The many faces of Manjaro
Upon first launch after a fresh install you’ll be greeted by the familiar launcher that installed the OS, I almost always turn this fella off, but you do you. Manjaro uses pacman as its package manager which works a little differently than apt would on a Ubuntu system, but nothing too crazy, I’ll provide a very tiny cheat sheet at the end of the article that should get a pacman noob comfortable with its commands. Of course you don’t have to use the terminal commands, as Manjaro provides a pretty a handy ‘app store’ type application where you can search for programs right inside of it. You can also preform a system update from this app.
On performance, Manjaro’s recommended requirements are:’
- 1GB of RAM
- 30GB free disk space
- 1Ghz CPU
That’s not too bad, considering how it looks, which is nothing to write home about but it serves its purpose. Manjaro really nails usability factor, as the Xfce desktop is snappy and responsive, it supports multiple desktops, window snapping; the casual adopter should feel right at home.
Installing from the AUR
Once you get past that honeymoon phase and you’ve checked out all it has to offer, it really just comes down to user preference and whether or not your favorite packages are available on Manjaro. Chances are nowadays, unless you are using some cutting edge software, your software is out there and if it isn’t, you can always check the
AUR, which is a community-driven package repository.
I’ll guide you through installing my favorite code editor VSCode, if you use something else or hate code, feel free to skip this section. The version of VSCode that can be installed via
pacman is Code-OSS, which is the open source version of VSCode with all the Microsoft proprietary stuff cut out. However this implementation of code still has some telemetry settings dug in, so instead I’ll be opting to install VSCodium which strips out the telemetry and point those URLs phoning home to nowhere. In order to install VSCodium we need to install the yay package manager which lets us install from the
sudo pacman -S yay
Now we can install VSCodium:
yay -S vscodium-bin
Yay will ask you for permission to build and install, and you can answer with the “A”, for all, and you may read through the build file when it prompts you a second time, but for the sake of not having to look at pages of text output, I just answered with “N”, for none, here.
After that you’ll have installed the best version of Code you can get on Linux!
Manjaro is a solid introduction into the world of Arch and a great springboard for people who are sick of Ubuntu or just need to inject some fresh Linux juice into their computers. Definitely check this one out if you are looking to refresh an old system you have lying around or you’ve always wanted to try Arch but without the hassle of installing Arch!
A quick pacman cheat sheet
A debian\ubuntu user might use something like the following:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade to update and upgrade their system in one command with the
&& operator joining the commands. Using
pacman, the same command would look like this:
sudo pacman -Syu
Installing a specific package with
apt would look like this:
sudo apt install package, while in
pacman it would look like this:
sudo pacman -S package
This command is similar to
autoremove command that gets rid of orphaned packages that are auto-installed as dependencies.
pacman has a similar command that can be used in one go like so:
sudo pacman -Rs $(pacman -Qtdq)
Note that this command only works if you actually have orphaned dependencies, else it will return an error. You can verify you have something to uninstall by running
pacman -Qtdq alone.