Bye Bye Ubuntu, Hello Manjaro. How Did We Get Here?

Last week I penned a cheesy fake relationship breakup letter to Ubuntu, my Linux distribution of choice for the last 15 years or so. It had well and truly delivered on its promise of a painless Linux desktop for most of that time, but the most recent upgrades had rendered it slow and bloated, with applications taking minutes to load and USB peripherals such as my film scanner mysteriously stopping working. I don’t have to look far to identify the point at which they adopted Snap packages as the moment when it all went wrong. I’d reached the point at which I knew our ways must part, and it was time to look for another distro.

It’s Arch, But For Cowards…

My daily driver is a middle-aged Dell laptop, it’s about five years old but because I invested in the highest spec I could at the time, with an i7 of the day and 16 gigabytes of memory it’s still a contender. My problem when changing distros is that this machine is my livelihood, I can’t afford for anything to go wrong with it and any changeover has to be fast. I thus had to select a distro for which the installation is painless, the learning curve is minimal, and which doesn’t have too many neckbeard quirks. This is for earning a living, not messing about with.

An obvious choice would be another Debian based system, after all I’m very familiar with Debian on more than one architecture. This would be great, but even the most ardent fan of Debian probably has to admit that sometimes versions of software in those repositories can be a bit fossilised. I need my packages to be more up-to-date than that, indeed even more up-to-date than the Ubuntu versions. Truth be told this hasn’t been an immediate process, I’ve been eyeing up other distros for a few months. I settled upon Manjaro as a good blend of up-to-date and fast, yet usable by mere mortals. It’s Arch but for cowards, and trying it on a few older machines it’s been a painless experience.

This Machine Is My Livelihood

My laptop, in a cabin on the Hoek van Holland to Harwich ferry.
It doesn’t matter where I am, Hackaday still needs to be edited.

Anyone who works for a repeating publication will tell you that their time structure is dictated by the rhythm of the publication. If my upgrade went wrong in the morning I wouldn’t be able to schedule your Hackaday afternoon, which I do from my post here in Europe some time in the early morning for our server in California. Thus my time slot would have to be in my evening, and the machine would have to be usable the next morning.

So one evening I downloaded the Manjaro GNOME ISO file, and unpacked a brand new Samsung SSD with a decent sized cache I’d bought for the purpose. Time to back up the settings for browsers and the like, then pull out Ubuntu disk and put it in a USB caddy before fitting the SSD. Booting from the Manjaro USB stick the install was painless, it even recognised I had an SSD and didn’t try to insist on a swap partition. I could then copy back my documents from the USB caddy, and restore those browser settings. All my usual software is in the Manjaro repositories, and with a GNOME desktop I could set up the look-and-feel to be the way I’m used to. Yes, my Manjaro desktop has some resemblance to the Ubuntu one I’ve just left. Even the backup is the same, and “Just Works”.

So I’ve got a new distro on my machine, and the process has been smooth. And it’s all so much faster, it’s not funny. Yes it’s got a faster disk, but that’s not all of it. Applications aren’t laggy, they load in real time, and I’ve got my USB peripherals back. It really is like having a new computer, and I’m left wondering why I put it off for so long. But perhaps in all my rejoicing over my new-found computing power I’m missing something. If Canonical have gone so badly wrong with Ubuntu, I have to ask, just why?

Jokey Breakup Letters Aside, Where Have Canonical Gone Astray?

I think what we are seeing is a commercial company wrestling with the fundamental problem that their product is a free operating system, and one that while popular, is almost unknown outside of a relatively small community of computer enthusiasts. There may be someone pop up in the comments and point to an obscure consumer computer model sold with Ubuntu preinstalled and they’re certainly a force that matters in the server market, but Macs and Chromebooks notwithstanding, for practical purposes it’s impossible to find a PC with anything but Windows.

I can’t walk into my local UK high street retailer and buy a PC preinstalled with Ubuntu, neither can I do so at the usual large online PC manufacturers. ChromeOS may be something of a special case, but it’s not the long-promised year of Linux on the desktop, and it’s definitely not the year of Ubuntu on the desktop.

Thus Canonical have a problem: they want to own all the things, but the main thing in question is free, and they give it away. They can monetise it with subscriptions and support contracts for their business customers and particularly the server market where they have been successful, but there’s still the problem that anyone can leave their walled garden simply by downloading the OS and supporting it themselves. They need to build in some kind of stickiness that keeps the customer bound to them, and since the OS is open source they can’t easily take parts of it private.

Their solution to this conundrum was Snap, a packaged application system. At the client end it’s not a bad idea, offering security benefits and ending some of the dependency issues that used to plague Ubuntu users. But on the server side, it’s a very different matter. The client-side part of Snap is open-source, but the server side isn’t. If there was sufficient demand, it’s surely not beyond the open-source community to write their own server, but for now Canonical are the only player in town. Thus if you use Ubuntu, you’re tied into them in a way that you weren’t before Snap, and they’re a little bit closer to owning all the things. It seems almost calculated to annoy open-source enthusiasts. They might have got away with it if Snap hadn’t so badly affected the performance of anything but the fastest machines. Ubuntu desktop users like me are leaving the distro, because unlike moving from Windows to Ubuntu, it’s relatively easy to switch from one Linux distribution to another.

