Manjaro Linux Rocks

What can I say about Manjaro KDE Edition? It is the absolute best Linux distribution that I have installed to date. Goodbye POP! OS. I am running a 2018 Oryx from System 76 who also makes POP! OS and Manjaro actually works better on their hardware.

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I had attempted to use Manjaro KDE a version or so back on this hardware but had issues with video drivers. Since POP! worked so well I didn’t spend time getting Manjaro to work; although, I loved the feel and style plus the stability and workflow. I have always been a KDE guy at heart as the environment is just more consistent and cohesive than other desktop environments so I knew I’d go back eventually.

Hardware overview

12 x i7-8750H 2.2ghz (8th gen).
16gb RAM.
Nvidia GTX 1060/Intel hybrid.
Solid State drives and 17” 144hz display.

I decided to install on a fast Lutris and it runs as flawless as GTA V does on the Asus.

Misc. Hardware

I have an HP LaserJet 200 Color MFC (m276nw). This is a networked printer that just works on most distros after install; however, getting the scanner to work is another matter. Not here, I simply opened the terminal and ran $ hp-plugin and followed the prompts. Scanner works. Yay!

Wacom really blew me away. I could only use it with USB on other distros. On Manjaro not only did it work with Bluetooth but the settings include everything you need to tweaking the tablet! The settings also had controller settings! I plugged in my old PS3 and Logitech F310 and both worked out of the box!

Note on System 76 Oryx Pro laptop.

If the fn key is not working for keyboard backlight for kernel 5.8 try the following commands then reboot.

sudo pacman -Syu linux58-headers
sudo dkms remove system76/1.0.9
pamac remove system76-dkms
pamac build system76-dkms
sudo modprobe system76

Previously updating grub worked for me, kernel 5.7.  Open the terminal and type: 

sudo nano /etc/default/grub


Change so it looks like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="acpi_osi= acpi_backlight=native"

If it's populated keep that as well.

Save and exit Nano then type: sudo update-grub

Reboot and check your keyboard. I also set my keyboard to Generic 105 in System Settings,

The only function keys that do not work are the brightness. It works in settings so for me it’s not a big deal.

Mail and Calendar

I added Google and setup Kontact with Gmail and Google calendar. I really like Kontact, Kmail, Korganize, Calendar, Feeds, and a simple Journal in one tool. I like it better than Outlook. I could not get the mail to setup using the global account setting in Manjaro; I ended up creating a app specific password in Google to get mail working. Also, the calendar needs setup to work with Google, just add a new calendar and filter Google.

Base Software and iPhone

Next I mostly just installed my favorite apps available in the package manager. I was happy to see most applications are up to date. For photo management I opted for digiKam as it works very well with my iPhone 11 for importing images. I had issues on most other distros but not Manjaro. If you’re interested in how I manage music on my iPhone, it’s easy. I simply create a Samba share and copy my music to Flacbox as it supports SMB. I am using Lollipop for music management locally.

If you use OBS to record the desktop or stream and have issues with flickering and/or tearing you need to go to System Settings, Display and Monitor, Compositor and set Tearing Prevention to NEVER. I also moved rendering to OpenGL 3.1

Proprietary Software

Once I get all the developer, administrative, and utilities installed I focused on Audio. LMMS isn’t too bad but you really can’t beat Bitwig and Renoise. Unfortunately both products are packaged as debs. I found a Python script called archalien to convert them to Arch and once converted they can be installed on Manjaro (Arch) with a double click. Worked perfectly.

Some other proprietary software required AUR, like Enpass, SimpleNote, and Dropbox. Dropbox will need a GPGKey; I used the Fedora key and manually installed. Those three products pretty much finish all other interaction with the iPhone I use. You can turn AUR on in the pacman GUI. Just search for those few packages you need.

Now one thing that tends to never work out of the box are Linux VST plugins. I was surprised when I installed AMSynth, Helm, and ZynAddSub in Pacman that all were present in both Bitwig and Renoise ready to be used! All the U-he VSTs work also fine also.

The last piece of commercial Software was Photoshop CS6 and some plugins. I installed in PlayOnLinux and it runs really well. I mainly use it for a couple of plugins that you just can’t get on Linux. If you need help getting it to work see my post here. It targets Pop/Ubuntu but works on Arch none the less.

Theming and finalization

Theming can sometimes be tedious but KDE has always been a bit easier than Gnome. At this point I barely did anything to have a nice consistent color theme with nice back drops, boot, and logon screens. All theming is accessible in System Settings including making Gtk match the KDE theme colors. The wallpapers are so nice so I stuck with them. I installed a logon screen to match things up and added some widgets to polish the desktop.

I am so happy with Manjaro on the Asus and the System 76. I even installed on an old Mac Book Pro that wouldn’t run any distro well and it runs flawless! I find Pacman to be very stable, I find the system to run light even with effects. I would recommend Manjaro for just about anyone. Actually, I would recommend it over Ubuntu mainly for the stability of the system and package manager. I hope you give it a try.

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