Initial Impressions


Moved from #newbies - as the OP needs no technical assistance, to #general-discussion:rants-and-raves - as it seems more proper for what is going on here.


LOL, so you spend less than 2 hours with any DE and either accept or dismiss them in that time?

Takes at least a week of using anything to at least get to understand it a bit.

My impressions of this thread are not very good either, so much haste and ignorance, especially by a self appointed guru, LOL, guru my :peach: .


If you want fast and lightweight then XFCE is really the way to go, it runs very fast on minimalist systems. There really is nothing to complain about it in terms of look and feel, because you can configure it any way you want. You can put whatever icons you like on your desktop, as I’m sure you can with pretty much any distro. You really have to try whatever you decide on, installed, running from a live CD just isn’t the same, even running from a USB is much quicker. As for Win 10, you couldn’t pay me to run that garbage on my computers after experiencing Mint XFCE and Manjaro XFCE.


PC tech for 35 years and you were a Linux DE virgin all this time? Almost spilled my coffee here :joy:

You installed Gnome but don’t want “old fashioned icons on your desktop”? Did you blindfold your eyes prior installation?! :laughing::laughing:

Yesterday I bought a green car… but I hate green cars :rofl:


KDE interface doesn’t have to be ‘large’. The panel height is customisable as is everything else you just have to spend more than two minutes with it before deciding it’s meh. I have the panel height at 30 pixels instead of 48. It can also autohide so applications fill the entire screen.

Did you at least try using haveged to reduce the boot time?


Some of you lot have to chill.

Just because a new user has an opinion doesn’t mean we should jump in and stamp all over it.

If a thread needs someone to help then you know what to do. In this case, it’s more of a “commentary” thread so just view it like that. Read it, shrug, and move along.

@TibetanGuru I’m glad you’re taking the time to try out the different Editions to find the one you like best.

You might also read this thread:


Glad you are trying many DEs before picking one :slight_smile: that’s the smart way to do things. You don’t find your DE, your DE finds you…


I can almost hear you…in an English, tea-drinking sort of voice, slightly raised but not loud. Yet. :wink:

Nope, that’s my job around this joint. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

@TibetanGuru, in case none of these chuckleheads have done so yet…

“Welcome to Manjaro Linux!”


Update from OP: As mentioned in initial post, I’m not ranting or bashing, I’m providing my opinions, experiences, and feedback as I try various flavors of Manjaro as a longtime USER of Ubuntu/Mint type systems. I highlight USER because I don’t want to have to become a Linux GURU just to use, and be productive with, a new OS. I loves me some computer stuff, but there aren’t enough hours left in one lifetime to learn even a fraction of the stuff I already have queued up…so NEEDING to spend days/weeks/years learning another software/OS isn’t high enough on that list.

Tidbit: After 40 years of using, playing with, fixing, and installing computer systems of many flavors, if I can’t intuitively interact with an OS (and make it at least start to do useful things) that’s not required for some higher (or income producing) purpose, that OS/software “ain’t for me.”

Linux virginity: Not a Linux virgin. Been using since SUSE 9.x. Loves me some Puppy Linux. Loves me some Mint. What I don’t love about Mint is how outdated its repos are. That’s what drove me to examine Manjaro.

Not goring your oxen: If you love KDE and I don’t, who cares? No need to resort to flinging poo. I respect your love of WHATEVER. I’m just providing feedback and a bit of running commentary. It’s interesting that some twitchy Mod moved my post to “rants,” which it clearly is not. Some of the follow-on posters ARE ranting however…

Look and feel: Yes, I think the default Manjaro look and feel is horrible. And yes, I know how to change it. So if you like it, feel free to use it. The site solicited my feedback, and I’m providing it. In general, however, I think that the look and feel of many/most distros is still “rough as a cob,” and that, along with spotty font rendering, is one of the key things that holds back Linux adoption on the desktop. WE NEED TO DO BETTER HERE IN GENERAL.

Back to original post: As mentioned, I didn’t like the complexity and non-intuitiveness of KDE-Manjaro. So I installed Mint 19.1-Mate (Mint-Mate has been my default desktop install for several years, for me and for many of my elderly clients). Because of Mint’s outdated repos, I used Flatpacks to get more-recent versions of Avidemux, qBittorrent, Calibre, Evince, and VLC.

I have been reluctant to try Flatpacks because I don’t prefer the approach, but because this is a trial run, no harm in trying on a non-production system.

So far, the flatpacks all installed perfectly and have worked fine, at least for initial trials. That’s something! At least I now know that I can install Mint 19.1 LTS and move forward if my Manjaro experiment doesn’t work out.

Summary so far: All Manjaro flavors installed perfectly. I love the installer, especially the “replace partition” feature, which is handy and allows me to easily prep partitions in advance with GParted and not have to mess around with a confusing and potentially destructive installer (like Mint’s).

Gnome: Works fine but don’t like what Gnome has become (LOVED it in Ubuntu 10.10, however!)

KDE: Works fine but I found it to be too fussy and too complicated.

