Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: EndeavourOS

Mike Turcotte-McCusker
Oct 29, 2021

Continuing on with our review of the Top 5 distributions listed on the popular site Distrowatch, is the #2 according to the rankings (based on hits to the Distrowatch page for the OS, not based on downloads), EndeavourOS.

You can check out the review of #1, MX Linux, here.

For those unfamiliar with the distro, it’s about as close to vanilla Arch Linux as you can get, without installing Arch itself. Rather than using separate repositories like Manjaro for example, EndeavourOS uses the Arch repos, and includes very few packages of their own. There are some, yes, a few handy utilities or extra packages such as the amazingly awesome yay command line utility for package installation from both Arch repos and the AUR in an easy to use wrapper, but I would say that EndeavourOS installs 99% pure Arch Linux.

EndeavourOS can be installed either offline or online from the same ISO. The offline installation comes with a customized Xfce desktop that actually looks really nice in my eyes, and is well organized and designed, or you can use the online installation option and choose your environment of choice during the installation process. Your options are:

  • Xfce
  • Mate
  • Cinnamon
  • Gnome
  • KDE Plasma
  • Budgie
  • LXQT
  • i3-wm
  • Deepin

There are also community Editions available through the installer on the same ISO that support other desktop environments during installation, so unless you use some pretty obscure environment, good chance your favourite will be available.

For this installation and review I opted for KDE Plasma.

My Specs:

  • Ryzen 5 3500X
  • 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
  • NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super
  • System installed on a SATA SSD


The EndeavourOS installation from a live-usb that I created was extremely simple. The Calamares installation utility found in numerous other distributions is the one used here, and it makes installations such a breeze...It took less than five minutes to install, and there was not a single hiccup or issue. It really doesn’t get much easier than this.

Included Software and Features

EndeavourOS is not quite as minimal as Arch Linux, but it’s definitely more minimal than many other distributions. I had to manually install an office suite for example, but it did come with VLC, Elisa music player, Dragon Player video player, XSane scanner utility, and a handful of default KDE utilities included. If you want a distribution that has a hundred different programs and utilities out-of-the-box, you're not going to like EndeavourOS, but for those of you who prefer a minimalistic system you can install only what you want on, this should be quite fine for most.


EndeavourOS flies. Like, if it were possible for it to open applications before you even clicked them, I am certain that it would...KDE has become super lightweight in recent times, but also having a minimalistic system without a lot of bloat really makes a huge difference. With four browser tabs open to various sites, LibreOffice Writer open and my three monitors going, I was bouncing between 0.9%-1.5% CPU and 2.3GB RAM used.

Final Thoughts

It's no secret to anyone who has read my distro reviews in the past that I love Arch and Arch based systems...and EndeavourOS is no exception. If you love Arch, and you want Arch with a nice graphical installer, easy desktop environment choosing and installation, minimal bloat, and a great and friendly community, give EndeavourOS a try; I highly doubt you will be disappointed. Frankly, I have used EndeavourOS multiple times in the past, and I always come back to it unless I need an Ubuntu system or something else for some specific reason. I used to use Manjaro a lot, but EndeavourOS took my #1 spot when it came to Arch based systems. But, with that said, Manjaro and other systems are absolutely awesome too, and have some perks that EndeavourOS does not; but I'll save that for the Manjaro review coming in the near future.

Now you

Have you used EndeavourOS? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: EndeavourOS
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Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: EndeavourOS
A look at Arch-based Linux distribution EndeavourOS

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  1. Anonymous said on April 5, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    Endeavour os is very pleasant to use and is minimaliste os. And very Nice look.
    I havé installed it over a month, and it is very stable.

  2. Michael said on November 22, 2021 at 10:41 am

    I`m using endeavourOS for four weeks now after switching from distro to distro.
    Works really good an not a single problem at all even with the devilish Epson Printer.
    And installation of third party software in a blink of an eye with Termin and “yay” command.
    Absolutely fine ….

  3. Anonymous said on November 1, 2021 at 6:41 am

    I’ve tried out several distros using VirtualBox, like Ubuntu, Mint, MX Linux, and Kubuntu. Of these, I found Mint the easiest/nicest to use.

