A popular distro is Mint. It’s a great distro, I have it installed on my home theatre. It’s great because all the apps are up-to-date (without being bleeding-edge and unstable), and I can chuck as many applications as I like on it with all the storage space my home theatre has. I have 55 days’ worth of music cued up on Brasero. But since I listen to classical, blues and jazz the most, that number comes down to 3 days’ worth of music frequently listened to. I have any public-domain documentaries and movies I can find. I shnagged the original Gilligan’s Island movie from ibiblio.org. They also have what many believe to be the worst movies of all time, such as Plan 9 From Outer Space (isn’t there an operating system called “Plan 9”?), a low-budget McCarthy-era sci-fi movie with bad acting and bad writing. The last time I watched Plan 9, I think I lasted 30 minutes before switching it off and moving on to other things. That’s a record for me. Don’t have it cued up to play on your first date with someone. And maybe not your second. I’ve been married 20 years, and my wife doesn’t know I have a copy of Plan 9 on video.
I was impressed with Mint, and kept it on my home theatre. It was Mint 14, and so I thought I would give it a second chance on my laptop. Same problems as before. Jumpy mouse which invokes click events when it randomly jumps somewhere. Wi-fi doesn’t work. Generally pretty bad.
I could have gone back to getting out my DVD of Manjaro 0.8.0, but instead I decided to download 0.8.2, the latest stable version. The desktop is improved incredibly, and it has an app I don’t recognise which resides on the desktop The mouse is stable, recognizes pen and touch, and my WiFi works right down to the toggle switch on the front of my case. 0.8.3 promises to be even better, but since that’s beta right now, I’ll wait a while.
Manjaro is not for everyone, but I feel it is meant especially for people like me that don’t have much HD space (10GB is reserved for Linux and 2gigs for swap in my case), and sometimes need to have a second OS for their own reasons. Or maybe no reason.
After all is said and done, I have Manjaro running on TX2. But instead of running it on a USB, I’m running it from my hard drive, an SSD in this case. Manjaro is an offshoot of ArchLinux, but with intentions to be more user-friendly. Manjaro is new, having only reached version 0.8.0 by the end of August.
Wired, wireless, and mice of all descriptions (pen, touchpad, touchscreen) all work nicely, and fit inside of a 10GB partition I prepared for it. I gave it 2GB swap. When installing to such a small system, I didn’t waste time making additional partitions for /usr, /tmp, and /home like I always do. Instead, I just dumped the whole OS under /.
I have posted some nerdy and not-so-nerdy questions on their forums, and have been happy with their answers. From a person who comes from a traditional UNIX background (Solaris/SUN-OS, IBM, BSD, etc — LINUX came later for me, but the main distros still have a filesystem that follows FSSTND guidelines), there are some profoundly non-standard liberties that the Manjaro team took with the operating system’s design, and that is to funnel a good deal of /etc into /root. I am not sure of the benefit of that (I am guessing security would be the reason), but it does make it difficult for me, a UNIX nerd, to apply my knowledge of a typical UNIX filesystem. It appears as though most of the hundreds of files that are stored under /root consist of config files and password files.
Manjaro is a new, user-friendly offshoot of Arch Linux, and promises to be simpler to install. I saw a video on exactly what was “easy” about it, and was sold. I burned myself an Xfce ISO image on a DVD, and the fact that the touchscreen, stylus, and touchpad on my HP-TX2 all worked made me almost wet myself. All right, I say, let’s commit this to USB, and we’ll worry about what doesn’t work later (which at this point was the camera, sound, and network printer detection — comparatively easy stuff, most often software-related).
That, along with the speed and ease of use (I think it is much noticeably easier to use as advertised, but don’t expect ease on the level of Mint or Ubuntu) added to its score.
So far, 13 points on the ratings scale. Since this scale is out of 18 if only I could get the rest of the stuff to work, it could have the remaining 5 points. But alas, I cannot give it to them. The USB failed to reboot properly, and I am considering trying again, or trying another image from the distro.
Mint and Puppy still tie for first, in all of their half-configured, clunky glory!