Thursday, 22 August 2013

10 Reasons Why I Moved From Microsoft To Manjaro.

Moving from Microsoft to Linux at the beginning of the year coincided with shifting my entire business into the cloud. Having used XP for a decade and MS Office as my primary application over that period, migrating to the cloud freed me of my reliance on the Windows environment - subsequently, I have been a happy Manjaro user for the last 7 months. If you asked me which Linux distro I would recommend, I would say that it depends on what you are looking for. If you are a Windows user looking to try Linux, you can't go wrong with the likes of Mint, PCLinuxOS etc. There are many solid operating systems to choose from. The following is a list of what I see as the major advantages of Manjaro over Microsoft. Some of them pertain to any decent Linux OS, while others are characteristic of Manjaro itself. Here goes, in no particular order of importance...

Speed - Manjaro is fast! It's based on Arch Linux, which holds simplicity and minimalism in high esteem - the result is a lean machine, with zero bloat. On top of that I use the Xfce desktop environment, which is adaptable, great to look at and lightweight. The result is a PC with a box standard hard drive that boots up in 24 seconds & is highly responsive. My other laptop, an old ThinkPad with an SSD drive, boots up in around 6 seconds.

Freedom - This has more to do with the soul of Linux and the FOSS - Free And Open Source - community in general and the philosophy that underpins it. For me, Apple has long since lost that sense of freedom and counter-culture that it once had and as for Windows, it never had either. Using a Linux machine feels different - it's hard to describe exactly how it feels different but if I had to choose one word, it would probably be "freedom".

Community - One thing that I did not expect when I first moved across, was the incredible boon that is the Linux community. Sure, you get the odd ignorant elitist or troll, but I had no idea how enjoyable a distro community could be. Manjaro is no exception. It's community is highly supportive, vibrant, informative, quick to respond to questions and problems and above all, newbie friendly. If you are tired of trawling Windows boards trying to find solutions to glitches, there's a whole different experience to be had. I've made friends & enjoy my time there.

Rolling release - While I nearly opted for Linux Mint, one of the things that swung it for me is Manjaro's rolling release model. This means that rather than installing your OS & upgrading it every 2-5 years or whatever - which requires a complete reinstall - you install once & from there, receive regular updates on a consistent, rolling basis. The development team and generous crew of support testers do a brilliant job of testing updates before releasing them & I continue to be impressed with their professionalism and commitment to excellence. Any post-update problems I have experienced - very few indeed - have been quickly resolved with the help of the community. I absolutely love the rolling model and would definitely struggle to return to a more traditional one.

Privacy - Unless you have been living in a cave for the last few months, you will have heard about the NSA spying scandal and how the likes of Google, Apple & others share information with the authorities. Because Linux is open source, it is by nature much more transparent, which in turn breeds greater integrity and honestly. I have zero concern that the Manjaro team are providing access & personal data to the authorities. Linux is far more trust-worthy than Windows or Apple. Period.

Leading edge - As an XP user, I remember getting the obligatory service pack from time to time and updating applications individually. Not so with Manjaro. Like other Linux distributions, updating my system is a simple, unified process. The team deliver these on a regular basis - on average once a week - ensuring that I am always using the most up-to-date version of both the OS itself, and the applications that I run on top of it.

Security - There is a very good reason why around 90% of super-computers are run on Linux, as well as the majority of strategic servers these days. Stability and security. There are many technical reasons for this fact - including architecture, it being open source and the fact there are almost zero Linux viruses out in the virtual wild etc. Few would dispute the statement that Linux is more secure than Windows & desktop Linux users benefit directly from this.

Free - This is the least important reason for selecting a Linux OS. Sure, it's great not having to pay $$$ for applications, upgrades etc, but it's a perk more than a deciding factor for me. Having said that, especially in these hard times, it's a big bonus for a lot of people, especially given the quality & diversity of free software that the GNU Linux community produces.

Tailored - Unlike Windows & Mac, which largely decide for you what your desktop will look like, Linux gives you multiple desktop environments to choose from, each of which are highly configurable. For Manjaro users coming from Windows, Xfce will feel very familiar and intuitive. For those wanting something more minimalist & edgy, OpenBox is lightening fast and is growing in popularity. If you want an infinite number of desktop configuration options with all the bells and whistles, KDE is the way to go. You can even install multiple desktops. Talk about spoilt for choice.