    Arch based distros don’t appeal to me, I want to simplify my life.

    I really dislike the Ubuntu Gnome desktop.

    The Mint utilities seem more intuitive. For example, I find its software updating utility much better than the KDE Plasma Discover utility.

    I want to do more vigorous testing of various distros before formerly switching.

    The one thing I’ve done in preparation to switching to Linux is to switch from MS Windows only applications to multi-platform applications, i.e., switching from MS Office to LibreOffice, and from Outlook to Thunderbird.

    Picking a distro is not a lifelong commitment, you can always switch to another one later.

  4. Ivacy VPN said on October 30, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    It’s got systemd, something most linux enthusiasts hate because of the amount of bloat ot offers. Needless to say, replacing systemd with runit or openrc or s6 will make arch faster. Take artix for example

    1. thebrowser said on October 30, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      A good watch on the subject that I think a lot of Linux enthusiast need to watch:

      “The Tragedy of systemd”

  5. Tancred said on October 29, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Nice Review!

    Please also review plain Debian.

  6. DirCmpUser said on October 29, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    I just flipped over to

    and the first thing I see is that Endeavour is a rolling release so some would say, not suitable for newbies; also (but I suspect of minimal concern now) that it is x64 only, no option for 32-bit.

    Personally I’m a bit jaded with Linux distribution comparison pieces generally on the internet (though this article is OK so far as it goes) because many are not objective and lots don’t go into the weeds of just what the consequences of certain non-headline differences might be.

    For example, while the root source Debian is maintained by volunteers it has long history and massive weight so I would consider using it as a main o/s at home. (Except it is not great for newbies not because it is hard to install but because it does not include a sensible array of system and productivity tools yet has 5 terminal applications at my last count).

    Conversely the excellent MX may be far more limited in its developer backing – how many key individuals are working on it? No idea and all may be fine.

    Conversely again Ubuntu is basically a Debian derivative but backed by a commercial enterprise so it plausibly may have reputational/commercial interests in not screwing up by playing fast and loose with quality control for example.

    Whereas a massive number of distributions on distrowatch and elsewhere seem to be little more than back bedroom tinkering projects by individuals. How do you know if these o/s’s are not materially non-secure whether from incompetence or worse? At least Miscrosoft and Apple have commercial reputations, stockholders’ interests and other things to keep them (kind of) on the ball.

    I also agree with commenter @Bob Blake above.

    What I personally would find useful in a future article is a discussion of whether or not it makes sense to have separate root, home etc partitions or not and what the upside/downside of both is.

    In related mode, discussion of fixed/LTS -vs- rolling releases, with examination of oft-claimed issues like

    a) is a rolling release actually likely to “break” your system periodically as is often commented, yet without statement of the degree of destruction and whether a newbie could fix without spending a week researching on the internet?

    b) fixed/LTS releases: it seems periodically you have to do a complete reinstall with the latest version once support ends. Is that an argument for having a separate home partition for retaining user preferences and program settings? Would they necessarily be any use and work still in the later revision of the operating system you install once existing installation’s support stops?

    Personally I’ve always been appalled at the prospect of having to do a whole new installation – it reminds of any edition of Windows I’ve used from 3.1 to 10 when over time all sorts of applications are added, programs tweaked, links created, printers and other peripherals installed, settings and batch / script files added – but most have to be recreated on the newly updated PC once you “upgrade” to the latest edition of Windows.

    Again, in a future article an examination of this kind of conundrum would be immensely useful. For example, maybe in Linux the upgrade could be less painful if one has a list of the relevant package names and can sort of paste them into a terminal with apt and let it do its stuff installing them all robotically while you go off and do something useful.

    Again that aspect I’ve never seen covered in comments, probably not that I recall in actual review articles themselves either. Too often commenters in particular come across as people who have the time to spend all day hopping from one distribution to another to get a superficial idea of a distribution to equip them to engage in online flame wars – no visible pressure to have use of a machine that is reliable and enables productive output and creativity.

