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Zinc is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that goes beyond the idea of just mixing in an alternative desktop environment. Zinc’s developers have gone under the hood, tinkered, tweaked and fiddled with some of the core Ubuntu features and created an experience that challenges users to rethink exactly what Ubuntu can be.
While users love Ubuntu for its stability, many find the user experience a bit disappointing. If this sounds like you, Zinc might just be the distro to bring you back.
What makes Zinc Linux so special?
Zinc is based on the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. XFCE serves as the distribution’s default desktop environment. Now you might be thinking, “If I want Ubuntu with XFCE, I can just download the official Xubuntu remix.” And if that’s all you want, you’re right. The thing is, though, Zinc is much more than just a standard copy of Ubuntu running XFCE.
The creators of Zinc have added several outstanding improvements such as:
- Multipurpose file management apps
- Integrated Linux AppImage support
- Nala Manager for custom software packages
- deb-get package installer
- BTRFS default file system
- Isolated and compressed home partition
Of course, the XFCE desktop itself is also customized to offer intuitive features without getting in the way of your work. The application launcher is located on the left edge of the top bar. The clock is in the center, and you can access several system utilities and user functions on the right.
On the left side of the desktop is another thin panel that contains quick launch icons and doubles as a taskbar.
Two file managers, twice the performance
It may seem excessive at first, but Zinc comes with two file managers installed. First, you have the default Thunar file manager, which is the default for XFCE. The Nemo file manager, originally designed for the Cinnamon desktop environment, is also available.
Thunar works like you would expect from any file manager. However, Nemo comes pre-configured with a unique two-part user interface. This configuration allows you to open one folder on the left and another on the right. You can then move files around with simple drag-and-drop gestures.
This might not sound like a big deal, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you realize that once you’ve used it, you can’t live without it.
Zinc fully integrates Linux AppImages
One of the most interesting features of Zinc is the full integration of Linux AppImages. Zinc prefers the distro-neutral AppImage format to the highly competitive Snap and Flatpak formats. However, you can manually enable support for both of these application formats.
When you run an AppImage for the first time, Zinc opens a dialog asking if you want to run the app once or fully integrate with the system. If you choose run oncethe app will run normally and exit without making any changes to your system.
if you choose Integrate and runthe system moves the application file to a hidden directory in your home directory named .appimage and automatically create an App Launcher shortcut.
From this point on, you can launch the application directly from the app launcher, just like any other natively installed app. Each time you run a new AppImage, the process is repeated and the system collects and organizes all your AppImages in the special directory.
State-of-the-art software management and updates
In addition to the standard Ubuntu Software Center and the well-known APT package manager, Zinc has its own Nala command-line software management app, as well as the specialized one deb get Installation and update system.
Zinc’s Nala package manager works only from the command line and is more or less an enhanced version of the APT package manager. You can view the rather short list of available commands by typing them nala—help at a terminal prompt.
Although originally designed to provide all the functionality of APT, Nala also adds some features mimicking Fedora’s DNF, one of which is parallel downloads to increase install/update speed.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the command line. You can also click a special update icon on the right side of the top panel, which will automatically open a terminal and prompt Nala to run a full system update.
Deb-Get-System is a specialized package manager designed to eliminate the sometimes confusing process of adding third-party software repositories – often referred to as PPAs – required to install some software, such as web browsers or multimedia editors are.
With deb-get you can install most popular software simply by opening a terminal and issuing an install command. deb-get will then automatically update your system’s PPAs, download the package, and install the software.
Best of all, once you’ve installed something, deb-get will include it in your system’s regular update process.
To see a list of software available via deb-get, simply open a terminal and type:
If you see something you want to install, type:
deb-get install <package name>
Don’t get overwhelmed by all the options here. You only have to use the different software managers if you want. If you want to keep it simple, you can install everything you need from the Software Center and just let the system update when it tells you an update is available. Your system will be fine without any further intervention.
Here’s how to download and install Zinc Linux
Zinc is available as an ISO image and is free to download. A copy of the latest version can be found on the Zinc official website.
Downloads: Zinc Linux
The developer tracks new releases through blog posts. So if you don’t see the download link, click to open the full view of the latest blog post and you should see a download link below.
After downloading the ISO, you need to create a bootable USB or bootable DVD from the image. Booting from the image takes you into a live Zinc session where you can preview and explore the system. From there, all you have to do is click on the installer icon on the desktop to start the installation process.
As you would expect from an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, Zinc will only ask a few quick questions, and then the installer will do everything for you.
Zinc can replace your current daily driver
With all of its built-in compatibility features, you should have no trouble installing your favorite software on your new Zinc system.
Between native software, third-party packages, and AppImages, there’s not much you can’t do with Zinc Linux.
This article was previously published on Source link