Manjaro vs Elementary OS: Similarities & Differences!

Credits:

Manjaro

Elementary OS

In this article let us have a look at 2 very popular distros Manjaro and Elementary OS and see where each distro shines so that you can pick one that best suit your needs!

For those of you in a hurry, here is the short version of the answer.

The Short Version Of The Answer

What are the differences between Manjaro and Elementary OS? The main difference between Manjaro and Elementary OS is Manjaro is meant for users who are looking for the best gaming distro while Elementary OS is meant for users who need an aesthetically pleasing distro

The table below highlights the important differences between the 2 distros

Manjaro Elementary OS
Organization Name Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG

Organization Type: Company

Founded by a small group of UX specialists with a strong focus on User experience.

Organization Type: Company

Expertise Level Needed Beginner – Intermediate Beginner
Based On Arch Ubuntu
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: best suited for running Windows apps and Games through WINE and proton

Other use cases: Arch lovers can a get “prebuilt, easy to install” distro

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Media Consumption Beginner Linux Distro

Other Use-cases: Since this distro is based on Ubuntu, this distro can be used as a workstation too.

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Since this distro is based on Arch, there is support for all the latest software and kernels.

6/10

Out of the box software: 3/5

Software Repository: 3/5

Hardware Support 8/10

Official driver support: 3/5

Support for older hardware: 5/5

The user can select whether to use opensource drivers or proprietary drivers at boot-time

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight middleweight
Support 7/10

Paid support: Available in certain areas

Community: 3/5

The community will expect you to have a DIY attitude and make an attempt to solve your problems using documentation, before posting in their forums.

Documentation: 4/5

Arch documentation is considered to be one of the best in the Linux distro world!

5/10

Paid support: Not available

Community 3/5: Since this is based on Ubuntu’s LTS release, most problems can be solved through Ubuntu’s forums.

Documentation 2/5: Very basic documentation available

Ease of use 7/10 Medium 8/10: Easy

But need to do a lot of post-install activities to get the best apps

Stability 7/10

As long as the best practices are followed the Distro is stable. A tinkering user can break the system if he doesn’t know what he is doing!

8/10: Stable

The Elementary apps are still in their early days and hence are not performing ar their best all the time. But since this OS is based on Ubuntu LTS the distro is stable in the other aspects

Release Cycles Rolling Release cycles: The software packages are constantly upgraded with features and bugs fixes as they become available, so no need to wait for major releases for getting the benefits of new software packages. Releases are based on Ubuntu’s LTS release

Release schedule: Not fixed, based on when the features are ready

The graph below summarizes the table and compares the 2 distros and shows us how they compare with each other on various factors (Higher the points the better that particular feature is in a given distro)

That is just the short version of the answer, let’s go ahead and look at the longer and more informative version and learn more about the similarities and differences between 2 distros.

The Linux Distributions World

The word Distro is short for “Distribution”. Since the Linux source code is open for everyone to see, large communities started evolving to bring together Operating Systems suited towards specific needs/goals.

These “specific needs/goals” include, but not limited to the following.

* producing documents

* writing programs and creating software

* editing pictures, videos, audio, and multimedia-production related works

* store sensitive information by securing the operating system so that no one can hack into it or just browse the internet and consume media.

Say a community of people just wanted to browse the internet with their computers, then there is no point giving them the software to write programs in. Thus since every community’s needs and goals were different these communities started distributing built images of this operating system with all the essential tools installed. These prebuilt images are called distros!

If you wish to know more about the reason behind the presence of so many choices in the Linux World, I suggest reading the article given below.

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

The Main Factors of Comparison

The factors mentioned above are just a small list of 100s of factors that differentiate distros. If you are either switching from some other OS to Linux or you are in the process of choosing your next Linux distro and you are confused which one to choose, you need to have a look at these top 5 decision-making factors

* Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

* Factor#2: Support for your favorite software

* Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

* Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

* Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

I have written a separate article explaining these factors which you can find in the link below

Top 5 Factors To Choose Between Linux Distros!

Let’s have a look at each of these important factors and see how Manjaro and Elementary OS compare against each other.

Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

By use-case, I mean the type of work you are going to be doing on your computer. Linux distro world originated because of the difference in use cases.

