Manjaro Linux is one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet and impressively, one of the top three over at the ever popular website Distrowatch but does it hold up as something you should run as a daily driver? Find out in this Manjaro 17 Review.
Installation is exactly the same as it has been for as long as I can remember so I'm not going to get into how it works. It's pretty much identical to every Linux distribution from that standpoint.
The particular edition I'm testing is the KDE release since it's a bit more resource heavy than the XFCE edition, which was released at the same time.
Boot-up was, as expected, quite fast. Manjaro has always impressed me from a speed perspective. One of the nice features that Manjaro (and a handful of other distributions) include is a handy welcome window. From a user experience perspective, this is a good way to introduce users to their new environment and offer them some resources to help them familiarize themselves. I've always been a big fan of these little touches.
For those who speak different languages and prefer to switch to something more native, the top left drop down allows you to switch quickly and easily.
The Desktop Environment
By default, Manjaro comes packed with software such as Firefox, LibreOffice, Cantata for your music library and more.
To customize your desktop, you have access to a host of beautiful widgets you can add to your desktop. Simply right click on your desktop and choose add widgets to browse the list of available ones.
Aside from the obvious beauty of the Plasma desktop, Manjaro provides some of their own integrated software as well such as the Manjaro Settings Manager which allows you to select from a number of available kernels, download additional language packs and install third party drivers for your hardware. You can access it either from the small M icon in the system tray by the clock or under Settings in the menu.
Switching kernels is incredibly easy. Just be careful in doing so. I wouldn't recommend just swapping it out unless you know what you are doing or have a distinct purpose for doing so.
Cantatta is included as the default music player. I'm not super familiar with it as I tend to prefer Clementine but in a quick test, it streamed music without issue.
Steam appears to be included with this release as well but sadly, it does not launch correctly. It starts the download process and then dies shortly thereafter.
I noticed while doing a quick search that a steam_install_workaround script was also included but unfortunately it failed too. Installing the 32bit libraries is required in order to get Steam to launch properly but it really should work out of the box if included, especially when it's the only thing under games that's installed by default.
Software is managed with the easy to use Octopi package manager and it continued to work for me as intended without issue.
I was also pleased to see that Yakuake, the popular drop down terminal emulator was also installed by default, saving me a bit of time doing it myself.
In summary, Manjaro 17 feels like a pretty solid release. Aside from the aforementioned Steam launch issue, I came across no deal breakers and was able to work within the environment without issue. Everything felt fast and lean; something I've come to expect from Archlinux based releases; and worked well. If you suffer from distro hopping syndrome like myself, give it a shot and let me know your thoughts. Also, if you are aware of any issues with this release, please let me know in the comments.
You can grab your copy of Manjaro from their website here: Manjaro Linux