XFCE and Mate: Fully usable after a bit of tweaking. Hard to choose, as I’m used to Mate (from Mint), but in Manjaro, XFCE seems to be integrated a bit better. But either will do fine.

Mint 19.1 with flatpacks: Same yummy Mint flavor, now with up-to-date software. It’s bloated because of the giant flatpack common library, but it seems to work AND LOOK good.

Manjaro-Cinnamon: Just installed. Looks decent. Expect it to be fine. Will report back.

Actual mini rant: Tried to install Virtualbox and got a bunch of kernel module errors. The installer was happy, but the software was not. Researched it a bit and discovered that VB installation in Manjaro probably only succeeds when done by command line experts, as you have to know about, and choose, the correct kernel modules at installation, etc.


This on one of those silly/stoopid issues that need not exist and do so only because of dev issues. Good thing my usual virtualization software, VMWare, knows how to install itself.

End of update. Off to play with Cinnamon.



OP: Yumm. Cinnamon. Who doesn’t like cinnamon?

Cinnamon x64 looks and works great, with one exception: The color (theme?) in qBittorrent is “darkened out,” which is weird, as it isn’t in all of the other distros, save for XFCE, where the app is only “dark” across its top menu area.

I tried changing Cinnamon theme elements, to no avail, and qBittorrent itself doesn’t seem to be theme-able.

Because of eyesight issues I don’t prefer dark themes, so I guess I will install Manjaro X64 Mate alongside a Hail Mary installation of Mint-Mate in case things turn ornery.

In general I have come away from my casual evaluation process with very good feelings about Manjaro x64. I don’t prefer the default “look,” but that’s true for me and most OSs, so don’t read extra meaning into that! :slight_smile:

The Manjaro installer is awesome and has several much-appreciated features.

The community is sizeable and seems responsive, even if the Virtualbox packagers still have work to do.

As mentioned, I will go forward with x64 Mate edition on the PC in question, backed up by a Mint 19.1 partition to be used if necessary. In doing so I will evaluate the ease and success of Manjaro’s rolling-but-still-tested release system and how it works in comparison to Mint, which uses a conventional release system.

A secondary goal is to identify the best “dead simple” Desktop distro to use for my Windows-refugee customers (on Win 7 D-Day next year there will be a flood), most of which are actual little old ladies who need only a stable system that sports a web browser and a solitaire game – without viruses, malware, Windows 10 crap, and the like.

Mint has been doing this pretty well, but the necessary system updates and upgrades (some because of 32-bit browsers) haven’t always been graceful. A good rolling release system might be better. I hope to find out.

I may also try to use Architect to make a truly dead-simple “grandma-style” desktop system: browser, solitaire, simple word processor, with nothing else that has much visibility.

Thanks for the help.




Define it based on what it is then, not by what is not.

There should be no surprises and unknowns regarding the interface of each DE then. From Altair 8800 things changed indeed, not always as expected by users, but how developers could make it … I’m always skeptic when someone goes ad verecundiam to make a point.

You must be a designer too then, bring it on to see how would you do it.

Manjaro IS rolling and IS good, but you can go Arch Linux for all the reasons you mentioned so far. :wink:


Have you considered Cloudready or real Chromebooks for them? For that type of user they are ideal.


Gnome. Sometimes I think it’s even “simpler” than twm.
For a grandma-style desktop, I would use LxQT/LXDE and tweak it a little.


for those, stay on a long term support operating system. Not Mint but UbuntuMATE. Why? It can be made to work like W7 and in-place upgraded very easily and has a 3-year upgrade cycle. Okay packages may be stale-ish but for the grannies does this really matter? From experience, it’s better to have them on something stale than bleeding edge with potential bugs they will be pestering you all the time over.


Actual mini rant: Tried to install Virtualbox and got a bunch of kernel module errors. The installer was happy, but the software was not. Researched it a bit and discovered that VB installation in Manjaro probably only succeeds when done by command line experts, as you have to know about, and choose, the correct kernel modules at installation, etc.

That is partly incorrect as far as I know. Did you use the pamac to install VirtualBox? It is true that you have to choose for which kernel you want to install it initially (which is a matter of simply knowing which kernel you’re running and clicking at the right option) but then modules are updated automatically as you update the kernel later on.

Although I’m a geek and hence spend 80% of my time with my nose stuffed into a terminal, you definitely don’t need it for installing or configuring VirtualBox nor do you have to be a guru to do so.

I’m liking your “opinions” so far as they show you genuinely have interest in trying this distro but a word of warning. Personally, I only have a bit over 20 year of experience with several distro flavors, however, none of them was of “rolling” nature. I felt a bit at loss at first because things weren’t working like I expected from a “fixed” distro. You shouldn’t just grab a software source code and install it by hand (unless you know what you’re doing) or add repos left and right like on some other distros. It took me about a month to grasp not only the “rolling” concept but to actually adapt my workflow to it.