Manjaro’s goal is wildly different from that of Elementary OS’s.

Let’s have a brief comparison betweenManjaro and Elementary OS in terms of goals, target users, and best use cases to employ these distros.

Manjaro Elementary OS
Goal To be an “easy to install, configure and use” version of Arch Linux To make an aesthetically good looking and stable distro
Target users Linux enthusiasts who want an “easy to customize” system. Users of Mac OS that are trying to move to Linux
Best Use Cases to Employ the Distro Best Use-case: having a prebuilt Arch-based distro

Other Use-cases: Running Windows apps, Gaming

Best Use-case: Media Consumption Beginner Linux Distro

Other Use-cases: Since this distro is based on Ubuntu, this distro can be used as a workstation too.

Factor#2: Support for your favorite software

If your main work involves some specific software or latest versions of a given software then that becomes a decision-making factor for choosing a Linux Distribution. So before fixing on a given distro, be sure to google if that distro has official support for your main software needs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Out of the Box support: The software that the distro ships with.

* Repository Support: The curated software that is available on the official repos

* Type of release cycle: This decides the trade-off between up-to-date software and stable tested software.

* Availability of Graphical Software managers

* Package manager used: This can decide the ease of which you can install and uninstall software

Let’s see how Manjaro and Elementary OS fair up against each other in the category of Software support

Manjaro Elementary OS
Out of the Box Software 4/5: The regular version comes with all the basic tools needed. 3/5: The elementary OS comes with very basic apps, and even those apps are not perfect which means if you don’t like the apps, you need to search for replacements
Repository Support 4/5: Very good.

Has its own official repo, also has support for Arch repos.

3/5: The official repo is still in the early days but you can install all the Debian packages through the command line.
Type of release cycle Rolling release

The software packages are constantly upgraded with features and bugs fixes as they become available, so no need to wait for major releases for getting the benefits of new software packages.

Releases are based on Ubuntu’s LTS release

Release schedule: Not fixed, Based on when the features are ready

GUI Tools Pamac GUI tool available Available

App center

Package manager used Pacman APT and Snap

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, Manjaro is better than Elementary OS in terms of Out of the box software support. Manjaro is better than Elementary OS in terms of Repository support.

Hence, Manjaro wins the round of Software support!

Refer to the article below if you wish to learn more about package managers.

A Beginners Introduction To Linux Package managers: apt, yum, dpkg & rpm

Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

Not all Linux distros support proprietary drivers officially. Depending on your computer’s hardware, you may or may not have open-source driver support from the manufacturers. This is especially true for hardware such as graphics cards and network cards. Hence it is a good idea to take “driver support” into consideration while choosing your next distro.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Distro’s Policy of use of opensource vs proprietary 3rd party software

* Official driver support by Major Companies

* 3rd party driver support from official repos

* Support for older hardware

Manjaro Elementary OS
Distro’s Policy The choice is given to end-user, either free or proprietary software can be chosen for use. Open-source drivers are chosen by default, but you can choose to use Proprietary during the installation process as they are officially supported
Official driver support by Major Companies 3/5: Hardware and Software Companies don’t officially release Drivers for Manjaro and Arch Linux as the user base is not as big as Ubuntu and Fedora. 4/5: Being Ubuntu’s derivative Elementary OS enjoys the drivers released for Ubuntu
3rd party driver support Available 3rd party repos available
Support for older hardware 5/5: Supports both 32 and 64-bit processors and has good driver support for older hardware like network cards and graphics cards.

Also supports automatic hardware detection!

3/5: Has good driver availability from Debian and Ubuntu, but there is no 32-bit processor support

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, Elementary OS is better than Manjaro when it comes to official driver support. Manjaro is better than Elementary OS in terms of support for Older Hardware.

Hence, Manjaro wins the round of Hardware support!

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at some of the top distros in terms of hardware support.

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: A Comparison!!

Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

Depending on your level of expertise in Linux, the choice of the distro you need will vary. This is because of the following factors

* Ease of use: beginner, intermediate, expert

* Paid customer support: available, not available

* Online community support: great, good, okay, not good, no support

* Available Documentation: Great documentation, Good documentation, Okay documentation, no documentation

Let’s see the level of support available for Manjaro and Elementary OS and see how they compare against each other

Manjaro Elementary OS
Ease of Use Intermediate to advanced beginner
Paid Customer Support Available in certain areas Not available, hence might not be the best choice for organizations
Online Community Support 3/5: okay

The community will expect you to have a DIY attitude and make an attempt to solve your problems using documentation, before posting in their forums.

3/5: Since this is based on Ubuntu’s LTS release, most problems can be solved through Ubuntu’s forums.
Documentation 5/5: Great documentation

Arch documentation is considered to be one of the best in the Linux distro world!

2/5: Very basic documentation available

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, both Elementary OS and Manjaro got the same points in terms of online community support. Manjaro is better than Elementary OS in terms of Documentation.

Hence, Manjaro wins the round of User support!

Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

This is an important factor if you are planning to employ Linux on a computer with limited hardware resources. This may be an old machine or a new one with less than stellar specs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

* Category: Lightweight or Middleweight or Heavyweight

* RAM Requirements to have a snappy system &

* Minimum processor requirements

Let’s see how Manjaro and Elementary OS fair up against each other in terms of Hardware resource needs

Manjaro Elementary OS
Category Lightweight to Middleweight Middleweight
Minimum RAM requirements 1GB 4GB recommended (no minimum requirements given out officially)
Minimum Processor Requirements 1GHz processor dual-core 64bit recommended (no minimum requirements given out officially)

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at a step by step guide for choosing a Linux distro for your computer’s specifications.

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

The Results!

Let us know go ahead and see the results of our comparison! Have a look at the Bar chart below.

As you can see Manjaro wins in Software support, Hardware support, Hardware Resource needs, and User support.

Elementary OS wins in Ease of use, and Stability.

I suggest you pick the distro that best suits you based on this graph. For example, if hardware support is more important to you, then pick the distro that has better support for your hardware!

Summary

To summarise the article here is the comparison table from the beginning of the blog again.

Manjaro Elementary OS
Organization Name Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG

Organization Type: Company

Founded by a small group of UX specialists with a strong focus on User experience.

Organization Type: Company

Expertise Level Needed Beginner – Intermediate Beginner
Based On Arch Ubuntu
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: best suited for running Windows apps and Games through WINE and proton

Other use cases: Arch lovers can a get “prebuilt, easy to install” distro

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Media Consumption Beginner Linux Distro

Other Use-cases: Since this distro is based on Ubuntu, this distro can be used as a workstation too.

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Since this distro is based on Arch, there is support for all the latest software and kernels.

6/10

Out of the box software: 3/5

Software Repository: 3/5

Hardware Support 8/10

Official driver support: 3/5

Support for older hardware: 5/5

The user can select whether to use opensource drivers or proprietary drivers at boot-time

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight middleweight
Support 7/10

Paid support: Available in certain areas

Community: 3/5

The community will expect you to have a DIY attitude and make an attempt to solve your problems using documentation, before posting in their forums.

Documentation: 4/5

Arch documentation is considered to be one of the best in the Linux distro world!

5/10

Paid support: Not available

Community 3/5: Since this is based on Ubuntu’s LTS release, most problems can be solved through Ubuntu’s forums.

Documentation 2/5: Very basic documentation available

Ease of use 7/10 Medium 8/10: Easy

But need to do a lot of post-install activities to get the best apps

Stability 7/10

As long as the best practices are followed the Distro is stable. A tinkering user can break the system if he doesn’t know what he is doing!

8/10: Stable

The Elementary apps are still in their early days and hence are not performing ar their best all the time. But since this OS is based on Ubuntu LTS the distro is stable in the other aspects

Release Cycles Rolling Release cycles: The software packages are constantly upgraded with features and bugs fixes as they become available, so no need to wait for major releases for getting the benefits of new software packages. Releases are based on Ubuntu’s LTS release

Release schedule: Not fixed, based on when the features are ready

Hope you have got enough data to choose between these 2 amazing distros!

And with that, I will conclude this article!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

If you liked the post, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!

Related Articles

Here are some of my other articles that might interest you!

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux..!

Best Linux Distro For Workstation: Analysis and Comparison!!

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

Distro-Hopping, What, Why & How Explained!

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

EI

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