Ubuntu has been my favorite Linux distribution for more than a decade. But for the first time in a long time, I was desperate. I am now leading Manjaro and could not be happier. It's just so good!
Ubuntu is still great too!
I still rate Ubuntu very high and have great respect for Canonical. In the corporate world, no one can match the success Red Hat has achieved in promoting Linux as a serious enterprise infrastructure tool. You could put forward the same argument for Canonical and make the success of making Linux available to newbies on the Linux desktop.
Many people using Linux for the first time put a damper on Ubuntu. Once they get used to it and gain some experience, some people switch to other distributions. I have heard the same story many times, both personally and online. People tell me they're on a particular distribution ̵
No business or company is perfect. Canonical has taken some ill-considered steps over the years. For example, transfer the Unity desktop to all other computers to maximize screen space on netbooks. But revealing and reassuring, it has listened to its user base and reversed some of those decisions. The Amazon search results, which were removed by default, are a good example. Overall, I consider Canonical in the Linux field still a driving force. My decision to move did not have anything to do with the organization behind Ubuntu.
Why did I move to Manjaro?
Manjaro speeds past Ubuntu
For research and other purposes, I manage many VirtualBox images of various Linux distributions. It was barely noticeable that Manjaro in a virtual machine was almost as fast as Ubuntu running on my hardware.
This was a convincing factor as I often had to compile large codebases. The faster my computer can accomplish this task, the faster I can proceed to the next one.
Manjaro charges faster applications, switches between them, switches to other workspaces and moves up and down. And all that adds up.
Freshly installed operating systems are always fast in the beginning. So is it a fair comparison? I think so. It replaced Disco Dingo 19.04, a new installation at the end of April this year. Ubuntu should not have slowed much in this short time. I've used GNOME on Ubuntu and GNOME on Manjaro, although Manjaro also offers Xfce, KDE, and command-line installations.
So what can explain the speed advantages? Let's take a look at the number of services and daemons that are running by default. They each claim system resources, such as Low memory and some kernel time. You can check the enabled services and daemons by typing the following command in a terminal window:
systemctl list-unit-files --state = enabled -no-pager
The result under Ubuntu:
The result on Manjaro:
These are two new installations. As you can see, Manjaro has 24 activated daemons and Ubuntu 90. This kind of overhead can be quite effective.
Your mileage may vary, but for me, speed was a big plus for Manjaro.  Manjaro is a lean, mean Linux machine
Ubuntu comes with a wealth of applications. Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and incorporates many of its principles and philosophies, so it takes a different approach.
Compared to Ubuntu, Manjaro seems malnourished. You get a slimmed down installation – which means a quick installation time – and then decide which applications you need. It ships with an email client, a web browser, an office suite, and several other components. Otherwise, decide which applications you want to use and install them.
Manjaro wants a go-cart built by you to drive yourself. Ubuntu feels like a large, comfortable and well-equipped motorhome. There is something to be said for both approaches. It may seem more logical for you to turn on the light and load it only with what you want. If you prefer the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach, then this is a point for Ubuntu.
Manjaro does not carry his minimalism as far as Arch Linux. With Arch, you really start with a blank board and adjust the settings manually. You edit one file to set your keyboard layout and another to set your terminal fonts. When the default installation of Arch is complete, a Linux instance is executed on the command line. Do you want a graphical desktop environment? Go on – there is a wide choice. Choose one, install and configure it.
When Manjaro feels like a homemade go-cart, Arch wants to melt their own iron ore to make the materials needed to make the go-kart. But that's the glory of Arch – nothing is predetermined.
If you're not a purist or you do not need that level of granularity, Manjaro is probably as close to unadulterated Linux as you are. Compared to Ubuntu it is a completely different experience. It feels clean, clear and appealing.
If you've ever used an official Google smartphone like a Nexus or Pixel and experienced naked Android, you appreciate the difference. With Google smartphones, you will not get any "improvement" from another manufacturer between you and the operating system and tools.
That's how Manjaro feels, that's another point of mine.
Bleeding Edge Rolling Releases
Ubuntu has two regular releases each year: one in April and one in October. It is referred to as a hard-release or point-release system. Applications and functions are developed and tested. When they are ready, they will be submitted for inclusion in the next version. When the release date arrives, the entire updated distribution will be made available.
