Unlike Windows or macOS, which come with their own integrated desktop environments, Linux instead offers its users a vast array of so-called “Distros” that can be used as desktop environments. These distros have different qualities and properties. As such, the debate in the Linux community as to which is the superior distro seems to never go away. The competition itself is also healthy, as the increased competition leads to developers of distros always trying their best to outdo each other.
For more than 15 years, Ubuntu has been one of the best leading distros for Linux around the world. So much so that its iconic orange logo has become synonymous with Linux for less informed audiences. Despite this popularity and the unwavering loyalty of its fanbase, many different distros have tried to challenge it for the title of number one Linux distro.
One of these distros is known as Manjaro. Manjaro came into the market considerably later than Ubuntu. As a result, it had a better-optimized ecosystem from the get-go. This enabled it to offer certain advantages that Ubuntu simply could not due to its rusty legacy base code. While Ubuntu retains its vastly bigger user base, Manjaro is becoming more and more popular by the day. So the key question is, in the battle of Ubuntu vs Manjaro, which one will come out on top? Before getting to the technicalities of answering this question, let’s take a brief informative detour to know more about our contestants.
Originally released in 2004, Ubuntu has attained legendary status since its inception as an up-and-coming Linux distro. Ubuntu was one of the progenitors of focusing on facilitating intra-server activities. The breakthrough and success of Ubuntu were so impactful that it is often pre-installed on laptops that come into the market with Linux on them. It has also made its way to smartphones, tablets, server hosts, and of course, to Cloud VPS services, where it still serves as the most popular distro for VPS users operating via Linux.
On top of this, Ubuntu is known for its user-friendly interface and installation process. It even allows users to do a preview of the app without actually installing anything. A feature that not many other distros can boast about. Other than that, Ubuntu has a diverse range of themes that you can install to your aesthetic liking. The cherry on top is Ubuntu’s massive online community that pretty much takes care of any potential issues you might face while using it. Just head into any of the many forums dedicated to Ubuntu, and you’ll, more likely than not, find the solution to your issue there.
The majority of Linux-run servers are using Ubuntu; why not you? Discover why everybody loves Ubuntu — get an optimized Ubuntu VPSGet your Ubuntu VPS
Manjaro is one of the many distros that, throughout the years, have attempted to dethrone Ubuntu as the most popular Linux distro. Manjaro was originally launched in 2011, roughly ten years ago. Manjaro was distinguished by its open-source code that was originally based on the base code of Arch Linux. Manjaro spent the first two years of its existence in the Beta phase, and in 2013 it had its major breakthrough. Manjaro aimed at retaining the qualities that made Arch a great Linux distro while significantly improving its user experience and installation process. But it’s important to remember that much like Arch, Manajro remains a developer-oriented distribution.
Manjaro is well known for its high-speed, customizable interface, its catering to the developer echelon as well as its robust release cycle. Due to its increasing optimization, Manjaro has come closest to challenging Ubuntu in recent years. A number of notable developers have expressed their preference for the distro. And stats indicate that Manjaro is growing in popularity by the week. By 2021, Manjaro has consistently been ranked as one of the top three distros in articles like this.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Head to Head
So now that we have a basic grasp of what these two distros embody, we can move closer to comparing them across technical categories in a head-to-head comparison. On the one hand, we have the Debian-based Ubuntu that has acted for many years as the premier Linux distro, and it is being challenged by the Arch-based Manjaro, featuring a more robust and newer base code. So which one of these distros will come out on top in the Manjaro vs Ubuntu 2022 showdown?
To answer this question, we came up with seven different categories. We’re gonna look at Manjaro and Ubuntu across them and, in the end, see which one will fare better for the users.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Stability
Without a doubt, stability is the number one priority of most Linux users, who usually happen to be developers of some kind. Without stability and with constant crashes and performance bottlenecks, no distro can be useful for the Linux user base.
Ubuntu’s LTS string of releases is specifically tailored to improving the stability of their distro, and these releases are also applicable to the servers that you may operate using Ubuntu. With a much longer development cycle. Ubuntu has managed to maintain an impressive streak of stability within its code. Ubuntu is famous for its lack of crashes and its ability to work well with almost all update packages that you choose to install.
Manjaro, on the other hand, does not have this same level of default stability, and you need to pick and choose the packages that you install more carefully. But on the other hand, Manjaro has a higher stability ceiling. Meaning that if you avoid incompatible updates that break the system, it actually performs better under greater pressure.
It’s hard to pick a clear winner here. But it’s generally thought Ubuntu works better as a base platform for less intensive tasks, while Manjano is going to carry your work harder in intensive and more specialized tasks. So this one is going to be a draw as both perform well in their own respective niche.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Desktop
Desktop is the heart and soul of any distro or OS. It’s the first thing we come across when we boot up the system, and it’s the most frequently visited part of our interface. Naturally, having a slick and easy-to-use desktop that’s easy and nice to the eye is crucial for a distro.