    Last and more obviously, any review would be better imo if it indicated upfront the minimum system specifications stated by the developer in terms at least of cpu, RAM, hdd space; fixed/LTS or rolling distribution; whether or not 32-bit available; and country of origin. (Recall the UK government embargoed Huawei for supposed security reasons – if they were legitimate concerns, would it make sense to use distributions like deepin or for that matter one from any other jurisdiction you know nothing about, e.g.Garuda or Zorin? That is never ever even considered).

    1. Peterc said on October 31, 2021 at 1:34 am


      Lots of valid points, but I have a quibble with this one:

      “At least Miscrosoft and Apple have commercial reputations, stockholders’ interests and other things to keep them (kind of) on the ball.”

      Microsoft and Apple also have MAJOR antitrust, consumer-protection, and tax-dodging vulnerabilities that governments could sue or even prosecute them over, but those same governments’ intelligence and law-enforcement agencies want ready access to everyone’s data and metadata, without warrants or probable cause. I strongly suspect that the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have the upper hand and that threats of suit or prosecution are being leveraged to extort the handover of user data. (Apple puts on a good public show, but I don’t believe for an instant that they don’t hand over user data behind the scenes.)

      In a related field, non-removable cell-phone batteries make it trivial to track and spy on people everywhere, all the time, and phones with user-removable, user-swappable batteries have all but disappeared. Under its new chair, the Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will be championing “the right to repair.” It will be interesting to see whether this results in the reintroduction of cell-phone batteries that can be removed and swapped out without disassembling the case. Call me a cynic, but I suspect it *won’t*, and that “Big Brother,” not just greedy manufacturers milking planned obsolescence, will play a role in that outcome.

    2. Paja said on October 30, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      One of the most useful, clarifying comments I’ve ever read here. I wonder that there is no apparent website platform devoted to just this kind of practical, real world approach to selecting and managing an individual, non-provisioned Linux desktop that, rather than using features as a context for analysis, instead uses the core obligations needed to provision and maintain ones environment, especially across updates.

      I thought ghacks would be the perfect place for that based on the practice of multi-part features here. The Makeusof site ( https://www.makeuseof.com/service/linux/ ) publishes something of this type, but without much analysis.

    3. Klaas Vaak said on October 30, 2021 at 8:32 am

      @DirCmpUser: you raise some valid points. Nevertheless, the Linux world is vast, populated by both tinker-based distros and professional ones.

      For anyone interested in a particular distro it is unavoidable to do some further homework to understand the more intricate details of history, ownership, politics (?) like e.g Huawei-Deepin.

      If a review gets too long and too detailed, though, most people won’t bother to read it.

      In other words, at the end of the day the newbie cannot avoid having to do homework too, and that has nothing to do with “people who have the time to spend all day hopping from one distribution to another”.

      An OS is the most important part of the computer, so untying oneself from the Microsoft/Apple/Google “let me decide what’s good for ya” will by logical consequence involve doing some serious homework.

  7. Radoslaw Grzegorczyk said on October 29, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Deepin desktop does not support on arch and forks. Of course you can install it but it wont work

  8. Nuff Said said on October 29, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    @Bob Blake
    First we have to determine whether you are just an admitted Linux (pronounced: Lyn-ux the girls name, not Line-ux) idiot or one all around. At this point in your trying Linux out experience you’ll need to know something about the hardware you’re to use. As little as you seem to know makes it imperative that you don’t try a Linux distribution on a computer that you use as a daily driver. Or you need to be able to swap out the the HDD that the system runs on (plus disconnecting any secondary data drives you might have hooked up).
    If you can do that, then you can easily try any distro without worry of screwing anything up on your Windows rig.
    That done, just follow this series of articles and download each distro .iso image, transfer it onto a USB stick, boot the computer with the USB stick as the boot device, then just clixck through letting the distro install itself, Let it use all of the HDD hard drive each time you install a new distro. Each distro will wipe the HDD and partition it to its installers choice.
    Experience their default setup and you can start learning specific issues to ask questions about online. Like maybe a piece of hardware doesn’t work like your wi-fi.
    Do not try to dual-boot anything on your daily driver computer. Too much can go wrong which could cause your Windows install not to boot because installing Linux will affect the boot loading process. Better to swap out the HDD and not worry about it or buy an older refurbished PC off of Amazon or Walmart to learn on.
    Nuff Said.

