Some thoughts about recent stuff happening with Manjaro and Linux in general. There have been someissues with Manjaro updates that have caused some major issues to newer users because they didn't know wwhat they were doing or they hadn't read the update announcements prior to doing their updates. This led me to think about a couple of things regarding updates, user-types, distribution assessment, backups, and graphical user interfaces. I'll write a little further to expand on each and why this one backup issue is relevant to each in my opinion.
There is constant discussion regarding distributions and who they are applicable for use. Some are aimed at more experienced users and some are billed to be perfect for beginners. Others fall in the middle somewhere or maybe they are for specific purposes like Kali. Manjaro has often been referred to as a user-friendly option to use an Arch-based distribution and I agree to some extent. Beginner could have a very different meaning depending on what user you ask. A basic day-to-day user who wants nothing more than a word processor, web browser, and media player is someone I would consider a true standard user with beginner level knowledge. These people do not want to have to “take care” of anything, they just want it to work. They don't care about the magic behind the scenes, they just want it to work.
And then there is the beginner hobbyist who doesn't know much but wants to learn and is willing to do a little more to have the type of system they want. For whatever reason, maybe it's security, personal preferene, or fiscally driven, this user will be more likely to read documentation and increase their knowledge level to some degree.
And then you have moderate to advanced users who are capable of troubleshooting and repairing issues, sometimes without the assistance of forums or wikis. These people don't need recommendations on distributions and therefore I will not refer to them again.
The most important distinction is between the two types of beginner levels; hobbyist and general user. This is what makes or break a Manjaro recommendation from me. If the person does not want to put in a little effort to learn about their system and do some maintenance and reading, then I won't recommend Manjaro and instead offer something like Ubuntu or Mint. The recent Manjaro update issues are the exact reason why.
This basically comes down to the type of release a distribution is. Rolling releases, which is essentially what Manjaro amounts to be, are constantly updating to stay as current as possible with up to date technologies and changes. These can be riddled with issues and are only recommended for advanced users.
When I first started looking at Linux I was enamoured with the description “bleeding-edge”. I wanted to be using the latest technology and I wanted it to be perfect. I quickly discovered that as a beginner with little knowledge, this can be rather frustrating but an incredible learning experience. Choose which you want because with a rolling release you will inevitably come into trouble.
I have recently, and will forever continue to express the need for backups. I can think of few scenarios that a user wouldn't want to save some type of work they are doing at some point on their computer. I have some important infomration I like to ensure I have copies of in case my drive is ever corrupted or I somehow lose other information. I won't get into my whole backup plan here, that's for another post, but I do stress the importance and these recent Manjaro update issues are the exact reason why.
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES
When it comes to my computers, I am a bit of a minimalist. I like working from the terminal and perfer the command line in most of what I do. It didn't start that way but that's what it has come to and I really enjoy it. I now prefer less graphics just because I like to reduce the workload of my PC. Is this NECESSARY? Probably not but it is preferred so that's what I do. Why do I say this and what does it have to do with Manjaro update issues? Because the graphical environment was causing the system to crash during updates, requiring users to repair their systems. I didn't run into these issues because I don't update my system from the GUI. I was negligent to read the announcements, however, and had I been a regular guy using the GUI I would have ran into the same issues as many other users. This caused me to realize the importance of reading the announcements and actually bear the responsibility of being a rolling release user.
It's important for me to know, as a Manjaro user, what I should be doing to ensure my data is safe and my system is functional. I read every announcement that is posted now. I am on email lists and I actually read them. This is making me not only a more informed user but it also forces me to learn more as well. But I do all of this as an inspired hobbyist and crazy Linux fiend. I wouldn't recommend Manjaro to my parents because they don't even know the difference between a desktop environment and window manager. I wouldn't expect them to know how to login to a TTY in order to do their updates. Nor would I expect them to know how to schedule timeshift backups or really any type of maintenance.
Because of this, I can only recommend Manjaro as a great beginner's distro for those who are willing to put in the work at maintaining it because it will take some effort. Is it a true beginner's distro? Not in my opinion but it's still my daily driver for many reasons.