Ok, I don’t need to tell you how much I love, not like but LOVE, Manjaro Linux, do I? Y’all have seen me fangurling here and going all Manjaro Master Race and dissing poor little beginner friendly distros such as Linux Lite and Ubuntu MATE and … OMG, Zorin. 😮
I even posted screenshots of my fabled Manjaro … and totally forgot it was always my own modded and customized Manjaro version you got to see. Not something mirroring reality. So yesterday I thought why not showing you the truth, the sad bare truth, Manjaro as it comes when you install it in its standard vanilla edition. So I installed it on MiniMe. Really installed it, like I do with all Linuxes, not in a Virtual Machine (like Trap does)* but “on the metal” as fellow computer tinkerers say when they install something to their hard drives.
Step a bit closer please, and have a looksee:
So, this is Manjaro fresh outta the box, minus the Welcome Window (which is always the first thing that has to go), plus the stupid Whisker Menu. We can see already it uses the Xfce desktop environment, which is kinda bad. Xfce tries to be ultralight on resources and even sacrifices many creature comforts to reach that goal … to no great effect tho. The much more scalable and customizable MATE desktop is equally spunky but offers a butload more niceties. Not saying that MATE out of the box looks much nicer, as all Manjaro editions are kinda utilizing the same barf green colourscheme, terrible flat icon themes and the boringest wallpapers. We’re not impressed yet.
Opening some windows doesn’t help much. The standard Manjaro theming is as fugly as it is boring and “modern” childish. And Xfce’s file manager Thunar can’t even hold a candle to MATE’s Caja.
By default Manjaro Xfce comes with the usual collection of additional softwares (unlike a certain product by Microsoft corp.) Here we see the fancy Guayadeque music player, again a questionable choice since that one is needlessly complicated to operate, misses some functionality and is more package than content. The rest of Manjaro’s software compilation is ok-ish. Libre Office, Firefox, Thunderbird and all the usual suspects are on board and function amazingly well. Of course they do, it’s glorious Arch Linux!
As you can also see in this shot Orca used her usual lazy trick and pulled some of her favourite softwares down into the panel. That’s nice about Xfce, it behaves like MATE in that regard, even easier. Xfce comes with a single panel on the bottom of the screen, not with two panels on top and bottom like MATE does. So customizing the desktop to my personal preference is even easier and faster. Very good. But what If you desperately want to have two panels and move them around? Hm.
This screenshot shows I changed to a much nicer (for my taste) Icon Theme and a much nicer (again for my taste) Wallpaper. The installed Linux Kernel is 4.4.41-1, so much newer than everything you usually get on Ubuntu and Debian based distros but kinda outdated in Arch terms. No wonder the freshly installed Manjaro will nag you after a short while to update to the latest kernel, which is 4.9.2-1 at the time of writing. And despite the Kernel being the single most important ingredient of any Linux distro it’s made super baby easy to swap it out in Manjaro with one or two mouseclicks. Mouseclicks!!! FFS, you don ‘t even need to geek out in the terminal! 😮
Changed wallpaper again and showing you how easy it is to secure your PC with a firewall. Like a boss you just drag the Status bar from left to right and voila, one firewall activated and ready to protect you. Linux doesn’t need to be fukn complicated and geeky and nerdy and stuff.
So, this is how my vanilla Manjaro with Xfce desktop looks after 5 minutes of playing with it. Much better already, right? I mean it’s no comparison with how it came fresh outta the box like 5 minutes ago. I could live with this desktop. Heck, I’d even recommend the Xfce (some pronounce it like “ex-face”) desktop for everybody. It’s a very usable and easy to grasp and operate environment, which shouldn’t pose a problem for anybody coming from Windows. So, if the Linux of your choice comes with the Xfce DE as standard or sole DE, I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on it. Linux Lite and other distros don’t give you much or any choice at all, which shouldn’t be a reason not to use them. It again is just that sissy Orca, the special snowflake, with her very specific set of demands and requirements who’s never 100% happy with Xfce as she is with MATE. But that’s again just a personal preference. For the rest of the world Xfce is the bestest lightweight Linux desktop. Period.
* We forgive Trap for her geekyness as that poor litle girl only has one desktop PC at her disposal, on which she already duals boots Windows and Linux afaik. So for every additional OS she wants to test she’s gotta instrumentalize a virtual machine. Hmmm, I wonder what became of her fancy ASUS gaming laptop.