Yeah yeah, i’m late to the party, but i just now figured out that Manjaro Linux has captured the number one spot on Distrowatch, displacing Linux Mint. This happened some time within the last few months apparently.
If you’re new to Linux, or want to remove the Windows virus, read on, else this could be about as interesting watching ice melt.
I find Manjaro’s move to top dog status interesting considering it’s based on Arch Linux which is notorious for being one of the more difficult flavors of Linux to install, configure and use. Manjaro however is specifically designed to be an easy-to-use Arch, complete with a capable graphical installer, package manager and software.
I started with Linux Mint a few years ago and i recommend it to anyone wanting to free themselves from the death grip of Microsoft. It’s simple to install, feature rich and is probably one of the most polished and easiest to use distributions for newcomers. I became a bit frustrated with it because it’s a ‘point’ release, meaning you have to re-install it when a new version hits the streets which, as i recall, was about every six months. Plus it’s based on the LTS (long term support) version of Ubuntu which, in turn, is based on Debian. What that means is that the software in the Mint repository is often kinda old, forcing many to seek out lots of ‘untrusted’ PPAs, or figure out how to compile packages from source code.
Manjaro, on the other hand, is a rolling release, same as Arch, meaning you install it once and keep applying updates for ever more, in theory. Manjaro has it’s own repository of considerable size, but one can also enable the AUR (Arch User Repository) which is also quite large (and can also get you in quite a bit of trouble).
Arch is pretty cutting edge and updates come fast and hard and can sometimes break the system. Manjaro receives a lot of updates too, many of which are quite large and affect somewhere around 100 packages at a shot, but the nice folks that work on the project alleviate some of the scariness by kicking the tires before turning packages loose.
I don’t know that Manjaro is suitable for beginners, but it is definitely an attractive distribution. I’ve been using it for a few months and so far haven’t had any major problems. If you’re new to Linux and want to try it, just be sure to keep your data safe and learn first how to recover a busted system in the event something does explode, as has happened in the past.