Manjaro Linux Reviews

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I'm enjoying using Manjaro for that reasons:
Easy to install almost ready to rock
Stable and works great on my machine
Arch user repository access
Cutting edge software and rolling releases

I wanna thank Arch linux and Manjaro contributors for everything from base to wiki and forums.

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Absolutely beautiful OS. pacman is fine, getting used to using sync instead of install is a matter of familiarizing myself with the terminology I suppose. I'm finally ditching Windows as my host OS and I'm deciding which distro I want to go with. Manjaro is definitely a contender.

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AUR probably has the biggest selection of newest software today. The classic distro to use if you want to have access to this, is of course, Arch. But Arch is a pain to setup. Not so much to install - if you follow the install guide to the letter you can get Arch working pretty easily. The problem is what happens after. The guide will walk you through getting a basic GUI set up, for instance, but you might have all sorts of weird issues like flicker or mismatched fonts that will have you going down Google rabbit holes for days. A lot of things, like video drivers, break a lot and are hopelessly complex, troubleshooting that stuff is no fun at all. And at some point, you get sick of the mandatory crash course in obscure configuration, implementation details and bugs of every piece of software you have, and just want to have a working system and work on your own work, and not the system.

Manjaro lets you do that. The installer is helpful, and will actually set up an Arch system with a few bells and whistles at the level a reasonably advanced Arch user would. It doesn't do a perfect job, and there's probably Arch users out there that could install Arch better manually than the Manjaro installer. But as a novice user, as I said you can follow the wiki and get a working system. But if you want to customize it to your needs, the learning curve will be very steep and you will probably have to live with a system that is broken in a bunch of small ways for months or even years. With Manjaro you don't have to - it will certainly do a better job than a newbie following the wiki for the first time, no reading required. One could argue that a person uninterested in reading the Arch wiki shouldn't use Arch-based distros. Well... The other distros kind of suck, and the newbie distros (Mint, Ubuntu) are bloated messes. Manjaro is a pretty good compromise between not being a bloated mess and working out of the box. Your Manjaro install will probably have some problem or other (welcome to Linux, lol), and they might be problems you wouldn't have had in Arch. But in Arch you would have other problems (the ones that Manjaro solves), unless you know Linux quite well. If you knew Linux quite well, you wouldn't be reading a review about Manjaro to decide if you should use it, so I'll assume you don't, in which case, I absolutely recommend trying Manjaro! Maybe give Arch a shot first just to understand what the real deal is supposed to be like, play with it for a few days, get frustrated trying to fix everything. Then wipe that and install Manjaro - you'll get an instant feeling of relief.

There are two downsides with Manjaro and they have to do with the community and its origins in Arch. Manjaro is basically Arch with a fancy installer, some themes, a handful of additional packages (like a utility to switch kernels easily and a pacman GUI). There's very little difference and 99% of what you read on Arch wiki will apply, except that you'd only need to read it 10% as often because usually Manjaro just works to begin with. A few things will not apply, for example the kernels used by Manjaro are I think slightly different. Despite this, anytime you seek help all the Arch people will tell you to get lost because "Manjaro is not Arch". It is hard to objectively describe to someone who hasn't experienced it, but the Arch community is a bit abrasive to begin with, and they have a bizarre enmity to Manjaro users. Obviously if you were very knowledgeable, you would use Arch, not Manjaro, so all the experts are Arch users - but even though Manjaro is currently #2 on distrowatch vs. Arch on #16, Arch users constantly try to marginalize and exclude Manjaro users from any online help community. So something you will learn quickly is to lie about using Manjaro when asking for help. As I said, 99% of the time it won't matter, and the 1% you just have to learn (it's really not such an unpredictable thing as the anti-Manjaro Arch users will make it sound).

