Manjaro vs Antergos; or just Arch Questions


Pandora User
Aug 22, 2016
I know that some folks might favour a native shell (terminal?) installer over a distro installer. However, in my specific use case, I'd rather have a live USB image, installer with program/feature options OOB, set and forget it (and of course, maintain it once in a while). I have no problems in terminal after the fact if it's needed (something that's still sometimes better than GUI installers for whatever reason) but it's just something I'm not willing to put up with during an install, to make my visually-impaired life easier. This is a personal preference due to that, won't argue that one way is better than the other. That out of the way:

If you are using Arch natively, these questions would technically still apply (due to the distro heavily considered).

Have anyone here used the Manjaro or Antergos installers? What DE/WM did you choose and why? Have you used one over the other? Constantly change between DE's for any purpose?

Strongly considering Antergos as an option, since it's closer to Arch than Manjaro, and has its own features that, upon reading, look better on paper than Manjaro (and some folks say it's more stable). The problem lies in that most YouTube videos present both of these distros as a very basic review format, wherein the reviewers have only spent maybe 10 minutes on a VM install and 15 minutes doing very basic things in the OS.

My specific use case is Steam, GoG, and DAW (music production), artwork (GIMP/MyPaint/etc.). A few Windows programs under WINE. I'm only concerned about Caustic not running properly under WINE as it doesn't support ASIO properly -- but ReNoise does support Linux natively (nonissues and nitpicky things really).

What DE/WM would best be suited for a "does everything" workstation? Productivity, mainly. Gaming and entertainment comes second.

Does Arch recognize Lenovo hardware fairly well/are drivers kept up to date/stable? One thing that drew me to using Ubuntu was that it'd have drivers and everything essentially worked after install.

How stable is it? Should I use a LTS system for workstation use, or is it safe to keep rolling updates on/enabled? If you use a Realtime kernel (does that still exist?) how does that work compared to default?

Couldn't think of anything else really, but I'm just a little stuck on what to do distro wise, and really want to ditch Win10 for good. I want to like the Linux environment but certain things have thrown me off (of course that was all Ubuntu related, so likely will not exhibit the same symptoms of random "you touched this basic setting so the OS now has to panick").

I have rather different use cases, so can't comment on yours except for the GIMP which I occasionally use and works just fine on Arch.

As for driver support, I've found Arch to be pretty complete, and certainly a step above debian (though I'd imagine that's because it's more permissive of binary blobs than debian is). I'd be surprised if it's lacking support for any Lenovo machines more than a year or two old; newer devices always run the risk of not being fully supported at launch.

Stabilitiy-wise, I'd suggest you go with rolling updates. If you're anything like me, if you stick on an LTS you'll find it hard to ever update, and be forced to change distro when the term ends. With arch's rolling release I've very occasionally had interruptions to my workflow, but chatting with the devs on irc got me working again within a few hours. You can always roll-back a component if you identify it as having broken your uses for it.

As for the DE/WM to use, I can't really advise. I just go for the most lightweight thing possible and launch everything from a terminal, so provided I can get to a terminal I don't really care about the other whizz-bang stuff.
i tried arch and broke something after an update, and didn't really want to try and figure out what went wrong. but i also don't want the OS to be the thing i'm working on. though it's nice that everything's bleeding edge, for compatibility with newer things.
I use Arch, but I don't blame you for choosing Antergos or Manjaro. Whatever anyone says, installing Arch via the command line is a PITA. I find it rock solid, I've only had to wipe and re-install once, and that was probably my fault.

I've got one system running headless as a file server and a few other light jobs. Then I've got a desktop which I use for gaming and dev work. I use Gnome because my needs a fairly basic and it looks great out of the box. The standard KDE install on Arch looks like ass IMO and you need to configure to get it looking good, something which is important to me and can't be bothered to do. Other people are less fussy about that and go with XFCE or something which is fine or i3/sway if they're prepared to put in work to learn. Gnome really likes taking away features and being as basic as possible, people have a problem with that which I understand. But if Gnome hasn't got an option visible I hit up the Arch wiki and get stuff done via the command line. For example Gnome expects Network Manager, but my network is configured via netcfg and Gnome is fine with that, the wifi tab just displays a fairly benign error.

