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This blog is to document my progress with Linux and programming in general. I started off trying to fix my computer which led me down a road of great intrigue into Linux and programming. From this, I also developed a passion to document what I do for two reason; first is to have a history of what I have done and second is leave the possibility open for feedback and suggestions or even simple discussion. Feel free to email me schulidr@protonmail.com or send me a message on here. I can also be found on twitter, mastadon, manjaro forums, arch forums, and IRC all of which I have the same handle.
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Beginners distro

Posted 03-03-2019 at 06:19 AM by schulidr
Updated 03-03-2019 at 06:20 AM by schulidr

Some thoughts about recent stuff happening with Manjaro and Linux in general. There have been some
issues 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.

USER TYPE

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.

UPDATES/DISTRIBUTION ASSESSMENT

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.

BACKUPS

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.
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