Need to find replacement distro for ZorinOS

So, ZorinOS has been doing well as a Lab computer OS for the local college students since the interface is stupid simple like Windows and it has the necessary software for them to get their work done.
Then, I tried to upgrade to the latest version since Intel released their latest driver stack and they cant upgrade to it (integrated Pentium graphics) because their OS version is 15.04 and 15.10. The machines are Dell AIO computers bought last year.

Turns out that Zorin OS does not support in-place upgrades. I have to backup the computer, and wipe and reinstall and restore backed up data to "upgrade".

Therefore, I am looking for good replacement suggestions. I am not considering LinuxMint as much as I would like to because they are so far behind on kernels its not funny.

the current user setup is:
1. the Manager User
2. the Gues-prefs user
3. the Guest user.

The system is setup to automatically boot into the Guest account. I only use the Manager account for updates and such.

The interface needs to be simple enough for "dumb" college students to use. I like the KISS method (Keep it Simple Stupid). I am willing to customize the interface to be closer to a Windows style interface if need be.

Gnome 3 is my default desktop interface and what I am most familiar with customizing.
Cinnamon might work.
Mate might work.
XFCE might as well.
I am really curious about ubuntu 16.04 since I hear the interface uses Gnome 3 stuff.


Its stable, up to date, runs gnome by default.

College student and "dumb" makes me lose faith in humanity, id love to say stop hand holding them it wont help in the real world, but, just turn on application menu in gnome tweak tool for windows like menu.

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I myself use Chapeau 23 aka Fedora 23 with nice tweaks and codecs preinstalled (including Steam)

Ideally, the application menu would be at the bottom so it is more Windows like. And there would be icons on the desktop.

Yeah its pretty much F23 + rpmfusion + virtualbox + stuff

If it uses fedora upstream repos directly i can see the benefit especially for inirial setup.

gnome-tweak-tool > Desktop > icons on desktop

Tell them to get over it... surely some of them have used apple computers?

Its kinda obvious on how to use.,. But if you absolutely have to, you can use this

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When I get a chance I can give you the setup on how I have my GNOME desktop as, It's helped my workflow a bit. It's not Windows like in any fashion but maybe a consideration.

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good points.

I want the latest intel drivers for both my laptop and such. I dont think I have ever seen intel drivers get installed in Fedora. --edit: just saw the Fedora 23 installer.

i might try installing Cinnamon ontop of Fedora 23 to see how that works.

Hmmm.......... intel Driver installer says Chapeau 23 is not a supported distro. I know in Ubuntu I can tweak the lsb-release file to show the right stock ubuntu version but how do I do that in Fedora? I didnt find an lsb-release file.

Intel drivers are including in every single distro in existance...

[[email protected] a]# dnf info xorg-x11-drv-intel
Last metadata expiration check: 1:18:01 ago on Sat Mar 19 11:06:59 2016.
Installed Packages
Name        : xorg-x11-drv-intel
Arch        : x86_64
Epoch       : 0
Version     : 2.99.917
Release     : 19.20151206.fc23
Size        : 1.9 M
Repo        : @System
From repo   : updates-testing
Summary     : Xorg X11 Intel video driver
URL         :
License     : MIT
Description : X.Org X11 Intel video driver.

Available Packages
Name        : xorg-x11-drv-intel
Arch        : i686
Epoch       : 0
Version     : 2.99.917
Release     : 19.20151206.fc23
Size        : 697 k
Repo        : updates
Summary     : Xorg X11 Intel video driver
URL         :
License     : MIT
Description : X.Org X11 Intel video driver.

fyi the intel 3rd party driver installer is just the xf86-video-intel (above) and associated pages all already available on most repos, just rolling rather than distro release.

in your distro change /etc/os-release to look like Fedora. That might work.

Fedora has all of their spins, so you don't have to install the GNOME version THAN cinnamon on top of it, here are their spins including Cinnamon:

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Here's how I have GNOME setup.

I use 'Dash to Dock' (this is customizable. much more feature rich) than the "Simple Dock" extension. which just drops the dock to the bottom of the screen similar to how it is on OS X. you can make the dock big, small. move it where every you want on the desktop. left, right, up or down.

Another note worthy extension is the "Drop Down Terminal" which is self explanatory.. you press tilde and you have quick access to the terminal to execute anything needed to be done.

And Finally you have the "Task Bar Extension" which let's you customize what goes on the taskbar. I personally have mine setup to show all open programs on the desktop on the specific virtual desktop I'm on. which is good if you're dealing with Windows users who are just most likely throwing everything on other virtual desktops cause they don't know any better. if you switch to another desktop, it will show you all apps active on that desktop and so on. (you can even add all your favorite apps, and more on it though how I have mine setup works perfectly well).

Another Note Worthy Extension is the "Applications Menu" extension to organize your apps by categories. Which is also self explanatory.

This is how I have my Arch build set up for reference

Also i forgot to mention the dock will display which app is open regardless of which desktop you're on which is an added bonus to the task bar which displays apps open on a specific virtual desktop.


"So far behind"? Really? I'm actually running Linux Mint 17.3 on Kernel 4.2 (backport kernel from "Wily Werewolf" ... available through "Update Manager" -> "Kernel" or via synaptic or via a simple apt-get install).

You know, Ubuntu usually offers backported kernels from newer release versions for the LTS based release (also includes Linux Mint as it is based upon the same base system) - of course the Update-Manager of Linux Mint will NOT display these kernels as "recommended" because they default to the kernel releases Ubuntu considers the default (3.13 for Ubuntu 14.04.0-->14.04.2(?) / 3.19 for Ubuntu 14.04.3-->14.04.4).