Gaming via Steam is great on Arch because mesa is progressing at a fast pace and it's good to get the updates in a timely manner without resorting to third party repos. There's a few niggles (such as conflicts between Arch libs and the libs Steam is expecting from Ubuntu), but nothing that isn't easily sorted with a quick visit to the Steam Arch Wiki page. I've installed one game via GOG, I did it using a command line tool I got from the AUR. Installing games from GOG isn't rocket science, but it isn't nearly as straight forward as it could be, it's a far cry from using the Galaxy thing on Windows. But I'm not sure this is specific to Arch, I suspect you'd have a similar experience on other distros. In fact I wasn't even able to use the GOG supported method for installing the game because the webpage didn't give me a Linux download link, the AUR package was actually the only way I could do it. GOG's linux 'support' is pathetic if my first experience is anything to go by and Arch came to my rescue.

I installed Arch on a laptop a few years ago, I think it was Lenovo, but I can't be sure so take with a pinch of salt. I didn't have any issues.

I'm not an evangelist for Arch, it isn't for everyone. You have to be prepared to debug issues if you come up against any. But it gives you the tools to be able to do that, the Wiki is best in class. And the forum is usually high quality, there's a little RTFM (or usually RTF Wiki), but not so much, and the people are generally helpful. If you google 'Arch [my problem]', the search results are nearly always better than 'Ubuntu [my problem]' because all the Ubuntu stuff on the web is really old and you nearly always have to select results in the last year immediately after your search.
I use both distros for years (Antergos 6 years, and Manjaro 3 years).

Manjaro (KDE/Plasma, because i like to customize everything but out of the box is fine) is more stable as they test programs for more time before releasing them, but Antergos is pretty much Arch with a nice GUI installer.

But i must say that Antergos only broke 3 times with updates and it's was easy to fix with a quick search on the forums.

I usually use an RT kernel, because i will get a lot of xruns on HDMI otherwise with music programs via JACK, but it's easy to install kernels with Manjaro Settings Manager.

Most drivers are on the kernel, so both distros are up to date in that sense.

Btw, check out VCV Rack, similar to Caustic.

I usually use Steam client, itchio client.
GOG and Humble with AUR or double click on the installer and next, next if they are not on the repo.
I am running arch at work and use i3 as a WM on a triple monitor setup... so not really your use-case I guess. I love i3/tiling Wms and for coding it is the perfect environment IMHO.

At home I am running arch on my gaming machine for shits and giggles (wine staging/wine nine and latest radeon drivers/MESA) but it's not really a lot of fun to keep it maintained. I was thinking about switching to manjaro for easier maintainability (heard it is not as prone to dependency hell as pure archlinux). As a DE for gaming I chose XFCE as I wanted the DE not to get in the way.
Still not sure if I should install manjaro or just leave it on arch... a colleague recently pointed out archlabs to me which looks interesting as well.

I think if you want to use wine for the latest games/software arch/manjaro is a good choice. You will need bleeding edge MESA (if you are running an AMD gpu that is...) and wine-staging to get a lot of the new titles to run (if they run at all). When I first set up the machine, I used linux mint, but it was horrible to get the latest versions of MESA and wine installed and I was not able to get anything over OpenGL 3.0.
I'm running Arch and pacman Updates broke the system several times for me.
It's mainly because of Linux Kernel and Nvidia Driver issues.
Downgrading those did help.

I've now installed Manjaro on my older Laptop and If I ever had to set up my main Laptop again I'd also choose Manjaro.

If you want to install clean Arch go for Anarchy formerly called Arch anywhere.
It's an installer that makes it a lot easier to set up the system but does only install what you want without bloatware.
Oh yeah, nvidia drivers have always been a pain in the arse; I found out about that running Fedora on a workstation at my old place or work, and Arch has a hell of a lot more kernel updates than Fedora does. I used to have to re-run the nvidia driver installer every time I got a new kernel to get graphics working again.