That being said, since I’m a geek and after truly figuring out how this distro works and how it is backed up by this wonderful community, I was as excited about it as by the lunch of RedHat 4.1 codename Vanderbilt in 1997 :slight_smile:

And the bottom line truth is, once you fall in love, you learn to tailor the system to your liking and won’t just give up on it. Don’t like KDE? Don’t use it. Is XFCE ok? Use that. Don’t like the look? Adjust it. Fonts look horrible? Make something better work. Finally, share your changes to the community. Whoever shares the same taste, will probably follow your footsteps and implement your changes and if there are enough people following your changes, it may become mainstream and who knows?

Good luck :+1:



fonts look horrible - don’t just accept the default rendering setup as it may be completely wrong for your monitor type. make sure you are using the right sub-pixel rendering type for your monitor and the correct dpi.


Final Update from OP: At the end of my testing process I chose Manjaro-Mate x64 as the “winner,” and proceeded to install it on my production PC (testing had been done on similar, but not identical, hardware).

The problem?

It wouldn’t install.

The initial run stalled at 93% (hardware clean-up?). Researched a bit and discovered that some users have been having this issue for several years, but that the mainstream installer still glitches in these situations. First workaround was to re-run installer in non-free mode, which I did. The installer then stalled at 26% (unpacking file system).

Further research took me beyond the reasonable and limited time I have available for this project. Yes, it’s fixable. But not by me (in the time allotted). It’s a shame, as Manjaro looks so good.

Result? I installed Mint 19.1 LTS-Mate in less than 10 minutes, and everything is good to go.

Regarding recent comments:

VB: Because I have no experience installing software via the various command line and/or package management options, I attempted to install all software from the distro’s main software tool. Everything worked except Virtualbox, which failed because it apparently needed me to specify a kernel module. I can only assume that the VB installer can see which kernel is loaded at the time of install. Why wouldn’t it default to that module? I don’t understand that, and I’m suggesting that if Manjaro wants to be “desktop linux,” it outta square that away.

Font rendering: I farted around with all of the GUI/built-in font rendering options, and nothing noticeably improved things. I did install MS Core Fonts, which did improve things somewhat. My hardware is mainstream and 5 years old. IMHO, a desktop linux user shouldn’t have to manually fart around with this. I’ve never had an issue with any version of Windoze, MacOS, or even ChromeOS. Why should I have to mess with this when trying to use a mainstream desktop linux distro?

Appearance: Does every modern Linux distro have to be blacked out or feature windows, controls and text that is grey upon grey upon grey, until the infinitesimal differences can only be seen by 12 year olds with a can of Jolt cola in each hand? This isn’t Manjaro-specific, but good god, whatever happened to black text and layered controls with just a smidgen of contrast? This has invaded the web space, too, and it’s ridiculous. In setting up my Manjaro flavors I tried dozens of theme elements and even downloaded some theme thingys, and the only options centered around “everything darked out” (which I can’t see because of vision issues), grey upon grey upon grey (vast majority), or SUPER HIGH CONTRAST suitable for legally blind users (I see a lot of these as I teach blind folks how to use PCs at my day job). It’s FANTASTIC that blind-level contrast options are available, but if you don’t actually need them, they look horrible. Ubuntu 10.10 had none of these issues. Why have we regressed?

Grandmas: I have switched a few grandmas to Chromebooks, with good success. But I have about 30 Dell Windows 7 boxes stacked up in the shop, and they’re perfect for making post-7 grandma-boxes, so I’m looking for the right grandma-distro. I have been eyeing Ubuntu-Mate-LTS, so thanks for the suggestion.

Ranting: Defining what this is, versus what it isn’t is easy. What I’m doing is providing feedback about my Manjaro experiment. What some commenters are doing is ranting.

Future: In general, to me, Manjaro looks good – not it’s default look and feel, mind you :slight_smile: – but it’s structure, speed, and community support. I will test it again and will probably use it again, but for now it’s back to Old Faithful. I’m not “married” to one distro or another, and I’d swap out one distro for another in a heartbeat if it worked better or provided specific benefits. For me, because because of the install failure, it didn’t. Tomorrow may be another story.

Thanks again for your comments.



with regards to Grandmas: Cloudready might suit their needs. It is ChromeOS with a decent installer and will make laptops behave a lot like Chromebooks. Check it out.
advantages: Simplicity. Browser+, Updates easily and automatically (when they re-boot). OS that is very close to linux allows linux container (Crostini) where you can run additional software. It also allows VB and Flatpak. I’d steer clear of both for grannys.
Disadvantages: Hardware was not an original requirement, so wifi, bleutooth, graphics etc. all need to be checked, just like for other linuxes. Android/Google-Play store is not included. Guarded by Google.


how long to write all this ? Ask help here takes less time (for a 35 years old PC Tech) :wink:


Because I had no experience with installing VB on Manjaro, the first thing I did was search the Wiki and forum to see if there were instructions.

As for installing software, my thoughts mirror tchavei below. If you never had any experience with a rolling distro, your long experience might actually get in your way because of certain assumptions you make about installing software on and upgrading a rolling distro.