So I’m now a happy Manjaro user, and judging by the response to my piece from last week I’m not alone in leaving Ubuntu for pastures new. The question is, should this worry Canonical, or are we simply low-value collateral damage as we don’t really bring them any income? To that I’d say this: the best marketing team that a distro can have is its users, and if Snap is burning these users, it’s hard to imagine it as part of a long term strategy.

117 thoughts on “Bye Bye Ubuntu, Hello Manjaro. How Did We Get Here?

    1. I’d personally recommend EndeavourOS. ElementaryOS will still have the “fossilised” repos, which seems to be one of the major reasons Jenny is moving away from Debian flavors. Endeavour is really Arch with a friendlier installer that sets up your favored WM/DE and does basic setup for you. EndeavourOS also has a pretty darn big and friendly userbase.

      And if one is interested in the history of instability and poor security with Manjaro, there are some easy to find lists if one looks for “Manjarno.”

      1. Its been countless years since i stopped recommending ununtu (or debian base) to anyone. The edge case for that would be older switchable graphics where pop os had better support out of the box. Arch based distros are the way to go. I am quite good at screwing up my os by making tweaks and changes and just not maintaining it very well. This last arch install just wont die. I went with kde/plasma for my DE, love it. I do wish there was hdr support though, but afaik there aren’t really any DE’s that support hdr. Bte, I will use any package type that has what I want and is the easiest. I usually go for straight up pacman when possible but im pretty sure i got a few snap packages on there. As much as I got going on, its still responsive and stable.

    2. That is just it. There are a lot of good Linux distros. Ubuntu has been pretty solid over the years and I never use SNAP on it. I have no problem with apt-get been using it for years.
      Right now my two main distros are Fedora and Alma. If I need a distro for work “and I do” I would use Alma “and I do”. Alma is super stable it is free and more or less CentOS not owned by RedHat/IBM. Alma is also good for servers. It all comes down to what do you want from your distro and what do like?” With a big enough sample size you will find fans for everything so take each comment as a datapoint and make your choice.

  1. Don’t forget Ubuntu Core, which will only run Snap packages, and nothing else. With a name like ‘Canonical’, I suppose it’s clear that their end goal is to only allow users’ computers to execute instructions that have been specifically approved by them.

    I switched away from Ubuntu a few years ago, and settled on MX Linux using sysVinit, after systemd decided it needed to wait exactly 60 seconds before putting my computer to sleep or shutting it down, despite no settings requesting that.

    1. > 60 secons ds before putting my computer to sleep or shutting it down

      I’m currently experiencing this same problem, and I hate it. I have not been able to find out why this happens. So, you suggest that it is “systemd” I hear. I do not know anything about that system, I’m a Linux user, not a Linux developer.

      Thanks for the clue

    1. “My phone doesn’t take a week to boot it, my TV doesn’t crash when I mute it…”

      Ah, those were such simple times when this song was written. :/

  2. I dont understand why the author did not refer to their loyal reader’s comments about using apt to install their beloved software on Ubuntu. DONT USE SNAP. Simples. (Unless there’s no other option).
    Ps. Anyone know how to change from US to UK keyboard on Ubuntu server with gnome desktop installed? I did try the interwebs and Bard.

    1. Because many packages are being removed from apt. Browsers being the most obvious.

      If you want to run firefox without snaps, you’re probably going to have to rely on a PPA, which isn’t without its downsides.

      1. Coincidentally, I just did that with Firefox as I needed to run automated scraping scripts with Gecko driver. Really did not notice any hassle with it at all. Never had any hassles with other stuff either although most of the stuff I’m working with at the mo is Python related and defo no snaps there. Kdenlive recently installed seamlessly without snaps. Honestly cant see what the fuss is about.

        1. Yeah, it’s a solution if that’s your only gripe with the OS, but occasionally ubuntu will do a new release before the PPA package maintainers do, and things might break for a couple days, or other packages with dependencies on snap packkages can give some hassles, etc.

          For me, it was mostly okay for a while running firefox as a PPA, with only occasional minor hickups, but I had other complaints with ubuntu.
          The way it handles nvidia driver settings is kind of a mess. I guess the theory is that it can allow per-user configuration, but in general it just made it a massive hassle if you have an unusual video setup, and nvidia-settings can’t save things, etc.
          Along with some other smaller issues, it eventually just added up to the point where I decided that I was just tired of working around design choices, and I switched to Arch.

          It’s certainly not for everyone, but as a somewhat minimalist “power-user”, my current setup has a lot less bloat and unnecessary cruft, and it’s worth it to me to go through the initial bit of manual setup work to get things the way I want them without installing a lot of extra junk that’s not going to do anything but waste disk space.

