The store is open for business and all the products are free. It’s free beer day. Now that 100s of flavors are on tap, the biggest problem is which do you choose.
Most marketplaces don’t present consumers with this problem, but this is the key problem in the desktop Linux marketplace. While those new to desktop Linux typically like the number of choices, this aspect of Linux can be overwhelming. Ubuntu, elementary OS, Linux Mint, Zorin, Fedora, pop_os!, Manjaro, and LXLE are just a few of the choices of operating systems based on the Linux kernel that are easy to use and easy to install on most laptops and desktops that ship with Windows pre-installed.
Many new users are interested in replacing Windows with a Linux operating system, also called a distro. Another reason these new users want to try a distro is that there is great hardware on the market that isn’t made by the major manufacturers, like HP and Dell. Some of the smaller manufacturers make high-end computers that cost several thousand dollars, but there are a few that specialize in ARM-based computers that cost well under $300.
The inexpensive laptops and many computers are capable of performing basic tasks like editing spreadsheets, surfing the Web, and communicating through e-mail. Users can even do some gaming, programming, and light video editing on them.
There is one operating system mentioned in paragraph two, that is easy to install and use on laptops and desktops that were originally designed for Windows, several ARM-based computers on the market, and comes pre-installed on several computers designed by small manufacturers.
It is Manjaro.
Works great out of box on inexpensive computers
ARM-based computers typically cost less $100 and are good at performing basic tasks like surfing the Web, doing work in an office suite, or playing light games.
There are several listed in the ARM sub-menu in the Editions menu on Manjaro’s Website:
The teams working on Manjaro have released versions of the operating system that were designed to work on several different ARM computers. There are six user interfaces for each one. User interfaces are covered later in this article.
Raspberry Pi 4
Rock Pi 4B
Rock Pi 4C
Khadoas Vim 2
Khadas Vim 3
Most of the computers on the list are single-board computers, designed for experimentation and so people can learn programming. Raspberry Pi is the most popular, and many people also use it for everyday tasks and entertainment. There are several Linux distros besides Manjaro, like Ubuntu MATE, that can be installed and run well on Raspberry Pi.
Rock, Khadas, and Odroid have operating systems designed for them and a few third-party options. Manjaro, however, is the only operating system that can easily be installed and makes these single-board computers easy to use out-of-the-box.
The list also has two laptops: Pinebook and Pinebook Pro. They make great secondary computers because they are easy to put in a bag, store in the back of an airplane seat, and they cost less than $250, so they are computers that are easy to take on the go. Manjaro makes these computers capable for performing surfing and doing work through a Web browser while connected to the Internet. There are a lot of things users can do and many applications that run offline, as well. ARM versions of video editors, such as Kdenlive, and photo editors, like GIMP, are fairly good for light work on these computers through Manjaro.
While Manjaro isn’t available on every ARM-based computer, and other operating system can run software mentioned in the previous paragraph, some key arguments for using Manjaro rather than other distros are that it is easy to obtain and install on several different ARM computers, and it has the same user interfaces as the versions of Manjaro that are available to Intel/AMD machines. User interfaces are covered below.
Linux users who want the same look and feel on all their computers could try Manjaro on ARM before installing it on a computer that is running Windows or purchasing a new computer with Linux pre-installed. When they do install it or purchase new, the operating system would function and look the same as it did on the ARM experience.
Those interested in purchasing a more powerful computer than the ARM-based computer they learned Manjaro on currently have five European companies to choose from. Most mentioned below offer several different types of computers with all of Manjaro’s official user interfaces:
Mk V StarBook
This United Kingdom-based company makes two laptops, one that is 11.6 inches and a thin 14-inch laptop. Both can come pre-installed with a choice of six operating system. For Manjaro, customers will choose Xfce, KDE Plasma, or GNOME.
17.3 inch Clevo 70DP
The company based in Netherlands offers customers seven laptops, ranging from 14.1 inches to 17.3 inches, and seven different mini computers. Those customers can choose from 17 different Linux distros. It offers the Xfce, KDE Plasma, and GNOME versions of Manjaro.
Located in Belgium, the manufacturer offers laptops, minis, tower units, and all-in-one computers. They can ship with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Ubuntu Studio, Manjaro, Kodachi, Debian, and Parrot Security Computers. The Manjao systems come with the standard user interfaces that Star Labs and Laptop With Linux offer, plus others that are supported by the wider Manjaro community and one that is not.
