[HowTo] become a Manjaro power user when you're a wizard at Windows but a N00b at Manjaro / Linux

Difficulty: ☆☆☆☆☆

Remember when you installed your very first Windows, added bells and whistles and then couldn’t see the trees for the wood any more and had to re-install?
Well, you’re in the same situation now: You’re a N00b again! Embrace it! :innocent:

I know right now you’re thinking:

  • Why is this so much more difficult than Windows? :frowning:

Whereas in 6 months time, you’ll be like:

  • Why can’t I make Windows jump through :fire: hoops like I do with Linux??? :angry:

So, below this are the main differences between the Windows and Linux ecosystem:
(click any ► to expand that particular section)

Windows has drives, Linux has a hierarchical file system
  • So Windows:
    • has drives
    • The C:-drive generally contains Windows and sometimes data
    • The D:-Drive (if present) contains data and hardly ever contains Windows itself.
    • The maximum number of drives is 26 (A-Z)
  • Linux has one huge file system:
    • with an unlimited number of partitions (not disks, not drives!) ¹
    • you can mount any partition of a disk anywhere in the file system!
      (You cannot mount a disk, only a partition under Linux!)
    • Here is the official documentation on the FHS (File System Hierarchy Standard) in HTML / PDF / Text format.
      Homework assignment #1: read that!. :grin:
      No, really: read it!
    OK, you didn't read it; here's a summary
    • /etc contains system configuration files.
    • /home contains user data (“My Documents”) and user config files
      (E.G. if you have one computer with 2 users and user1 sets their resolution to HD and user 2 sets it to UHD, that’s where this kind of config is kept)
    • /root contains the home directory for the root user.
    • /lib contains shared libraries (known to you as DLLs) that the essential binaries (known to you as EXEs) in /bin and /sbin need to be able to run and where kernel modules are stored.
    • /usr contains the Unix System Resources and is intended to be a read-only directory that stores files that aren’t required to boot the system. I.E. This is where sort and grep and assorted brethren / sistern live…
      In general, when you install additional software from Manjaro’s repositories, its binaries, libraries and supporting files go here in their corresponding /usr/bin, /usr/sbin or /usr/lib directories.
    • /opt: contains “optional” software.
      In general, this is where games install themselves..
Linux has multiple GUIs
  • Windows has one GUI whereas
  • Linux has different Desktop Environments (DE):
    • XFCE: Lightweight, simple, best for beginning users
    • KDE: lots of bells and whistles, good for recent and powerful hardware and people who like to tinker
    • Gnome: Simple, the default for lots of distributions
    • Cinnamon: Gnome like it should be Beefed-up Gnome with more bells and whistles.
    • LXDE: comparatively low resource requirements. This makes it especially suitable for use on older resource-constrained computers.
    • I3: Great for power users. Stay away from it: you’re a N00b again!
      Even I’m not running I3 (yet) and am still on KDE… :innocent:
    • And all of the above come with their own:
      • File Manager
      • System Settings (Known to you as “Control Panel”)
      • Partition Manager (except XFCE: they need one of the others to be installed)
    • The above is less important on modern computers and has become a matter of taste.
Linux is a self-help OS
  • In Windows almost everything is automated and uses a lot of “default settings” without really needing any major user input for it to function adequately.

  • Microsoft is working hard to try to take any user error out of the equation:
    I.E. Microsoft takes complete control of what can or cannot be done!
    (aka “The tyranny of the default” )

  • In Linux, if you don’t do it yourself, no one will do it for you:

    • Install a backup program
    • Install and activate a firewall (if you travel with your Laptop and use public WiFi that you don’t control)
    • Create a driver for a less-used piece of hardware (or hardware combination) where the vendor doesn’t even know there is anything else but Windows out there. (It’s getting better nowadays but there is still hardware out there that just isn’t Linux-compatible)
    • There are manuals for everything, including the manual program, so:
      • Go to a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or if that doesn’t work look for something called console or Konsole or terminal in your Start Menu Launcher. :wink:

      • In the black box type:

        man man
        

        and now you’re reading the manual for the manual program. :smiling_imp:

      • Hit Q to Quit the manual program.