          1. They’ll do better than that. If I recall they’re making the snap version install with a higher version number even if you’ve specifically set it not to install.

            Had to jump through even more hoops to restrict it. That’ll be the last Ubuntu install. Everything’s going back to stock Debian.

      2. I just download the deb file for the ESR version, it updates itself when running (like the Windows version of FF does) rather than working through the system’s package manager. Works fine on Mint.

    2. To change your keyboard you need to edit /etc/default/keyboard
      Mine looks like this:

      # Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.



      That works on Mint, which is based on Ubuntu 20.04, so hopefully it’ll work ok for you

    3. The problem with that idea is that it won’t work. Ubuntu will forcibly convert your “apt install [package]” terminal command to a “snap install [package]” terminal command without letting the user have a choice in the matter.

    1. That’s what I was thinking!
      My 5 year old laptop is my ‘new’ one running W10 – my ‘middle aged’ laptop is 10 years old running Mint 19 and gives me absolutely no issues. My ‘old’ laptop is an Asus Eee 900 with XP and, apart from being slow, again has no issues.
      I see no need to update an OS (or PC) if it’s running programs OK

        1. I installed Puppy Linux on my eee and it runs like a charm! I installed Libre Office and Opera, and to make it complete (for what I wanted it to do anyway). Puppy Linux is RAM based and it runs pretty damn fast. Sure, it’s not as quick as the latest desktops (or laptops), but since I’m never gonna use it for video editing, raw processor grunt is not a must like it is with Win 10 or Ubuntu.

  3. Hi! Something that seems to by-pass many new Manjaro users is that you have to use manjaro-settings-manager to manage your kernel branches. If you’ve ever heard about “manjaro randomly breaking after after a year or so” it’s because those folks only had outdated kernels installed. Good Luck!

    1. I’ve never understood why they say “fossilized repos”. I’m on “testing” with a few packages from “unstable”, and it feels like a rolling release – I don’t have to upgrade, just keep updating.

  4. You make some keen observations on the nature of Canonical and their need for snaps. Canonical’s strategy is to “sell trust” by portraying itself as a committed “open source” and “non-evil” company in the domain of FOSS support, for instance by branding it’s product “Ubuntu”. By creating such an image it hopes to become the dominant source through which FOSS is consumed. It has managed to build a reputation for itself through overt (and perhaps covert) PR campaigns rather than contributing anything of significance to the GNU/Linux software ecosystem (not that it has not contributed any). The question of trust breaks down into two types – Technical Trustworthiness and Ethical Trustworthiness. The fact that Canonical has struggled to produce innovative high quality open source software of any significance should bring into question the first type of trust, not to mention its history of products that failed to gain traction or were completely abandoned. That it is now trying to create a FOSS “app stores” (snaps) which it has sole control over should bring into question the latter type of trustworthiness. Snaps are not the only means by which Canonical is trying be the single source for FOSS consumption. It is also doing this through its cloud images and an ecosystem of tools for software deployment and management in the cloud.

    The other area where Canonical has manged public perception is “user friendliness” . It managed to create a seemingly “user friendly” product by including “non-free” binary drivers into its distribution that made it easier to install Ubuntu on hardware sold by its “partner companies”. Rather than helping the GNU/Linux ecosystem one may argue this has actually harmed it by setting a poor example and limiting the need for many companies to prioritize the development of mainlined open source drivers for their hardware. This should bring into question Canonical’s commitment to FOSS. Recent events pertaining to Intel Alder Lake web cams is a good case in point ( ) . Imagine what would it do to the FOSS ecosystem if hardware manufacturers (“Canonical Partners”) started selling products that could only work with Ubuntu because their drivers were never contributed to the Linux mainline kernel and the source code of these drivers was never released. So much for “open source” !

    Apart from the inclusion of binary drivers there is little about Ubuntu that can be a basis to claim that it is more “user friendly” than say Debian the distribution that Ubuntu is based on. Debian has recently voted to create a single installer that will include binary firmware (including non-free) making it easier to install on a wider range of hardware. Had it not been for Debian there would be no high quality, large scale, feature rich GNU/Linux distribution that is not governed by vested interests that are fundamentally hostile to FOSS by their very nature. Debian’s model of governance vs Ubuntu’s governance model is also worth a second look, perhaps reflecting deeply upon the implications of their underlying philosophies to society at large.

    Hopefully articles such as these posted by you will give users of FOSS cause to reflect deeply on what distributions they use, paying attention to ownership of those distributions and their governance models.

    1. Regarding binary drivers, back in the day there was a big debate. Idealists said that the community should reject them, and noisily ask for the code, or better yet, the specs to write our own. On the other hand, the rest of us (the pragmatists) proposed that binary was good enough, as long as it allowed us to use the hardware, and that growing the market would push the vendors into doing the right thing (that is, making their drivers open source).

      Several years later, I guess I should have been on the idealists side. RMS was right, again. Lessons for the future.