  9. Bob Blake said on October 29, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I would very much like to try out Linux. However regardless of where I have gone on the internet to find out about Linux, every last place assumes you already know the lingo and slang and in-words thus preventing me from understanding what the hell is being said. Is there anyplace anywhere, internet, book, whatever that does not assume you already know Linux in order to even begin to understand the steps one needs to take to try it out. In the past when I have asked what I think is this simple request,. I get snarky responses about being a Windows fool or am directed to even more sites that assume you already know the lingo. How about Linux for morons? Linux for idiots? Yes, I need my hand held to the point where at least I have an understanding of what the words refer to.

    Here is a good example of what I mean – “The Calamares installation utility found in numerous other distributions” – distributions of what? Calamares installation utility for what?

    I am an Linux idiot. I have a laptop and a 1tb ssd drive that I can dedicate to learning Linux. I need HELP and am not ashamed to admit I need it.

    1. Freexus said on October 30, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      Here’s a simplied take on this: Linux is the base. The kernel. You don’t ever SEE the linux thing, it’s the frame of the car if you will. Then comes the GNU part, that would be the engine. You don’t see that either. Different engines have different takes on how to do things, packaging programs (windows have .exe files, these have either .deb or .rpm etc) and so on. Finally we get the DE, desktop environment. That’s the bit you see and interact with. That’s where it gets tricky and overwhelming because all these things can be swapped and mismatched like a crazy superdisco. And we have a horrible amount of distributions that all do the discomambo in their own way. I would reverse-think all this. First use your eyes: compare the visual aspects of all the distros you can find. Pick one that pleases you and that you think looks easy enough to use. Narrow things down. THEN find out what distros have this DE you chose, on offer. Choose wisely, go with a distro that has been around for a long time, then you can be quite sure that the new shiny car you just bought the retailer doesn’t close shop and you have no warranties whatsoever. Distros are often a semi-serious undertaking by very small teams and life happens, they just quit. Narrow it down to the ones that are serious about this. Depending on what computer you plan on using linux on, you may have to dig a little further, if it’s some obscure machine with funky parts. That relates directly to the first part, linux. The kernel. The bits of invisible code that do the communicating with the parts inside your computer. Again, that’s the last thing you should worry about as a new user. It most likely just works. Probably =) Then when you have your new OS up and running you can go wild and cahnge the themes and icons and everything, but don’t get caught up in all that too soon in your search. You will find ENDLESS comments like: You can change this and change that” but that shouldn’t have anything to do with the thing you are doing, you are trying to find a new nice pair of shoes that fit you. Some random linux-dudes online screaming in your face saying you can change the insoles and the laces isn’t helping one bit. Also, read reviews and watch reviews on youtube. Always read the BAD reviews too, they are honest about what is wrong with this thing. Believe me, there’s no such thing as a 100% good distro, but you can get really close. To sum it up: There’s a thousand distros out there, but only 10 good ones and 8 out of those are not for you. You WILL find the one that rocks your world, eventually. This is how I did it, and of course after some time realizing everything can be changed I tried out HUNDREDS of distros after that..too much free time haha.. And you know what, after all those tests and headscratches, I’m back on that first distro that initially caught my eye. It was fun, it really was, but now I don’t want to experiment anymore I just want a rock solid familiar personal OS done my way.

    2. ULBoom said on October 30, 2021 at 2:09 am

      Mint Cinnamon
      1. https://linuxmint.com/
      2. click “download”
      Takes you to a page with the three available desktops:
      3. click “download” next to Cinnamon. Takes you to the download:
      4. download locations are below, pick one and download Cinnamon ISO.
      5. Installation Instructions take you here:
      6. click on Etcher link and download it. I’d use a usb stick vs. DVD, it’s simpler and much faster.
      7. Follow instructions so Etcher can make a bootable USB of your downloaded ISO.
      8. Click NEXT on page bottom, that’s where the actual Mint boot, then installation form the USB drive happens. Follow the instructions, pay attention to the screens shown and pick the same options as in the instructions.
      9. One more NEXT and the OS desktop will appear. This is a so called Live Session, lets you run Mint off the USB to try it out (kinda slow this way…) On the desktop is an icon “Install Linux Mint” click it if you like what you see and install Mint.
      10. Many entry screens and some wait later, you’re up and running.

