First of all, I need to make you aware that my reviews are not really conventional. I am not doing a general review, but I am going to review based on my criteria. You can see this here:
I have been testing this distribution on my family computer. This is a core2 duo computer with 3 gb of ram. Previous to installing Manjaro, I have been running Ubuntu on it. However I have become very frustrated with Ubuntu. It has become very sluggish, and gives me errors often. I also don’t like unity, or gnome 3. So I am looking for a new distribution for this computer.
After reading up on Manjaro, it sounded like a very interesting and new distribution. It is Based off Arch linux which I do like very much. I have used it in the past, and like pacman (the package manager), and it has always been a very stable, and fast operating system. The only real problem I have with Arch is that it takes too long for me to get everything installed and working. Manjaro makes it much easier to get arch up and running (even though they use there own repository, so you don’t really have arch).
I am not going to walk you through all the steps to installing Manjaro, however the installation went just fine, and was well within my criteria for an installation.
Repository package management
One of my criteria for a distribution is to have a large repository, and make it easy to install software. I know arch has a large repository, but I am not sure about Manjaro since they use there own repository, and not Arches. However They have had everything I have needed, and already had all the codecs, and flash installed, so I could play video’s with no problem. However I did have a little difficulty originally getting connected to the repository. Apparently they changed the repository right after they released the new version. It was not too difficult to get this fixed, but there were no real clear instruction on there forum, and did not seem very professional. However this is a new distribution, and Not too big of a deal.
I mostly just used pacman for managing packages, however they also have a graphical version called Octopi. I guess it works ok, but I could not get it to update even using system upgrade, it said I had 215 outdated packages. Pacman -Syu worked fine though.
Out of the box (does it just work)
Another criteria I have is how the distribution operates, and how much work I have to do to get it going correctly. Manjaro is basically all setup and ready to go. I made a few changes to the look of KDE, but that is just personal preference, and KDE is so easy to make it look just how I like it, that is only took a couple minutes, and it was setup great. I also installed a few applications I use that was not installed, and it went very easy (after getting the repository fixed, as discussed earlier).
Here is what my instalation looked like after a few minutes of customising.
I have however noticed when I am playing a movie, it takes a long time to change the volume. I thought it froze up. and it took about 3 minutes to open up kmix. It also keeps bringing up a popup asking me if I want to permanently delete some audio hardware that it is not using anymore. I am not sure if it has something miss configures, or why this is happening, but it only happens when I play movies. Another problem I have seen also has to do with playing movies, and that is that dragon player does not play them. I am not sure if this is related to the sound issue or not, but it does not work.
Compared to my previous install of Ubuntu, Manjaro is very responsive. Every thing opens quickly, and I have no real delays when moving between windows. The only real delay I have seen is with the volume problem described above. However I have noticed when I leave the computer on for a week or so, it starts using swap space, and more of my ram. It eventually got to the point where it was not very responsive due to using swap space. After rebooting it worked great again.
repository package management: 8/10
Out of the box (does it just work): 7/10
I am actually very pleased with Manjaro. There are just a few minor issue that brought some of the scores down, but this is a fairly new distribution, so expect these issues will be resolved in later releases, and this will become a very strong distribution. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good Linux desktop. I have been using it for several weeks now, and other than the issues mentioned it has worked perfectly.