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Manjaro Linux, the distribution based on Arch Linux but with an aim to make it more suitable for less advanced users, has a big new version released with Manjaro 21.1.0.

With this release the major supported desktops have been upgraded with GNOME 40, which sees the Manjaro team tweak the layout used to more closely follow standard GNOME with "some adjustments to reduce the pointer travel for users who prefer using mouse with gnome". However, they also supply a "legacy" layout option too which gives you a different approach if you prefer it.

Pictured - Manjaro 21.1.0 GNOME Edition

On the KDE side of things it ships with Plasma 5.22, KDE Frameworks 5.85 and Applications (Gear) 21.08. They also tweaked their theming to be a closer match with the original Breeze theme and a new wallpaper. They also ship with Plasma browser integration sorted out of the box for a better web-browser experience with Plasma. A few other small tweaks were made to the KDE edition like removing the Konversation IRC client in the default set, and adding in the Elisa music player. When it comes to the Xfce edition it ships with Xfce 4.16 with all the improvements from upstream like fractional display scaling.

The installer also saw plenty of improvements including filesystem selection for automatic partitioning and enhanced support for btrfs. Additionally this release ships with Linux Kernel 5.13, while they also offer ISO downloads with a 5.4 LTS kernel to "older hardware" if you need that.

Despite some personal gripes with the way the Manjaro team has conducted themselves in the past, and a rough update here and there - Manjaro is still a pretty good choice for getting setup for gaming on Linux (and everything else).

Learn more and download from the Manjaro website.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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BielFPs 18 Aug
QuoteWith this release the major supported desktops have been upgraded with GNOME 40, which sees the Manjaro team tweak the layout used to more closely follow standard GNOME with "some adjustments to reduce the pointer travel for users who prefer using mouse with gnome". However, they also supply a "legacy" layout option too which gives you a different approach if you prefer it.
In my opinion their layout switcher function is a must have extension, it's the thing that makes gnome "usable" for me.
Manjaro was my first taste of what it was like on an Arch based distro. I still haven't quite figured out how to run pure Arch as setting up my various installed drives and partitions purely by command line still terrifies me to this day.

I might have stuck with Manjaro if it wasn't for various issues like the author mentioned. The thing that decided it for me was the constant breakages of packages from the AUR which relied on dependencies from the Arch repositories which Manjaro always lagged behind on due to what seems like a good idea on paper. However, in reality there were still issues that occurred with updates for me which is what made me move on to the likes of Endeavour and Archcraft.

This is still a nice distro to help dip your toe into what an Arch-like environment feels like for those who've mostly been used to Debian-based derivatives.
Phlebiac 18 Aug
Quoting: BielFPsIn my opinion their layout switcher function is a must have extension, it's the thing that makes gnome "usable" for me.

Can you explain what this changes exactly - or link to some site that describes it?
lectrode 19 Aug
IMHO, the enhanced installer support for Btrfs is by far the biggest new feature to come to the manjaro iso. The automatic setup of btrfs subvolumes for your main partitions (no more worrying about balancing the size of the root and home partitions separately), as well as the automatic snapshots whenever you update are a huge benefit to newcomers to linux.

If you need to boot into an earlier snapshot of the system, you have options right there in the grub menu on startup. No manual setup required, and all your files, settings, preferences, etc are exactly the way you left them, in the same amount of time it takes to reboot. How cool is that?

Granted, I've never run into breakage issues because I watch the update announcement threads for potential issues (and follow the rare but necessary manual update steps, like merging pacnew files), but this provides a very robust safety net for anyone worried about installing updates on an Arch-based system, right out of the box.


Last edited by lectrode on 19 August 2021 at 3:15 am UTC
BielFPs 19 Aug
Quoting: PhlebiacCan you explain what this changes exactly - or link to some site that describes it?
You can change the default layout of gnome with one click

Here you can see how it works
Phlebiac 19 Aug
Quoting: BielFPsYou can change the default layout of gnome with one click
Here you can see how it works

Thanks; I see it's basically a UI to quickly enable/disable a bunch of GNOME extensions. So nothing really new, other than easy switching between groupings of them. Hopefully the extensions they rely on continue to be maintained (they are popular ones / I've used most of them, so I imagine someone will keep them going).
Kymus 19 Aug
I ran Ubuntu for nearly 15 years and was extremely cautious when jumping to Manjaro at a friend's suggestion, but with the AUR, I've surprisingly found it to be an easier and beer experience overall than Ubuntu (which broke on me when installing new versions 75% or more of the time, for some strange reason).
Nocifer 19 Aug
Quoting: LinuxScouserManjaro was my first taste of what it was like on an Arch based distro. I still haven't quite figured out how to run pure Arch as setting up my various installed drives and partitions purely by command line still terrifies me to this day.