In its base form, Ubuntu features an altered version of the famous GNOME desktop. It certainly isn’t the most groundbreaking desktop, and you need to install later Ubuntu versions to get the later versions of the GNOME desktop as well. But it gets the job done. And in case you’re looking for alternatives, the official Ubuntu Flavours is here to save the day for you. With this service, you can get a bunch of different desktop applicators, including KDE, Budgie, XFCE, and MATE. All of these desktops are well integrated with Ubuntu and do not impact your stability whatsoever.
As for Manjaro, you get a choice of three official desktop versions that are built-in and can be selected when installing. These are GNOME, KDE, AND XFCE. There are other desktops that you can use, but these are the community versions of other desktops like Budgie, MATE, and LXQt. These will not have official support and don’t necessarily have the best optimization and integration. So as far as desktops and their diversity are concerned, Ubuntu is still the better of the two distros.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Release Cycle
Release cycles are crucial to maintaining a healthy user experience. But in certain cases, such as the initial years of Windows 10’s launch, users were subjected to a hellish of constant updates that seemed to cause more issues than fixing them. Having a healthy and efficient Release cycle goes a long way in making people stick to a distro. That said, it’s important to know that Ubuntu and Manjaro are as different as they can get when it comes to releasing cycles.
Mnajaro has gone for a model based on a rolling release. In this model, updates are rolled out constantly, which might seem bad, but it’s important to note that they are not necessary for the operation of your distro to continue. So, in other words, Manjaro delegates the task of updating to the user’s choice, which again makes it more suitable for more advanced developers.
Ubuntu, on the other hand, has larger updates with longer intervals between the releases, but on the other hand, the installation is automatically done without the user having much say over it. Occasionally Ubuntu may require you to restart your system to apply updates, but it never forces the issue. Most of the time, the updates start applying before we know it.
Both systems have pros and cons. But to summarize, Marjano has more updates that keep it more up to date. But they’re harder to navigate and actually install. Ubuntu has an easier installation process, but the updates’ longer release cycle means that the user doesn’t always have the best tech at hand. Overall, and despite this, Ubuntu maintains a healthy program with an easier update operation. As a result, I believe it’s fair to give this round to Ubuntu.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Personalization and Convenience
The difference in philosophy between these two distros is again made clear here. Right from when we begin installing these two apps, we can see the difference. For a long time, pre-installed apps were considered a plus. Nowadays, however, installing an app is no longer a challenge for many people, especially those who have chosen two use Linux.
Therefore, sparing the user the headache of dealing with pre-installed apps and letting them go for apps they like is the way to go. Ubuntu has way too many pre-installed apps. These include browsers, word processors, email clients, players, etc.
Manjaro, on the other hand, comes with the bare-bones apps that are needed to run a distro and pretty much leaves everything else to the user, an approach that without a doubt makes it more appealing to Linux gurus who already have their apps of choice figured out and want to go straight to business.
An argument can be made for Ubuntu’s excessive use of pre-installed programs. It can be argued that this makes it more convenient for newer users. But if you’re going to install a Linux distro, is the process of installing new apps really a challenge for you at this point? I don’t think so.
Still, Ubuntu maintains a much more friendly user interface and experience, which makes it more convenient for beginners. Manjaro, on the other hand, sacrifices simplicity for a much faster system and greater user control and customization. So overall, I think Manajro’s the winner here.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Software
Software support, optimization, and compatibility are other critical areas of the contest when we choose to compare any two Linux distros. Ubuntu vs Manjaro is no exception here.
Generally, you should be able to find most apps and software that have Linux versions on both of these distros. But even here, the two differ on how to get you the apps and software that you may need,
Ubuntu, for a start, emphasizes packages over single apps. This makes it hard to understand what it is you’re going for, really. On top of this, Ubuntu’s Software Center is not really the best Linux software hub, and working with it can sometimes be a pain. It can slow down, and sometimes you will not find specific apps or software that you may be looking for, which in turn will force you to look to third-party providers for them, which will, in turn, expose you to the risk of malware.
Manjaro, on the other hand, offers a much different experience. It borrows a great feature from Arch and comes with Pamac as its default package manager. Installing and updating software on Manjaro is much faster compared to Ubuntu. In many cases, a single click is all you need to get the ball rolling. To top it off, Manjaro uses the Arch User Repository, known shortly as AUR. AUR will probably have all the apps that are missing on Ubuntu’s Software Center.
It seems when it comes to software and packages, Manjaro sweeps all categories much better than Ubuntu. So they’ll be the winners here.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: User-friendliness (And Target Audience)
This is a tricky one. On the one hand, it can be argued that ease of use is an incredibly important aspect of choosing the right distro. On the other hand, it can be said that Linux is inherently and relatively more complicated than its rival operating systems like Windows and macOS. And as a result, its distros are also going to be rather complex.
