Twenty years ago, I remember that one of my long-term goals was to get comfortable with GNU/Linux. I just knew I was missing out…turns out I was right and now, I’m a veteran.

I knew GNU/Linux had possibilities as an alternate operating system that was no-cost. Then, I knew little about the freedoms associated with free, open source software (FOSS). That didn’t come until much later when a work colleague introduced me to UbuntuLinux, a distribution funded by a zillionaire (Mark Shuttleworth). Ubuntu actually worked compared to my frustrations with YellowDogLinux.

When I installed Ubuntu on my iMac, it opened up a world of possibilities, making an old machine new again, enabling me to hook up a $60 Walmart-purchased HP Scanjet scanner. There were no Mac drivers for the HP Scanjet at the time, but it showed up on Ubuntu…and worked!

An avid user of Toast ($80-$100!!!) at work, I didn’t want to buy the software for home use, along with many other software titles. I simply couldn’t afford it with a new family. But then, GNU/Linux offered up K3b as a way to burn CDs/DVDs…all at no cost. And the list of free, open source software has only grown.

Later, I learned MySQL/PHP as a way to host Moodle course management system and more. It has been a long journey. Through it all, Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, have been constant companions, not to mention other derivatives like PeppermintOS, as well as the whole Debian ecosystem (e.g. Crunchbang #!).

So, having “grown old” with Ubuntu, I’m a bit shocked to be using Manjaro Linux, based off ArchLinux, a distro I haven’t had any luck copying to a flash drive or booting from for an install. J.A. Watson from ZDnet introduced me to it (read ManjaroLinux: A Few of My Favorite Things), and since I was running some Lubuntu derivative that was slow, I decided to give it a try.

J.A. shares the following:

When I first decided to try Manjaro Linux, I honestly didn’t expect to be this enamoured with it. But then again, as I said in my previous post about it, I didn’t expect it to install as easily as it does on everything I have around here. But it did, and it is, and I am, and I have been using it quite a bit the past few days. So without further fanfare, here are my favorite things about Manjaro Linux (so far)….

Not knowing much of how to use Manjaro’s command line installer, I found myself relying on its graphical installer (I prefer command line these days…must be my predilection for words showing through):

In no time, I had all my favorite programs–Chrome, Shutter for screen captures, Filezilla for FTP/SFTP, Telegram’s Webogram for secure texting from a computer, Secure-Delete, Keepass2–installed. I also downloaded ParanoiaWorks’s text and file encryption tools, both working flawlessly with the installed Java. This last point highlights the fact that Manjaro comes loaded with tons of great software already, ranging from LibreOffice to VLC Media Player.

Surprisingly, it all seemed so easy. Of course, it’s easy on Ubuntu, as well. The novelty of something different, perhaps. JA Watson writes in, Hands-On with Manjaro:

I have installed Manjaro on six of my systems: three Xfce and three KDE, four of them are UEFI firmware systems, the other two are MBR boot, and a couple of them have some sort of hardware that has been troublesome with other distributions. Every one of them installed with no problem, and the troublesome hardware was handled with minimal effort.

What’s also pretty amazing is that everything just works. I honestly can’t recall such easy setup in a long time. There was always a whole bunch of something to do or trouble-shoot. Dare I say it? Manjaro is so good I’m bored…the tinkerer in me finds himself itching for the unnecessary command line.

As a result, I was prepared to translate my sudo apt-get install programname (how you install stuff on Ubuntu and Debian Linux) into ManjaroLinux a la sudo pacman -S programname …all thanks to the Pacman Rosetta wiki page:

  • Install a package(s) by name pacman -S
  • Remove a package(s) by name pacman -Rc
  • Upgrade Packages – Install packages which have an older version already installed pacman -Syu
  • Upgrade Packages – pacman -Syu
  • Remove dependencies that are no longer needed, because e.g. the package which needed the dependencies was removed. pacman -Qdtq | pacman -Rs 

It isn’t perfect, though. Sometimes, Manjaro restarts itself…I’m not sure if it’s a key combination causing that, or an update. And, I have been unsuccessful in turning off the keypad…but that’s because I haven’t spent enough time reading the Manjaro forums, chock-full of wisdom. But wait, a two second google search yields this link with a solution (…and now, 30 seconds later, I’ve just applied the solution, solving 99% of the issues I had with Manjaro).

Kudos to the Manjaro Linux team for a great distro!

Update 1/23/2015: As nice as Manjaro is, I decided to go back to Debian Wheezy (Crunchbang.org) because, well, Manjaro was running slow. #! is a lot faster, IMHO.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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