Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: Manjaro
Manjaro Linux is rated number three on the popular rankings site, Distrowatch, based on number of hits to the Distrowatch page for the OS, not based on actual downloads / user-base. Check out my previous reviews of MX Linux and EndeavourOS here.
For those unfamiliar with Manjaro, it’s an Arch Linux based distribution that is often nicknamed “The Ubuntu of Arch” for it’s user-friendly GUI tools and beginner-friendly approach to the Arch Linux ways of doing things. Manjaro uses its own dedicated software repositories rather than the Arch Linux ones, but there is also access to the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR) that Arch users are familiar with.
Manjaro comes in multiple ‘flavours’, utilizing different Desktop Environments, such as:
- KDE Plasma
There are also community-maintained flavours available on the Manjaro downloads page, featuring:
Manjaro uses the GUI installer Calamares, featured in other distributions, which is a friendly and easy to use way of installing the OS; anyone with even very basic experience in OS installations will find Calamares simple and efficient to use.
For this installation and review I opted for KDE Plasma.
- Ryzen 5 3500X
- 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
- System installed on a SATA SSD
The Manjaro installation via Live-USB was quick, easy, and painless. Calamares is my favourite GUI installation utility, making installations very simplistic. There are easy selectable options for disk erasure, replacing partitions, installation alongside existing systems, and custom partition management all readily available for whatever your specific needs are.
Included Software and Features
Though Manjaro is based off Arch Linux, it’s not Arch, and it is not as minimal as Arch or other Arch based systems. However, Manjaro KDE did not come with an excessive amount of bloat. There are the basic common applications like a Music player in the form of the application Elisa, VLC for videos, OpenOffice for your office needs, as well as Firefox, Thunderbird, and Steam all pre-installed.
Manjaro also has some handy graphical tools such as the awesome MHWD (Manjaro Hardware Detection) tool which allows for easily installing proprietary and open source drivers such as for your NVIDIA Video card. As well, the Pamac utility makes searching for and installing packages from both the Manjaro Repositories as well as the AUR a simple task. Manjaro is highly recommended for inexperienced users in this regard, as you can do almost all tasks without the need of the terminal, even installing new Kernel versions via a handy GUI tool.
Manjaro, like other Arch based systems, is very quick and responsive, when I tested things out in the KDE environment. With five browser tabs open to various sites, OpenOffice running, my three monitors connected, and Discord running, I used less than 5% of my CPU power, and under 2GB of RAM. Any modern PC will have zero issues having a smooth experience with this setup.
I used to exclusively run Manjaro on my home system, because of its power, simplicity, and my love of Arch based systems. While I don’t currently, I have zero troubles recommending this OS to anyone who wants to use an Arch based system, but not Arch itself. If you’re looking for a nice, easy to use system with plenty of GUI tools, but the power and flexibility of Arch, you won’t be disappointed using Manjaro; at least in my opinion!
Have you used Manjaro? What did you think of it? Tell us in the comments!Advertisement