Manjaro Linux: Arch Linux For Newbies

Arch Linux has a cult following, but its installation can be a challenge for mere mortals. I have been looking for an Arch-based distribution which offers everything that is good in Arch without having to struggle with it's installation process.

Lead Chakra Linux developer Philip Müller recently quit Chakra Linux and joined Munchen-based Manjaro Linux. Version 0.8.0 of Manjaro Linux was released recently and it looks really promising.

So What Is This Manjaro Linux?
Müller explains, "Manjaro Linux is a Linux Distribution based on well tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and will be 100% compatible with Arch. We manage our repository with our own developed tool called BoxIt which is designed like git."

The goal of the project is to "create a light Linux distribution which is simple, up to date, fast, user friendly and which follows the K.I.S.S principle," says Müller.

Manjaro is using Xfce Desktop Environment, which is lightweight but powerful and is already gaining popularity as Gnome 3 Shell and Unity are struggling with users.

As I stated above and Müller agrees with me "Arch Linux is a great GNU Linux distribution, but installation and configuration requires time and experience." Manjaro tries to solve these problems. "Manjaro Linux provides a more user friendly installation process, utilities for managing graphic drivers, pre-configured Xfce with some useful extras and a GUI Settings Manager is also under development."

But not everyone is an Xfce user, what about Gnome or KDE users? Will Manjaro remain an 'Xfce' centric distribution (like KDE centric Chakra Linux) or will it also offer other desktop environments?

Good news. Müller clarifies, "... if the Xfce desktop environment is not what you prefer. We are pleased to announce that we have also begun development of both KDE and GNOME versions of Manjaro Linux. Once complete, We will have a full suite of Manjaro Linux versions available to suit all types of Linux users. ;)"

Manjaro Linux KDE

While Xfce remains their main desktop which is released as a CD-Edition to build your desktop on, there are Gnome and KDE editions as well. You can download the preferred edition from the links below:

Manjaro Linux KDE edition
Manjaro Linux Gnome edition
Manjaro Linux Xfce edition

One of the biggest challenges for GNU/Linux users is to detect and make their hardware work with their preferred OS. Manjaro has this as a priority, "Another feature will be our hardware detection. A well known problem is libgl and its conflicts with catalyst and nvidia packages. We packed libgl and all proprietary drivers in a different way and manage with mhwd to symlink to the right needed so files. This enables us to support hybrid cards like Nvidia’s optimus system in a simple way. Mhwd can also install all drivers using a database and multiple kernel versions to your system."

Manjaro Linux

I am installing Manjaro in a virtual machine and will be reporting back with my review of this promising distribution.

Edited by: Zachary Bittner