    2. On user friendly its all about when in history you are trying to use the distro’s too – Debian tends to be and historically was even more slow about being up to date and supporting the most modern hardware and software, so Ubuntu that tended to bring in the required packages (and sort out the dependencies) to run the most modern software and hardware by default would be “user friendly” there. And they did it without losing the reliablity and stablity of Debian (mostly). They also put more work into a cohesive and complete GUI earlier than most – which again is user friendly as most ‘users’ are not CLI lovers. Not saying I love the way Ubuntu is going now, but historically they became the one to use for most people for very good reasons.

      I also don’t care what distro folks use, they can use even the most hostile to FOSS standards distros if it works for them. Just hope they donate only to the good open source foundations and projects this hostile system is built off.

  5. I’ve been running Mint for several years now and I’m quite happy with it. I don’t know much about Linux internals. For me, an OS is mostly a vehicle to run other programs, but I’ve been thinking of donating some money upstream.

    A bit of a problem for me is who to donate to. I’m inclined to donate directly to Debian, as that is the base distribution, put donating some to Mint seems logical too, as a bare Debian is beyond me to maintain. I don’t trust nor like Ubuntu, so I’ll skip that.

    Let’s say I’ve got a hypothetical 100 money units to divide over Debian and Mint. What would be a sensible way to divide it, if you take the amount of work that goes into those projects as a guideline?
    Maybe include Linux Kernel developers in the mix?

    I’m curious about what others would do in this situation.

    1. Ideally, I think you’d donate to Mint and they’d redirect some of their income upstream as they see sensible. No idea if they do that though (I couldn’t find any statement on their webpage).

      Don’t forget apps too though! I personally give a few $/mo for each app I use frequently/need donations through, it makes accounting easy.

      I think a sort of donation economy (or some alternatives I’ve been thinking about) will really enable a great future. Everyone helping legitimately good projects according to their needs.

    2. All down to how big your hypothetical money units are – if all you want to/can donate is enough for a beer or two it will add up with everyone else to be useful but doesn’t do much on its own, if it is the other extreme perhaps should be looking at spreading it out more, even to projects you don’t personally use right now. And remember the OS is important but it isn’t much use without the browser, CAD package, Media player, Office suit etc – so perhaps donate to the software you want to see improved or use as well.

      Short answer:
      Mint seems to be a good player in the community so you could put it all there if you wanted, or equally you could put it all into Debian, which would directly help improve Mint too, or anything in-between. I wouldn’t worry to much about where it goes when it is to one of the good players in the community – if they have the money they will be able to pay the devs themselves or push it to targeted outside projects they rely on.

  6. I went from Ubuntu, to debian, to arch and am very happy.

    But because I did not want to install lots of (developer) tools to build AUR’s, I made a simple docker wrapper to build packages from airs, without infection.

    Then again, I also used docker to switch from one Linux to the other ;)
    It meant I could install most/everything from my Debian GUI. Then take a btrfs snapshot of my home (nuked some settings in .config just in case), and after a reboot it was done. Can still go back of I need to too! As long as I don’t nuke Debian. Subvolue …

  7. Feh! I’ve been running Slackware since realizing that it just works. It got installed native once or twice or perhaps three times on a Dell desktop who’s even older than the laptop I am typing this on. I’ve even got Slackware-15 installed on this one as a WSL arrangement.

    1. Preach brother! I’ve been using Slackware for almost 30 years and get really annoyed when other distros try to make choices for me. I noticed though that whenever I needed to learn to do something new, if a Slackware user hadn’t already posted about that exact issue on, then the best answer was almost always in the Arch online docs, which are terrific. So I installed Arch on my newest laptop and I have to say it’s pretty tolerable; some hardware support is obviously smoother than on Slackware, and AURs have issues far less often than SBos.

      Anyway, good documentation is usually a sign of a great developer, and I think you can extend that to the whole Arch project. It’s a respectable choice for those who didn’t grow up on Slackware and maybe burn their hands a couple of times on libc transitions.

  8. “This is for earning a living, not messing about with.”
    In that case you need two machines, both clones of the same OS/settings/installed programs. If you were on Linux Mint (the common alternative to Ubuntu) I’d say use Timeshift (Rsync based) to image your first system, cloning your home folder as well as the system folders so you keep al instaled programs and custom settings, then load up the other machine (need not be identical hardware, same OS image copes fine with different hardware most of the time with Linux) with that snapshot so it can be an identical clone. Whenever one machine is out of action for updates or such you can use the other.

  9. I’ll have to try this. I’m curious why you didn’t pick up a new SSD and install it there, then swap back to your existing one if it didn’t work.

  10. ” I need my packages to be more up-to-date than that, indeed even more up-to-date than the Ubuntu versions”
    Honestly, that is pretty incompatible with a daily driver / workhorse / this is my livelihood PC. You need to tolerate being a bit behind for the sake of better stability and not having unexpected changes. Mint would be a good fit.

