Manjaro is an up and coming Linux distribution that has recently overtaken some of the most popular and battle scarred distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and others (at least according to DistroWatch).

Once you've decided to download Manjaro and see what all the rage is about, we've got you covered in this beginner's guide, which will provide you with an introduction to the operating system and show you the first things to do once you've booted into Manjaro. If you're just looking to give Manjaro a test run, you can always install Manjaro in a virtual machine or create a dual boot system.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • Background information of Manjaro
  • How to install Manjaro
  • How to update Manjaro
  • How to install additional software on Manjaro
  • How to perform basic administration tasks on Manjaro
  • How to setup computer peripherals in Manjaro
Manjaro Linux Beginners Guide
Manjaro Linux Beginners Guide
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Manjaro Linux
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Introduction to Manjaro

First, it's good to know a little bit about the distribution you're installing, including the system requirements. Manjaro is a derivative of Arch Linux, a distribution whose core values are simplicity, modernity, pragmatism, user centrality and versatility. This should give you a rough idea of what to expect from Manjaro. Although it's based on Arch, Manjaro differs from its ancestor by being more user-friendly and accessible, which has undoubtedly contributed to its skyrocket in popularity.

Manjaro's a big proponent of customization. The official download page has numerous desktop environments you can choose from, with XFCE being the flagship download. Even if you end up with one you don't like, it's pretty easy to make the switch to a different one. We've even written guides for installing KDE on Manjaro, installing GNOME on Manjaro, and installing Cinnamon on Manjaro.

Chances are, a lot of Manjaro users are jumping ship from Ubuntu and looking for a more versatile and "unlocked" distribution. Manjaro and Ubuntu have some similarities, but Manjaro definitely has a much more modern and refreshing approach. Ubuntu does a lot of the thinking for you, while Manjaro encourages users to flex more control over their system. If you want to show off your new distro to your friends, learn about taking a screenshot in Manjaro.

Installing Manjaro

Unlike its predecessor, Manjaro utilizes a graphical installer which you should find simple to use. Follow along with our Manjaro installation guide to see the step by step instructions for installing Manjaro. You can create a Manjaro bootable USB stick for easy installtion after you've downloaded the ISO file.

If you prefer a more stripped down installer à la Arch Linux, you could always install Manjaro Architect Edition instead. This provides you with a lot more customization but requires a more technical knowledge and familiarity with Linux. If you have any trouble, our guide should point you in the right direction.


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Updating Manjaro

In the spirit of simplicity, Manjaro adheres to a rolling release schedule, which means you'll never have to worry about reaching an end of life with the installed operating system. There are no long term support releases or anything like that, you just update the installed packages on your system to get Manjaro up to date.

After installing Manjaro, you'll definitely want to check for updates and familiarize yourself with the process for doing so. We've written a guide for updating Manjaro which will show you GUI and command line methods for keeping your system up to date. If you plan to compile your own Linux kernel modules, you should also learn about Manjaro kernel headers installation.

Installing Software

One of the favorite features for many Manjaro users is the ability to install packages from the AUR. In case you're not familiar, AUR is the Arch User Repository - a huge collection of Linux software contributed to and largely managed by the Linux community. If there's software you can't find in Manjaro's official repository, it's safe to assume you'll find it in the AUR. The best part is that it's easy to do once you've set it up, which our guide can help you do.

If you plan to play videos and listen to music on Manjaro, you may need to install third party codecs to get some things to play properly. This isn't always necessary, but it should allow virtually any video or audio file to play without a hitch on your system.

As far as gaming on Linux is concerned, Manjaro works very well as a gaming distro. There are multiple gaming apps installed by default, and you can also install Lutris to have access to additional games. Installing Wine gives you access to Windows based programs, as well as providing a necessary compatibility layer for certain gaming titles. Of course, installing Minecraft and other games that support Linux is a cinch.



Many developers and programmers choose Manjaro for its user-friendliness and richness in features. Developing Java programs on Manjaro will require installing OpenJDK. It's also possible to install Docker on Manjaro in case you want to deploy your apps through that platform.

Basic Administration

Administration is a necessary part of any operating system, which is why we've written guides for some of the most essential tasks, like how to add or remove users on Manjaro. We also talk about how to configure the network on Manjaro, and more specifically, setting up a static IP address. Also, don't forget about enabling or disabling the firewall on Manjaro.

Setup Peripherals

When you first load into Manjaro, your peripheral devices should be detected by the operating system automatically. But in some situations, this may not be the case. If you want to see whether or not some of your devices are connected successfully, you can learn how to test a webcam and how to test a microphone. If you have a printer plugged in, you may need to go through setting up a printer in Manjaro before it works.

Conclusion

Manjaro has a lot to offer but it's not always easy to give up a familiar distro and venture into something new. This guide should help you get started with Manjaro and answer most of your initial questions about the distro. Manjaro is a speedy and simple Linux distro ideal for desktop systems. It's user friendly and more customizable than many other leading Linux distros.

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