Meet Manjaro Linux, a brand-new distro on the rise

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With virtually countless Linux distributions available for every taste and purpose, it's no secret that choice is a defining feature of the Linux world. What's not always apparent, though, is that the range of choices actually gets bigger every year.

New distros come onto the scene on a fairly regular basis; SolusOS and Fuduntu Linux are two I've covered over the past few months, but recently another one caught my eye as being particularly worth covering.

It's Manjaro Linux, a brand-new contender that launched last August and has already sprinted up DistroWatch's page-hit rankings to No. 15. Why all the interest? The project has released a few key updates this month. Here's a rundown of some of the distro's best features.

1. Based on Arch Linux

Arch Linux is a very popular distro among more experienced users in the Linux community, and it's renowned for its simplicity, power, and speed.

I recently covered Cinnarch, which adds the Cinnamon desktop to this longtime favorite, but now Manjaro presents another option.

“Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility,” the project team explains. “Available in both 32 and 64 bit versions, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users.”

2. User-friendly yet powerful

Manjaro strives to preserve the power of Arch Linux for enthusiasts while also making it more accessible for newcomers to Linux.

Targeting the latter group, the distro includes a user-friendly installer and is designed to work fully “straight out of the box,” its makers say. Toward that end, it also includes preinstalled desktop environments, automatic hardware detection and driver installation, multimedia codecs, and graphical applications for installing software and updating the system.

For those on the more experienced end, however, Manjaro offers extensive customizability to suit personal taste and preference. In addition, there's also a minimalist NET-Edition stripped of any preinstalled software that can be used as a base installation on which to build your own system.

“Starting from a command line, be completely free to chose your own greeters, desktops, hardware drivers, software applications, and so on!” the project team explains.

3. Numerous desktop options

Though the lightweight Xfce desktop environment comes standard in Manjaro, the software also offers Cinnamon, KDE, and OpenBox options as well as E17, MATE, and LXDE through what it calls “Community Editions.”

4 . Rolling releases

Like Arch, Manjaro uses a rolling release development model. What that means is that users always have the most up-to-date system possible, without the hassle of having to formally install new versions. When new releases are announced, they're simply up-to-date snapshots of the latest software.

5. A world of software

As a fully Arch-compatible distro, Manjaro does offer its users access to the Arch User Repository and all the software packages contained therein.

In addition, however, Manjaro also offers its own official repositories “in order to ensure that any software packages provided (e.g. system updates and applications) have been fully tested and are completely stable before release,” it notes.

Ready to take Manjaro Linux for a free test drive? It's available for download in the flavor of your choice.

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