The other issue with Manjaro is that Arch is a rolling release OS. You get the latest version of every software, and the Arch position is that you're supposed to update everything on your system, even AUR packages (and you will have a lot of AUR packages because the repo has fuck all) every day, sometimes multiple times a day. This can take a lot of time and is a pain in the ass. A sensible person would recognize that, probably not much changed between puppyfartsoundboard v1.32.7.8cf and v1.32.7.8cg and there's no need to keep it on the bleeding edge - in fact, you only really want the security updates for a handful of critical systems. For everything else, the vast majority of updates will add little or no values for the user. Yet Arch requires you to spend time doing it over and over. You can't even update only important software because in Arch, partial upgrades are not supported. You can do them no problem - I have for years and it's fine, nothing breaks. In fact it will break less because occasionally Arch updates themselves will break. The Russian roulette at every update is part of The Arch Way, and every time you run pacman -Syu you basically have no idea if it will be fine or if you'll spend an hour figuring out how to even get your DE back up. So you are actually better off updating as little as possible, but if you do and something does break, good luck getting help. Without fail, a bunch of Arch users will show up (even though Manjaro Is Not Arch) and lecture you on how partial upgrades are bad, and then leave without solving your problem.

On the topic of packages, nice as AUR is it actually has a major security flaw. It's not a flaw of the system per se. But AUR packages are installed by running scripts which can do very bad things to your system. This was obviously first set up for Arch and the expectation from an Arch user is to read and audit every script. Sometimes these scripts will download and run other scripts. Most will be written in bash (yuk!). You will typically get 50-1000 lines. They will not be the tidiest code ever. So here's what will happen in practice: Unless you know bash very well, it will take an hour or more to read all that code, not to mention looking up syntax you don't know or actually verifying if it does what you think it does for less obvious lines. You will not do this every time you need to install something from AUR. You will train yourself to blindly trust hundreds of scripts from strangers on the internet. If these scripts have malware, oops! So you can take this in two ways: Either installing every AUR package (don't forget dependencies!) takes hours because you need to closely check the install script, or it is horrendously unsafe because you're not just blindly accepting everything. I would guess 90% of Arch users are the latter, but, pick your poison.

So if you can put up with these proiblems, Manjaro is actually a great system. There is an additional flaw in that it uses systemd, but there are precious few realistic alternatives that don't. Other than these, it basically has no issues. Probably one of the best daily driver desktop distros (hell, OSes) available right now.

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Its architech edition is one of the best if you want to select all packages one by one for your needs but fully customized distro from almost stratch but based on Arch of course.

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Its based on Arch and it gets super unstble when doing large floating calculations, like simulating qubits. You might find this not helpfull, but im telling that for those who would find this interesting...

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Manjaro rocks. Perfect for developers with recent compiler/libraries.

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It is easy to literally break the OS, since if you have not updated it for a long time and then you update the system the update will break the system.

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Wonderful KDE implementation.

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Not recomend for general usage

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I love pacman and want to love simple installation for Arch Linux. I also wan to love Manjaro, but cant because it is unstable and has critical bugs even with hardware like stucked LAN. I tried many Linux distros on the same hardware but only Manjaro working so bad. I doubt that developers of this distro are professionals.

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This has been the exact opposite of my experience. I tried many distros (Kubuntu, OpenSuse, Antergos...) but only Manjaro worked so well for me that I now use it on my home and work computer as the default booting OS, and an old laptop, and have had two co-workers adopt it (one as a dual boot on a 6 year old Mac) and the other on a Dell laptop from about 3 years ago. I've had zero instability issues and I enjoy very much that it's a usable way of getting an OS that supports the AUR, where I found drivers for my Xeros Phaser printer. The closest thing to Manjaro for me was Kubuntu 15.10 which didn't support full LUKS disk encryption and didn't support the printer I had. Additionally, Manjaro comes with NVidia drivers out-of-the-box and works well for gaming. Couldn't be happier with it. I've been using it for a year and had essentially no real problems - at least none that I didn't cause myself and aren't Manjaro's fault. I've been thinking whether it might even be a well enough screwed together distro to recommend to Linux beginners.

@Natterjack565 you discovered AUR in Arch Linux for yourself? Congrats to you, but how this relates to my comment? Arch tooling is great BTW. I like it a lot. Great for development. But try to read title of my comment again.

@JohnFastman I trying it from time to time again and it still hard to recommend. I discovered critical hardware issues on ThinkPad laptop. I never had them before. ONLY on Manjaro. And i am using Linux from 2009. Any distribution need decent user base. Arch Linux is a minority of minority Linux distributions. Manjaro - much less then minority of Arch users. You have no issue, but this is not a real statistics. Still cant recommend it for general usage. Also i dont like idea splitting user base, bugs Arch/Manjaro.

