Manjaro i3 15.09 install and review

In my opinion i3 is the best window manager out there. When I heard that Manjaro had an i3 community edition I jumped right at it.

The i3 edition is available from the Manjaro Sourceforge repository. I was surprised to see that they offered the latest version with a testing and unstable branch. They also had the previous two editions. All of the versions also come with options for other kernels and you could download the OpenRC edition or the Systemd edition. In this article for the install I will be using the 15.09 edition of Manjaro, Systemd and kernel 4.2. For the review part of this article I will be using Manjaro 15.09 with kernel 4.1.11.1-1 and OpenRC as my system-init.

Installation

When you first boot up you should see a grub screen like below (Select the first option to install or boot live image)

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Then you should see a screen of rolling text like this (OpenRC users may see a slightly different screen)

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Once it is finished booting you are greeted with this dialogue.

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Press on ‘use Calameres’

You will be greeted by a screen like this.

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Press ‘Next’

Enter your timezone and press ‘Next’

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Enter in your keyboard layout and press ‘Next’

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Click on manual partitioning and then ‘Next’

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Press on ‘New Partition Table’

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Click ‘Create’ and make your dialogue match mine (except for the size)

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Press ‘Ok’

Click ‘Create’ again and make your dialogue match mine (except for the size)

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Press ‘Ok’

Your screen should look like mine.

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Select the partition that we just made and press ‘Next’

Enter in your information

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Press ‘Next’

Make sure that this information is correct.

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Good job! Wait for the installation to finish.

Review:

I love Arch Linux and I also love i3, so this should be a perfect distro for me right?

Manjaro i3 is amazing… but being a community distribution there are a few kinks. Even though all of my hardware worked on first boot (I was very surprised) it was still very hard for me to use because of one main reason. A lack of documentation. For example, I could not figure out how to change the wallpaper for the first few days. I tried adding a feh command to the i3 config, but it would never work. So after a lot of Google searching I finally found out that Manjaro i3 uses Nitrogen and not feh like most Arch Linux setups. Also after a couple of days my media keys stopped working for no rhyme or reason. Now I have to use the tray icon to change my volume.

Apart from those few kinks this distribution is magical. The i3 config is very easy to read, I love how there is a separate folder for screenshots and the notifications are great. I also love the Conky widgets. I feel like if Manjaro i3 got more attention and more funding it could be great. Currently it is developed by one person known as Oberon2007.

See all of the images used here

Hardware used

Dell XPS 1645 laptop with an AMD Redwood graphics card, Core I7 Q740 @ 1.7GHz and 8 gigabytes of ram.

The install used a 3 gigabyte virtual machine.

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Solus OS Review!

Solus is a very lightweight and easy to use distro. It features the Budgie desktop which is probably the simplest desktop environment you will ever see.

Desktop - Imgur

Solus is independent so it won’t work with rpm or apt-get. The is the only real con with this distro. It’s too simple. Yes, it’s absolutely beautiful but the lack of packages and customization is where it lacks.

App store - Imgur

When looking through the App store its so scare it isn’t even funny. There are no IM clients or IRC clients and there are 3 web browsers. But surprisingly you get all the GNOME apps including Brasero and Abi-Word. The selection of preinstalled software is amazing, though. For instance, you get a bit-torrent client preinstalled!

As far as customization goes, you get 7 GTK themes and 8 Icon themes preinstalled. You get a few applets and a bit of panel customization. There was even a ported over version of Gnome Tweak Tool and dconf Editor. Besides the preinstalled themes and icons, you can’t install any more. The settings app looks quite similar to the Ubuntu settings panel.

Settings panel - Imgur

Overall I believe this distro is on its way to being great but not quite there yet. More customization and more packages would be appreciated.

Mint 17.2 Rafaela XFCE Edition and KDE edition

The developers of the Ubuntu based distro Linux Mint have released two new versions of Mint. Now in addition to the Mate and Cinnamon desktops you can get KDE and XFCE as your default desktop.

KDE News

The update includes

  • a new login preferences setting
  • better UEFI support
  • Better support for Nvidia and Optimus cards
  • Bash history is better and autocompletion is also better in the terminal
  • More wallpapers! Including wallpapers from many past releases

But the one thing that will stop me from switching is the fact that it will be preinstalled with KDE 4.14.2 and Kernel 3.16! As you might know I like living on cutting edge software, hence my liking for Arch and Fedora.

Linux Mint KDE

Linux Mint KDE (Image from blog.linuxmint.com)

You can see the release notes here.

XFCE News

The update includes

  • The newest version of XFCE
    • The panel can now intelligently hide itself
    • Each workspace can now use a new wallpaper
    • Improvements for Thunar
    • A huge update for task manager
    • Imgur support for screenshots
    • XFburn can now burn blue-ray
    • The weather plugin got a design update
  • You can now browse PPAs
  • You can now downgrade packages
  • Language settings were redesigned
  • login screen settings improvements

And the rest is the same as KDE.

