MX Linux vs Zorin OS: Similarities & Differences!

Credits:

MX Linux

Zorin OS

In this article let us have a look at 2 very popular distros MX Linux and Zorin OS and see where each distro shines so that you can pick one that best suit your needs!

For those of you in a hurry, here is the short version of the answer.

The Short Version Of The Answer

What are the differences between MX Linux and Zorin OS? The main difference between MX Linux and Zorin OS is MX Linux is meant for beginners who are looking for the best portable USB distro while Zorin OS is meant for users who need the best WINE support for using windows apps

The table below highlights the important differences between the 2 distros

MX Linux Zorin OS
Organization Name & Type Community of MX: former MEPIS users in collaboration with antiX Community (M for MEPIS and X for antiX!)

Organization Type: Online community

Zorin OS is a distro focused on regular users (as opposed to engineers) built with the aim of providing a beginner-friendly opensource distro.

Organization Type: Community

Expertise Level Needed Beginner to Intermediate Beginner
Based On Debian Ubuntu
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: USB persistent portable distro

Other use cases: Use in a workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Good first distro for switching from Windows or Mac

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Since this distro is based on Debian there is a large collection of software in the official repo.

7.5/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 3.5/5

Hardware Support 9/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 5/5

8.5/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 4.5/5

Hardware Resource Needs Middleweight middleweight
Support 6.5/10

Paid support: not available

Community: 3.5/5

good
online community

Documentation: 3/5

okay documentation,
not great

5/10

Paid support: not available

Community:
3/5

Documentation: 2/5

Ease of use 8/10: Easy to use 8/10 Easy
Stability 8/10 Very stable 8/10: stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence Zorin OS is stable

Release Cycles Fixed Release Schedule: Once a year Fixed Release

Release schedule: There is no strict schedule, the features and bug fixes are rolled out once they are ready.

The graph below summarizes the table and compares the 2 distros and shows us how they compare with each other on various factors (Higher the points the better that particular feature is in a given distro)

That is just the short version of the answer, let’s go ahead and look at the longer and more informative version and learn more about the similarities and differences between the 2 distros.

The Linux Distributions World

The word Distro is short for “Distribution”. Since the Linux source code is open for everyone to see, large communities started evolving to bring together Operating Systems suited towards specific needs/goals.

These “specific needs/goals” include, but not limited to the following.

* producing documents

* writing programs and creating software

* editing pictures, videos, audio, and multimedia-production related works

* store sensitive information by securing the operating system so that no one can hack into it or just browse the internet and consume media.

Say a community of people just wanted to browse the internet with their computers, then there is no point giving them the software to write programs in. Thus since every community’s needs and goals were different these communities started distributing built images of this operating system with all the essential tools installed. These prebuilt images are called distros!

If you wish to know more about the reason behind the presence of so many choices in the Linux World, I suggest reading the article given below.

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

The Main Factors of Comparison

The factors mentioned above are just a small list of 100s of factors that differentiate distros. If you are either switching from some other OS to Linux or you are in the process of choosing your next Linux distro and you are confused which one to choose, you need to have a look at these top 5 decision-making factors

* Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

* Factor#2: Support for your favorite software

* Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

* Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

* Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

I have written a separate article explaining these factors which you can find in the link below

Top 5 Factors To Choose Between Linux Distros!

Let’s have a look at each of these important factors and see how MX Linux and Zorin OS compare against each other.

Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

By use-case, I mean the type of work you are going to be doing on your computer. The Linux distro world originated because of the difference in use cases.

MX Linux’s goal is wildly different from that of Zorin OS’s.

Let’s have a brief comparison between MX Linux and Zorin OS in terms of goals, target users, and best use cases to employ these distros.

MX Linux Zorin OS
Goal To be an easy to install Debian derivative with USB persistence To provide a beginner-friendly opensource distro.
Target users Linux Beginners who wish to go as pure Debian as possible, but need an easy to install and already tweaked system. Windows users who want to try out Linux and Linux users who want a distro for gaming.
Best Use-Cases to Employ the Distro Best Use-case: USB persistence lets you carry around all your OS and apps and files in a USB to help you take it anywhere you need it to!

Other Use-cases: As a workstation as MX Linux is based on Debian Stable branch!

Best Use-case: Good first distro for switching from Windows or Mac

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

Factor#2: Support for your favorite software

If your main work involves some specific software or the latest versions of a given software then that becomes a decision-making factor for choosing a Linux Distribution. So before fixing on a given distro, be sure to google if that distro has official support for your main software needs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Out of the Box support: The software that the distro ships with.

* Repository Support: The curated software that is available on the official repos

* Type of release cycle: This decides the trade-off between up-to-date software and stable tested software.

* Availability of Graphical Software managers

* Package manager used: This can decide the ease of which you can install and uninstall software

Let’s see how MX Linux and Zorin OS fair up against each other in the category of Software support

MX Linux Zorin OS
Out of the Box Software 4/5

The regular version comes with all the basic tools needed.

4/5: The core edition comes with all the necessary software to start using the operating system straight away after installation and the ultimate edition (paid version) comes with a lot of apps preinstalled.
Repository Support 4/5

Solid repository support as this distro is based on Debian

3.5/5: The official repository is growing, and since this OS is based on Ubuntu, you can use the synaptic package manager to install system packages
Type of release cycle Fixed release cycle: once a year Fixed Release

Release schedule: There is no strict schedule, the features and bug fixes are rolled out once they are ready.

