Comparing the Two Major Arch-Based Distros

Arch Linux is not a distro for the typical user; it’s common knowledge that Arch is one of the most challenging distros to install, especially if you don’t follow the proper procedures. Its rigid installation and tedious setup procedures haven’t deterred developers from creating alternate versions based on Arch Linux, though.

If you are an Arch aficionado and want to make the most out of your Linux installation, then you should consider EndeavourOS and Manjaro: two of the best Arch-based distros. Here’s a detailed comparison between Manjaro and EndeavourOS.

1. System Requirements

To install EndeavourOS on your PC or a virtual machine, you need at least 10GB of hard disk space and 4GB of RAM. The memory and space requirements will differ depending on the desktop you select.

For example, XFCE, MATE, and LXQt need 2GB of RAM, whereas, Cinnamon, GNOME, Budgie, and Plasma each need 4GB of RAM to function smoothly.

Manjaro Linux requires the following system requirements to run successfully on a PC:

  • 2GB RAM
  • Minimum 2GHz processor
  • HD graphics card and monitor
  • 30GB of hard disk space

2. ISO Downloads

Each desktop variant of Manjaro and EndeavourOS comes with its own individual ISO images. Since a variety of desktop versions are available, each has its respective image, which you can download and install on your machine.

Download: EndeavourOS

Download: Manjaro Linux

3. Available Desktop Variants

Like any other Linux distribution, even EndeavourOS and Manjaro come with different desktop environments.

With EndeavourOS, you get the following desktop options:

Some community editions include Cinnamon, Sway, i3wm, Budgie, Deepin, LXQt, Qtile, Openbox, bspwm, and MATE. However, any user with basic computer knowledge can easily install and access other desktop environments in EndeavourOS.

Manjaro Linux comes equipped with a few basic desktop variants, including KDE Plasma, XFCE, and GNOME. You can also download MATE, Sway, i3, Budgie, and Cinnamon, however.

4. System Installers

Every OS has a unique installer to ease your installation woes. EndeavourOS is equipped with a Calamares installer, guiding you through the installation steps smoothly. You can choose between online and offline options.

The XFCE desktop variant ships with an offline installer, while other variants including GNOME, Budgie, MATE, KDE, and LXQt offer an online installer.

Manjaro, on the other hand, has two installation options to ease the installation process for the users. Like EndeavourOS, you get the Calamares installer and the native manjaro-architect, a CLI net installer. Since it’s a terminal-based installer, you can download all necessary packages during installation itself.

5. Release Frequency

EndeavourOS is somewhat new since it was initiated in 2019 and is the successor to a previous Arch-based OS, Antergos.

This user-friendly distro lays it out for the users: you get what you see. Since it uses the Arch Linux repositories, you can expect a bundle of updates every time you upgrade the system.

The best part about a rolling release is that you don’t need to keep upgrading to newer versions when they are available. Simply upgrade the packages from your terminal window, and you are all done.

Manjaro is a stable, bleeding-edge distro, and software updates are available to users after regular testing and checks. While it considers itself a different beast, it still focuses on making Arch easier for newcomers.

With its hierarchies and repositories, you can always expect bug-free applications and programs available at your disposal.

6. Applications and Package Managers

EndeavourOS uses the Arch User Repository (AUR) for package installations. Though you get only the bare minimum packages, you will need to build the OS from scratch in case you want to use it regularly.

This distro equips the users with AKM or A Kernel Manager. Unfortunately, you can only select from a few kernel versions, not the multiple associated options.

EndeavourOS is a minimalist version, as it is a terminal-centric operating system. Even though you get the most basic applications including Yay, it offers all the fundamental drivers for graphics, network, and sound.

To ease your browsing woes, you have Firefox installed beforehand. Rest assured, you won’t get any bloatware with EndeavourOS.

To install/remove applications on Manjaro, you would need to put in some effort. Manjaro does not use the AUR but comes equipped with a native repository instead.

You don’t get access to Snap Store, Flatpak, or AUR by default. If you want to use either of them, you must install them manually.

Thankfully, you get a few pre-installed apps, which make the process easier. Subsequently, Manjaro offers its users a GUI Kernel Manager to install and switch between kernels.

7. Welcome Screens

Even though both distros are Arch derivatives, there is a different world contained in both OSes.

To make things easier for a first-time user, EndeavourOS and Manjaro have customized their welcome screens, offering everything in one place while avoiding any jargon.

EndeavourOS’s welcome screen consists of a few tabs ranging from General Info and After Install to Assistant Tips and Add More Apps.

The idea behind these tabs is to ensure a smooth onboarding for a user heading over to the OS and helping them install everything they might need in the future.

Manjaro’s interface and welcome screen work a little differently. Instead of different tabs, you get multiple buttons on a single pane that provides valuable insight into what you can expect with Manjaro’s interface.

You can choose which applications to install and change the desktop layout to suit your needs better.

8. Themes and Graphical Interfaces

Since XFCE is a common desktop environment between both Arch variants, it’s easy to compare the themes and layouts for both versions.

EndeavourOS uses a simple, vanilla layout to keep the interface simple and close to its roots.

Manjaro has a clean, unique look that is easy to work with, well-structured, and can be customized by the user for efficiency.

EndeavourOS vs. Manjaro: The Final Faceoff

EndeavourOS and Manjaro are spin-offs of Arch Linux and both of them are geared towards making the lives of newbies easier. There are plenty of differences, right from installing the OSes to managing the packages on your desktop environments.

When you compare the two distros, you will not find any clear winner, considering their common base and targeted usage statistics.

In the end, it totally boils down to your preference. If EndeavourOS doesn’t fancy you, you can try installing a different distro instead, like Ubuntu.

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