Manjaro 0.8.5

I’ve written lots of distro reviews over the years, but every once in a while I find a new one that turns out to be a delightful surprise. Manjaro 0.8.5 is definitely one of those. Manjaro is based on Arch Linux, and promises to provide an easy to use distro that is still highly customizable.

Arch Linux has a reputation for not being as accessible for non-technical users as some other distros, so I’m happy to see Manjaro 0.8.5 change that and offer an alternative that combines the power of Arch with ease of use. Like Arch, Manjaro is a rolling release distro. So once you install it, you won’t need to install another release later on to keep it updated to the latest version.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Live Desktop

Manjaro 0.8.5 Live Desktop

Here’s the official description of Manjaro:

Manjaro is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on the independently developed Arch operating system. Within the Linux community, Arch itself is renowned for being an exceptionally fast, powerful, and lightweight distribution that provides access to the very latest cutting edge – and bleeding edge – software. However, Arch is also aimed at more experienced or technically-minded users. As such, it is generally considered to be beyond the reach of those who lack the technical expertise (or persistence) required to use it.

Developed in Austria, France, and Germany, Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. Available in both 32 and 64 bit versions, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users. For newcomers, a user-friendly installer is provided, and the system itself is designed to work fully ‘straight out of the box’ with features including:

Pre-installed desktop environments
Pre-installed graphical applications to easily install software and update your system, and
Pre-installed codecs to play multimedia files

For more experienced – and adventurous – users Manjaro also offers the configurability and versatility to be shaped and moulded in every respect to suit personal taste and preference. Furthermore, a minimalist NET-Edition is also available in both 32 and 64 bit versions. Stripped of any pre-installed software, this provides a base installation on which to build your own system; starting from a command line, be completely free to chose your own greeters, desktops, hardware drivers, software applications, and so on!

Some folks will want to know what the similarities and differences are between Arch and Manjaro, here’s a bit on that from the Manjaro site:

Manjaro shares many of the same features as Arch, including:
Speed, power, and efficiency
Access to the very latest cutting and bleeding edge software
A ‘rolling release’ development model that provides the most up-to-date system possible without the need to install new versions, and
Access to the Arch User Repository (AUR).

However, Manjaro boasts a few extra features of its own, including:
A simplifed, user-friendly installation process
Automatic detection of your computer’s hardware (e.g. graphics cards)
Automatic installation of the necessary software (e.g. graphics drivers) for your system
Its own dedicated software repositories to ensure delivery of fully tested and stable software packages, and
Support for the easy installation and use of multiple kernels.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Preinstall Boot Menu

Manjaro 0.8.5 Preinstall Boot Menu

What’s New in Manjaro 0.8.5

Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

  • Graphical installer introduced
  • Manjaro Settings Manager introduced
  • LXDM/Slim as display manager
  • Linux 3.8.5 as our kernel
  • SystemD 198
  • Xorg 1.14.0
  • Proprietary driver support for AMD and Nvidia graphic cards
  • Additional multimedia support, applications, and access to the AUR have been pre-installed

I’ll have more to say about the installer in that section, but suffice to say it worked very well for me. And it should, with one exception (noted in the problems section), work well for most people including those new to Linux.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Settings Manager

Manjaro 0.8.5 Settings Manager

System Requirements for Manjaro 0.8.5

I was not able to locate a list of system requirements for Manjaro 0.8.5. If you know what they are, please post them in the comments below. I urge the Manjaro developers to include a list on the downloads page for this distro, it makes it much easier for reviewers to present that information to readers.

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Comments

  1. says

    I tried it with the Openbox desktop and I was really impressed. The package management tool is a fairly complex affair but once you get used to it then it works well.

  2. slu says

    I really tried, including the Pacman -Syu thing…nothing worked. After some forum browsing, I saw that I had made the fatal error of downloading and trying to install Manjaro on April 23, the day after they changed the suppositories. It might as well have been April 1. I will wait a week and try again to see if they got it worked out. Not ready for prime time.

  3. seacat says

    To avoid that error in the package manager, you need to run this command from console: sudo pacman -Syu (update package list and upgrade all packages afterwards).

  4. kinu says

    System Requirements, as saw in their wiki:

    One gigabyte (GB) of memory
    Thirty gigabytes (GB) of hard disk space
    A one gigahertz (Ghz) processor
    A high definition (HD) graphics card and monitor
    A broadband internet connection

  5. Arup says

    Sadly Samba sharing neither works in Manjaro nor Chakra, even setup for Samba is so hard whereas in Ubuntu its a breeze.

  6. Old FartLinuxUser says

    this distro could be good. but its not. issues with the pacman updater is something you would get in a beta -1. i did enjoy the desktop ( xfce) 64bit. They what you to go though all this stuff to fix this issue. Why not just do a updated fixed ! iso for download. come on guys, this is like winblows ME stuff

  7. Brian Masinick says

    A beginner could probably get by with this system as long as they were able to just accept the defaults offered by the system. Failing that, it is not too difficult to learn and read. The admittedly large assumption being made here is that someone who is interested in examining and reviewing a complex system of software is probably not a mere button pusher, but rather someone capable of reading and learning. If installing software is completely new, this might be a bit daunting, but frankly – and think of this for a moment, veterans, no more so than whatever we cut our teeth on years or even decades ago.

    In my case, I think that Manjaro Linux is decidedly easier in every respect than the software I used when I first got interested in software. The software today is considerably more complex, but it is also considerably easier to deal with.

    Slackware Linux, somewhere between version 2 and 3, was the first Linux distribution that I attempted to personally install. It was MUCH EASIER to install than commercial UNIX or VMS systems of the seventies and eighties, and also easier than most of its peers at that time, but not even close to the level of automation and configuration available, not just in Manjaro, but in nearly everything else that is available today, so keep that in perspective. This IS doable, but just remember, anything that is your first try isn’t going to be easy the first time; it will be by the fourth or fifth try if you attempted to learn something… more than just a “da, let me try this button next…” approach.

    • Michael says

      Hi Brian,

      Average user or beginner user to linux don’t want to deal with disk partitions and wireless card configuration using the konsole in their first experience with linux. PCLOS or Mageia do a great job during the linux installation along with windows.

      • siawacsh says

        I am convinced Manjaro .8.5.2 is very
        buggy. I was initially persuaded by glowing reviews on another site based around 0.8.4. It’s a shame that version is not archived as a stable option.

        I spent all last week struggling with 8.5.2 to work with my dual boot system. I opted to install the XFCE. The installation was straight forward but when I reboot it would not
        let me login into the desktop . After two attempts it kicked me off into the terminal. Here the terminal did accept my login with user prompt.

        siawacsh@siawacsh$

        I checked psswd file, which
        showed I was listed. Unfortunately, I just did not have the time to do further trouble shooting and since I am rusty with terminal commands I did not know how to copy dmesg and error log messages into an external drive to post on the manjaro forums.

        I decided to give openbox a try. This
        installed and did allow me to login to the desktop. But on reboot I screwd up my boot loader including windows. Fortunately, my data was well backed up. It was more a loss of time rebuilding my dual boot, this time with Zorin.

        So much for the stability of Manjaro… From now on I will be taking reviews with a pinch of salt.

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