      • Type exit just like in Windows to exit the command prompt Terminal. :wink:

      • Some things are so easy or so complex that they don’t have a manual. E.G.:

        man woman
        

    :grin: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The terminal is your best friend! (if you're careful)

Although the Windows command prompt is a scary place, the Linux terminal is not!
We’re not asking you to become a professional Linux admin, but simple things like:

  • An inxi --admin --verbosity=7 --filter --no-host --width would be the minimum required information to help you.
  • Please copy-paste the output of grep GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT /etc/default/grub in your next response.
  • Execute:
    for szFile in /proc/*/status ; do
      awk '/VmSwap|Name/{printf $2 "\t" $3}END{ print "" }' "$szFile"
    done | sort --key 2 --numeric --reverse | more
    
    to know which applications are swapped out

should not scare you! (Yes, the last one might look complex to you, but it’s a simple thing for the person asking you!) :wink:

Also, If you are a mouse user, please hover over the text of the previous code and you’ll see a little icon appearing in the top right of the code and clicking that will copy the entire code into the copy-paste buffer without you having to select anything!
(So basically, we’re making your life easier by providing you the exact commands to execute without typing or selecting or…) :innocent:

And the more you use the terminal, the more you’ll learn to do things much more efficiently than:

  • Lifting your hand
  • Moving it to the mouse
  • Clicking 42 menus, buttons and drop-down lists
  • lifting your hand again
  • Moving it back to the keyboard

Instead of:

  • copy-paste this into a terminal
Why, oh why are you people so focused on the @#!$ Terminal?

That’s because of history!
Once upon a time when I was a kid and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth and the only silicon we had were rocks that you had to bang together yourself, there were no mice and no GUIs and the only way of getting any work done was with the terminal!
And even today, it’s much more efficient and less error-prone to copy-paste exact commands instead of describing in detail to you which buttons to click.
Full disclosure: Linux started off as an OS for nerds by nerds, so even today, some things cannot be done without the terminal! :man_shrugging:
Nowadays, Linux is not only for nerds, but easy enough for geeks too and in the Manjaro community we even have some end-users that are not even geeks any more! :scream: :grin:

Having said all of the above, don’t randomly execute code from the Internet that goes like:

Hey, you should try this funny command on Linux, it’ll blow your mind away:

echo SSBqdXN0IHRvbGQgeW91IE5PVCB0byBleGVjdXRlIHJhbmRvbSBjb2RlIGZyb20gdGhlIEludGVybmV0ISBXSEFUIElTIFdST05HIFdJVEggWU9VPwo= | base64 --decode  
There is no registry!
  • OK, the Gnome DE (Desktop Environment, see above) has something called “the dconf database” which is similar to the registry, just different.
  • All other DEs have config files, just like all Windows versions prior to Windows 95:
    • system config files are located in /etc
    • user config files are in ~/.config:
      • ~ is an abbreviation for “your home directory”
      • .config is a hidden directory:
        (I.E. Any directory starting with a . is hidden and you probably have to press Ctrl+H in your DE’s File Manager to see these.)
    • Application config files can reside somewhere else (though that happens rarely)
Linux has multiple file systems
  • Windows has one file system: NTFS (and if you include the DOS file system it has two: FAT ²)
  • Linux has:
    • EXT2, EXT3, EXT4: If you’re unsure, take EXT4 as that is the newest member of that family and the most used FS on desktops.
    • BtrFS: “Better FS” is good for servers or if you have a beefy computer and want FS resilience
    • ReiserFS
    • ZFS
    • And even more than you’ll ever need
    • And guess what? Linux can also read and write to NTFS :+1: although it cannot do CHKDSKs, defrag such volumes nor can it change its permissions :-1: , so before you finally wipe that damn Windows from your machine,please, please please also convert any NTFS volumes to EXT4 or any other Linux FS you’re comfortable with!
Linux has multiple kernels
  • Windows has different versions (I distinctly remember saying about Windows Version 1.0: Huh, what a piece of crap, that’ll go nowhere! Let me buy SideKick instead! and history proved me wrong…) :grin:
  • Linux can have multiple kernels and:
    • It’s always a good idea to have at least one Long Term Support (LTS) kernel installed

    • It’s only a good idea to have a non-LTS kernel installed if:

      • you have very new hardware and and none of the LTS kernels work for you.
      • you’re a developer and want to test your applications with the latest but not necessarily greatest kernels out there.
      • the whole point of having Manjaro is to test out new things like new kernels and filing bugs with the developers that don’t have your technical knowledge.
    • to install different kernels, use the kernel GUI program or the mhwd-kernel CLI program.