Fun - Need I say more?

People have been predicting the death of the desktop for sometime but until that day comes, anyone looking for an alternative to Windows - or Mac for that matter - can now confidently make the transition to Linux and enjoy the many benefits that come with it. Whatever your particular needs are, I would recommend that you include Manjaro Linux on your shortlist and spend some time on the community boards, to get a feel of it. You might just love it.


  1. How big is your business and how do you deal with images?
    Which cloud solution do you use and why do you not host locally?

  2. We are a small business of two people, servicing client-partners in the software and services space across the EMEA region primarily. I use Vtiger for CRM - after looking at SalesForce and SugarCRM, I was extremely impressed with the personal service that the Vtiger crew gave me & opted for them. This makes far more strategic sense time/resource wise for my particular business, than running my own server. In addition I use Google Apps, despite what I consider to be an appalling level of disrespect for personal privacy. I may move to a service provider such as Zoho or something similar, if Google continue along their current reductionist,"people as data" trajectory. Service providers of any ilk should have user data completely locked down as far as I am concerned, with disclosure reserved for situations where there is a genuine suspicion of terrorist, abusive or other destructive & anti-libertarian behavior. Having now climbed off of my soap box, I trust that I answered your question.

  3. Thanks for the elaborate answer!

  4. The concern for my privacy is why I'm moving back to Linux as well, and I simply can't use Windows much more. All these are good points, except the free software argument. There are tons of free programs for Windows that works just as good as program of the same calibre you have to pay for, and sometimes even better.

    The only reason that I still use Windows 7 on my desktop is because I have not come to the point of testing games on my laptop to see what runs well in wine and what I need W7 for. Depending on the outcome of the tests I might need dual booting or a W7 virtual machine.

    All these are good points for moving to Linux, but I've also torn my hair out quite a few times because of some illogical Windows problems. I've experience that Windows suffer more often with program crashes, program conflicts, driver conflicts than Linux.

    Another selling point is that you have to install Windows again at one point because of the wear, and that a Windows.

    I don't think Windows can hold a candle to Linux based OS, and the only reason that I see any value in Windows is because of games.

  5. I think a common thread many of us ex-windows users have is the gaming issue. Yes most games are made for windows, but this is changing much in part to Valve's efforts, and things like the Unity engine. Just the other day we got a AAA title, Metro Last Light, and other big studios have made announcements of plans to release Linux games in the future. I still keep a W7 partition for a few games, as many of us do. For now =-)

    1. Slowly but surely, in present days, games are more present on GNU/Linux. Now with Steam OS that is based on Debian, the games industry is growing up for GNU/Linux.

  6. We store nothing on other computers than our own, we trust no one. And when your provider is trusted, the government isn't, and with one subpoena or warrant your provider has to hand over your data. That's why we will use OwnCloud, or a similar program, in the near future for cloud based computing. At the moment we store everything in encrypted containers on our own server and on encrypted ext. HDD's and USB sticks around our neck, and we use VPN's for surfing on the internet.

    Paranoia? No, don't think so. In the past our foundation learned from court cases that anything can and will be used against you, even things you consider as harmless. The authorities can make or break you, and they will break you eventually when you don't walk the line. 1984 is already here, the Dutch government is the biggest eavesdropper in the world, to name some. Even after Snowden, most people in the Netherlands say "I have nothing to hide", "they do it for our safety". That's a lie, and it's a shame that people are so ignorant. The governments are controlled by the big money, they are not really there for you, the citizen. Soon enough people will find out the truth, I hope. I am more concerned about digital threats coming from the authorities than threats coming from hackers and cybercriminals. I will protect my foundation, my own community, against the authorities using cryptography, to keep them at least at distance for a while.

    Besides this rant, overall I am a happy guy, watching the children in our foundation bloom and grow to real individuals, not walking the line, but living their own, unique lifes ;)

  7. Enjoying Manjaro Right now, I watched Spatry's videos on Youtube and until then I was always a Debian / Ubuntu fan, but now I'm loving the simplicity and speed of Manjaro