@TimPi

I was expanding on @JohnFastman use of AUR, rather than replying directly to your comment. This would be more obvious if AlternativeTo allowed replies to replies (indented) --- the present setup makes all replies look like they are to the OP.

Hope this helps!

@TimPl

You have no issue, but this is not a real statistics.

I have no issues, and that's not statistics. You have issues, but that's also not statistics.

Arch Linux is a minority of minority Linux distributions. Manjaro - much less then minority of Arch users.

Not sure where you're getting that from. Many, many people use Arch and many use Manjaro. I don't know of any accurate quantification of which distros have what percentage market share, but presumably you do since you know what is and what isn't a minority.

Also i dont like idea splitting user base, bugs Arch/Manjaro.

Arch, Manjaro and Antergos are so closely related that Manjaro and Antergos often refer users to the Arch wiki for troubleshooting. Antergos and Arch are almost the same, except for the installer. You can in 95% of cases get advice from one and apply it to the other. For everything else, there are dedicated communities, which also makes sense. Manjaro differs from Arch in that it has a) a much more user-friendly installation, b) has its own repos, c) rolls out updates after a slight (c. 2 weeks) delay to ensure stability. Arch is harder to setup for most people; Manjaro was intended for - guess what - general use and many people do use it that way, as is evident from many online reviews, Youtubers and their own community. Ok, for you, it turns out that Manjaro doesn't work well on the specific hardware you tried. That sometimes happens with all distros. But it's not statistics. You can't recommend Manjaro for general use, thousands of others use it generally.

@JohnFastman
> I have no issues, and that's not statistics. You have issues, but that's also not statistics.

Yes of course, but i found this kinda weird. Didnt even expect that possible to have broke Ethernet on this machine. This fixed only when i disassembly the battery and put it back again, so this makes me think that is a kernel bug, which i cant fix for sure. But i tried Antergos immediately just for testing and my Ethernet was ok. Sad that i can test now it on the same hardware (ThinPad machine). All this made me salty yeah ... :-) Because Manjaro is close to my ideal Linux distro vision.

>I don't know of any accurate quantification of which distros have what percentage market share, but presumably you do since you know what is and what isn't a minority.

Lets refer to this https://www.linuxcounter.net/statistics/distributions and Steam hardware survive.

>You can't recommend Manjaro for general use

Not only me. After 2 min googling i found many feedback like that and even blogs where users trying it from time to time and then was frustrating because of stability and working out of box things.

>thousands of others use it generally.

Yes but when millions will test it and use it generally it would much better for end-user :-)

I will try it again soon ...

Linuxcounter is a very vague estimate extrapolated from registrations, not an accurate quantification.

> After 2 min googling i found many feedback like that and even blogs where users trying it from time to time and then was frustrating because of stability and working out of box things.

Yes, and you'll find that for every distro.

Just on Linuxcounter again: you can see how ridiculous the numbers are. They claim fewer Debian machines than Arch, which is nonsensical given how widespread Debian is for server use. And far, far below that is Android, which is actually the most popular "distro" in the world since it completely dominates the entire worldwide mobile market.

I am testing now Manjaro on two machines and i want to say it really great distro. For desktop and development.

But my first main feedback look like has the right to exist. For example, early versions of Manjaro has vm swappiness=1. This many times discussed that this is not good idea even for desktop. I checked again and now this fixed. Manjaro have default value vm swappiness=60. This doesn't mean that Manjaro devs non-professionals, this just because Manjaro was young distro and now grown up.

I want to believe that Manjaro good in long term usage also. Time will tell. Anyway my first comment no more relevant. Manjaro is awesome distro, exactly what Arch should be.

After a hiatus over at Antergos in recent months, I returned to Manjaro just to see how things were. They were the same only even better: installation of Steam, for example, has been thought through enough not to cause library conflicts when specific graphics drivers go in. It's just been so buttery smooth. Nothing wrong with Antergos, but Manjaro edges ahead for user friendliness. Problems Manjaro had 2 years ago that were the hallmarks of an immature distro are gone (e.g. bugs in updates to how LUKS encryption was implemented.) For me, in April 2018... everythinig on Manjaro works great.

@TimPl: if your impressions of Manjaro improved, please reconsider the two star rating; I think new-comers will be put off too much by only two stars.