On my latest arch installs I've never even got round to autostarting X. I just login to a terminal and then startx from there on both of my current machines. That should make it easier to get an interface where you can at least run the nvidia installer, if I still bothered with their broken linux support. I just use the default intel on-board graphics these days, which at least lets me emulate GBA and PCengine on everything, and run up to OpenGL 2.0 code.
I use Arch with Gnome on my laptop. I like the whole shell thingie especially on smaller screen sizes. I believe Lenovo support won't be an issue. As for Manjaro vs Antergos I can't comment based on facts I just dislike Manjaro for some unknown reason. Yet after a couple of installations base Arch is not that hard. Definitely I would recommend some AUR helper, I use cower. The wiki is top-notch and I am still thinking of replacing Debian testing on my desktop with Arch mostly for the facilities of AUR.
I have installed games from GoG using the AUR packages and everything went fine. I don't remember having Steam on Arch but since I got it on Debian I doubt it would be harder/problematic here. I'd say go for Antergos if not Arch itself.
Oh and regarding lenovo hardware and arch, I can only say that I am using a thinkpad edge s430 and never had any problems with linux support. The only annoying things are the built in Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 which is utter shite (regardless of OS, it's just a bad wifi adapter) and the discrete Nvidia GPU which I have deactivated (otherwise you can use your laptop as a hotplate).
I've been running this Arch install since 2010. It's still going strong, though I wish I made a PKGBUILD for every custom modification I've made.
Note that if you do not run "vanilla-Arch" you will probably not get any support from Arch community.
Manjaro and such are bit sketchy, but if you are fine leaving your system stability to scripts like these then go for it.
@Cloudef hmm that seems way too hacky for my tastes actually. I was only told, that manjaro handles dependencies a bit better, but I guess I should just stay on vanilla arch and deal with dependency issues myself. At least it is usually pretty easy to find out what has changed through the AUR comments if something blows up during updates.

@Inimuk I second the recommendation of some sort of pacman wrapper. I use yaourt which is a very cool tool.
Manjaro and such are bit sketchy, but if you are fine leaving your system stability to scripts like these then go for it.

That was removed last year and instead they use a custom pacman.conf, but it doesn't overwrite it, but pacman.conf.pacnew it's created so you can see what changed with pacdiff and apply if you want.

And of course Manjaro forums are the way to go for help, like any other distro.
@Inimuk I second the recommendation of some sort of pacman wrapper. I use yaourt which is a very cool tool.
AUR != pacman !

If I understand yaourt and perhaps the tool Inimuk mentioned, these are AUR helpers. AUR does interface with pacman, in that if you install an AUR package manually, you issue 'makepkg' which builds from source and generates a package file, then 'sudo pacman -U' to install it. But it doesn't start with the archlinux repos, it starts from a PKGBUILD file, so it's fundamentally different to 'pacman -S'.

The script Clouddef posted is a pacman helper, and it looks kinda freaky to me (especially as it ends with lines including 'rm -rf /bin' - but it seems that's conditional on upgrading from an old version at least). Running 'sudo pacman -Syu' every few days or so doesn't seem that hard to me, but there you go.
yaourt == pacman + AUR
@levi have a look here:
I quote:
yaourt: a pacman frontend

Yaourt is a command line interface program which complete pacman for installing software on Archlinux.

Written by Julien Mischkowitz <wain at> and Tuxce < at>.

  • AUR support (search, install, check conflict and dependency)
  • Interactive search and install
  • Building packages directly from ABS source
  • Handling backup files: .pac*
  • Save, restore alpm database. Query directly from a backup file.
  • Search orphans and test local database
  • Support splitted packages

So no, it is not just an AUR helper. In fact I don't do anything over pacman anymore, I solely use yaourt for updates and installations.

EDIT: But looking at the comparison table for AUR helpers, maybe I should consider switching to another solution. Looks like yaourt isn't maintained anymore and considered unsafe... ew.
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Yaourt isn't considered secure. I've taken to just doing makepkg -si because it's so easy, but I really need to install an AUR helper to keep things up-to-date. But it's difficult to pick now because pacaur is no longer maintained.
@kaprikawn yeah I just saw that on the comparison page. How about pikaur instead of pacaur? aurman seems interesting as well.