Since coming to Linux full time, I’ve been running Kubuntu for about a year. It’s been a breath of fresh air since leaving Windows/Mac and I never plan on going back to a data-mining, proprietary OS. For the most part, my experience has been great. One thing that has been on my mind however is the old Debian vs. Arch debate. I am definitely an end-user. I don’t have the time to distro-hop and fiddle with the configuration of the OS. That being said, I’ve run into a few issues with packages on Kubuntu (currently on 19.04). It seems that Canonical is allowing several packages in their official repository to languish without updates. I realize that this is especially apparent to me because I’m not running the LTS (I’m on a newer machine and need the updated hardware compatibility). That being said, the general solution to this seems to be SNAP/FlatPak which I’ve embraced. Unfortunately, I’ve run into compatibility and functionality issues, probably due to the sand-boxing of these types of packages. And so I’ve gone back to adding and maintaining repositories for several different mainstream apps. All of this has got me thinking about Manjaro. I would like to stay with KDE Plasma and Manjaro KDE certainly seems like a highly regarded distro. I’ve never worked on an Arch-based system and, while I have the desire to learn Arch, I don’t have time to sink into it at this point in my life. I need a functional and up to date system out of the box. I like the idea of the AUR however and Manjaro is marketed as Arch for the masses… would it be a big undertaking for someone used to Debian derivatives to move into Manjaro without having to make a major time investment? Other than package management (which seems to be better in Manjaro), are there other advantages/disadvantages that I should be aware of?
Manjaro Plasma is excellent in my experience. You have enough experience now to run an Arch-based system without any issues that I can think of up front. There are certainly differences, particularly apt vs. pacman but Manjaro has either octopi or pamac installed for graphical package management.
Otherwise, I don’t think you’ll see a huge difference other than newer packages and possibly a difference in video driver depending on what system you have. For me on a Dell XPS laptop, both Kubuntu and Manjaro (or any Arch really) run fine. They handle the hybrid graphics differently though. Ubuntu has PRIME switching and Manjaro uses Bumblebee I believe. Maybe not even relevant to you. Just thinking of thing that you might run into.
Finally, it’s probably worth your time to try it in a virtual machine before wiping Kubuntu, just in case there’s something you don’t like about Manjaro.
Manjaro is a good distro, I think. And you can choose between a lot of DEs and WMs for your first install.
As is it an Arch there are some things you should do to keep it running perfectly. But there are lots of tutorials on Youtube or on the excellent ArchWiki (I love it).
And absolute advantage is imho this: if you install it with the architect installer and a working network connection you get an up to date installation with no update needed.
I wouldn’t say it’s a big undertaking, but definitely play around in a virtual machine as Eric suggested before switching. I went from Ubuntu to Manjaro Plasma and loved it. I missed the familiarity of apt, but Octopi made it easy enough for me to get everything I needed installed. There’s also plenty of help available with the Arch wiki and Manjaro forums. Also make sure you install something like Timeshift. I haven’t had to use it yet, but it’s nice to have just in case.
I’ve used and preferred .deb package based systems for years (since 2003 anyway) and still have nightmares about “RPM Hell” from before that (presumably sorted by now). However I’ve had Manjaro installed on one machine for 7 or 8 months no issues, and ArcoLinux on others for longer. Yes, there is a bit of learning to do concerning updating and adding packages (I steer clear of the AUR for the most part) but it’s not rocket science.
Once installed and set up I don’t find either Arch based distro to be harder to use than my favourite MX Linux, Debian or Sparky (I have an “allergy” to Ubuntu and Ubuntu based distros - pure personal prejudice, not rational, and I still thngk they work well, just not for me).
I don’t need the hardware compatibility stuff as my hardware isn’t new enough to need it, is it really only available via Arch based distros? or is it backported into other kernel versions used by other distros.
Stop worrying about Arch and Arch based distros, they are still Linux once up and running and Manjaro (and Arco… and EndearvourOS is showing much promise) is easy to install without the faffing about of “the Arch way”.
Hello . . . I can appreciate the sentiments in your post having made the move from an Ubuntu system after over 10 years to an Arch-based system about 9 months ago. In my own experience (and I started out on Antergos with Plasma and am currently running Arcolinux with Plasma), it’s a move that I wish I’d made a long time ago.
Others already talked about the technical stuff that would have crossed my mind, but I just wanted to echo the fact that moving to Manjaro probably won’t be that drastic of a change insofar as time spent maintaining it.
Regardless which direction you choose, as @Fish mentioned, Timeshift is an excellent tool to have on your system no matter the distro.
Pamac can be a little buggy sometimes in my experience, like freezing up, hanging on installs, but that being said, it has never been a huge issue, and it does not affect my thoughts of Arch-based distros. The AUR has anything you can think of, and then some.
It is hard to leave something that is configured to what you like and you are comfortable with. My advice is to play with it in a VM. Download some iso’s, try them live, or build it from the ground up with a minimal Arch install in Virtualbox. That way you can do it a little at a time, and at your own pace. If you don’t like it, then no damage done. If you do, then you have a head start and valuable experience.
I switched from Ubuntu and Xubuntu to Manjaro XFCE early summer. There’s not much difference when actually using either distro. I’ve had no problems with Pamac, but the Arch KDE uses Octopi, which I’ve used and not had any problems either. Just remember if you use the AUR, know what you are installing, and Google is your friend. The Arch Wiki is good but can be hard to digest sometimes. YouTube has a lot of tutorials that can help also.
In terminal, sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade is sudo pacman -Syu, just a small learning curve, but I mostly use the pamac (or Octopi in KDE) gui for my updates and installations.
The reason I changed was to get to a rolling release. I’ve never been one for the LTS release and after a new Ubuntu release, my laptop would get sluggish unless I re-installed whatever flavor I was running in Ubuntu. I haven’t run Manjaro long enough t see how the rolling releases affect my laptop, but I have gone thru 3 major changes with Manjaro and have not had any problems.
No matter what you do, do what makes you feel comfortable, whether it be Manjaro, KDE Neon, Fedora, or Debian. All of these have KDE. Just remember KDE Neon is not really a distro but a way to test KDE with the latest updates.
Big advocate for Manjaro here, especially over Ubuntu-based distros. I swapped from Ubuntu Budgie to Manjaro about 3 months ago and I’m loving it
I much prefer the Manjaro/Arch method of handling repos/packages, and I’m a big fan of the AUR in both distros. I hated handling PPAs in Ubuntu, as half the time one of them would break, meaning fiddling to get it fixed so I could do a dist-upgrade/update.
Arch & Manjaro for me have been much better:
Better hardware compatibility (xbox controllers work right away in Arch/Manjaro, not in Ubuntu)
More up to date software
More stable (honestly, both have been rock solid)
Sense of superiority guaranteed
I installed Arch at the weekend for the first, and I’m using it as my experimentation & learning system, as I’m generally new to using Linux as my sole OS, away from Windows completely, which for me was a big jump as the main thing keeping me on Windows were my hundreds of games, the vast majority of which now thankfully work in Linux
It’s been a fun experience, and it’s very well worth your while to make the switch IMO
Manjaro is great, and the people behind this distribution are friendly and cool. 4 weeks ago I did an interview with Philip and Bernhard on my german channel.
You might experience some issues here and there, because it is rolling release. That’s the nature of the beast. But most of the time you can solve problems quickly with some help in the forums.
Manjaro just founded a company. That means , there is even more time for fixing bugs and for taking care of the community.
They always listen!
It is definitely worth to check Manjaro in a Virtual Machine.
If you like it, give it a “Go”!