TROM-Jaro, a trade-free Manjaro build

Hey people, I want to show you our custom Manjaro distributions and what we changed to it. https://www.tromjaro.com/


The Idea behind:

In today's world the meaning of "free" got so polluted that Facebook or Google services are often labelled as free, even though they are not (they collect data, they want attention, etc.). These are trades: you give your data and attention to google, and google gives you some services in return. The same model is adopted by open source software (alongside the proprietary-brother), making things even more confusing. An "app" may seem free, until you realize that it lacks features and you have to pay to unlock those features. The idea with this custom Manjaro was to only promote trade-free software: software that does not want anything in return from the users. Not their money, not their data, attention or anything else. Thus, we removed applications like Skype, Steam, MS Office and the like from the original Manjaro Gnome, and are pre-installing and recommending only trade-free software. Call it TFOS - Trade-Free and Open Source.

What we did to it (the short version):

  1. The theme we use (vimix) is very varied in terms of user choices + supporting both GTK and QT it is one of the most consistent and well maintained themes. We use Zafiro icons because they are very simple and seem well supported (we also help with the development a bit).

  2. Minimal pre-installed applications.

  3. Automated backups before every update.

  4. Native support for appimages, flatpaks and snaps.

  5. Customized Firefox so that it blocks ads and trackers.

  6. We have our own repo.

  7. Added a few cool backgrounds (minimalist, sharp, simple).

  8. Made it look a bit like Unity.

  9. A few cool things like the default screenshot application is Flameshot (the best by far in terms of how easy it is to use and how full of features it is); Syntching is insatlled by default because it is the best (in our tests) file-sharing application; KeePassXC is installed and integrated with Firefox, because it is (again, in our view) the best password manager; Mintstick is the easiest application to format USB Drives and burn an ISO on such a device.

  10. We also customized a bit some extensions like Dash to Dock in terms of the defaults.

....
and more

A video we made about it you can see here:

The official website is where you can find all about it - https://www.tromjaro.com (it comes in 4 languages: english, russian, spanish and german). We have an APPS section where we recommend trade-free applications that we test on TROM-Jaro. https://www.tromjaro.com/apps/

I hope you find it useful and thank you Manjaro for providing the tools to build a custom distribution based on yours. I highly appreciate that. I used to complain on this forum about some Manjaro decisions in terms of the software they include and such, but then I learned in a few months time how to build a custom distribution so I don't have to complain anymore :).

9 Likes

just to really understand what yours wishes , it means 2 ways for developers , one with free , other with non -free , what we do in this case with nvidia drivers ?
and some linux-firmware ?

If Nvidia drivers do not want anything in return, like users' data or money, then they are trade-free. Same with the linux-firmware. If they do, and we have them included, then we will need help to remove them.

is this so trade-free ? coming from appimg or flatpaks or snaps ?

Sometimes they make me crazy with the nearly same names :wink:
Syncthing vs. Syntching

I like this passage:

then other humans coming across the same issue will be able to find that solution.

My cats also like to mess with my computer sometimes :stuck_out_tongue:

Jokes aside: the site is very well built. Very simple and effective. I haven't tried the distro but it looks good. I also like the concept behind trade-free. Have you considered turning it into a universal format centric distro (in ex.: flatpak)?

Wish you good luck.

3 Likes

What are they asking in return for using these package formats?

haha I made a mistake - I find it so difficult to type it.

First of all thank you! Maybe you'll try it :slight_smile:

I would not know where to start with that. Our thinking was to kinda make a massive repository with trade-free applications. But even that is beyond our abilities or time. Do you have an interesting idea what we could do? I know FOSS has a sort of package that you install on your system, and based on their database of non-free software, it will prevent the installation of FOSS software on that machine.

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Snaps gather statistics on users, not exactly “trade free”. I don’t know about flatpak or appimages though.

So you may need to look in to that area some more.

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I only have the general concept in my mind. To have a better idea I'd need to dig a bit on the issue, and I definitely can't at the moment.

The concept is to have a base system and a repository only with universal packages. This way there's way less chance for applications to break due to updates.

You mean "snapd"? Or the snap packages that people may install?

The backend of the store. Only way to not be tracked or give unwanted statistical information to Canonical is not use any snaps.

Once you connect to their store server they know your distribution, the snaps you’ve got and who knows what else.

If this is true we will remove the snapd package. Can you please provide some sources?

They provide it themselves :wink: Can’t get all that info without some form of tracking.

Snaps themselves have no dependency on any "app store", can be obtained from any source and can be therefore used for upstream software deployment.

Thoughts?

Ultimately it’s up to you. It’s your spin, but personally I’d avoid snaps and Canonical like the plague, appimages seem fine and I’ve not looked much into flatpak.

But if you’re connecting to the Canonical snapstore then you’re giving them your data, whether you want to or not. If it’s a 3rd party snapstore, well, you have to trust that 3rd party. It’s all about the backend spying with snaps from what I can see.

Having snapd installed isn’t really the issue, it’s more where you are going to then be getting your snaps from to install...

I get you and I like your attitude. Maybe we will consider removing snaps in the next update/build. In truth no one really needs snaps, appimages or flatpaks with pacman + AUR.

They also show the telemetry right on the snaps website for the particular app.
If you scroll down the page you'll get to a map of the world and it shows all the distros by usage rankings.

I like your visual and your focus on non commercial software. Great idea!

Some questions:

  1. how big is your team?
  2. what do you use for preupgrade backups?
  3. do you want your distro to be installable with manjaro-architect?

Some suggestions:

  1. If you go for unity style, you should check out the unite extension in the repos. It also provides a system tray EDIT: already included it seems.
  2. with your focus on privacy, you could maybe add ublock origin and canvas blocker extensions to Firefox by default EDIT: I see that ublock origin is already included.
1 Like