Manjaro is suitable for new users as well as experienced. The fact that Manjaro is based on Arch, being a rolling distro that is quite stable, ships with awesome tools and packs a good selection of software out of the box makes Manjaro a fantastic distro. Let us take a look at this excellent Linux distro.
Choose your favorite Desktop Environment for Manjaro
The flagship desktop is the XFCE Edition alongside KDE & GNOME flavors. There are also community editions or spins available. They include Budgie, Cinnamon, Deepin, i3, LXDE, LXQT, and MATE. It is available in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions (Gellivara will be the last edition of Manjaro Linux supporting 32-bit architecture.).
You can also go for a Manjaro-Architect ISO which allows you to install any of Manjaro’s official or Community maintained editions or alternatively configure freely, your the custom-built system. The Manjaro-Architect will download all packages during the installation process.
Calamares makes installation a breeze
After download, you can go ahead and write the ISO image to a disc or a USB. The MANJARO.ISO allows you to try the distro without changing your computer at all, with an option to install it permanently later. The ‘Calamares’ installer is well setup allowing beginners to easily set up the distro and giving advanced users all the power to customize all aspects of the installation.
The boot menu is a bit confusing and surely there is room for improvement. After booting into the live medium, you can go ahead and click on Launch Installer in the welcome window. You set up your language, location keyboard and setup your user account details. The process is pretty simple and straightforward.
Polished Desktop Experience
At first boot up which is pretty fast, you will be presented with the Welcome screen. The welcome screen introduces Manjaro tools such as documentation, support, and links to the project site to the user. Everything else will depend on the choice of desktop environment you decided to go with. The flagship XFCE edition comes with a clean desktop with a panel at the bottom. Manjaro’s choice to go with The Vertex Maia theme provides a futuristic and clean desktop, especially when compared to stock Xfce.
The Deepin edition, for instance, uses a customizable dock at the bottom of a Control Center which appears as a side panel. Regardless, you presented with a clean and good looking desktop at least owing part to the beautiful wallpaper selection it comes with.
Manjaro is Arch, so you get all the customizations that Arch allows. The amount of customization that you get depends on the desktop environment that you go with. You can change themes, fonts, and icons. You can tweak the window manager, the panel and customize your system setup.
Manjaro ships with a good selection of desktop software. The default browser is Mozilla Firefox. You also get Thunderbird email and the LibreOffice suite. Other applications include HexChat IRC client, Audacious, VLC, and GIMP. There was even an HP device manager available to help you set up your hp devices and accessories. By default, you are able to play almost all media formats.
Adding applications is pretty easy using the GUI package manager Pamac. Simply search for the program in Pamac and then select it from the results and install it. For apps that
are not readily available via the repositories, you can also install from the command-line.
Multiple Kernels with Manjaro Settings Manager
With The Manjaro Settings Manager (MSM), users can now easily install or remove from amongst a selection of kernels. Manjaro’s selection of readily available kernels remains the most extensive of all Linux distribution we know of. New kernels can be installed by pressing the “Install” button and all the needed components will be installed and the kernel added to the GRUB menu. Different kernels can be booted by choosing “Advanced Options for Manjaro Linux” in GRUB. The newest installed Kernel will be booted by default.
There are a ton of features that make Manjaro so attractive to a lot of people. Let me mention just a few
- Manjaro uses a Rolling Release Development Model, whereby rather than being replaced, the same core system will instead be continually updated and upgraded. Users do not need to do complete reinstalls of the latest releases in order to keep their systems up-to-date. By virtue of keeping an existing installation updated, it is already the latest release.
- It’s own dedicated software repositories to ensure delivery of fully tested and stable software packages. You are also provided with the very latest cutting and bleeding edge software.
- Access to the Arch User Repository (AUR) which contains package descriptions that allow you to compile a package from source with makepkg and then install it via Pacman.
- Manjaro takes the difficulty out of setting up Arch with a simplified, user-friendly installation process. You can easily fine-tune your installation by handpicking only the packages you want.
- You also enjoy an automated detection of your computer’s hardware alongside an automated installation of the requisite software.
I must say I am quite impressed with the latest iteration of Manjaro. The experience is fluid and smooth, fast and clean and it is very organized. I even found the experience on the Deepin edition better than on the Deepin distro. Manjaro clearly signifies why Arch-based distros that take them away out of the installation are becoming so popular. A simple installation process, access to Arch based features such as AUR and added to the fact that it is a rolling-based distro makes it a winner for me.
I also love that all the major desktop environments are available on Manjaro allowing users to choose what they want. If you were on the fence about Manjaro, I believe it’s viable as your working desktop and it is definitely worth checking out. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and comments with us.