Zorin OS vs KDE Neon: Similarities & Differences!

Credits:

Zorin OS

KDE Neon

In this article let us have a look at 2 very popular distros Zorin OS and KDE Neon 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 Zorin OS and KDE Neon? The main difference between Zorin OS and KDE Neon is Zorin OS is meant for users who need best WINE support for using windows apps while KDE Neon is meant for users who love the KDE desktop environment and the stability of Ubuntu

The table below highlights the important differences between the 2 distros

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Organization Name 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

KDE aims to provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base

Organization Type: Community

Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Ubuntu Ubuntu LTS
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

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

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps.

Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation

Software Support 7.5/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 3.5/5

8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Hardware Support 8.5/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 4.5/5

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight middleweight
Support 5/10

Paid support: not available

Community:
3/5

Documentation: 2/5

8/10

Paid support: available through consultants

Community: 4/5

Documentation: 4/5

Ease of use 8/10 Easy 8/10: Easy

KDE neon is easy to use out of the box with plenty of customization options available

Stability 8/10: stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence Zorin OS is stable

7/10: Stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence has a very stable base, uncaught bugs can come through the latest KDE latest features though

Release Cycles Fixed Release

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

Fixed Release

Every 2 years, with KDE updates being added all the time.

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 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 favourite 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 Zorin OS and KDE Neon 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. Linux distro world originated because of the difference in use cases.

Zorin OS’s goal is wildly different from that of KDE Neon’s.

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

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Goal To provide a beginner-friendly opensource distro. To provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base
Target users Windows users who want to try out Linux and Linux users who want a distro for gaming. Desktop users who need the latest KDE features as soon as they are out
Best Use-Cases to Employ the Distro Best Use-case: Good first distro for switching from Windows or Mac

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps. Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation

Factor#2: Support for your favourite software

If your main work involves some specific software or 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 Zorin OS and KDE Neon fair up against each other in the category of Software support

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Out of the Box Software 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. 4/5: Has all the essential apps along with KDE specific apps
Repository Support 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
4/5: Since this is based on Ubuntu, you get access to all the software in Ubuntu’s repo!
Type of release cycle Fixed Release

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

Fixed

Based on Ubuntu LTS schedule so every 2 years

GUI Software Management Tools Available

Software centre and Synaptic package manager

Software Center and Synaptic package manager available
Package manager used Supports apt, snappy and flatpak Apt and Snappy are used

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

Hence, KDE Neon 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

The table below shows how these 2 distros compare in terms of Hardware support.

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Distro’s Policy Proprietary drivers officially supported Proprietary drivers officially supported
Official driver support by Major Companies 4/5, since based on Ubuntu LTS, the drivers provided by major companies like NVidia are made available for Zorin users. 4/5: Being based on Ubuntu LTS, KDE Neon get all the love that ubuntu gets from hardware manufacturers!
3rd party driver support 3rd party repos available 3rd party repos available
Support for older hardware 4.5/5: still supports old 32-bit systems 3/5: Ubuntu has dropped support for 32bit processors, hence KDE neon will not work on older machines


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

Hence, Zorin OS 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 Zorin OS and KDE Neon and see how they compare against each other

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Ease of Use beginner beginner
Paid Customer Support The buyers of Ultimate edition can enjoy faster responses for support queries and they sell laptops preloaded with Zorin OS, but there is no paid support. There is no official support, but the KDE website provides a list of consultants if you wish to hire some specialists.
Online Community Support 3/5 good: small yet responsive community 4/5: great, Ubuntu’s community should back you up if you have issues with the Ubuntu base, also KDE has a good vibrant online community if you face any issues with KDE apps
Documentation 2/5 Okay documentation, focused on beginners’ tutorials 4/5 Ubuntu and KDE projects have very good documentation

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

Hence, KDE Neon 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 Zorin OS and KDE Neon fair up against each other in terms of Hardware resource needs

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Category Middleweight Middleweight
Minimum RAM requirements (Minimum) 512MB for the Lite edition 4GB
Minimum Processor Requirements (Minimum) 700MHz single-core 32-bit for the Lite edition 2GHz dual-core processor

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 Zorin OS wins in Hardware support, Hardware Resource needs, and Stability.

KDE Neon wins in Software support, and User support.

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.

Zorin OS KDE Neon
Organization Name 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

KDE aims to provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base

Organization Type: Community

Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Ubuntu Ubuntu LTS
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

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

Other use cases: Gaming, Content consumption, workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps.

Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation

Software Support 7.5/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 3.5/5

8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Hardware Support 8.5/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 4.5/5

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight middleweight
Support 5/10

Paid support: not available

Community:
3/5

Documentation: 2/5

8/10

Paid support: available through consultants

Community: 4/5

Documentation: 4/5

Ease of use 8/10 Easy 8/10: Easy

KDE neon is easy to use out of the box with plenty of customization options available

Stability 8/10: stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence Zorin OS is stable

7/10: Stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence has a very stable base, uncaught bugs can come through the latest KDE latest features though

Release Cycles Fixed Release

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

Fixed Release

Every 2 years, with KDE updates being added all the time.

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!

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