    • E.G. to install the latest LTS kernel at the time of this writing execute:

      mhwd-kernel --install linux510
      
    • Go here to read Linus Torvald’s page about the End Of Life (EOL) of the kernels you install…

This is how you install software
  • In Windows, you download crap from the Internet and install it and if you can’t find it on the net, you install it from the Microsoft store.
  • In Linux, that’s doing things completely arse-backwards and this is how you do it:
  1. Go to Add/Remove software or Software depending on your DE.

  2. Go to Categories, and choose your category:

  3. Just click Install, Install, Install on any of the software packages you want and then click Apply and the software manager installs all the software you want in one go! :innocent:

  4. Use the search function:


    Just click the :mag:, type the name of the crap :grin: you want and Install, Install, Install or Build, Build, Build and click Apply

  5. The more proficient you get, the more you’ll know what to install exactly and then you go to a terminal to install what you want:

    pamac install opencl-nvidia
    Preparing...
    ==== AUTHENTICATING FOR org.manjaro.pamac.commit ====
    Authentication is required to install, update, or remove packages
    Authenticating as: Fabby (fab-root)
    Password: 
    ==== AUTHENTICATION COMPLETE ====
    Synchronizing package databases...
    Choose a provider for opencl-nvidia:
    1:  opencl-nvidia-340xx  340.108-1  extra
    2:  opencl-nvidia-390xx  390.132-1  extra
    3:  opencl-nvidia-418xx  418.113-1  extra
    4:  opencl-nvidia-430xx  430.64-1   extra
    5:  opencl-nvidia-435xx  435.21-1   extra
    6:  opencl-nvidia-440xx  440.100-1  extra
    7:  opencl-nvidia-450xx  450.57-2   extra
    
    Enter a number (default=1): 6
    
    Resolving dependencies...
    Checking inter-conflicts...
    To install (1):
      opencl-nvidia-440xx  440.100-1    extra  10.6 MB
    
    Total download size: 10.6 MB
    Total installed size: 39.3 MB
    Apply transaction ? [y/N]
    
  6. If there is no other way of installing software except from source, only then do you download and install from the Internet.

    T h i s   d o e s   n o t   i n c l u d e   d r i v e r s !

    Drivers are built into the Linux kernel: install a newer kernel first for new hardware! (see above).
    Install an older kernel for older hardware and do not mix very old and very new hardware: that’s a recipe for disaster! :sob:

    A n d   t h i s   i s   w h y   L i n u x   h a s   n o   v i r u s e s !

    Malware can only exist in a closed source system where the virus obfuscates itself and Linux is completely open source where thousands upon thousands of people look at said source code and even if one of them would be kidnapped (or an entire team) and malware would be introduced in their source, security researchers would immediately see that something fishy is going on!
    Having said the above, if you run wine, you should still install antivirus software like ClamAV to protect you from Windows viruses.
    You don’t download ClamAV from their website Haven’t you been paying attention so far??? :grin: but install it using the following Manjaro command:

    pamac install clamav
    
End all applications before shutting down

A major difference with Windows is that there Linux has two kinds of signals to end applications:

  • SIGINT: “Dear Application, please end nicely and do your cleanup” (and this is the only one Windows has)
  • SIGKILL:

    And that’s the one invoked when you shut down, so to ensure applications don’t complain they’ve been shut down wrongly ³ and your terminal history gets saved to its history file, close all applications before shutting down.
You're part of a community now!
  1. There is no supplier-customer relationship any more:

    • You’re amongst equals now! :+1:
    • Today you might need help but tomorrow you might be able to help someone else in return!
    • Always treat everyone else like they are your CEO and people will treat you like theirs in return.
    • Provide valuable information when you post a question.
    • Just be nice even when someone else is not being nice and don’t forget to flag comments if someone is way worse than just “not nice”!
    • Read all of the Forum rules
  2. How to thank people here on the forum:

    • The best 'Thank you" you can give someone in a thread you started, is to press the Solution button. This only applies if:
      • You’re the poster of the original question.
        AND
      • an answer actually solved your problem.
    • The 2nd best 'Thank you" is by pressing the :heart: emoji below their post.
    • The 3rd Best 'Thank you" is by pressing the black emoji and giving them :beer: (or :coffee: if you’re not inclined to push alcoholism) or just a simple :+1:
    • And last, but not least, it’s writing 'Thank you".

    Why??? Oh, why, you ask? :grin:

    That’s because the forum software tallies the solutions and :heart: and gives these people bragging rights to the other geeks and nerds here on the forum, and eventually unlocks more privileges for them…

    :innocent:

What is this 'Upstream' and 'Downstream" business?

