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.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Settings
Manjaro 0.8.5 Settings

Manjaro 0.8.5 Download

You can download Manjaro 0.8.5 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 1.32 GB.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBoxVMWare, or Parallels before running it on real hardware. And if you’re totally new to Linux, then you might want to check out some of the books about linux available on amazon.

You can get Manjaro 0.8.5 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Xfce, and Openbox versions are available at the download link above. You can also get community releases that include KDE, LXDE, MATE, and Cinnamon.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Installation

The Manjaro 0.8.5 installer is quite easy to use, and it’s also very fast. The Manjaro developers have wisely forked from Linux Mint, and it shows in the elegance of the installer. You can see a walk through of the install at the Manjaro Wiki.

While you are doing your install, you can watch a slideshow that provides some helpful information about this distro. If you are completely new to Manjaro, I recommend that you watch the slideshow, it’ll help you hit the ground running when your install is finished.

Note that Manjaro 0.8.5 is a live distro, so you can just boot off a disc or run it live in a virtual machine before trying to do an install. I think you’ll be pleased enough with it though to do an actual install.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Hard Disk
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Hard Disk
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Assign Root Partition
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Assign Root Partition
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install User Info
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install User Info
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Slideshow
Manjaro 0.8.5 Install Slideshow
Manjaro 0.8.5 Login Screen
Manjaro 0.8.5 Login Screen

The Manjaro 0.8.5 Desktop

The Manjaro desktop comes with an attractive Linux Mint-ish wallpaper. The desktop has just Home,  File System and Trash icons, so it’s not overloaded with icons.

You can access the menus by clicking the green button in the upper left corner on the panel, and you can access time, volume, networking, software updates, etc. via the icons on the right of the top panel.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Desktop
Manjaro 0.8.5 Desktop
Manjaro 0.8.5 Menu
Manjaro 0.8.5 Menu

Linux Software Included in Manjaro 0.8.5

Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Games
Steam

Graphics
GIMP
Viewnior

Internet
Avahi SSH Server Browser
Avahi VNC Server Browser
Firefox
Pidgin
Thunderbird
XChat IRC

Multimedia
Audio Mixer
PNMixer
PulseAudio Volume Control
QT V4L2 Test Utility
VLC Media Player
Xfburn
Xnoise

Office
Dictionary
LibreOffice
Orage Calendar
Orage Globaltime

Linux Software Management Tools in Manjaro 0.8.5

Manjaro 0.8.5 uses Pamac as its software manager. Right now it can best be classified as functional but not elegant. If Manjaro 0.8.5 has a weakness as a desktop distro, this is it. If you compare Pamac with the Ubuntu Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager, it fares very poorly.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Package Manager
Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Package Manager
Manjaro 0.8.5 Update Manager
Manjaro 0.8.5 Update Manager

However, it’s still very early for Manjaro. I suspect (and hope) that we’ll see significant improvements to Pamac that will eventually put it into the same league as Linux Mint and Ubuntu’s software management tools.

Problems & Headaches Found in Manjaro 0.8.5

I found the same problem with the Manjaro 0.8.5 installer that I noticed with the last version of Linux Mint Debian Edition. The installer will set up partitions for you, but you’ll need to assign root to one of them. This is not hard, but it may throw off newbies a little bit. To set root, just right click your preferred partition and then select “Assign to /” and you’ll be good to go.

I hate nitpicking about these small things, but I do try to look at things from the perspective of folks new to Linux to encourage developers to take that into account when setting up installers, etc.

One other thing I noticed was an error message that appeared when I loaded the package manager.

Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Error Message
Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Error Message

I also noticed some weirdness with the update alert in the upper right corner. I clicked the icon in the panel, an update alert appeared saying that Pamac had three updates, but when I clicked on the alert, nothing happened. That seems strange to me. Shouldn’t it have opened Pamac so I could download the updates?

Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Update Alert
Manjaro 0.8.5 Pamac Update Alert

That stuff aside, I didn’t have any problems running Manjaro 0.8.5. It was stable, and also quite fast. Applications loaded right away, I think you will be very pleased with the speed of this distro.

If you’ve seen any issues or problems, please share them in the comments below. Thanks.

Where To Get Help for Manjaro 0.8.5

If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Manjaro forum, wiki, and blog.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Manjaro 0.8.5

Manjaro is off to a great start as a desktop distro, I was pleasantly surprised by this distro. While the software manager leaves a bit to be desired, the rest of the distro fares very well. The Majaro developers have done a very good job building on the foundation of Arch Linux to create a viable desktop distro.

Manjaro 0.8.5 can be used by beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users. Beginners should take note of what I said earlier about assigning a root partition, and the quality of the software management tool.

What’s your take on Manjaro 0.8.5? Tell me in the comments below.



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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