Two years of Manjaro Linux and counting

I grew up fond of the Linux operating system for a long time. I’ve been in my 20’s a die-hard fan of Debian and I’m still a die-hard fan for it whenever I’m put in the situation of installing a production-grade environment, tending to trust the community process that goes on there to validate the packages before they arrive to the “stable” repositories.

Long time ago, I was also a Gentoo fan, because being the owner of an dual-core Intel back in the time, I needed to effectively squeeze every CPU cycle out of the machine. I couldn’t afford switching PCs on an yearly basis. So I spend days if not weeks compiling and recompiling KDE until it fit my purpose.

When I entered the job market properly I didn’t have this time to invest and it didn’t make sense to loose that time, so I defaulted back to Debian as my active system for 6 or more years. A couple of years ago, I think somewhere around fall 2017, I got back to searching for an operating system that was modern but stable. I looked at Arch Linux, but the installation procedure threw me off, reminding me of the old Gentoo days when you’d install from a stage3 tarball and good luck with that.

Luckily, through searching alternatives to Arch Linux I stumbled over Manjaro Linux. Their team was smaller just a few years ago but as I was checking the site, I see it grew quite a bit. Happy user here to see more contributors helping the project grow.

It’s been two years since I’ve switched over to Manjaro and happily stayed here as an active, daily and happy user for my desktop use. For most of the time it’s been quite stable, not requiring an re-installation to fix subtle rolling release bugs. To jot down some of the motives that make me continue to use it in the upcoming years:

  • the availability of latest kernels which for me it seems to continue to carry on to fix bugs in my old hardware. While in a Debian based systems I’d get boot-up error messages, I’ve seen these get fixed version by version since using Manjaro to the point it only prints me one line and that is reading the journal of /dev/sda;
  • the availability of the Arch repository, granting the latest versions of pretty much anything. I’m a gamer so Parsec (through Paperspace.com or similar) was important for me so I can keep playing my Windows games while on Linux, without IOMMU virtualization (I have some old hardware that doesn’t support pushing the PCI slots through to the VM machine). Other important applications would be Plex, KeepassXC, Spotify and more, all available as part of the Arch repository and updated by somebody not as lazy as me;
  • the almost instant availability of the KDE/Plasma Desktop of which I am a huge fan (I’m not eating the Gnome 3 food here) because of it’s abundance of features allowing customization of pretty much any graphical element on the screen, an aspect that is important for me as an individual (by comparison, Gnome lacks much in this aspect);
  • the bleeding edge feel of Gentoo/Arch, but the stability of Debian through curated repositories maintained by the Manjaro team so that not every breaking change from Arch gets to the users, with most of the hardware problems already handled by the excellent MHWD pre-installed application which allows you to simple choose HW drivers for all your peripherals, including here the GPU which can be either using open-source drivers or the upstream (in my case) NVidia ones, depending on your needs;

Guess those would be it, at least the top 3 + 1 conclusion. There may be other aspects equally important, but this come fresh to mind. Compared to my Debian years, where I constantly switched between Windows 10 and Debian whenever the other operating system bugged me much, since defaulting to Manjaro I haven’t switched back to Windows and I think I’ll never do, unless only to run Windows from a virtual machine to use some Windows-only application if I can’t find an alternative.