windows-noob-stabilisers OS, Zorin's cloudy Grid tool is Linux desktop management for dummies

Zorin, which provides a Linux distro designed to look familiar for migrating Windows and Mac users, has announced a subscription-based management tool for Linux desktops. Six desktop layouts in Zorin include Windows, macOS, Touch, Ubuntu, and Gnome 3, though the full range is only available in the paid-for Ultimate edition (€ …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Why bother with the Windows look ?

    If you want Windows, stay with Microsoft !

    If you feel that moving to Linux is necessary then why not just accept what Linux has to offer. Linux distros already have a myriad of similar desktops. The only thing disturbing about the move is becoming accustomed to the different names for similar applications.Open Office" will never be called "Microsoft Office" so we can't cheat with simply renaming things, one has to learn to use the names as they exist ..

    What does Zorin truly offer other than a "monthly subscription" ? It honestly looks like an expensive solution to a non existant problem.

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      Because not all people are as technical and open to change as you and I? And so while may will be willing to make a step away from the familiar, keeping things somewhat similar will help with the comfort factor when doing so.

      The OS is still FOSS - you can pay for support/to support the project or for an additional service (the grid server)

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        "Because not all people are as technical and open to change as you and I"

        Mate, I'm not sure if you've read basically any comment thread on here, any time any OS or application changes it's GUI, but 'technical' users can be even more inflexible when it comes to small changes than average users.

        It's the same as the "I tried to run x on my 286 and it was slow, so I've never tried any software from that company ever since" crowd.

        Technical users are often the worst when it comes to adapting to new things.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

          It's 2020 and I still want to kill the ribbon with fire. Maybe next year it'll grow on me.

          1. Korev Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

            Well, 2020 is also the year of Linux on the desktop...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

              Needs to be the year of BSD

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Baldrickk - Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        Translation: all people want is free (as in beer) Microsoft Windows. If those users you mention are not open to change then let them stay with Windows, comfortably.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      Today too many believe all the users need is a browser, and they can't find it if the way to access it is not enough alike Windows - while many users just click the icon they have on the desktop.

      But actually a lot of people - especially those who may not want to use just the OS that came with their PC - use something more than a browser, and thereby will use whatever OS that runs their applications without issues - which, unluckily, in most cases won't be any distro of Linux.

      1. Blackjack

        Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        Saying that windows can run any windows application with no issues at all is hilarious.

        Have you updated Windows 10 lately?

        Window updates tend to break things, from the minor like "they changed my desktop wallpaper in Windows 7" to "What do you mean windows 10 deleted my files after the last update?"

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        I try and run Steam games from ten years ago and all sorts of strange things happen, and that's on Windows 7.

        1. Blackjack

          Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

          GOG.com is usually way better than Steam when it comes to compatibility of old games.

          And you are having that problem because Steam could run on Windows XP and they never cared to remove games that are only supposed to work on Windows XP from their library.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

            Mass Effect 1 Should Just Work.

            After faffing around I got it to Just Work but that borks the Steam controller to keyboard mapping.

            Hey ho.

    3. hmv Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      Er ... the monthly subscription thing is for a desktop management solution not for the Windows-a-like look.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      It lowers the barrier to training, that's why.

      Although the lack of compatibility with industry standard hardware and software raises the technical barriers, so your mileage may well vary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        Dead wrong! Giving users a Windows-like desktop will just remove their desire to try something else.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      Which Windows look would that be? There have been so many.

      If you think back to the introduction of new versions of Windows over the years some of the biggest objections from existing Windows users have been to changes in the human interface, hence the existence of Classic Shell. Providing the underpinnings have worked OK (hello, Vista) what lies beneath has received less attention. So an objective of distros such as Zorin has been to provide a familiar interface for the users when one set of underpinnings has been replaced by another.

      Why should one replace the underlying OS? I'll discount the fact that personally I prefer the Unix way of doing things. From the point of view of ordinary users one has been that they are running Microsoft abandonware on fairly old equipment that isn't going to be able to follow Microsoft's upgrade path. Another is to replace the OS with something more secure. In my case I've installed Zorin, after recovering her files, for a relative who had been hit be ransomware in an email she thought was from someone she knew. In another it was very old kit - one box made by Time & another, even older Dell.

      This is a solution that works. It enables people to continue with office applications sufficiently similar in interface to those they've used before or to use the web or email. And before anyone raises such things like "would you give your old mother a Linux box?" these are very likely people who are older than your "old mother". I'm the youngest of a long line of cousins and I'm well beyond 70.

      This is a solution that those of us who have used it know to work and to work for problems that do actually exist.

      1. FrJackHackett

        Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        Ah, Time... Suppliers of my very first computer and, very shortly thereafter, my second computer as they somehow managed to ship me two of them. Two for the price of one! An expensive mistake at £1300 each. Any wonder they're gone.

    6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

      A better question to ask is, "What is the point of reinventing the wheel?" Zorin and several other projects take the view that reinventing the GUI because you can do it is silly. By keeping a similar look and feel they lessen the learning curve and make the user more comfortable with the distro. There is nothing wrong with the basic W7 GUI layout. Most of the tweaks are more personal preferences than anything else.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Why bother with the Windows look ?