    1. Not really. Manjaro iso’s use the stable branch. Manjaro takes Arch packages and then moves them to unstable, then testing, then stable. The packages in stable are about a month or so behind arch, but have far far fewer bugs. I have been running Manjaro stable for two years and havent had one bug. But its always safer to use timeshift or some other backup software just in case.

  11. You will be off Manjaro by the end of the year. If you couldnt be bothered to just remove snaps from Ubuntu, Manjaro is out of your league. It’s just not very good either.

      1. I just installed Manjaro on my Pinebook Pro and one of the first things I did was install something from the AUR. I’ve never run Manjaro before, but I’ve run Arch, so it felt like a natural thing to do. What’s the risk?

    1. Why do you think that? I’ve been using Manjaro in years now on my main laptop, for quite some time even on the testing branch. I can’t see anything that should drive me away from it. Maybe arch itself, but that’s just of because of curiosity.

  12. Just thought i’d chime in with PCLinuxOS. We’ve been using it for some 14 years now. i like it ’cause it just works and is a rolling release. The team likes their work and they keep everything up-to-date. We’ve been using the KDE version. Very happy with it. We’ve got it on our Foundation Anisa’s computer, the local Assembly’s lappy as well as the 2 home lapps, all >10 years old.
    So glad that you found one that works. As a Bahá’í i really like the OpenSource concept. Have a beautiful evening and be happy! :)

  13. Endeavour would be something to try if you want the Arch User Repository but don’t want to fiddle with Arch.

    I’ve tried many distros but usually come back to Mint when I want something that works. Although once in a while Cinnamon throws me a curve. My wife’s PC had Mint but it started doing weird things occasionally so I installed Ubuntu Cinnamon which just came out. It’s just a little weird all the time. Like Snaps, and the “app store” has no search, that kind of shit.

    My 11 year old desktop has no problem with MX with the KDE desktop. Best combo of fast & polished. New version coming soon.

    1. Yes, gcc, g++, clang, assembly, freePascal, Fortran, Cobol, Perl, Java, Python, and many many other compilers/interpreters run just fine on Linux. I think that is what you are trying to say? And as a programmer, I can say, ‘almost’ nothing else matters :) . But I do use Firefox, LibreOffice, FreeCad, KiCad, and many more programs as well. All run fine on Linux.

      As I said before in other comment sections… On my systems KUbuntu is my OS of choice. I don’t see the ‘slowdown’ that others are talking about. Nor am I missing any functionality. It just works. Printers, networking, etc… Until the day that something doesn’t I’ll stick with it.

  14. No love for Pop!_OS? I find it to be most of what I like about Ubuntu (Debian with extras), but without forcing snaps down my throat (though snap and flatpak both work fine if you need that).

    1. Yes, Pop!_OS is great (other than the crazy name, searching by name is a crap shoot).
      Their store allows you, usually, to select between flatpak or the native install of a App with a drop-down.
      And if you have a Nvidia GPU they have done the hard work so that it just works and updates without breaking the GUI/window manager.

      I even loaded Pop on a ancient 2012 mac mini and everything worked except the wifi/bt.

  15. They all begin to get bloated like any other OS out there on older hardware. It’s that some OS get bloated faster than others. It’s when you have a few years on a laptop especially that you start to notice.

  16. “But perhaps in all my rejoicing over my new-found computing power I’m missing something. If Canonical have gone so badly wrong with Ubuntu, I have to ask, just why?”

    I wound up hear from a Google News link, so I have to ask why Linux in the first place? What does it do for you that Windows, Mac, and Chromebook don’t, without what seems like an awful lot of extra work?

    1. Why? Many reasons. Only list a few here.

      First the obvious. It is free. No paying the M$ tax or Mac Tax.

      Easy to install (most of the time).

      Runs on systems from say the SBC RPIs to the super computers around the world. Supports many different CPU architectures from RISC V, ARM, X86, PowerPC to name a few.

      As secure as you want to make it. From the very beginning of Linux it had security in mind and over the years it has just got better and better. ‘You’ make the choice on how secure you want your system to be… Not a company. For example, I choose not to encrypt my disks, others do. Choices.

      As stable as you want it. Want to run a stable LTS Kernel? Go for it. Or load the latest kernel on the cutting edge. your call. Choices.

      Open, so any one can freely change the OS to meet there needs if desired and run on your system(s). Freedom.

      It is multi-user. You can have 1 to 1000s of users without buying any special seat license for your system.

      I don’t have to download updates if I don’t want to. I can be selective. I can boot the system when I want to. Very nice. Again choices. Love it.

      Wide range of distributions to choose from. As you can see from the comments. Find one that meets your needs. I like KUbuntu, Mint, and Fedora for example.

      Then you have a wide range of desktop environments (DEs) to choose from. Freedom to find one that meets your workflow. Much different than Windoze, Mac, and Chromebook where you are forced to use what they put out. Yuck. I like KDE for example. Others like Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, LXDE, etc. And they are all customizable. Choices!!!

