With a lot of good reviews of it I thought I’d give Manjaro a try. I used the latest version 18.04 and the XFCE desktop. Downloading a booting into the live session is fair straight forward although it is worth reading the notes before you do so.
Installing was different to many other Distros that I have tried, but not too complicated and completed fairly quickly. One thing that did confuse me was on the first boot it wasn’t that clear what to do, but that may be me and not it.
Without doubt it is a great Distro, while not (in my opinion) as user friendly as Mint or Ubuntu are, I really can not fault it. It does make you think a bit more than Mint does and that is not a bad thing as it helps to avoid mistakes. I found no problem with installing any thing, nor setting the printer and wifi. Okay a bit of a codicil here, Chrome, I couldn’t find a way to install during my trial, but as it has Chromium in the software packs it doesn’t really matter. Updating was also easy and I loved the fact you could chose what kernels to use.
So the conclusion I have come to is that it is worth all the good reviews it has and is a good alternative to the Debian and Ubuntu based Distros out there. I am not going to make the switch from Mint, but if ever there came a time when I might do so then, I think I would switch to Manjaro given my experience of it over the last couple of days.
A tip for Manjaro users: If you open Octopi (package manager), install
pacaur which will then allow you to enable searching in AUR. This will give you access to even more apps, like chrome, discord and many others that otherwise don’t show up in the standard Manjaro repos.
Also, just throwing this out there: if you like XCFE, then disregard. But I found XFCE as a DE to be one of the less user-friendly DE’s out there. To me it seems dated and not very intuitive in how it functions. IMO, there are too many menu layers to sift through and trying to find a specific utility or option can be quite tedious and time-consuming. It can be made to look nice/modern and you can get used to it with time, I don’t deny that. It’s just not for me. Only mentioning this so as to not conflate the distro with the DE.
Another point to note: There are multiple DE’s available with Manjaro. XFCE, KDE, Mate, Gnome, Deepin, i3 and even Cinnamon. I’m currently trying out Gnome, Deepin and i3 in VMs, just for curiosity. Ubuntu somewhat turned me off of Gnome since 18.04, but Manjaro might have restored my enjoyment of Gnome as they include a lot more tweaks and customization options right out of the box.
As a distro, Manjaro is fantastic. It’s fast, stable, efficient and has great community support.
I only tried the one for my test Mike. I know there are others, but I had not tried the XFCE before so I went with that one. I might try the Gnome as well later.
Your words above about Manjaro made me want to try it out.
As soon as I have some free time I’ll make an USB with it.
Like you, I’m a Mint fan and I use the Cinnamon flavor.
Just to make note of a mistake you made (IMO) but not only for you:
If one wants to try something new (a DE or a Distro) go for it but, please, never try 2 things new at the same time. Your experience won’t be clear.
If there’s something you can’t do or something that’s not working right, you’ll never know if it’s the Distro’s fault or if it’s a DE’s fault.
I’ve learned that in my electronics profession: never change 2 variables at the same time!
Thanks for the the reply Dreis
Wise words about never trying 2 new things at the same time as it will muddy the water.
You might have a different experience that I have with it. I wanted to try something that was very different to Mint with a different DE to Cinnamon outside of the Mints.
As I said I couldn’t fault it, just found it harder to use with quite a steep learning curve.
Be interested to know how you get on as another Mint Cinnamon user trying Manjaro
As soon as I try it, I’ll post it here… And that’s a promise!
Just as promissed, I’m coming back to tell you about my experience with Manjaro.
Let me start by saying that the DE I downloaded is the XFCE. Didn’t try any other.
First I only used it in a Live mode, just to test a Laptop I had to refurbish (an old HP 6730s).
The initial menu was new to me, but, after a few seconds analysing it it all looked logic and better due to the customization of the loader.
My home language (Portuguese from Portugal) was there… Good.
The Manjaro was loaded and the simple environment of the XFCE was no problem at all. All the hardware was recognised and worked fine… (even Bluetooth)
Now I had to deal with the difference of default applications from the Mint I’m used to.
I liked the experience, so I installed it on a different PC.
Picked up my (also old) Samsung N145 plus - Atom based laptop - and installed Manjaro.
Again all hardware was recognised and the installation was smooth and didn’t take that long… We have to consider that it’s an Atom (low power processor) with only 2 GB RAM and an HDD, not SSD.
Só, everything went well, many common applications were already there, and, for my surprise, my little PC was working fast.
My thoughts: “hey, this Linux is faster than my Mint”… And let me tell you that I still have that feeling.
Now, the downs started when I opened the CLI and typed “sudo apt update”…
Manjaro doesn’t use apt. It has Arch based structure with different package management applications. Went back to the GUI and used pamac - everything went well.
I’m still learning but I think I can say that CLI commands are just like Debian/Ubuntu (correct me if I’m wrong), it’s the applications that differ from Mint/Ubuntu.
'till now my experience with Manjaro is telling me that it’s faster and more stable (I think) than Mint.
I’ll get back to you if I have more information.
Nice to read about your experience. When you say
old, how old were your PC ?
I recently tried out a new (to me) distro that also is light weight. It is called Lubuntu and was described as “a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, using the LXQt desktop environment in place of Ubuntu’s GNOME desktop.”
I too only ran it from in Live mode off an USB flash drive. Now I only spent about an hour with it, but it did seem to be very fast while not taking up a lot of resources. One of the pluses I read was that since it is part of the Ubuntu family, it has access to the full range of programs and libraries that Ubuntu has.
I was thinking of installing it on an old HP mini laptop with an Atom cpu and only support 32 bit code.
My Samsung N145 plus is about 9 years old.
I don’t have it since new. I have it for about 3 years now and it’s a good tool for doing HDD jobs because I can leave it ON for days and my electricity bill won’t be doubled.
That is a good solution. Ubuntu is a good reference, and with a low resources consumption DE, it is a winning OS.
Yet, you can have several OS’s installed, so why not try Manjaro 32bit along side?
It’s just a thought!
I briefly tried Manjaro 17.x XFCE 32 bit on my Samsung N150 (dual core Atom, 2 GB RAM 64 GB SSD) which is about 10 years old… the best distro yet I’ve tried on that netbook…
Unfortunately Manjaro seems to have dropped 32 bit support… This is a purely anecdotal impression, but that N150 seems to peform better with a 32 bit distro, even though it’s technically 64 bit capable…
64-bit software tends to take up more memory.
Yes, 'though not proven by me, I tend to agree with you both.
Yet, I’ve never seen this little laptop so fast… And I’ve had it with an SSD and Mint Mate.
But, what I’m really enjoying is to have the great feeling of stability. As a matter of fact, I can’t really “put my finger on it” for the stability, but that is my feeling.