With that in mind, Ubuntu tries its best to make the user experience as easy and pain-free as possible. In this regard, Ubuntu comes as close as it gets to replicating Windows and macOS. So much so that most first-time Linux users can get right to business without actually knowing key concepts of the Linux ecosystem, such as “package managers.” This is partly the reason for Ubuntu’s unwavering popularity. Since many first-time users hop in, immediately learn the basics and never see the need to move to another distro.
Manjaro, contrary to its reputation as a “by developers for developers” distro, is not overly complicated. However, it also doesn’t focus on ease of use as one of its main strengths. Instead, it prioritizes aspects most important to developers, such as speed and efficiency. With that said, it is still vastly easier to use than its spiritual predecessor, Arch. Learning to work with Manjaro is also a good launch pad for learning other above-average distros.
Still, Ubuntu is the clear winner of the user-friendliness contest, while Manjaro offers other advantages at the expense of ease of use.
Ubuntu vs Manjaro: Online Community and Databases
It has almost become common practice for users to look for solutions to their problems on the web. Developers of operating systems and Linux distros have also noticed this and have moved towards documenting the solutions to common issues that a user might face when using their product. The developers are not alone in this, as thousands of users on the web keep providing the solutions to the issues they encountered in the form of forum posts and blog articles.
Ubuntu has had a longer development cycle, and it has been in the game longer. So naturally, the amount of user-generated content covering and documenting known issues and fixes is higher compared to Manjaro. Ubuntu’s own help center is also an excellent compendium. Still, it seems that Ubuntu has left the greater part of the documentation to be done by the users, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Manjaro, on the other hand, has a more centralized approach to the matter, with its own dedicated wiki. This wiki has incredible attention to detail, and almost all known issues and facts are documented in a single platform on it, which makes searching for solutions a rather hassle-free process. Even with this sophisticated wiki, Manjaro has a vibrant online community that continues to produce documentation on blogs and forums.
It all comes down to quality versus quantity, and I think that Manjaro does a better job of documentation and has a better database concerning the matter.
Should I Switch From Ubuntu to Manjaro?
And here we’re faced with the questions it all comes down to. Should you switch from Ubuntu to Manjaro? Our Ubuntu vs Manjaro head-to-head comparison across seven categories went to a draw, with each getting three wins and one category coming to a draw. This shows that Manjaro is capable of going toe to toe with Ubuntu.
Still, Ubuntu and Manjaro are different distros, with different philosophies and different audiences. While Ubuntu was rather unmatched in technical categories such as software packages, personalization, and documentation, it also managed to come out as the decisive winner in desktop diversity, ease of use, and release cycle. Ultimately both of these distros are Linux distros underneath, so it’s important to remember that they’re more alike than different.
With that in mind, go for Ubuntu if you’re a beginner or first-time Linux user who’s looking to learn the ropes and get the hang of things. If you’re not looking to do intensive tasks and projects, Ubuntu will be a comfortable enough home for you for many years. If, on the other hand, you’re an intermediate or higher-level developer who knows his way around Linux and who’s looking to do major projects and intensive tasks, you can’t go wrong with Manjaro.
Keeping track of everything that was said here can be hard. So below will be a comparison table for a quick evaluation.
|Ease of Use
|Online Community and Documentation
|Software Support and Packaging
|Every 2 years
Both distros showed their strengths and made valid cases. It’s fair to say that Manjaro is one of the few, if not the only Linux distro, to successfully give Ubuntu a run for its money. Still, there are tens of other great distros that have their own points of strength that can work more than well enough for people looking for certain niches.
As a premier Cloud VPS hosting service, Cloudzy has many different distros supported as part of its cheap, easy-to-use, and low-maintenance Linux VPS service. As of now, Cloudzy supports more than ten different Linux distros such as Ubuntu. Regardless of your choice, you can hop in and enjoy your own convenient, low-latency Linux VPS with a seven-day money-back guarantee!
Is Manjaro Better than Ubuntu for Gaming?
Probably. While traditionally, Manjaro has been the better platform for gaming, Ubuntu has worked hard in recent LTS supports to enable its distro for a more optimized gaming experience. The reputation is tilted in Mnajaro’s favor. However, Ubuntu is probably not far behind with recent updates.
What are Manjaro’s weaknesses?
While Manjaro ticks all the boxes for a good distro, Manjaro’s Achilles’ Heel is its rather poor security track history. Still, Manjaro ranks as one of the relatively safer distros, and it seems that recent updates have eradicated these security breaches.
What is the Most Popular Linux Distro?
With a pedigree stretching back more than 15 years, Ubuntu has retained its status as the most popular Linux distro for many years. You can also get your share of Ubuntu’s pleasant user experience through Cloudzy’s Ubuntu VPS service. However, times are getting tough for the legendary distro as the newer distros like Manjaro have risen to challenge it.