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Zorin Linux 6.0 is a very capable replacement operating system for Microsoft Windows. It is also a bother-free alternative to other Linux distros that suffer from the usability issues of the Gnome 3 or Ubuntu Unity desktop interfaces. The Zorin Linux distro is an offshoot of Canonical's Ubuntu Linux but it has much more of the look and feel of Linux Mint with a few very substantial differences. These make Zorin an ideal choice for Windows users and others who dislike having to learn a new approach to computing.
"A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms:
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms. Thus, you should be free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so."
Zorin is free software and lists clearly it falls under GPL on its front page.
The extended distributions do not unlock "secret features"; they pretty much are either tested, effective program bundles that people find popular-- or paid support tickets, which is what *every* Linux distro has.
Therefore, have no fear. No one compromises their principles.
"But offering users a few basic fully functional distro versions while charging for a premium release with more extensive features of a particular distro seems to violate the intent of FOSS (Free Open Source Software) principles."
Zorin Core is a full OS. As a matter of fact, I ended up removing software. I have also tried PC Linux Zen Mini. That is a basic OS. You have to download and install all but the GUI, web browser and package manager. A concept that appeals to me. Regardless, all the software is in the repositories and open source means it is free, as in free beer, unless you want to donate, which is an excellent idea.
Yes, like all Linux you can customize Zorin to your tastes. I use mine as a music box, and added many audio programs to edit and play music.
I think the main point of the premium versions is you do not have to download and burn the CD/DVD. I do agree that the download and burning are the biggest problem, and would love to see a torrent.
That said, many Windows users do not know how to extract the ISO while burning and buying the premium version solves all these problems.
The free download is so very slow from the one mirror in the US (>6hr at least)