You can skip this section and come back to it later when you encounter bugs

I have a bug OR I have OCD OR I want some more laughs OR I want to know it all and I want it now!

Secret #1: There is no such thing as Linux!

What is Linux, really?

Well, Linux is named after Linus Torvalds:

(A very friendly and funny and generous man, as long as you don’t p|$$ him off!)

Linus is in charge of the kernel of Manjaro, Ubuntu, Arch, Red Hat, and all other “Linuxes” out there. And as anyone who has tried eating the kernel of a piece of fruit can tell you, it’s not very tasty nor very useful. (What??? You’ve never tried eating the kernel of a piece of fruit even when you were a child??? Shame on you! :grin:)

The kernel all by itself is about as useful as a TV receptor without a screen (That’s your DE), without a remote control nor buttons (That’s your Mouse and keyboard) because it only controls the hardware in your PC: it ensures your disks, CPU, screen, and keyboard are working and that’s it!
On top of that, you’ll have a bunch of applications called the GNU Utilities, which are described in the following section.

What is GNU/Linux?

Well, the GNU utilities (GNU is a recursive abbreviation of “GNU is Not Unix”) are developed by the Free Software Foundation that was founded by this guy:


(Also a very friendly guy unless you use the word “Linux” all by itself instead of the more correct “GNU/Linux”, because if you don’t call it “GNU/Linux” he will bash your head in. :grin:)
(He goes by RMS for Richard Matthew Stallman)

There are a lot of very small GNU utilities that were designed to perform a single task very well. Utilities like ls, grep, bash, … are part of GNU and not part of Linux!

What is a Desktop Environment?

Well, the Desktop Environment is a Windows Manager (Xorg, Wayland, …) with yet another layer of utilities (System settings, an editor, sometimes a Partition Manager, …) that allow you to finally install applications (that are packaged by the Manjaro Team) like Firefox, LibreOffice, … or that are not packaged by the Manjaro Team (The Arch User Repository aka “AUR”) and thus might pose some problems to your system so that’s why you have to Activate the AUR with a lot of stern warnings that none of this has been tested by the Manjaro Team themselves.

Secret #2: The Manjaro Team is quite small!

How is that even possible?

That’s because the Manjaro team doesn’t develop everything themselves! They’re more of a Lego Team taking existing building blocks (The Kernel, the GNU Utilities, the Desktop Environment), combine them all together, throw in a bit of their own utilities (mhwd, mhwd-kernel, pamac, …) which they do program themselves and then glue them all together by maintaining ISO images you can download and burn to a USB stick, updates that keep your system secure and fresh, …)

So what's upstream and downstream then?
  • Downstream = The Manjaro team
  • Upstream = Everyone else: Linus, RMS, the XFCE Team, the KDE Team, the VLC team, the LibreOffice Team, …)

Secret #3: Why do I need to know all this?

That’s easy! The Manjaro Team are a bunch of Nerds (with a capital ‘N’) that expect you to be at least a geek or better: a Geek (with a capital ‘G’) and to file Manjaro bugs with the Manjaro Team, but to file bugs that are unrelated to Manjaro with the correct team upstream!

So just DDG file bug and then append the name of the program to is and you’ll find out!
E.G. If I want to file a bug with VLC player, I just DDG file bug VLC and look: the first hit on DDG is what I need!
:fireworks::fireworks::fireworks:

Note 1: Yes, there is a limit, but it’s so large no one has ever hit it yet and Linux powers 100% of the wordl’s top-500 supercomputers! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :crazy_face:
For the real nerds out there: Somewhere between sdzzz and sdzWith29Zs depending on the article you read… :man_shrugging:
Note 2: Yes, I’m aware of ReFS, most people aren’t though… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Note 3: Yes, applications that have their origin in the Linux world generally don’t have this problem but if you run cross-platform applications or newer applications where the programmer isn’t used to SIGKILL yet??? Well… These kinds of applications still have this behaviour! (Including most terminal applications)
Note 4: Here is a Windows 10 review video from a Linux perspective. :joy:
Note 5: If you liked reading the above, here is a more in-depth article explaining the differences between the Linux and Windows worlds.

84 Likes
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Damn, this is good…I want more :slight_smile: I enjoyed reading this

6 Likes

Well, some things you have to experience so google for “Linux system administration”, download the PDFs / eBooks / … and start reading and trying out all the examples!

