Manjaro Linux: So stable that it is boring!

How I got Manjaro:

Arch Linux installation is a terrible pain in the butt. It was designed to be like that. Geeks and power users would not want it to be any different. Minimal and fully adhering to the KISS philosophy.

I love Arch Linux and have it installed on my Pentium D 2.8 GHz, 4GB DDR2 beast.
Beast? Yes, because it can run Windows 7 64-bit without breaking a sweat! I also have an Arch Linux virtual machine for testing new things.

A few months ago I had broken my system beyond repair. I needed to get another ready, but had no patience or energy left for an Arch install. I searched for alternatives. Arch Bang was an option but it has an openbox edition only. I wanted my beloved Xfce. I searched and landed on Manjaro’s website. They had an Xfce edition. Done!

What is so good about it?

  • Manjaro makes Arch Linux accessible to mere mortals and people too lazy or too tired for an Arch install.
  • Manjaro’s installation is super easy
  • Manjaro community is a pleasure to work with
  • Manjaro has own repositories with packages taken from Arch Linux. They do thorough testing before rolling out packages. This also means that they are a bit behind Arch Linux.
  • Manjaro is a rolling release distribution like Arch

Manjaro’s website says this:

Manjaro is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on the independently developed Arch operating system. Developed in Austria, France, and Germany, Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. Available in both 32 and 64 bit versions, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users.

They deliver!

Manjaro’s character

I have been running Manjaro Xfce on my systems for the past 7-8 months.

It is very much like openSUSE, in character. No surprises. No breakages. No crashes.
It is so good that it is boring. It is so stable that it is boring.

This is also a tribute to the greatness of Arch Linux.

Spicing up Manjaro Xfce:

Xfce has been doing great on my system but I was bored. I wanted something different. I thought of installing GNOME:

sudo pacman -S gnome

I entered the sudo password and got this on my terminal:

:: There are 41 members in group gnome:
:: Repository extra
1) baobab  2) empathy  3) eog  4) epiphany  5) evince  6) gdm  7) gnome-backgrounds  8) gnome-calculator  9) gnome-contacts  10) gnome-control-center  11) gnome-desktop  12) gnome-dictionary
13) gnome-disk-utility  14) gnome-font-viewer  15) gnome-icon-theme  16) gnome-icon-theme-extras  17) gnome-icon-theme-symbolic  18) gnome-keyring  19) gnome-screenshot  20) gnome-session
21) gnome-settings-daemon  22) gnome-shell  23) gnome-shell-extensions  24) gnome-system-log  25) gnome-system-monitor  26) gnome-terminal  27) gnome-themes-standard  28) gnome-user-docs
29) gnome-user-share  30) grilo-plugins  31) gucharmap  32) mousetweaks  33) mutter  34) nautilus  35) sushi  36) totem  37) totem-plugin  38) tracker  39) vino   40) xdg-user-dirs-gtk  41) yelp

Enter a selection (default=all): 

Evidently, each package has a number associated with it and the Enter a selection prompt can be used to decide what needs to be installed. Hitting the ENTER key would fetch all packages. Nothing wrong in it, but I already had some apps installed on my system. I did not wish to select all the packages in the list. pacman allows the use of a caret(^) followed by the number of the package for deselecting that package. If multiple packages need to be deselected, type all the package numbers separated by a space, each number preceded by the caret sign. For example, when the Enter a selection prompt appeared, I typed the following:

^2 ^4 ^36 ^37

pacman moved ahead but reported a conflict. The mdm display manager and the gdm display manager could not co-exist. I had to choose one. I chose gdm.

MDM – the Mint Display Manager – is designed for use with any desktop environment. It supports theming, automatic login, and the automatic detection and use of multiple desktop environments. Ported over from Mint and adapted by the Manjaro Team, this is the default display manager for the XFCE flavour. It is also highly recommended for newcomers, particularly as it comes with a very easy user-friendly app to configure and change its appearance… and lots of themes to go with it.
GDM – the Gnome Display Manager – is designed for use with Gnome 3. It supports theming, automatic login, and the automatic detection and use of multiple desktop environments. Specifically for those using Gnome 3, a configuration application is also available to easily customise the login screen and enable automatic login without having to edit any configuration files.

Once this conflict was resolved, pacman went ahead and installed GNOME on my system. The only thing left was to disable mdm and enable gdm in systemd. Uninstalling mdm does not disable it from systemd. The following commands did the trick:

sudo systemctl disable mdm.service -f
sudo systemctl enable gdm.service -f

If the above steps are not performed, gdm will not start and graphical login will not be available. Terminal login, of course,will be possible.

If gdm needs to be started immediately, type the following after running the above commands:

sudo systemctl start gdm.service

In the end

Manjaro is absolutely wonderful. It is very stable. It is the only distribution apart from Ubuntu that has binary driver package available for my latest Broadcom Wifi which I got with my Dell Optiplex 9020 desktop. It has Arch imprint all over it. I never feel that I am not in an Arch machine.

I would recommend it to anybody without thinking twice!