      Development tools are free if you program. Python? Java? C? C++? Cobol? Fortran? Ada? Rust? Pascal? … List goes on and on. Choices!

      Software? There is usually an application out there that meets your needs. For example, LibreOffice meets the needs of most people that need to use spreadsheets, write documents, and such. There are other suites too. Choices!

      Running Windows Games of course is a sticking point, but Steam seems to have that covered. Understand you can play many games there. I am not a gamer.

      The reasons can go on and on and on. Nuff said for now. Whats not to like?

      Draw your own conclusions, but I prefer to work in the Linux world than the M$ world. Linux meets all my computer OS needs and more. Granted not for everyone. Some people like to be spoon fed, but most Linux users like the freedom to choose what is best for them — not the other way around.

      1. That is a great and comprehensive list – there are only two important things I can think of that you missed. First, I don’t know of any Linux distros that try to “encourage” their users to log into the Mothership as a preferred method for logging in to their computers. Second, I don’t know of any Linux distros that have baked-in advertising forcing itself on their users.

        Oh, and I just thought of the user tracking that at least Chrome does, and probably Microsoft too. And Windows trying to force the user into the OS vendor’s choice of browser. So let’s just agree that there are a LOT of reasons to use Linux.

        There are also reasons to use Windows or ChromeOS as well. Some people have to use Windows because they require software for which there is no truly viable equivalent on Linux. Or they work for companies that are committed to Windows. I’m fortunate enough to not be in either of those boats. I have a REALLY bad attitude toward corporations trying to tell me what to do and how to do it – especially corporations that expect me to pay for the ‘privilege’ of having my choices dictated to me. That’s perhaps my primary reason for loving Linux – it’s all about freedom.

    2. Lesser evils. Ms, Apple, ChromeOs are currently the greatest evils, because backed by trillion dollar club. Ubuntu is not, but once you switch, there is more Linux to choose that is less comparatively evil.

    3. Or, a much shorter answer: Linux is a form of Unix. Unix was designed by programmers, for programmers, to work in a way that programmers like to think in. Everything aspect of Linux, good and bad, is a direct consequence of this.

      And yes, the good things and the bad things are quite often the same thing. One person’s “versatile” is another person’s “byzantine”.

    4. Freedom: Linux is free and open source software, which means anyone can use it, modify it, share it and contribute to it. You are not locked into a proprietary system that limits your choices and controls your data. You can choose from hundreds of different distributions that suit your needs and preferences, and you can switch between them anytime without losing your files or settings. You can also run Linux on any hardware you want, from old laptops to powerful servers to embedded devices.
      Security: Linux is designed with security in mind, and it has a strong reputation for being resistant to viruses, malware and hackers. Linux has a modular architecture that isolates processes and users, and it uses encryption and permissions to protect your data. Linux also has a large and active community of developers and users who constantly update and patch the system, making it more secure and stable over time.
      Customization: Linux gives you the power to customize every aspect of your system, from the look and feel of your desktop environment to the functionality of your applications. You can choose from thousands of themes, icons, widgets and extensions that let you personalize your experience. You can also install any software you want from various sources, such as official repositories, third-party repositories or even from source code. You can also create your own scripts, programs and tools to automate tasks or enhance your productivity.
      Innovation: Linux is at the forefront of innovation in the computing world, thanks to its open source nature and collaborative community. Linux is constantly evolving and improving, with new features, technologies and standards being introduced regularly. Linux is also the platform of choice for many cutting-edge projects, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, internet of things and more. Linux is not only a great operating system for today, but also for the future.

  17. I used Manjuro and loved it for about 10 years. Now I use Fedora, like the security and the fact that you can customize it to what ever you like. Actually it’s cool that we can do that in most ,if not all Linux distros.

    1. I have been using SUSE since v.1.something for experiments, first production server with v.4 (print job post processing for SAP on a somewhat underpowered AIX box) and then v.5 replaced several NetWare servers. Today it’s Leap on servers and Tumbleweed on various clients including Raspberry Pi. Easy to maintain, YaST provides a consistent configuration tool (text and X) for nearly a dozen platforms and various flavors and you don’t have to install all that graphical bloat if you don’t need it.

  18. I have been “live driving” various distros lately. I installed a couple on empty hard drives in a couple computers. I have to say it is a bit shocking that the GUIs are (still) far less functional than I had hoped (don’t/will never be able to type well or fast). limited or complicated drag and drop, having to open the disks to either power down or eject a USB drive in ubuntu still. Slow! Defaults to automatic updates (if linux is so secure why can’t I manually check? I know I can but finding the setting the first time was a pain). And everyone here is talking about things breaking (presumably after updates), being forced to use programs you don’t want to (snaps), need a driver for the wifi? well just down.. oh, no internet bc the wifi? So download the source to a usb elsewhere and build the driver. What do you mean you installed 4000 foreign lang fonts but not build-essentials (Ubuntu)? Sure seems like Microsoft must have bought controlling interest in more than their linux subsystem stuff…
    So far Debian /LXQT is leading the pack, even have live distro w/”nonfree”, can actually use the desktop etc. More to try though..