If the backport kernel, which usually hits the repo a couple of weeks after a new Ubuntu "in-between" release came out, isn't bleeding-edge enough for you ... well ... you can always compile your own (there are guides on how to compile a kernel the "Ubuntu" way) or, if you can make due with a deblobbed kernel (free of all teh ebil proprietary firmware blobs), you can also use the "Linux Libre" kernel - which is offered in somewhat current releases.

Simply saying "so far behind it's not even funny" is not only not true, you clearly didn't do your homework.

This is the issue for me, that's insane. Kernel updates should be included, there not. You have to actively update them, most mint users dont know this.

Also 4.2? I only see 3.19.0-32

This is how mine looks, but yeah, you have to update it manually. 3.19.0-32 is the "recommended".

Im currently running Chapeau 23 aka Fedora 23 with customizations like Copr repos.
The current Kernel version is:

3.19 which is stock and is what is running on my media server running ubuntu 15.10 server (headless so have fun updating the kernel automagically) is several versions behind. If you go by's standards of which the version 4.3.6 is labeled as EOL, 15.10 is in the stone ages and Linux Mint is in the Primordial Era since Linux Mint 17 AFAIK is still based on 14.04. lists the latest Stable kernel is 4.5 with 4.4.6 right behind it.
therefore, I wouldnt call 4.4.5-300 "bleeding edge" since lists 4.5 as "stable".

You realize how much crap you have to do to Linux Mint to install the latest versions of some software these days? when I ran Mint 17.2 I broke it trying to use software that was written for 15.10 such as GPU drivers. Kinda blows when Intel releases a new driver stack and cuts Mint 17 out of the loop cause it is still based on 14.04.x because they(mint) have their heads up their asses about 15.04.

Its interesting because 3.19 isn't actually supported. 3.18 is. Canonical provides extended support for 3.19 themselves, I imagine only because they chose 3.19 for release and have to keep it due to their support method.

Though, the more important issue for me is they want mint handles kernel updates, in that well, it doesnt. Without manual intervention the kernel will never be patched. Considering the target audience this seems like a bad choice.

On your issue @LinuxMaster9 I dont have a good solution, ive no doubt the installer could be altered to accept Chapeau but i dont know how.

What I do know is that you can easily replicate Chapeau from Fedora its self, which might be a consideration.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to contradict your point or recommend Mint for your use case. I was merely informing @Eden of the available kernels.

Look at netrunner. You have a debian and arch branch. It also uses wayland in arch so you'll be ahead of the curb in some circumstances

@Zumps already beat me to the screenshot... ;) Anyhow, you can see Wily's backport kernel's right there - and there's even a 4.4.0 backport from Xenial (upcoming 16.04 LTS).

To respond to your issue with Mint: Taking the audience at which Linux Mint is aimed at in mind, I do not blame them for going down the "conservative" route. It's the best option to ensure you have a stable and working system. They only update base components as Ubuntu themselves upgrades them (XX.YY.[1-5] maintenance releases - which may include new "hardware enablement stacks" hence most likely also a newer kernel version (still not the latest one, but at least a newer one supporting most of the hardware around at the time of release).

If you happen to be a power-user - or you know your way around and love to experiment - no one's stopping you from installing one of the backport kernels (for as long as you keep the previous kernel installed it is ridiculously easy to revert-back and uninstall the backport kernel if you really run into a issue). Same's true for a vanilla Ubuntu install.

I ran with the backport kernels on Mint 13 and I run with them on Mint 17.x. Never had a problem, though your mileage may vary (too system configuration specific). The only real problem I ever had was after the Mint 17.1 --> 17.3 upgrade (I chose to ignore 17.2 because it brought nothing new to the table) ... the UI locked up randomly because the proprietary Nvidia driver didn't really like the newer server - got sorted out within a week or two once a newer Nvidia driver release landed in the "Drivers PPA" (the one from Ubuntu/Canonical themselves) - I was too lazy to uninstall the pre-packaged one and go down the "manual driver installation using the one from Nvidia's website".

I consider myself a power-user ("Linux n00b since 1995") --- so I happen to know about the "View" --> "Linux Kernels" menu in Update-Manager (on Linux Mint), I also know about "Synaptic", I know about "aptitude" and "apt-get" and I even know how to roll my own kernel just in case I feel like wanting to trigger Armageddon. Apart from that, Clem and other Linux Mint developers repeatedly pointed out the existence of said menu entry in the Update-Manager in case you were in need of a later kernel version because some hardware (Laptops ... WiFi ... just to name one example) wasn't supported through the default one.

From my point of view, Linux Mint is doing it right. They stick to the "conventional" route for the majority of users but leave power-users enough freedom to mess about with the system as they see fit. Simple as that. If you prefer a more bleeding-edge distro like Fedora or Arch ... by all means, go for it. Speaking for myself ... I've got better things to do than to re-install my system every 6-9 months (note: since I usually "slap" my installation "into shape", the way I like/prefer it, a simple "upgrade" to a newer distro release isn't really a option, so I have to go "from scratch" anyway).

Debian 8.2 with XFCE (or your favorite).

Literally stupid easy GUI, and stupid easy installation. And rock solid. I run it on my desktop. I'm currently searching for a new OS for my laptop.

That said, the lab computers and my university run Xubuntu 14.04.

I would recommend Linux Mint Cinnamon because of its recent increase in stability and performance. It has a Windows friendly interface and is based off of Ubuntu so you'll get the application installer and apt-get.

went with Fedora 23 Workstation. We are making use of the Cockpit remote management feature.