Fun fact: most long-time Arch users are equally terrified of editing partitions by command line to this day :)

But if that is the only thing preventing you from using Arch, there is a very easy solution: fire up a live CD of e.g. Manjaro, use a GUI tool like Gparted to partition your disk, then boot the Arch ISO and install Arch on your already partitioned disk. No need for the command line at all.

On the other hand there is nothing inherently bad about using Arch-derivatives instead of "pure" Arch, as long as they don't do unnecessary adjustments to how the base system works (e.g. like Manjaro and its update policy), so if you're good with Endeavour or Archcraft then you might as well stick with them.

Quoting: lectrodeIMHO, the enhanced installer support for Btrfs is by far the biggest new feature to come to the manjaro iso. The automatic setup of btrfs subvolumes for your main partitions (no more worrying about balancing the size of the root and home partitions separately), as well as the automatic snapshots whenever you update are a huge benefit to newcomers to linux.

If you need to boot into an earlier snapshot of the system, you have options right there in the grub menu on startup. No manual setup required, and all your files, settings, preferences, etc are exactly the way you left them, in the same amount of time it takes to reboot. How cool is that?

Granted, I've never run into breakage issues because I watch the update announcement threads for potential issues (and follow the rare but necessary manual update steps, like merging pacnew files), but this provides a very robust safety net for anyone worried about installing updates on an Arch-based system, right out of the box.

Yeah, btrfs is certainly one of the best unknown gems of the Linux world, and implementing first-class support for it is certainly welcome. I expect and hope that now with Valve selecting it as the filesystem for the Steam Deck, more people will get to install it on their own systems (in an attempt to enjoy the full benefit of Valve's efforts on Linux gaming, which will probably include btrfs features like reflinks) and find out just how awesome it is.

I call it an "unknown gem" because many/most people nowadays usually dismiss it due to the infamous RAID 5/6 "writing hole", without realizing that a) if you don't use RAID 5/6 this is nothing to worry about, and b) btrfs in every other respect absolutely ROCKS, so much so that IMHO it should be the major Linux filesystem in place of ext4. The only thing it lacks for me is casefold support.

Quoting: KymusI ran Ubuntu for nearly 15 years and was extremely cautious when jumping to Manjaro at a friend's suggestion, but with the AUR, I've surprisingly found it to be an easier and beer experience overall than Ubuntu (which broke on me when installing new versions 75% or more of the time, for some strange reason).

As a former Ubuntu user (until 2013 IIRC) I can sympathize. After the struggle that is PPAs and backports and release upgrades every 6 months, having a light and transparent system where you install it once and then it gradually gets updated piece by piece to the latest version, and where you can have access to everything you may need via the AUR (either using premade packages or making one on your own, the latter being its greatest strength) is definitely a great step towards achieving computing piece of mind. Also, apt vs pacman >.>

On the other hand, some people might miss the hand-holding they can enjoy by using other, more centrally managed distros. Arch is more like a commune; nobody is gonna force you to do anything (unless it's about cleaning duties, but thankfully Arch is only a virtual commune :P) but you're also not going to be getting any new and shiny changes automagically unless you educate yourself about them. Just the first example among many that come to mind, rootless Xorg: back when it became a thing (~2018 or so?) other distros (eventually) came with it already preconfigured, while on Arch you had to know about it and enable it by hand-editing an obscure (by average user standards) configuration file.

Arch is certainly not for the "it just works" kind of people.
STiAT 19 Aug
While I love Arch (was TU there for some years), and later switched to Manjaro, my real issue with it is actually the KISS approach and their approach to optional depends.

Like, if you require a package so MTP and Bluetooth actually work with phones and results in cryptic errors if they are not, they should be a dependency.

Since they are not required compile time, Arch will put them optional and you've to search why certain functions in your desktop don't work as expected. As Manjaro pulls from arch, you have the same issue there.

And that drove me away from it, though, my love for its general approach and flexibility I really like, it's not what I prefer on a daily base.

So I'm on Solus since 2017, and did not even try other distros since then. Though, Solus is rough around the edges too with snap and flatpak support not being in the solus-sc and similar, it's a much more curated approach to a desktop for daily used.

Which is not the intention of Arch, and that's fine.
BielFPs 19 Aug
Quoting: PhlebiacI see it's basically a UI to quickly enable/disable a bunch of GNOME extensions. So nothing really new, other than easy switching between groupings of them.
The simplicity is what makes it a must have for me.
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