Which is better Ubuntu or Manjaro

Manjaro Linux: We introduce you to this real alternative

Stephan Lamprecht

Linux distributions are also subject to fashions. So Suse Linux, which was once ruling in Germany, was overtaken by Ubuntu. According to Distrowatch Manjaro Linux has recently become the most popular distribution.

EnlargeManjaro Installer: A graphical assistant guides you through the setup process.

Many of the decisions made by Ubuntu developers left users a little perplexed. While the Unity interface was more of a cosmetic nature, the switch to its own init system posed considerable challenges for administrators. The consequence of this was that users were looking for alternatives - and more and more often ended up with Manjaro Linux. One of the main advantages of Arch Linux and thus also of Manjaro is that it is a rolling release. Other distributions are taking a hard cut on the bundled packages that come with them before they are released.

This harbors the risk that the programs will be out of date when the distribution is released. This is not the case with a rolling release. The software is, by the way, always up to date.

Manjaro is based on Arch, which plays a subordinate role on the Linux desktop. Arch is slim and not only quick to install, but it poses considerable hurdles for beginners, as many settings can only be made on the command line. And beginners are usually at war with the terminal. Manjaro makes getting started with Arch easier with a graphical installer à la Ubuntu.

EnlargeFirst steps after installation: It is advisable to upgrade the other language packages immediately.

An almost perfect installation

On the project website (https://manjaro.org/) you will find several versions of the distribution under “Download”. The official Manjaro editions offer the desktop environments XFCE, KDE and Gnome. Community editions add Cinnamon, Mate, Budgie, LXDE, to name just the most important. Then start your computer from the ISO file copied to DVD or USB.

The boot manager dialog requires some care. Make sure that you use the arrow keys to select both the German key assignment and the German language for the interface. The system then starts by pressing the Enter key. This was the most complicated step in the setup process. You can access the system's graphical installer directly via the welcome dialog.

The procedure hardly differs from an Ubuntu installation. After selecting the language and time zone, the keyboard layout must be defined. Then the partitioning follows. In this dialog you can also activate the (Luks) encryption of the entire hard disk. There is a final specialty with the creation of the user. Because there you not only enter the user name and password, but also have the choice of entering a different password for access to admin rights. A summary of the selected options follows and the system setup begins. Immediately after the start, the system will inform you about new updates. In the overview of the updates, either mark all entries or select specific individual packages in order to bring them up to date. Once this step has been completed, it is also advisable to install any missing language packs. To do this, click on the menu button with the Manjaro symbol and then switch to the “Settings” area. There you will find the “Settings” program and here again the “Manjaro Settings”. In the following window, select the entry “German” under “Language packages”. This has the advantage that other applications, for example Firefox or Thunderbird, start with a German-language interface.

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Full range of software

The extensive range of software that is typical of the architecture makes Manjaro so popular. Its specialty is that it is particularly easy for developers to update the applications. Therefore, the software in the package sources of Manjaro or Arch Linux is usually more up-to-date than in other distributions. While you may still have to integrate a beta version via an external package source with Ubuntu, the final version may already be available in Arch. Immediately after installation, Manjaro contains everything you need to work and use the Internet. Work is carried out with Libre Office, Firefox is on board as a browser, Thunderbird for emails and Gimp for photo editing is already installed. This is not unusual, but there are also surprises: the “Office” section also contains the online version of MS Office and Skype. Players will be pleased that there is also an entry for "Steam".

Manjaro does not use the Deb format known from Debian and Ubuntu, nor the RPM format for its packages. Via "Add / Remove Software" you access a graphical package manager. The packages are divided into thematic categories. You can quickly find what you need using the search function.

EnlargePackage sources “Arch User Repositories” should only be activated by users who are familiar with Linux.

Nimble and coherent, but not a real arch

Manjaro is a compelling distribution. The slim version with the XFCE desktop is recommended. Everything interlocks and switching from other Linux variants is easy.

All in all, this results in a coherent and really fast system that also gives the hardware from the previous season a second chance. Thanks to the rolling release model, the system is always up to date. The “upgrade” procedure known from other distributions to the next version and thus to newer programs is no longer necessary.

An interesting function for advanced users is hidden in the package manager. The "Settings" can be opened with a click on the menu button. There is a register called "AUR" - the "Arch User Repositories". These expand the number of programs once again and also offer access to the latest versions. There are no finished packages behind such a repository. In essence, these are building instructions from which the package manager can see which components he needs to compile the application from the source code. As every Ikea customer knows, however good instructions can be a bit tricky. Therefore, these sources should really only be activated by users who are so deeply immersed in the Linux world that they can do something with feedback from the system.

The AUR repositories are actually intended for Arch. The packages are brand new, but with other libraries they can cause undesirable side effects. Manjaro makes it easier to get started, but provides little knowledge about the internal interrelationships of the system. The Manjaro community is friendly and helpful, but with construction problems or setting up less common applications, users need to be willing and knowledgeable to help themselves.