        >"What is the point of reinventing the wheel?"

        Actually quite a lot...

        However, I suspect even Brunel would have been pushed to find a use for carbon fibre wheels...

        The big challenge is change and encouraging people to change. There are some people who are happy with big change, however, many prefer to remain within their "comfort zone", so the need is therefore to introduce sufficient change for something to be seen as different yet sufficiently similar to what is currently being used for people to be comfortable and actually make the change; next year when they comfort zone has adapted, you can move them again...

        Zorin, needs users and preferably businesses paying for the subscription service, hence it needs to appear to be sufficiently similar to what is currently being used to encourage such transfers. As we know one of the big differences between Windows - since W95, and Unix/Linux has been that MS has locked down the GUI because they objected to third-parties developing alternative Presentation Managers for Win3. With Linux, once you are running it, it is just a small step to experiment with alternative GUI's.

        >There is nothing wrong with the basic W7 GUI layout.

        Which is based on the 'classic' Windows desktop which in turn owes a lot to MOTIF/CDE etc. ie. GUI work done in the 1980's. I found it interesting recently when ElReg ran an article about Win3 and included a picture of the W3 GUI, to note that these 'older ' GUI's actually contain more (consistent) signposting information to the user than the modern GUI's of W8~10.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Pffft, GUIs are for wussies.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      "Pffft, GUIs are for wussies."

      I feel like it is almost going the other way. We try to keep our users ignorant just so we can inflict these terrible UI systems on them whilst taking their money.

      So basically, "Wussies are for GUIs"

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Then you come across a touch screen with no keyboard and end up wanting to punch the bleeding thing for auto correcting commands that were correct in the first place and for some stupid emoji button now appearing where I expect the @ symbol.

        On this occassion I forgot my usb small keyboard I used to take everywhere with me.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          >Then you come across a touch screen with no keyboard

          It won't be long before they do away with the keyboard - deeming Siri/Cortana being sufficient...

          I suspect it will be some years before gesture input becomes a reality, given the lack of progress with signed input. Aside: as far as I'm aware MS's only exploration into sign langauge was with the Xbox 360 Kinnect back in 2013.

  3. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    Windows

    Yessss! Bring forth the Linux desktop!

    If it has a Begin™ button on the left lower corner of the screen, has a Control Center™ where I can change EVERY setting, I don't care if it a M$ or Linux distro running the things on the background.

    In fact, I would be happy with a Linux now, because MS is not letting me clone my boot drive into a SSD and I don't want to install everything again, too lazy.

    The only thing left are games. Steam has a bunch of stuff that was never built for Linux, not without some tweaking.

    1. tekHedd

      Re: Yessss! Bring forth the Linux desktop!

      As a commentor mentioned, the good news is that Windows 7 is no longer a moving target for wine support. I suppose that offers some hope for the future.

      I'm building an air-gapped[*] network for my windows 7 gaming system because, well, some of those games were almost impossible to get running and I'm definitely not risking an "upgrade".

      * air-gapped - n. A network that has some sort of firewall and you want to claim it is unhackable

  4. choleric

    Latin is still killing me

    From the image demonstrating the Sans Forgetica font:

    > "Why, one wonders, is it not called Sans Memorabilia?"

    It's a play on words, more precisely, and more grimly, a Latin word. "Sans" means "without" in Latin. You don't want to call a font that helps people remember stuff "sans memorabilia" because that would imply that you can read it without remembering it, so you call it "sans forgetica" because you want people to read without forgetting it. Get it? Now you just have to remember it. Because of Latin. Argh. Why can't I forget it?!

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Latin is still killing me

      No. "Sans" means "without" in French. In Latin the word is "sine", as in "sine qua non".

      "Forgetica" isn't a Latin word anyway. It grafts an English verb on to the back end of "Helvetica", which is the Latin for "Switzerland", but is better known as a Swiss font.

      So the font should be called something like "Sine Oblito", but that would spoil the feeble joke.

      1. Anonymous IV
        Happy

        Re: Latin is still killing me

        So the font should be called something like "Sine Oblito", but that would spoil the feeble joke.

        I would propose Chronic Sans...

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    The font idea is interesting but surely for it to remain effective, it would need to change every month (i.e with an update).

    Otherwise surely you would get used to it; like bad handwriting.

    1. D@v3

      changing font

      How about a font that changes dynamically, like Rorschach's mask?

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: changing font

        The Octavo in Terry Pratchett's novel "The Light Fantastic" has text that cycles through available languages before your eyes. Some easier thereon than others.

        "I didn't know crocodiles could do that."

        I'm skeptical of the claimed utility of this. It slows you down reading... is that really good?

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          Re: changing font

          I think that's the intent. You are forced to read more carefully, hence ... giving ... words ... more ... time ... to ... embed ... in ... memory.

          1. Scotthva5

            Re: changing font

            As if Dostoyevsky wasn't opaque enough.

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