Manjaro – The Lazy Geek’s Delight

manjaro_screenshot

After tackling RPM packaging for Fedora I decided it is time for something leaner and simpler. That and the fact that Fedora’s packaging tools make working with git repositories a pain in the Great Distal. Unlike scripting PKGBUILDs for Arch-based distribution, which is just too easy. The only easier approach would probably be CRUX’s PKGFILEs. Anyhow, I decided to celebrate my new installation of Manjaro Linux 16.10-dev with a quick scrot…erm, screen shot (above).

The installation process itself is straightforward and will get me/you/her from the liveCD’s Calamares screen to a newborn boot within 15-30 min. Then of course, one proceeds with adding favorite programs. The default desktop environments are KDE, XFCE4 or CLI (hehe…), though the development version comes as a slimmed down XFCE4 (no Parole, Ristretto, etc.).  Additional community editions provide more window managers and desktop environments, all designed in a very consistent manner. For instance, the JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) edition utilizes ncurses or CLI-based tools for network and package management. Perfect for my aging Asus Pundit PH1!

Whenever I use Arch or Manjaro, I feel there are no boundaries to how much one can do with a GNU/Linux operating system. Especially that AUR (Arch User Repository) is just a few clicks away.

  • We can game (Steam, lots of open-source games in the main repositories and AUR)
  • We can watch videos (lots of media players and codecs in main repositories)
  • We can develop (up-to-date programming language stacks, especially Java in main repositories)
  • We can build a server (few processes running in the background, simple system management, easy access to OpenZFS via AUR, up-to-date LAMP components)

Alright, I might be biased with the “we can build a server” bit, though I am actually tempted to try setting up a Manjaro based server. Anyhow, OpenSUSE or CentOS are possibly more suited for servers as they have a myriad of CLI and GUI based utilities for system administration. Then again, that’s pricey overhead on limited hardware. One should go with FreeBSD for servers. Of course, I’m biased in that as well!

Lastly, I love Arch-based distributions, Manjaro especially, for the relative stability. Programs don’t randomly segfault unless they have proper maintenance as parts of desktop environments. The last major problems I remember were due to systemd on Arch proper and even then things were sorted out quickly. Manjaro puts itself in a good filtering position as packages from Arch repositories are further tested and pass through Unstable and Testing before going into the final Stable branch. Much harder for things to just go wrong.

To wrap things up, I believe Manjaro Linux is a very reasonable pick for those of us computer geeks who don’t have the time or luxury to set up an Arch Linux box from scratch, or just want some rogue-ish shine. Joes, Smiths and the Does (I mean John and Jane, of course) will also profit thanks to the many simple GUI tools for configuring drivers, kernels, language, etc. Imagine Ubuntu, just without the silly release codenames and mandatory fix-after-upgrade moments. Sounds encouraging, no?

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2 thoughts on “Manjaro – The Lazy Geek’s Delight

  1. Yep, this has also been my experience with Manjaro. I prefer an openSUSE-based spin that I develop on SuseStudio, with rolling variants based on openSUSE Tumbleweed, which is a rolling distro that I dare say is even more reliable and trouble-free than Manjaro. But the AUR is the envy of all distros, and Manjaro is also an extremely reliable and polished distro. It’s definitely my “plan B” distro of choice.

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    • I used to use OpenSUSE Tumbleweed on my Asus S301A ultrabook and I was honestly amazed by its reliability. However, then I started following the opensuse-factory mailing list and was scared off by things constantly breaking (including the default Btrfs file system). One of the other problems I had was the need to rely on Packman repositories. Not all of them are solid.

      With Manjaro I have packages like the Broadcom STA driver or the nVidia drivers relatively “out-of-the-box”. They really did make Arch Linux easier :). Watch out for the Community Editions, though. Some of them tend to be slightly misconfigured at times.

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