Continuous publishing updates the applications in the repositories as soon as they pass the developer tests and possibly some acceptance tests. They are then available for download. There are always new updates. They do not get the big jump in the next version of the whole distribution. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
For a model with ongoing releases, you do not have to upgrade the system twice a year. You get new features, kernels, and applications as they become available. But the price you pay can be stability. They are at the "bleeding limit" because there may be cuts out here.
Manjaro takes the biggest risk for the rolling model by delaying the release of new applications and features for several weeks. Once tested and proven to be safe, they are provided but things can slip through the net.
Of course it's easier to track them down if something does not work anymore because you know what you last updated. This facilitates rolling back considerably. That is, as long as you notice the problem shortly after the upgrade or the installation or inform yourself about it and connect it with the last update.
Trying to figure out where it is took almost two days my Ethernet connection was gone. It was as if it physically did not exist. There was no trace of it in any command line or GUI tools. Eventually it was identified as a self-inflicted wound. I have created a version of VirtualBox from mismatched software modules. My fault!
Also, too often after Ubuntu points have been released, an application that I'm constantly using or something I'm relying on does not work. Why did I have to tinker with the settings of my Samba SMB mount entries in
fstab for each upgrade?
Manjaro has a clean, unobtrusive method to keep you up to date. I like that because you can choose how close you want to to the bleeding line – close enough that you can see it from here, or stand directly on it.
Of course, many people who use Linux do not want to be anywhere near it. Period. Long-term support and stability with long, two-year intervals between upgrades are just right for me.
The ongoing distribution model has convinced me. Another point for Manjaro.
Better Third-Party Software Repositories
apt-get package manager and Ubuntu software applications work flawlessly. They are a little lengthy and chunky in places, but they work. And because Ubuntu is so popular, many applications that are not part of the core distribution, such as For example, Slack has a ".deb" file to simplify the installation.
What does not work so well is the administration of personal package archives (PPAs). A PPA is a repository for one or more applications, usually by an independent developer. To use a PPA, add it to your system in a terminal window and then execute
sudo apt-get update . You can then install the software with
sudo apt-get .
This process does not take much time, but managing downstream PPAs is problematic. They should be deleted when they expire. You will need to turn it back on when you reinstall Ubuntu. They may be abandoned and orphaned without notice.
For many people, Ubuntu upgrades work well, but for others Ubuntu upgrades do not work. For those in the unlucky camp, reinstalling is required to switch to the new version. Restoring all PPAs after reinstalling the system quickly becomes troublesome.
The Manjaro Repository is a large collection of software. It is controlled and managed by community volunteers. Package management in Manjaro is well prepared – there are several choices on the command line and in the GUI.
If you use Manjaro, you also have access to the Arch User Repository (AUR). The AUR is probably the largest repository for each distribution. It is certainly stocked with the freshest products.
Again there is yin and yang, which is at the blood's edge. However, if you want or need something that has not yet made it into the Manjaro repository, it's probably available in the AUR.
As always with Linux, the choice is yours. You do not have to use the AUR at all if you do not want to. In fact, the security lock is enabled by default. You must log in to use the AUR.
Package management in Manjaro like a breath of fresh air. They have the standard repository and thrill seekers can experiment with the AUR. This is simplicity itself compared to a variety of PPAs.
Point to Manjaro.
Before You Jump
Before you install a new distribution, it's a good idea to try it out first. If you have spare hardware, you should use it and make sure the distribution meets your expectations before you flash your main computer.
You can also boot from a Manjaro Live CD to watch Manjaro and kick the tires. However, performance is poor because of the throughput bottleneck of the CD-ROM drive. Live USB is also an option, but performance depends on the USB drive. You will not have the same experience with any of these options as with the installation on your hardware.
If you use VirtualBox or QEMU, you can boot the new distribution in a virtual machine.
See also the great resource at DistroTest. You can start a virtual machine selected from hundreds of supported Linux distributions. You can test most distributions with a selection of desktop environments. There are over 700 variations that you can test.
Below that is all Linux
So my main reasons are:
- speed. No bloat.
- Rolling release model.
- Simple package management.
Of course, everything is subjective, but maybe some of them are important to you as well.
Knowing Which Applications You Need and Which Are Existing When moving from one distribution to another, this is one of the benefits of Linux. You can move quickly and feel at home.
There's always something to discover, but that's a good thing – never stop learning!