:wink:

2 Likes

Pssst: some applications have some parts their config in ~/.local/share

Even fishier: some applications (mostly Electron-based ones) have temporary data in their respective folder in ~/.config :tada:

The .config was already there:

the ./local/ can be deducted once they do press Ctrl+H as it’ll show up and they’ll recognize it’s the same as the Windows %APPDATA% folder…
And if they don’t recognize it as such, they should stay the hell out of there!
:rofl:

2 Likes

This is a meme that wont die.

While interesting and before-its-time … isnt it just kinda geeky for the sake of geek these days?
Are there (still) any good reasons for it in comparison to others?

2 Likes

Yes i am. But after changing Win 10 to Manjaro i really have the feeling that I - not Microsoft - own my computer again. For that i’m willing to be noob for quite long time D;

9 Likes

That post is spot-on. Says it all, really, and makes a point or two about what happens when someone explores a “new” Operating System which they haven’t tried before and also probably haven’t needed to install their previous (usually Windows) OS themselves, either.

Odd how some people seem to forget that they’ve had maybe several decades’ experience with MS OSes and seem to expect Linux to work just the same or to quickly acquire the same depth of knowledge in short order. That’s just a recipe for frustration, usually.

Much appreciated and rather valuable input, thanks!

6 Likes

Same here

@Fabby

Thank you

This is a very good tutorial. Easy to read and understand. Thanks for the information. :100:

2 Likes

Hello everyone!
Happy to join the Manjaro community!

Before I make any new topic, id likes to try to reach out for someone in this community for support.

First things first.
I’m having quite a prehistorical PC.
The motherboard is XFX nforce 790i sli that is a 2008 motherboard with the Xeon modified CPU.

So lately I started to look for some options to do a new core look and a bit to increase the performance to my oldie here. I started to look for alternatives and since its tight with the options then I saw the many options of Linux distros.

From my research then I found Manjaro and by comparing the Mint, I understand that Manjaro performs a bit better so my second main question it now…

Im i able to instal and become a full user of Manjaro distro?
As far I understand then the main problem that I will face is the Legacy BIOS issue because the i790 motherboard physically does not have UEFI chip on its board.

If I may, I’m attaching the PC HW screen on how dues my oldie live here…
Please be gentle :slight_smile:
Or could someone post a reply link to Legacy BIOS instal

SPECS:
Mob: nVidia nForce 790i Ultra SLI (C73) + MCP55P(XE)
CPU: Harpertown SLANR Intel Xeon E5472 LGA771 (FC-LGA8)
BIOS: Microcode 60F at C0 (6.00 PG) 06/25/2008
UEFI BIOS: Not Capable

Thank you in advance.

:+1: Welcome to Manjaro! :+1:

Well, a tutorial section is not the right place to ask for support as only the people who have replied on this topic will see your post. Better navigate here: #support:general and press the New Topic button in the top right corner of the screen there. Please read this before posting there…

3 Likes

Lol I always only shutdown, no problems in years of doing it. Obviously I save important docs but manually closing everything? almost never.

Yeah, I’m old-fashioned and remember when Firefox would come back with “Your session has ended abnormally. Restore session?” when not closed before shutting down on my old Core2 Duo and that’s less than 5 years ago…

:man_shrugging:

2 Likes

This is why I reassigned “close” action from Alt + F4 to Alt + Esc. Closing windows has never been so fast :smile:

1 Like

What a great entry! I’ve been using the file system for years and never knew how to use it properly, or what each directory was actually doing. Now I do.
BTW, why is i3 called a window manager and not a GIU? If I want something to move windows like kwin, where can I get more info on this?

1 Like

Thanks man

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the difference is that in windows,almost every thing is automated and set before hand,without really needing any major user input for it to function properly.(also maybe repair itself); unless someone wants to tinker or works in IT.
and the more it goes the more they try to take out the user error out of the equation.(meaning:take complete control of what can or cannot be done).

in Linux,if you don’t do it yourself,no one will do it for you;
so besides learning a ton of new therms etc. you also need to apply them;
for example enable Trim,set a backup tool,choose drivers and install them,enable firewall,choose Kernel etc.
(some basic users don’t even know these things exist in windows or that they are not set by default in Linux).
so for a regular user,years of experience in windows doesn’t really mean much.
it might be different with Ubuntu or other Distros but idk.

2 Likes

Good points! I’m going to extend the “Linix is a self-help OS” with those!

:+1:

1 Like