XFCE Linux Mint (image taken from blog.linuxmint.com)

XFCE Linux Mint (image taken from blog.linuxmint.com)

You can see the release notes here.

Korora 22 Review and Installation Guide

Fedora’s always been a popular distro but it’s never had the reputation of being a plug & play distro with lots of codecs and software. That’s what Korora is trying to fix. Korora is a spin on Fedora with the idea that the users do little or no work after the distro is installed.

Korora is a very diverse Desktop wise. It comes in MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, and Xfce. For this review, I’m going to be using my personal favorite, KDE.

KDE desktop with breeze dark

KDE desktop with Korora icons and Breeze Dark theme

Korora was born out of a desire to make Linux easier for new users, while still being useful for experts.

Originally based on Gentoo Linux in 2005, Korora was re-born in 2010 as a Fedora Remix1 with tweaks and extras to make the system “just work” out of the box.

Why Fedora? Lots of reasons!

Comparison to Fedora

Korora is a Fedora Remix, meaning it ships packages from the default Fedora repositories but also a number of other packages (often ones that Fedora cannot ship directly). We also make changes to the default system, whereas Fedora generally sticks to upstream. For new users, Fedora can be tricky because it doesn’t include many of the extras that users often need, things like media codecs and some proprietary software. This is one area where Korora can help.

Ultimately, we want people just like you to become useful members of the Fedora community and we hope that trying Korora will be a catalyst for this.

For a detailed look at how Korora differs to Fedora, see What’s Inside.

Whats New

Cinnamon 2.6

MATE 1.10

GNOME 3.16

KDE Plasma 5

Xfce 4.12

DNF

Fedora 22 base

Installation

You can get Korora 22 here (You have to select your flavor). After you have the ISO image (Weather by torrent or http) you have to burn it onto a DVD or a Flash Drive. In this tutorial we will use a DVD. A good image burning software on Linux is Brasero. After you have burned the disk, you have to boot from it. Next, insert your disk into your computer and power down. Then power up again and go into BIOS. Once there, select boot from DVD (Note: all BIOS are different based on your motherboard). You should now be booting into Korora! Korora uses Fedora’s Anaconda installer and they have a guide for installing, which you might want to check out here.

The installer should look somewhat like this.

The installer should look like this.

Personally, my install went without a hitch, other than the fact that it took about 1 hour after I set everything up. But bear in mind that I have used the Anaconda installer numerous times before and the amount of software that this distro comes with is huge.

The Desktop

As noted before, I chose KDE for my desktop environment. When you first boot up, you should see a welcome menu like this. It has links to all the changes, help and forums.

Welcome Dialouge

Welcome Dialouge

If you’ve ever used Fedora KDE you would recognize the look to be nearly the same! But it is quite different from OpenSUSE KDE or Manjaro KDE.

The Korora Menu

The Korora Menu

The desktop is very simple, with just two icons, but it has the standard very crazy KDE 5 wallpaper.

Korora Settings

Note: These settings depend highly on your environment.

Settings in korora

Settings Panel

All the settings are stored here.

Pre-Installed Software

Some of the software that is included by default on KDE.

  • Kdiff3
  • Help
  • Kstars
  • GnuOctave
  • Kalgebra
  • Cantor
  • Kalzium
  • Kalgebra Mobile
  • Rocs
  • Kturtle
  • Kgeography
  • Step
  • Blinken
  • Ktouch
  • Marble
  • Kmplot
  • Kig
  • Kbruch
  • Kwordquiz
  • Khangman
  • Kiten
  • Klettres
  • Kanagram
  • Parley
  • KMahjong
  • Kpatience
  • Kmines
  • AquireImages
  • DNGconverter
  • Okular
  • Libre Draw
  • Expoblending
  • Font Manager
  • GIMP
  • Scanlite
  • Gwenview
  • KoulorPaint
  • Panorama
  • Photo Layouts Editor
  • DigiKam
  • Showfoto
  • Camso
  • Ksnapshot
  • Inkscape
  • Darktable
  • KcolorChooser
  • Kruler
  • Ktorrent
  • Kget
  • Akregator
  • Konversation
  • Linphone
  • Kmail
  • Knetattach
  • Knode
  • KRDC
  • FireFox
  • Konquerer
  • AMZdownloader
  • Amarok
  • Kid3
  • Ksc3
  • K3B
  • VLC
  • Handbrake
  • Record My Desktop
  • Audactity
  • Kdenlive
  • Kmix
  • DragonPlayer

And that was only about a third of all the preinstalled software!

As you can see Korora definitely comes with a good selection of software! Korora really goes by its word for not needing any more additional packages or software after installation! Korora is fedora for the user who doesn’t want to start with a base system.