  19. “should this worry Canonical”

    No, it doesn’t worry them at all. These days their primary focus is enterprise customers, and those customers are keeping them very busy. They’re just a direct competitor for Red Hat now, and users should look elsewhere for a more polished desktop experience.

  20. I have to disagree with some statements.

    The aviability of Linux Laptops. Dell and Lenovo booth have Laptops with Linux preinstalled.

    Also you can make a viable buissned Model from support, this is how Red Hat and Suse survive.

    I guess more and more company’s will avoid to depend on a single supplier in the futur, including OS. I guess we might see a higher increase in Linux desktop then.

      1. Yes they are, but IBM offered all in all 34billion $. So i belive they’re buissnes model seems to work as good as any non open source based model. For sure they build commercial software in the end.

  21. I understand the worries about Manjaro.

    But. I started working at this company over 5 years ago and installed Manjaro in the first week. I still use the same installation. At home my primary system (Ubuntu at the time) crashed about 6 years ago and got frustrated and didn’t want to install vanilla Arch at the time due to me wanting it back up and running fast, so I installed Manjaro. Both systems work fine.

    To be fair, I remember that I was laughing at the Y2K problems people were expecting after new year 1999/2000, because I was running Linux. So I might have a little bit more experience than others when it comes to this. I was managing hundreds of SLES machines for years, been a Solaris system administrator with tons of machines, currently specialized in Linux machines on embedded systems. So I’m not easily scared of a bug.

  22. Too short not to. Been on Arch since 2012, reinstalled twice, once in 2014 when i had a hard drive failure and again in 2017 when I installed fresh on a new SSD. Installation takes less than an hour.

    It is stable af, no worries at all.

  23. Very interested in the topic. After so many years of Kubuntu I would like to try another flavour (possibly keeping the kde environment, which is perfect to me). I was almost convinced to try Manjaro, but comments here confused me. What I don’t like of Kubuntu is that I don’t find in the repository the newest version of the software I use, which I have then to install manually, and that I don’t get the latest kernel improvements until I switch to the next release, which is always a little scary. I am not by any means an expert, but I think I need a rolling distro for my needs.

    1. You might want to start your explorations with Mint. It’s based on Ubuntu and you can use Ubuntu repos and PPA’s – but by default it doesn’t support Snaps. (You can also install software via .deb files from Debian if you want a version that isn’t in the repositories, just as you can in Ubuntu).

      I’m not sure of what I’m about to say because I use XFCE, but I think your experience of KDE on Mint will be so similar to that of Kubuntu that you won’t feel at all homesick. And although Mint still depends on Ubuntu’s kernel releases, it maintains its own package repositories, so you may find that their versions of the software you use are more up to date than those in Ubuntu. Might be worth a try.

  24. While you can’t buy a laptop off the shelf with Ubuntu, I noticed when speccing up a laptop on HP (UK) yesterday that Ubuntu is an option. Although a bigger surprise was that you can also spec it with FreeDos!

  25. Risk/Reward ratio of Manjaro isn’t right for me:
    I’ve used Manjaro on my desktop for about five or six years. I also have Mint on a laptop with a similar vintage initial install. Both run responsively. My experience is that Mint is more reliable albeit with all programs being well behind Manjaro in versions just as Manjaro is behind Arch. That lag is part of the reason for general reliability – the programs have more time for bug fixes. I have never had update problems with Mint – it is always smooth and problem free. Manjaro is a different story. I typically have significant Manjaro update problems about every six ti eight months – and Manjaro updates are frequent – small ones every few days and major updates every month or two. Last week there was a major update and I experienced a very nasty update experience that crippled several important programs, including libreoffice. After some research I found a solution in an Arch forum BUT that frequent aggravation isn’t worth being closer to the latest program versions. Someday in the future I anticipate migrating all systems to Mint, but it must wait on completion of a major project of mine. FYI the fix is at

  26. I use Xubuntu on 1 computer, Manjaro on another. XFCE desktop is always preferred. I use mini-itx computers which are more robust than laptops. These distros cause no problems for me.

  27. Dead on with Canonical going wrong at Snap. A group of like minded people can convince themselves of anything… That said Fedora is my daily driver, and RHEL w/Secure Boot enabled for my CI servers. That said I recently picked up a Pinebook Pro, pre-installed with Manjaro. Definitely looks interesting, and it has a stylish screen saver.

  28. Been using Kubuntu for ages. I love the KDE UI and everything about the desktop. I kill SNAP every time I install a new version. No issues, no worries, runs great, because no SNAPS. And apt is a really good package manager.

