Installer support for opt-out packages

Manjaro is a great distro, but is starting to get it's reputation affected(for better or worse) by decisions to include certain certain packages or similar choices by default.

I think it's great that Manjaro does this with the goal of giving the users software out of the box with installs so they can just "get ■■■■ done", be that common activities like gaming on Steam or working with some MS office docs from a colleague that they collaborate with.

However, not everyone wants this, and it's starting to become a bit of a concern as this amount of additions increase. Some may draw negative opinions when there are integrations with MS services(360), or proprietary office software that seems it may be potentially sponsored to be included(regardless of if it's a great choice for office software on Linux). Meanwhile they may not have anything against proprietary nvidia drivers or the inclusion of Steam, others might?

Could Manjaro be open to the idea of opt-out section in the installer? That way you can still serve your user base best with a nice set of defaults and not negatively impact another part of the user base that has clearly caused a bit of drama recently with certain decisions. I assume Calamares is capable of such a feature like other installers have?

I think it would go down better than "You can just uninstall what you don't want afterwards". Is it a big ask for an improvement like that? It provides a bit more transparency and signal that you care about users concerns such as that from the get-go.

I suggest opt-out, rather than opt-in as I think these choices are still great for most, especially users newer to Linux which this distro can attract. It's better that they have an easy install process and don't have to deal with analysis paralysis when it comes to finding a package for working with office documents when they rather save time and just have something that works well with little trouble. While at the same time, the more advanced users that have bias/preferences can opt-out if they don't have interest in the packages at all or prefer alternatives(eg Discover instead of fpakman).

Once again, not complaining or against what the maintainers of the distro are choosing to do here. Just wanting to avoid Manjaro becoming something that repels a group of users that are fond of it, and doesn't lead to bad word of mouth. Ubuntu's Amazon search feature for example was quite a bit of negative press, even though a user could opt-out of the default and disable it after an install.

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You can just install via the minimal ISOs, which excludes many programs including office suites typically.

Or you can install via architect to select full or minimal installs and opt out of any packages you want as well.

Personally, I have no idea as I never use calamares myself, but it's created by an external team.

https://calamares.io/

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Yes.. just like I could remove the packages afterwards? The suggestion was an opt-out section for the installer, so a user can get their preferred DE installer ISO and handle their preference there, not have to find out about the software later and remove it or in future seek out a minimal ISO.

Where am I meant to come across this minimal ISO btw? If I want to continue with the KDE variant I enjoy, I get that here: https://manjaro.org/download/kde/

I didn't see any mention of a minimal ISO option there or in the download page for other ISOs.

If you installed one of the official Manjaro ISOs without Architect, you used Calamares.

It's contributed to by Manjaro maintainers: https://github.com/calamares/calamares/graphs/contributors

Phil is a member of it.

It's coming:

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I absolutely support this request. Tons of pre-installed apps is a major drawback for many users, but thankfully it gets slowly improved with latest RC releases. For example, KDE 18.1.0 RC8 already allows to select desired Office suite (or no office at all) and installs less bloatware (MS Office is not here anymore). But it still has some useless apps. I realize Manjaro is Arch for newbies, so it tries to be as user friendly as possible right out of the box (by pre-installing apps for every scenario), but I also believe such strategy has downsides:

  1. Bigger ISOs and/or extra download time during installation.
  2. Bloated system with apps that are virtually impossible to uninstall for non-expert users. For example, Manjaro KDE comes with a set of QT development apps, which will only be used by QT programmers. No other person will ever need it. But he can't uninstall them because apps are hardcoded, and trying to remove them will make system non-working (or broken, at least) because doing so also removes file browser, KDE stuff, etc. Yes, there's a workaround by using a command line, but no "normal" user will ever know that.

Some suggest using Manjaro Architect and/or minimal ISO, but that's not the best solution because:

  1. Average users will have difficult time using Architect. Slightly more experienced users will have no problems using it, but if they already know how to use Architect, they will surely know how to install extra apps on their system later. As a result, standard users have not even smallest chance to have a lightweight system now, while experienced users have 2 ways (using Architect or debloating OS via command line).
  2. No links to minimal ISOs are available in downloads section. Even if they are added, I believe minimal ISOs are so barebone, that standard users will have very hard time figuring out how to bring their system to "normal" operating state after installation.

With this in mind, while Manjaro is targeted to average Joe, it's impossible for average Joe to have a basic (but fully functional) system without bloatware.

P.S. I realize that many apps are useful and should be included by default (like image viewer, PDF viewer, browser, calculator, and many others), but including 3 different office packages (this is what happened before 18.1.0), Steam, programming IDEs, and similar apps is a huge overkill.

And therein lies the problem. What you consider "bloat" many other people consider "useful".

The whole point of a Linux distribution is to distribute Linux. Its very nature is that of a selection of software.

If you don't like the selection of software then you have different choices:

  1. Install a different edition
  2. Install then remove what you don't want
  3. Install using the Architect installer
  4. Spin your own installer iso using the documented tools
  5. Install a different distribution (which will come with its own selection of software)

If an application truly is useless then add a #manjaro-development:feature-request for its removal.

Download and install the minimal ISO (if the maintainer has provided one).

After installation - again on most editions - the Manjaro Hello will run on first boot.

This includes an Applications page which allows for the easy installation/removal of popular applications.

This is because these applications are packaged inside Qt.
Arch/Manjaro don't split software in different package as much as other distribution like Ubuntu.
Like as LibreOffice is just one package on arch/Manjaro

They are part of Qt toolkits when you build it.
Then they are not removed or split in an other package

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Alright, makes sense then. Thank you for the time to explain it with details.

Current minimal ISOs can be found here: xfce, kde, gnome

Maybe you can remove hardcoded shortcuts at least? For example, I don't use FireFox, so I remove it after installing Manjaro. However, FF shortcut seems to be hardcoded into OS, so every time I create a new user account, it has blank (and obviously non-functional) shortcut in his quick launch.

It's likely included in the profile defaults under /etc/skel. These are used as the "skeleton" for any new user account.