      May seems daunting but it isn’t, just a lot of steps. Almost identical to installing windows from an ISO via. USB drive, the windows media creation tool is equivalent to Etcher. The difference is windows downloads the ISO when you run the media creation tool; with Mint you download the ISO then use Etcher to make boot media with the ISO.

      Good thing is if you hose anything after the Welcome to Linux Mint screen, you can fix it same as windows, just poke around until you find what you want.

      After you get Mint running, you can learn all the terms. You’ll find Mint not much different than Windows; the desktop is important, what’s under the hood, less so but still nice to know.

      Good luck!

    3. ULBoom said on October 30, 2021 at 1:26 am

      Try Mint w/ Cinnamon, it’s a great place to get a feel for what a decent distro is like. Easy to install, similar to windows. If you can install windows, you can do this one. In fact you can do many of them.

      I’m currently using Ubuntu Budgie, it’s like a cross between windows and mac from a desktop standpoint, you’d like that too. Easy to install. I’d advise against Ubuntu itself, the primary version with the gnome desktop unless you’re really into a phone interface on a computer. Maybe you’d like it; I don’t at all.

      Don’t start with debian or arch, they’re not something an average windows or mac user would want to try and learn, you more or less build them as you go, great for an expert, not a newbie.

      Mint’s a good newbie start, it has a few desktops you can try. One thing that helped me a lot was using a dedicated computer (old laptop in my case) to try distros. If you don’t like one, just install another, the first deletes during install of the new one. Repeat as needed. Use distrowatch to get distros, it’s a great site.

    4. Anonymous said on October 29, 2021 at 11:17 pm

      Virtualbox (https://www.virtualbox.org/) is your friend. It’s an application that can simulate/emulate a virtual computer on which you can install any linux distro to play with without harming your real computer.

      1. Peterc said on October 31, 2021 at 12:54 am

        @Anonymous: Agreed, with the caveats that not every distro will run well (or at all) in VirtualBox, and that VirtualBox updates can introduce their own little glitches that can be hard to distinguish from glitches in the guest OS.

        As an example of the latter, when a Cinnamon desktop theme designed by the Mint/Cinnamon team was installed in a guest Linux OS in VirtualBox a couple of years ago, most program categories in the “Start” [Cinnamon] menu *would not populate*. So far as I was able to determine, the problem did not affect Cinnamon DE users with bare-metal installs, and it could be fixed in VirtualBox installs only by switching to a *third-party* Cinnamon desktop theme, designed by someone *outside* the Mint/Cinnamon team. That’s a fairly minor issue, but it was not a quick-and-easy diagnosis.

        In short, if you install a distro in VirtualBox and it runs perfectly — great! Test the distro to your heart’s content! If it doesn’t, it may not be a problem with the distro itself but rather with its compatibility with VirtualBox. In that case, you’d be better off testing it “live” from a USB, and maybe eventually doing a bare-metal install. (I suppose you could also try different virtualization software, like VMware. I never have.)

    5. Colin Wack said on October 29, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Bob, your frustration is understandable. My first step would be to go to DistroTest.net. It’s a website that lets you test Linux operating systems right in your browser. (I recommend trying Ubuntu, Mint, and Manjaro, but don’t limit yourself to just these.) Each option (called a distrobution or distro for short) will have their own homepage with a getting started guide/wiki page (skip the installation process for now). Play around, see how intuitive it is to find what you need, try installing a program, etc..

      The other thing I would do is watch a youtube video or read an article explaining the Linux file system and how it’s organized as you will need to have a general idea where to find something should you need to.