The computer manufacturer, from Spain, offers several laptops in several different sizes, a mini computer, a tower, and an all-in-one. Each of their models can ship with a choice of several different distros. Slimbook’s Website doesn’t specify which Manjaro user interface will ship with the computer. The company will also install Windows 10 Home or Pro alongside the Linux distro of the user’s choice. It is the only company in the list that will ship a computer with both Windows and Manjaro pre-installed.
This is a German manufacturer that makes laptops, mini computers, and towers. They have designed one of their notebooks for Manjaro – Infinity BookPro 15. Users can choose the Xfce or KDE Plasma interfaces. The notebook is described as giving the user a unique experience because it has been designed with Manjaro.
The Manjaro Infinity BookPro has been designed to work with Manjaro, and it is a great computer for professionals who need performance. Buyers can upgrade the computer, choose the keyboard layout, and even purchase a 5-year warranty. The other companies also give customers the ability to choose the size of the hard drives, amount of RAM, and they have other options as well. Customers can buy a computer for a few hundred dollars (pounds or euros), or they can upgrade their orders, so the computer can cost over $2,000.
They can even choose to have the computers shipped without an operating system. Then they can choose to install a version of Manjaro with a different user interface than what the companies offer.
Manjaro has divided its user interfaces into official and community. The official ones are KDE Plasma, Gnome, and Xfce. They are standard user interfaces used by most other Linux distros, and they are continually tested for bugs and for their usability.
On Manjaro’s Website, there are nine available for Intel/AMD computers and six designed for the selected ARM computers discussed above. Most of them can be installed on a computer running Windows.
Except for UbuntuShop, the manufacturers listed in the previous section stick with the official ones.
Minimal (ARM only)
Deepin Stable (Intel/AMD only)
Cinnamon (Intel/AMD only)
LXDE (available only through UbuntuShop)
I3 (Intel/AMD only)
KDE Plasma is probably the most popular user interface. It comes pre-installed on on Pinebook Pro. It is also one of the choices on the European manufacturers listed in this article. It is the most attractive of the user interfaces and one that is available on all the ARM computers, as well as for Intel/AMD based computers.
On Manjaro’s download page, click the desired link to go to a page about the version. Then click the red button at the top of the page. This takes the user to a download page with several options.
Besides its flexibility and number of user interface choices, there are a few other reasons to use Manjaro.
Other reasons to use Manjaro
Manjaro is based on Arch Linux, which is designed for experienced and advanced Linux users. However, the team behind Manjaro has made the operating system user-friendly while still giving users access to cutting edge technology shortly after it is released. Arch typically makes new versions of software available to users as soon as the developer releases it, without any testing. Installing the new versions may cause problems for users and even break their systems.
The team behind Manjaro, tests new releases of software before they put it in the repositories users can access. This reduces problems users experience, but it gives them faster access and more direct access to new versions than those who use fixed release distros, like Ubuntu, that are updated every 6 months or few years.
There are also several one click options built into the operating system. These are quick and easy ways to make changes or get Manjaro to detect hardware changes. It is easy to switch between Linux kernels. Manjaro makes it easy to install and switch between several different ones. Users who upgrade a graphics card also can easily get Manjaro to detect it through Manjaro Hardware Detection.
Manjaro has several other features that give it some advantages over other Linux distros. However, the biggest advantage is that users can run it on more systems than other operating systems. This gives new and experienced Linux users more options.
New users could install Manjaro on their Windows computer, like they can with any other Linux distro. Some may be apprehensive about doing this as a first step. Instead, they could purchase an inexpensive single-board ARM computer, install Manjaro on it, and learn how to use typical software that runs on Linux. Then they could install the same operating system on their Windows computer. This can only be done with Manjaro. Manjaro gives users various ways to transition into Linux, particularly if they want to use one operating system and one user interface.
Professional users, who create with their computers, often like to own several computers, so they can work on their projects in different places and environments. They may like to have the same operating system and user interface on all their computers to make workflow run better. Since Manjaro is designed for several ARM computers as well as more powerful Intel/AMD computers, it is the operating system that gives them more options. They can carry around an inexpensive Pinebook Pro or use a single-board computer to see their work on a large screen TV. More intense processes can be performed on a powerful computer. On anyone of these, the user interface and operating system will look the same.
Manjaro’s key strength is its flexibility and consistency across systems. It is worth considering.