A Tour of the Zorin Lite LXDE Desktop
Zorin Lite OS Lite is based on the standard Ubuntu binaries and features an LXDE based GUI/desktop aimed at older or lower-specification hardware. It provides a traditional desktop layout, with icons and menus along a panel at the bottom of the screen.
Zorin Lite is based on the standard Ubuntu binaries and features an LXDE based GUI/desktop aimed at older or lower-specification hardware
The response speed is very good even when running Zorin Lite direct from a USB Stick; the boot speed is much improved over the full version too!
Note: the screenshots in this chapter were taken from the Zorin Lite OS 6 release
The applications that come pre-installed with Zorin Lite naturally reflect the low-power ethos of the distro. Here is a taster of some of the applications that Zorin Lite OS 6 is currently shipping with:
..The applications that come pre-installed with Zorin Lite naturally reflect the low-power ethos of the distro
|Word Processor ||AbiWord|
|Email Client||Postler Mail|
|Media Players||Audacious,Gnome MPlayer|
|Web Support||Flash and PDF support|
|Windows Emulation||Wine [installable]|
In addition, it comes with all the system tools you would expect - as well as the ability to customize the look and feel should you so desire. Unlike it's big sibling, Zorin Lite is not that well-endowed with applications in the default install: as the aim is a low-footprint, it is left to the user to install any desired software.
Note that even if an application is not in the default installation, it can be easily downloaded using a rather spartan version of the Software Center within minutes.
In summary, Zorin Lite is an odd beast. Unlike the Gnome version, which is squarely aimed at Windows users wanting to make the jump to Linux with the minimum of fuss or configuration, Zorin Lite seems to be missing most of this functionality out of the box. Much of it can be installed by the user - but then, this is true of most Linux distros. As a result, it may appeal only to users who run the full version of Zorin on their main desktops and want a similar look/feel on their lower-powered hardware.
As a result, it is very difficult for Zorin Lite to stand out of the pack. Consequently, we would be inclined to go with the standard Lubuntu or Fedora LXDE Spin on low-powered hardware, due to the larger user base and support available.
Zorin Lite includes a cut-down version of the the Zorin Look Changer which allows it emulate the look and feel of the desktop of two alternatives. This can be accessed from the Main Menu under the "System Tools" heading.
This will display the dialogue box for the Zorin Look Changer, which allows you to switch between two desktop themes which to give you a (somewhat) similar look to one of the following desktops:
- Windows 2000 [default]
- Mac OS X
When you change theme, unlike the Gnome of Zorin which takes effect immediately, you will be prompted to reboot your machine to enable the new theme:
The degree to which these themes are successful is debatable, but it does somewhat lessen the learning curve for those coming to Linux from a purely Windows or Mac background. In this chapter, we will be looking at the default (Windows 2000 style) desktop theme.
Zorin Lite, like the Lubuntu offering, uses the LXDE desktop and both desktops look very similar. When you boot Zorin Lite, the desktop will display as shown below:
As can be seen, the default desktop is a fairly spartan one, with all functions accessible from the bottom panel at the foot of the screen. The desktop background can be customized as desired, using the "Change Desktop Background" option in the context menu.
Open windows and applications display in the main desktop area.
Zorin Lite allows files and shortcuts to be saved to the desktop, by simply click-dragging the desired file to the desktop from the file manager (PCManFM) window then releasing the mouse button. An icon will then appear on the desktop, which can be dragged around or renamed / deleted as desired.
By default, there is only one icon on the desktop when running in Live CD mode: if you click this, the Zorin Lite installer will start:
Just follow the prompts to install Zorin Lite to your hard drive.
The bulk of your desktop interaction with Zorin Lite will be through the panel at the bottom of the desktop:
This can be divided into four main parts:
The Main Menu allows users to access to all the Zorin Lite functions. This can be likened to the "Start" menu in Windows. Simply click on the icon in the bottom left hand corner:
The Main Menu will display:
From here you can access functions such as:
|Accessories||Various small tools for making the most of your system|
|Graphics||Lists programs for dealing with images|
|Internet||List programs for accessing the internet and the network|
|Office||List any applications commonly used for business purposes, such as word processing and spreadsheets|
|Sound & Video||List any applications for audio / video viewing|
|System Tools||Click this icon to access various Linux system tools|
|Preferences||Utilities and settings for customizing the desktop|
|Run||Run a file or script without dropping to the command line|
|Logout||Display the Shutdown menu|
Note: most options will themselves have sub-menus themselves
Clicking on the browser icon in the Bottom Panel will bring up a new internet window - which is (by default) Google Chrome:
Clicking on the browser icon in the Bottom Panel will bring up a new media browser window - which is (by default) Audacious:
Zorin Lite uses the PCManFM File Manager, which works very much like most other file managers, allowing you to drill down into directories, access and manipluates files, etc.
The File Manager can be accessed directly from the icon in the Bottom Panel - or via the "Accessories" option on the Main Menu. Both will open up a File Manager window similar to that below:
Left-click any item to select it -or double-click a directory to navigate down into it. Double-click a file to either open it or run it (-depending on whether it is executable or not). Right click a file to access the context menu - which allows you to rename, delete, copy the file, etc.
If you right-click on any blank area of the desktop, the Context Menu will display:
This allows you access to some basic options, such as to create a new file, order any icons on the desktop or set the backgroud wallpaper.
When you have finished with Zorin Lite, select the "Power" icon in the Bottom Panel. A pop-up menu will display from which you can select a number of options:
- Shutdown : power-down the PC
- Reboot : power-down the PC, then power it immediately back on
- Suspend : put the PC into a temporary power-save mode
- Hibernate : write current state of PC/memory to disc before powering down
- Switch User : lock the current account and logon as a different user
- Logout : log out of the current session (note - a confirm message is displayed before the logout occurs)
- Cancel : quit this menu and return to the desktop
Simply choose the desired option in order to carry it out or click "Cancel" to quit the menu.