      It will take time and patience as you try different distros until you find one that fits you. That’s natural; there are a lot of choices out there. When you find one you like, read the installation instructions and have a go.

      The good news is because you have a spare machine you can use for this, you can go nuts and if you make a mistake, if all else fails, just wipe the drive and try again. If you get stuck, try searching your distro’s forum page for a solution, or make a new post if you have to. There are some jerks out there, yes, but there are some excellent community members who can help.

      Best of luck!

    6. Steven said on October 29, 2021 at 7:21 pm

      When my hard drive crashed 8 years ago, I was unable to restore Windows 7 on my laptop. I just jumped in to the Linux waters with both feet not knowing a thing about what the lingo meant. I did fine.
      Based off recommendations at the time, for a user interface (UI) a similarly comfortable to Windows as possible, I chose Linux Mint Mate Edition (which runs the Mate desktop UI). I have since switched to the Cinnamon desktop UI and have recently been experimenting with KDE Plasma on Debian (as Linux Mint does not offer the KDE Plasma desktop).
      I have learned along the way, mostly by web searching the terms as I come across them. For example, a “distribution” (or “distro”) is the a packaged, fully-functional version of the Linux operating system (O/S), including desktop UI, applications snd utility software. It is particularly defined by which “repository” or “store” is used for installing and updating software into your O/S. Calamares is simply the base installation software used by some distributions to package and install the O/S onto your computer from the install media/disks.
      Don’t let your lack of understanding of the lingo keep you from trying Linux. KDE Plasma, in particular, has an amazingly complete and robust help system that is immensely informative. The Linux Mint and KDE online communities, in particular, are very supportive to new users. Try it in a dual boot setup so that you still have Windows to fall back on. You won’t regret it.

    7. ddk said on October 29, 2021 at 5:44 pm

      You might need:


      Online search yields quite a lot of similar info.

    8. just an Ed said on October 29, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      As a fellow dummy, perhaps I can help a bit. When speaking of distributions, the meaning is Linux distributions; of which there are many. Most are built on top of 4 major “base” distributions, Debian, Red Hat, Fedora and Arch. You also have some related operating systems like BSD and Slackware. There are other “distros” (distributions) that are no longer in development that could be called a base distributions, but I’ll spare us both. :-) Some will yell at me for not including this one or that one, but these are the main 4 upon which everything else is built. Technically, it’s not Linux if it doesn’t use the kernel developed by Linus Torvalds. The kernel is the base of the OS upon which everything is built; think the seed upon which the tree grows, because that is generally how the system is built.
      Some of it is really self explanatory, you know. Installation utility, for example installs. No snark intended, but what would you think it installs if we’re speaking of operating systems.
      It is very easy, and is pretty much automated. Only if you want to change the base setup procedures do you need to do anything not familiar to someone who has installed a Windows system; or even set up a newly bought Windows computer.
      As regards what a repository is, think Apple Store, or something similar, where you can get curated programs for audio/video or other tasks where the basic installation doesn’t have something that suits your needs.
      Wikipedia can provide definitions of basic terms if you feel uncertain about something. Also, have a look at this website.
      Myself, I have not done any “distro hopping” as yet. I use Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, which itself is based on Debian. I found mint to be very beginner friendly when coming from Windows. If you’re using Mac, I have read Pop!OS is a good choice; although I’ve no personal experience with it.
      The main thing is not to be afraid of screwing something up. If you’ve a spare computer you can dedicate to experiment with, relax. At worst, you just re-install the OS. I had to. :-)
      Hope this helps.

      1. Karen said on October 30, 2021 at 5:15 pm

        good answer. Thank you.

  10. Paul(us) said on October 29, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    A much appreciated articel Mike.
    I personally never used EndeavourOS.
    One of the nice things of this kind of ghacks.net articles is that it saves me quit a lot of time in researching because by this article I know or I want this specific distro (Or outer because of other articles) software in the mix, of those which I want to research even further to maybe come to a install on my system in the future.

  11. joe said on October 29, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    very good review, Mike!

  12. bee said on October 29, 2021 at 10:16 am

    This is a good article. Do stuff like this often. But don’t lose focus on news though.

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