  29. you are right about ubuntu. I made the change to fedora. much better performance. maybe the reason linux has never become the leader on the desktop is because there is too many different options. too many changes and half baked implementations. ubuntu is a disaster with snaps, I also didint like unity or gnome. mint is a good choice, but always slower on the new features. I do my work in apps, not tinkering in the terminal or playing with the system to optimize this or change that I can do that, but I have long since learned that most users have a computer as a tool, not as a hobby to learn and tinker with. the change to fedora was not smooth either, need to install codecs separately, nvidia driver problems, etc. who wants to screw with this. developers are excited about new wallpapers instead of the core functions. this goes for most distros. there is a lack of focus on what a computer needs to do out of the box with stability that will attract mass market adoption. funny that a company like Canonical has never seemed to understand this. I get the reason and the need for a snap like implementation, but the execution here was not done well. flatpak or applimage work much better. but somewhere there should be a even better solution for getting apps on the machine. not sure why distors have not decided on common ground that works and ran with it.

  30. Same here. I’ve been a Debian, and GTK purist since 2000 or so, but have been using Garuda Arch for almost a year now, as my only native booting OS. Wine and Proton support has really hit a sweet spot, and I love the distro’s style.

  31. Used Ubuntu for many years, but I noticed with each upgrade it was slower. I am averse to throwing away a perfectly good computer such that I want new software to run on a very old Lenovo Thinkpad with i5 processor. Also the Ubuntu repositories seem to be a couple of subversions behind other distros. FreeCAD .19 is broken for me because a plug-in required a newer version.

    Ubuntu –> Arch –> Debian –> KDE Neon –> I forget –> I forget –> Manjaro –> –> Debian –> EasyOS –> Debian

    Most distros try to jazz it up with the latest settings. I do not like someone else’s icon selection on the desktop, or choice of power down intervals, and utility selection, … Just give me a plain vanilla live Linux that works, generic wifi that handles most chipsets, don’t make me live with your power management preferences – just leave the damn computer on till I make those choices, and a good monitor management control panel. Then make the post install package selection and install fairly painless and a checklist of common choices. Does anyone buy DVD distros anymore? A good explanation of dd to make a live USB goes a long way.

    The most egregious distro over-reach is KDE Neon decision that USB sticks are unsafe and will not be mounted. Dammit, I work in a Windows world with cheap FAT32 USB sticks and can’t live without access to USB sticks for laser cutters, CNC machines, 3D printers, cameras … Who the hell made KDE the security czar?

    The proliferation of package managers and repos is a disaster for the user community. You can have your exclusive package manager but providing a fallback to .deb packages and Synaptic would be very helpful.

    The problem with most distros is that they are fine with a single monitor, but adding a VGA monitor onto my laptop caused problems except for Debian. AppImages are fine, but they are usually compiled by power users with the newest updated distro. The AppImage then has dependencies that an older distro, or a distro on a different branch may not have. The AppImage is supposed to have all the meeded dependencies but if they are included then the AppImage is too large to conveniently distribute or an assumption is made that – oh, everybody must be up to this version of xyz. Caught in dependency hell!

    OK. Rant done. My spleen and liver feel better getting rid of all those black humours.

  32. Bravo! I’ve been screaming about the evil of Ubuntu here across the pond for a long time. I myself just ditched Ubuntu version of Linux Mint for the Debian version of Linux Mint. The world is waking up to the Ubuntu boondoggle, weirdly Ubuntu seems oblivious to its own demise. Oh well. Happy trails and long live the old Dell Machines! :)

  33. i’ve tried lots of distros and seem to pefer ubutnu now it is super fast on my n100 mini and i like the minimal install. i use both flatpaks and snaps and have zero issues with either both seem lightning fast on my fanless n100 mini. The main reason i use snaps is because there are things i can not find on flathab or sometimes some things on flathub are not using wayland yet which i perfer for security reasons. snaps are setup with apparmor which is a plus and list there permissions and let you make just adjustments just like flatpaks. I know there are other options besides snaps and flatpaks but i perfer not use them since snaps and flatpaks just work even when you upgrade and i’m also not interested in messing with third party ppas. For new users who want to setup a plex server it easier to do on ubuntu then linux mint since there is no flatpak version if you install on mint you are not able to use it right way like you can on ubuntu. On mint a new user must then figure out how to manage permissions from terminal which makes them not want to use linux. heck i’ve seen people in forums recommed 777 which they shouldn’t use and then after doing that these same people are still not able to find a usb drive. On ubuntu a new user can install plex and have it up and running in a few minutes if using snap version the only thing they might need to do is open tcp port 3200 if ufw is enabled. Plex is just 1 example. I never keep a lts version more then 2 years and snaps and flatpaks will make upgrading more reliable in future as they are used more since they just work. I have no issues with flatpaks but end up installing some snaps since certain flatpaks are missing or still do not support wayland which is more secure or sometimes the software is officially supported on snap but not flatpak or vise versa. I know I might be a minority here but i hate messing with ppas and do not really trust most of them. I’ve looked at and tryed debian and seen no benefit over ubuntu and I do not like the little bit of extra work to make it secure since it missing things like apparmor which then you also have to setup its all missing ufw which you have to add which i perfer then is also uses root which others say is a security risk .

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