Manjaro: First Impressions

After last week’s minor crisis, I ended up switching from openSUSE to Manjaro on my PC and so far I am really liking it.

The first thing that struck me was just how nice it it makes my desktop to look at. It may sound like a trivial thing, but if you are going to sit in front of a screen for a couple of hours, then having something easy on the eye to look at does make a significant difference. A lot of attention has clearly been paid to the look of this operating system, not just in terms of the artwork but also the theming and the design — so much so that I am using smaller fonts now than I was, which frees up even more space on my desktop.

Manjaro comes in several desktop editions and, being a long-term Gnome user, I stuck with what I know. There are a couple of extensions installed by default and, having become very used to the vanilla Gnome experience, I immediately switched off the Arc menu.

I am a little more ambivalent about the Dash to Dock extension, which moves the dashboard out of the overview screen and displays it as a permanent dock. It’s not annoying me, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s adding any benefit either. I have kept it switched on for now, but may deactivate it later.

And so to the applications and I am reminded, once again, just how easy it is to add email accounts to Evolution. Enter an email address and password, and you’re done. As with everything else, the fonts and icons have been selected for maximum readability, making it almost enjoyable to answer angry emails.

I’m not so impressed with Lollypop, the default music player, as it’s not much fun to navigate. So this has gone to be replaced with Exaile, my music player of choice. As for as this type of application goes, I have not seen anything that comes close to Exaile. It has the slickest user interface I have seen and this comes with the killer feature (for me) of dynamic playlists. I start it, seed it with a couple of songs and it will continue to select similar songs until I press stop.

Exaile isn’t available in the standard Manjaro repositories, but it is available in the AUR because, with Arch Linux (on which Manjaro is based) everything is available in the AUR. Using this repository comes with a warning, but the Pamac package manager makes it frighteningly easy to do so.

Overall, I am very happy with Manjaro and can see myself using it for quite some time to come.

The Grub menu, which caused me all my trouble in the first place, is still a bit of a mess but I’ve learned my lesson and will never touch this again. Well, not until after Christmas, anyway.

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