A general question about updates

Hi All,
I have run many different Linux distros over the last 20+ years, but Manjaro is the first rolling release distro that I have used.

So far I am really liking it, both the distro and the community.

But I do have a question about updating.
I have read that you have to be careful running updates as they could bork your system.

Is this something that is extremely rare or common?

Is this something that is more likely to affect those running newer, bleeding edge hardware and less likely to affect those of us on much older (about a decade old) hardware?
Or is the opposite true?

I have read on this forum somewhere (I can’t find it again) that you should keep an eye on the announcements for issues.

Is there anything that one should do to help prevent issues?

Please note that I did a search of the forum and found threads with individuals having particular issues with updating, but not one that addressed this in general (sorry if I missed it).

If it helps with respect to this question, I am running KDE.

Well, I would first and foremost say that the main culprits in that regard are…

  1. people who do not read the update announcements (which contain information about the gotchas and how to deal with them);

  2. people who do not merge their .pacnew files;

  3. issues with proprietary drivers; and…

  4. AUR stuff, which is generally intended to be used with Arch, which is ahead of Manjaro in package versions.

Is it rare or common? Well, somewhere in between, I’d say. The vast majority won’t have any problems, but there will always be people who will.

Hint: The update announcement threads also contain a poll. It’s a fair indicator, albeit of course limited to those people who actually bother looking at the announcement threads in the first place.

Newer hardware — bleeding edge — is more likely to cause problems than older hardware.

Yes! :100:


Many thanks again @Aragorn!

Now I’ll go look up what this pacnews is and find out how to go about merging it.

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Pacnew and Pacsave - Arch Wiki

Also note that extremely old hardware (lets say more than 15- years old) might become problems with the very latest kernels, because they are optimised for new hardware and at some point drivers for old hardware get removed. And since it is a rolling release you cannot stay forever on an old kernel forever, so for extremely old hardware manjaro/arch would not be the first choice.
But anything up to 10-15 years should be ok.

Actually, it is not that much different in a non rolling release distro: Ubuntu has up to 5 years support, and here the kernel lasts pretty much that time too. But the rest of the system will be with newer packets in manjaro.
For example, i had a 2011 model thinkpad. It ran fine with ubuntu 14.04, than with 16 and 18, it had something small to fix on the 20.04 and it could not boot on the 22 release…probably some minor issue with a driver but i ditched the laptop anyway so i did not bother debugging, but it was not plug and play anymore.


I’ve read through that link and several other posts that I found on this forum… my newbie head is spinning.

I found a very recent thread here:

If I am reading it correctly, this person appears to have created a simple GUI (I read that as newbie friendly) program that should automate this process.

Would you recommend using this or using this from the link you provided:

  • pacdiff-pacman-hook-git — Pacman hook to run pacdiff automatically.

GitHub - desbma/pacman-hooks: Arch Linux Pacman hooks || pacdiff-pacman-hook-gitAUR

Or something else?

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@Tao, good to know, thank you!

I would recommend to always look at the log when installing/updating anything (the arrow near the apply button). It actually says if there are pacnews. But the tool is also nice. It is actually meant for people who do not like reading… logs, forum, tutorials…and need something “in the face”.


Well, there’s always Debian Archaic and Debian Prehistoric. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

That’s Stefano, one of the lead developers. But no, it doesn’t automate the process — that’s not possible — but it will notify you when there are .pacnew files and will let you merge them.

The package is called manjaro-pacnew-checker and it’s in the repository. :wink:

That’s not going to work for people who update their system by way of the pamac GUI — which they shouldn’t, but hey, go and try changing culture… :frowning_man: :man_shrugging:

The best way to update your system is always from a tty, while completely logged out of the GUI environment. That way, there will be fewer shared libraries in use that would be overwritten. And you must first always update the system packages, and only afterwards the AUR stuff, Snaps, FlatPaks and whatever else have you. :arrow_down:

sudo pacman -Syu
pamac update

… or… :arrow_down:

sudo pacman -Syu
yay -Su
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Thank you!

Well I installed it “Meld” and it now tells me there is a conflict:

I selected “View and Merge” (the other options are “Replace original with Pacnew, Keep and remove Pacnew, Do nothing”) and it displays this:

But from there I don’t know what to do.
I don’t see an option to Merge the files and if I try the “Save As” option it freezes.

I tried the Help option but it is empty.

Any help that you could provide will be greatly appreciated.

Okay, I think I got it figured out, you are supposed to use the arrows at the top to move the “corrections” over to one side (I chose left) and then you can Save.

Is that correct?

I don’t have so much experience with meld as a program, but as for the pacman changes themselves, the new file is the way to go. Community repo is gone and the signature requirement only causes problems sometimes so it got removed from the default config too. So you did right deleting the green stuff.

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It was just moved. You can see it in the .pacnew, in the bottom of the 2nd picture or the top of the 3rd.

This is pretty confusing to me.
It sounds like your suggesting to keep the new Pacnew and remove the old file.

Taking a closer look at the files side by side in Meld, I think you merge the new file (on the right) changes to the old file (on left) and save. This way all of the changes are now incorporated into the old (and “proper”) filename.

Sorry for having to ask so many questions, I am not a Linux-Jedi but I am making a concerted effort to learn.

Of course you can merge if you have some customizations you want to keep. Your choice.

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Thanks @Teo, I appreciate your help.

So I take it that since I have not made any changes/customizations to Pacman, I can safely keep the new Pacnew file and remove the old file?

Merging the files is only necessary if you have made a modification that you want to keep?

Again sorry for all the dumb questions, I just want to make sure my understanding is clear before I make any changes to my system.


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A million thanks @Teo for all your help and patience with my dumb questions. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate it. I enjoy learning new things, especially when it comes to Linux.

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