Although Manjaro is Arch-based and Arch compatible, it is not Arch. As such, far from being just an an easy-to-install or pre-configured version of Arch, Manjaro is actually a very different kind of beast.
In fact, the differences between Manjaro and Arch are far greater than the differences between the popular Ubuntu distribution and its many derivatives, including Mint and Zorin. To help provide a clearer understanding of Manjaro, a few of its main features have been outlined.
To ensure continued stability and reliability, Manjaro utilises its own dedicated software repositories. With the exception of the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR), Manjaro systems do not – and cannot – access the official Arch repositories. More specifically, software packages initially provided by the official Arch repositories will first be thoroughly tested (and if necessary, patched), prior to being released to Manjaro's own Stable Repositories for public use.
A consequence of accommodating this testing process is that Manjaro will never be quite as bleeding-edge as Arch; software may be released to the stable repositories days, weeks, or potentially even months later. However, users who wish to access the very latest releases can still do so by enabling access to the first stage Unstable Repositories or the second stage Testing Repositories… at their own risk!
Exclusive User-Friendly Tools
Another feature that sets Manjaro apart from Arch and other Arch-based distributions is its focus on user-friendliness and accessibility.
This extends far beyond just providing an easy installer and pre-configured desktop environments.
Manjaro also provides a range of powerful tools developed exclusively by the Manjaro Team, including:
- Manjaro HardWare Detection (mhwd): the mhwd command enables the automatic detection and configuration of your hardware for you, usually undertaken during the installation process. This includes support for hybrid graphics cards, as well as setting everything up (e.g. module dependencies) for Virtualbox virtual machine installations. However, it can also be used by users with limited technical knowledge to easily undertake this task themselves, too.
- Manjaro HardWare Detection Kernel (mhwd-kernel): While automatic support for the use of multiple kernels is a defining feature of Manjaro, the mhwd-kernel command also empowers users with no technical knowledge to easily manage them as well. This includes automatically updating any newly installed kernels with any modules being used, such as those required to run Manjaro within Virtualbox.
- Pacman Graphical User Interface (pacman-gui): Arch and Arch-based systems traditionally rely on the use of a command line terminal, which can be an intimidating prospect for many new users. As such, the user-friendly pacman-gui has been designed to enable users to undertake a range of common tasks - such as updating the system and installing new software applications – with the click of a button.
Rolling Release Development Model
Many Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu) employ the Standard Release Development Model, whereby new versions are periodically released (e.g. every six months), and must be installed over older versions in order to enable access to any new features provided. It is not possible to simply update an existing installation.
However, this is entirely possible with Manjaro, which employs a Rolling Release Development Model, whereby an existing installation will be continually updated. This means that once installed, it will not be necessary to ever re-install a later release in order to enjoy the most up-to-date system possible. In fact, it's entirely feasible to install an older release (e.g. 0.8.0), and with a single update, have exactly the same system as provided by the latest release! The only difference may be with the pre-installed applications provided with later releases, which can easily be downloaded from the repositories.
So, in Conclusion…
Manjaro is definitely a beast, but a very different kind of beast than Arch. Fast, powerful, and always up to date, Manjaro provides all the benefits of an Arch operating system, but with an especial emphasis on stability, user-friendliness and accessibility for newcomers and experienced users alike.
Community, Wiki and Documentation
Community, Wiki and Documentation
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