Even though Arch Linux is the most powerful, customizable, rolling-release distribution, with the name for its software repositories, it remains the most difficult to configure and install for beginners. The steep learning curve forces new users to look for Arch Linux derivatives. These new distributions allow users to experience the power of Arch Linux. So far, the most famous straight-out-of-the-box Arch Linux derivative is Manjaro.
Manjaro is an open-source, user-friendly, independently developed rolling release distribution. It stands out as one of the best Arch-based Linux distribution due to an active development team and a great community. It offers an intuitive user interface and all the Arch Linux benefits suitable for both beginners and experienced users.
Manjaro is a versatile distribution that offers various styles and preferences. Most of all, the creation of Manjaro architect allows installing any Manjaro flavor, ZFS filesystem, and in general, all the freedom to shape the system. In this article, we discuss all the unique features of Manjaro that make it the subsequent best distribution after Arch.
Let’s dig deep and list down all the features that make Manjaro the Best Arch-Linux derivative so far.
Even though Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution, it avoids the rigmarole of building the system from the ground. All it requires is to download the ISO image file to make a DVD/USB drive that is ready to run by the computer or can be used as a virtual machine.
Instead of a command line, the installer welcomes the user with an intuitive interface with step-by-step instructions.
Manjaro offers three officially supported desktop flavors; XFCE, KDE, GNOME, and over a half-dozen flavors which are supported by the community. However, the development community officially dropped support for the 32-bit version. It’s only available for the desktop flavors supported by the user community. Such that each flavor suffices user requirements at varying levels of Linux expertise.
As a rolling release distribution, Manjaro adds additional layers of testing for newly-built packages to make the system faster and compatible. Hence, even though the development community continuously roles out the updated versions, they still don’t come out as fast as Arch Linux.
Hence, it draws its packages from its independent repositories (separate from Arch Linux). This precaution makes the system more user-specific and friendly for newcomers and avoids the chances of incompatibilities and reinstallation due to bugs.
Any Linux distribution installation involves the process of manual hardware management and compatibility. Manjaro offers a unique command line Hardware Detection tool that checks the entire hardware to suggest and install appropriate drivers and packages.
The command-line tool offers two types of mhwd commands: one allows to identify hardware, while the other manages and installs Manjaro kernels.
Debian Linux users deal with the risk of broken PPA’s and third parties tampering with the packages. The main issue with the PPA is that anyone can provide packages for a particular software. Hence, it’s only safe if the user trusts the developer.
Besides, the package installation process is very tiring and poses a potential risk of breaking the system during upgrades. Since Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution, it has a community-driven Arch- User Repository that is a lot more organized and is managed by the package maintainers.
The main distinction offered by Arch-based distributions from all others is the default packet manager Pacman. The packet manager synchronizes the packages with the master server. The relatively short and straightforward terminal commands allow users to install, update or remove packages with all their dependencies. The new Lysia Manjaro 20 ISO also supports improved Snap and Flatpack packages in Pacman.
As an Arch-based distribution, Manjaro users can’t access Arch Linux repositories to download/install packages. Whereas Manjaro manages independent repositories due to its unique distribution-specific packages. Hence, users can’t access and download packages from the Arch-Linux repository.
However, Arch Linux packages are accessed via an unofficial community-driven repository known as Arch User Repository (AUR). It allows regular users to add their PKGBUILDS and other related files. Such that trusted users perform quality control to maintain clean operations of the AUR.
Hence, the repository helps accelerate the inclusion of new packages to the official repository.
Another benefit that Manjaro offers is the use and installation of multiple kernels. Manjaro has a command-line tool to provide new revisions and install additional kernels without removing the old ones. Moreover, it is simple to choose the kernel of your choice when the system boots up.
Manjaro offers a command-line net-installer that does not provide a graphical interface. It provides a terminal to install all the packages from the internet during installation. The architect allows experienced users to build the system from the ground. Best of all, it’s only 500MB, and drivers are now required for the text-only environment.
ZFS File System
The fresh Manjaro ISO release Lysia adds ZFS file system support for the root user. Do note that the filesystem support is available in Manjaro Architect.
Arch Wiki is the most well-documented source of information for Arch users on the web. Besides, users can also get help from Manjaro Wiki, the Manjaro community, and support forums for any problems.
The article discusses the top 11 stringent reasons that make Manjaro Linux stand out as the best Linux distribution. The above discussed Manjaro features elaborate how it does a great job of simplifying Arch Linux for regular users. As a new user, it’s an ideal distro to begin the Linux journey.