Manjaro Linux

Manjaro: Meet the Friendlier Face of Arch Linux

Manjaro is a desktop-oriented operating system based on Arch Linux. Manjaro focuses on user-friendliness, and the system is designed to work fully “straight out of the box” with its variety of pre-installed software.

Developed in Austria, France, and Germany, Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch Linux operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. It follows Arch Linux and officially only offers a 64-bit version.

The Manjaro team can be said to have made Arch Linux available to everyone, whether newbie or professional. Because it carries all the goodies in Arch Linux, more people can now access the awesomeness of Arch Linux through Manjaro. As a result, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers and experienced Linux users.

The distro follows the rolling release cycle, so you never have to download a new version of Manjaro or worry about your current install reaching its end of life. Keeping Manjaro up to date can be done with a few clicks via GUI or a few keystrokes via the command line and is very simple to do.

History

On July 10, 2011, Manjaro was initially released. By mid-2013, Manjaro had reached the beta stage, though essential parts of the final system, such as:

  • GUI installer
  • Package manager (Pacman) with its choice of frontends: Pamac (GTK) and Octopi (QT)
  • Manjaro Hardware Detection, for detection of free & proprietary video drivers
  • Manjaro Settings Manager

With version 0.8.3 in 2012, GNOME Shell support was dropped. However, in March 2017, an official release with the GNOME Desktop Environment was reintroduced.

What Are the Differences Between Manjaro and Arch Linux?

Manjaro is not Arch Linux in the pure sense, but it is based on Arch underpinnings and Arch Linux principles. As a result, it inherits many of Arch Linux’s features, but it implements many unique features as well. Nor is using Manjaro the same as pure Arch Linux or more direct derivatives.

Although Manjaro is Arch-based and Arch compatible, it is not Arch Linux. As such, far from being just an easy-to-install or pre-configured version of Arch Linux, Manjaro is a very different kind of beast.

The differences between Manjaro and Arch Linux are much greater than the differences between, for example, the widespread Ubuntu distribution and its many derivatives, including Linux Mint and Zorin.

We’ll review some of Manjaro’s essential features below to help you understand it better.

  • It’s developed independently from Arch Linux and by a completely different team.
  • Manjaro is designed to be accessible to newcomers, while Arch Linux is aimed at experienced users.
  • The distro draws software from its independent repositories. These repositories also contain software packages not provided by Arch Linux.
  • Manjaro provides its own distribution-specific tools, such as the Manjaro Hardware Detection (mhwd) utility and the Manjaro Settings Manager (msm).
  • Has numerous subtle differences in how it works when compared to Arch.

Manjaro Linux Editions

Manjaro Linux is an operating system, notably a free replacement for Windows or macOS. There are several Manjaro Editions available on the official website of Manjaro for download and installation for users free of cost.

Furthermore, users are often quite confused about which Manjaro edition is best. In other words, which Manjaro edition to choose from available Manjaro editions?

The official Manjaro editions are based on:

  • Xfce
  • KDE Plasma
  • GNOME

The unofficial community editions include Awesome, Bspwm, Budgie, i3, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, and Openbox.

Out of the four official editions, none of them are necessarily considered the default. For example, Xfce is the first one listed on their download page and may be the only download that a new user notice is available.

The core team of Manjaro supports the official editions. At the same time, community editions are supported by open source enthusiasts contributing to Manjaro from all over the world free of cost.

Project developers have created a distinct Manjaro look and feel using themes for all editions. As you can see, this Manjaro look is characterized by a dark theme with green highlights. This makes it easy to have an aesthetically pleasing setup without any customization necessary.

Software Repositories

Manjaro Linux utilizes its dedicated software repositories to ensure continued stability and reliability. Except for the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR), Manjaro systems do not (and cannot) access the official Arch repositories.

More specifically, popular software packages initially provided by the official Arch repositories will first be thoroughly tested (and, if necessary, patched) before being released to Manjaro’s Stable Repositories for public use.

The distro uses three types of repositories, so let’s take a look at them.

Unstable

About a day or two behind Arch. This is also used to store software packages with known or suspected stability and/or compatibility issues. This software may therefore be subject to patching by the Manjaro Linux developers before being released to the testing repositories.

Although the latest software will be located here, using the unstable repositories may break your system.

Testing

Usually about a week or so behind Arch. These are used to store patched software packages from the unstable repositories, as well other new software releases that are considered at least sufficiently stable.

This software will be subject to further checks by developers and testers for potential bugs and/or stability issues, prior to being released to the stable repositories for public use.

Stable

Usually about two weeks behind Arch. These are the default repositories used by Manjaro systems to provide updates and downloads to the general user base.

Package Management in Manjaro Linux

Both Arch and Manjaro ship with a command-line-based package management tool called Pacman. It was coded in C and used tar to package applications. In other words, you can use the same Pacman commands for managing packages in both distributions.

In addition to the Pacman, Manjaro has also developed a GUI application called Pamac for easily installing software on Manjaro. This makes using Manjaro easier than Arch.

Pamac
Pamac

Conclusion

Some people say Manjaro is for those who can’t install Arch Linux. But that’s not true. Not everyone wants to configure Arch from scratch or doesn’t have much time.

Manjaro Linux’s in-house system tools, easy installation application, and better range of software packages make it a better Arch-based distro than Arch Linux itself. However, it offers much more than a pure Arch Linux environment.

Manjaro is a beast but a very different kind of beast than Arch Linux. Fast, powerful, and always up to date, Manjaro provides all the benefits of an Arch Linux operating system, but with a particular emphasis on stability, user-friendliness, and accessibility for newcomers and experienced users.

One comment

  1. I tried some of those “running out of the box” distros out there, and finally found what I always dreamed of: Manjaro Linux. It’s exact what lazy people like me, with no to less motivation of typing long strings in shells & consoles, want !
    Why should that be objectionable? My only intention was to find an OS which 100% could replace windoze. And this one is definite a more than equivalent competitor, with the additional charme of zero costs and a really huge range of tested and working software in it’s repository. Everything workes like a charm. Starting with the installation up to setting up individual scheduled tasks. Sure there are some tiny things to argue about, like missing trimming for SSDs (which had to be enabled after install) for ex., but I think that are peanuts compared to the fact of having an OS which doesn’t sniff your personal preferences etc, etc..
    Thanks to the Manjaro team ! Really GREAT work ! (Merci & Danke;-) )

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