GUI Software Management Tools MX Package installer GUI tool available for easy installation of software packages Available

Software center and Synaptic package manager

Package manager used APT Supports apt, snappy and flatpak

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, both Zorin OS and MX Linux got the same points in terms of Out of the box software support. MX Linux is better than Zorin OS in terms of Repository support.

Hence, MX Linux wins the round of Software support!

Refer to the article below if you wish to learn more about package managers.

A Beginners Introduction To Linux Package managers: apt, yum, dpkg & rpm

Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

Not all Linux distros support proprietary drivers officially. Depending on your computer’s hardware, you may or may not have open-source driver support from the manufacturers. This is especially true for hardware such as graphics cards and network cards. Hence it is a good idea to take “driver support” into consideration while choosing your next distro.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Distro’s Policy of use of opensource vs proprietary 3rd party software

* Official driver support by Major Companies

* 3rd party driver support from official repos

* Support for older hardware

Let’s see how

MX Linux Zorin OS
Distro’s Policy User-oriented distro so includes some proprietary software out of the box Proprietary drivers officially supported
Official driver support by Major Companies 4/5: Since this distro is based on Debian, all the official support is also inherited! 4/5, since based on Ubuntu LTS, the drivers provided by major companies like NVidia are made available for Zorin users.
3rd party driver support Available 3rd party repos available
Support for older hardware 5/5

Supports both 32 and 64-bit processors and has good driver support for older hardware like network cards and graphics cards.

Also supports automatic hardware detection!

4.5/5: still supports old 32-bit systems

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, both Zorin OS and MX Linux got the same points when it comes to official driver support. MX Linux is better than Zorin OS in terms of support for Older Hardware.

Hence, MX Linux wins the round of Hardware support!

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at some of the top distros in terms of hardware support.

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: A Comparison!!

Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

Depending on your level of expertise in Linux, the choice of the distro you need will vary. This is because of the following factors

* Ease of use: beginner, intermediate, expert

* Paid customer support: available, not available

* Online community support: great, good, okay, not good, no support

* Available Documentation: Great documentation, Good documentation, Okay documentation, no documentation

Let’s see the level of support available for MX Linux and Zorin OS and see how they compare against each other

MX Linux Zorin OS
Ease of Use Beginner beginner
Paid Customer Support Not available, hence might not be the best choice for organizations The buyers of the Ultimate edition can enjoy faster responses for support queries and they sell laptops preloaded with Zorin OS, but there is no paid support.
Online Community Support 3.5/5: Good 3/5 good: small yet responsive community
Documentation 3/5

Okay documentation

2/5 Okay documentation, focused on beginners’ tutorials

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, MX Linux is better than Zorin OS in terms of online community support. MX Linux is better than Zorin OS in terms of Documentation.

Hence, MX Linux wins the round of User support!

Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

This is an important factor if you are planning to employ Linux on a computer with limited hardware resources. This may be an old machine or a new one with less than stellar specs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Category: Lightweight or Middleweight or Heavyweight

* RAM Requirements to have a snappy system &

* Minimum processor requirements

Let’s see how MX Linux and Zorin OS fair up against each other in terms of Hardware resource needs

MX Linux Zorin OS
Category Middleweight
Middleweight
Minimum RAM requirements 1GB (Minimum) 512MB for the Lite edition
Minimum Processor Requirements A modern i686 Intel or AMD processor (Minimum) 700MHz single-core 32-bit for the Lite edition

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at a step by step guide for choosing a Linux distro for your computer’s specifications.

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

The Results!

Let us know go ahead and see the results of our comparison! Have a look at the Bar chart below.

As you can see MX Linux wins in Software support, Hardware support, Hardware Resource needs, User support, and Stability.

There is a tie between the 2 distros in Ease of use.

I suggest you pick the distro that best suits you based on this graph. For example, if hardware support is more important to you, then pick the distro that has better support for your hardware!

Summary

To summarise the article here is the comparison table from the beginning of the blog again.

MX Linux Zorin OS
Organization Name & Type Community of MX: former MEPIS users in collaboration with antiX Community (M for MEPIS and X for antiX!)

Organization Type: Online community

Zorin OS is a distro focused on regular users (as opposed to engineers) built with the aim of providing a beginner-friendly opensource distro.

Organization Type: Community

Expertise Level Needed Beginner to Intermediate Beginner
Based On Debian Ubuntu
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: USB persistent portable distro

Other use cases: Use in a workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Good first distro for switching from Windows or Mac

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Since this distro is based on Debian there is a large collection of software in the official repo.

7.5/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 3.5/5

Hardware Support 9/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 5/5

8.5/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 4.5/5

Hardware Resource Needs Middleweight middleweight
Support 6.5/10

Paid support: not available

Community: 3.5/5

good
online community

Documentation: 3/5

okay documentation,
not great

5/10

Paid support: not available

Community:
3/5

Documentation: 2/5

Ease of use 8/10: Easy to use 8/10 Easy
Stability 8/10 Very stable 8/10: stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence Zorin OS is stable

Release Cycles Fixed Release Schedule: Once a year Fixed Release

Release schedule: There is no strict schedule, the features and bug fixes are rolled out once they are ready.

Hope you have got enough data to choose between these 2 amazing distros!

And with that, I will conclude this article!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

If you liked the post, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!

Related Articles

Here are some of my other articles that might interest you!

What Is The Best Linux Distro? Analysis & Comparison..!!

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux..!

Best Linux Distro For Workstation: Analysis and Comparison!!

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

Distro-Hopping, What, Why & How Explained!

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

EI

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