Manjaro Linux is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on the independently developed Arch Linux. Manjaro Linux 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 Linux is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users.For newcomers, a user-friendly installer is provided, and the system itself is designed to work fully ‘straight out of the box as it comes with codecs pre-installed to play multimedia.
Manjaro Linux uses the ‘rolling release’ development model that provides the most up-to-date system possible without the need to install new versions and also access to the Arch User Repository (AUR).
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 was released on April 13 2013 and the default desktop environments used are Xfce and Openbox. The changes made in the Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 Xfce since the last version include,
- Graphical installer
- Manjaro Settings Manager to handle user accounts, keyboard layouts, locales and translation packages
- Xfce 4.10
- LXDM/Slim as display manager
- Linux 3.8.x Kernel
- SystemD 198
- Xorg 1.14.0
- Proprietary driver support for AMD and Nvidia graphic cards
The live mode greets us with a “Welcome to Manjaro” dialogue. The live mode itself impressed me much. It was fast & responsible. The Xfce panel was on the top and the bottom of the screen has Plank dock. Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 uses a custom modified Adwaita theme and Faenza icons.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 is the first version to come with a graphical installer which is a big relief to the people who are new to Linux. The graphical installer was forked from Linux Mint and was tweaked a little to fit for Archlinux based Distros. Installer is easy to use as any other graphical installer and installation was pretty fast.
Boot-up, CPU & RAM Usage:
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 uses GRUB 2.x and boot speed is good. The login screen uses LXDM and it displays the list of available users.
File manager is Thunar 1.6.2 and it does the job very well.
On a stock installation, CPU usage was around 2-10% and the RAM consumed was around 290MB which is a bit high for a Xfce based distro.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 comes with lots of useful applications and it also has codecs pre-installed to play multimedia files including MP3, flash etc. Some of the applications available are,
- Accessories : Archive Manager, Catfish File Search, Clipman, gedit, Notes, Plank, etc.
- Games : Steam
- Graphics : GIMP, Viewnior
- Internet : Avahi Server Browser, Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird, XChat
- Multimedia : VLC, Xfburn, Xnoise
- Office : LibreOffice 4
- System : GParted, Print Settings, Sensor Viewer, Task Manager, Terminal
Package Manager & Arch Repository:
The package manager used in Manjaro Linux is called Pamac and users can use this package manager to search & install software from the repositories. Installing software using the Pamac package manager is very simple. You just search for the software, mark the packages to be installed & then click apply. The new features in pamac include,
- packages list is now better displayed with icons
- packages can now be sorted by groups, repos, or state (installed, uninstalled, orphans)
- a size column has been added (corresponding to installed size in all cases)
- the real download size is display now in ConfDialog and in updater window
- interactive search on name is available in package list panel
Another excellent feature of Manjaro Linux is the ability to access Arch User Repository and install software directly from it. So if you are not able to find a software in the Manjaro Linux repository then you can install that software from the AUR. There is no GUI to install software from the AUR, so you have to use terminal to install software from the AUR. The command to install software from the AUR is,
yaourt [software package name]
You can read more about installing software from AUR in the Manjaro Linux wiki.
Update Manager & Manjaro Settings Manager:
The update manager is added to the startup by default and it takes care of all the updates. The icon on the system tray is green if the system is up-to-date and the icon turns orange if there are new updates available. It also shows notifications if new updates are available.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 comes with the newly introduced Manjaro settings manager that handles user accounts, keyboard layouts, locales and translation packages. Now installing language packages & managing user accounts have been made simple without the need to use terminal.
I’m using the 64bit Xfce version since the RC2 was released and I can say that I’m totally impressed with how stable & responsive it is.
There are three important things that I like in Manjaro Linux and they are
- Firefox comes without any modifications. (In Ubuntu based distros, Firefox is modified with an add-on called as “Ubuntu firefox modifications” which I totally dislike)
- Xfce is the default desktop environment
- It doesn’t come with unnecessary/bloated packages
If you are looking forward to try/switch to a new distro then I strongly recommend you to try Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 even if you are new to Linux. The community is excellent and you get very good support in the Manjaro Linux forums.
You can download Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 Xfce version using these links.
In addition to the Xfce version, Net & Openbox Manjaro versions are also officially available. The community releases include Cinnamon/Gnome, KDE, LXDE, MATE & E17.