Topping-the-charts asks: What caused Manjaro's rapid rise in the PHR stats? Are they really that popular or are they gaming the system?
DistroWatch answers: Before getting into the apparent rise in interest where Manjaro Linux is concerned, I'd first like to remind everyone that the page hit ranking (PHR) table does not necessarily reflect the number of people running a distribution or its quality as an operating system. The PHR table displays the average number of visits a project's DistroWatch page gets per day. (We filter any duplicates from the same IP address.)
With that out of the way, what caused Manjaro's PHR counter to jump over 60% in the past twelve months while most other distributions in the top ten maintained fairly steady numbers? There are a handful of possibilities and the answer is probably a combination of factors. I suspect one of the big factors is Manjaro started publishing near-weekly updates, plus various pre-releases and community spins. This resulted in more announcements, more people talking about the latest snapshots, more news sites linking to the new media. The PHR tables tend to reflect the amount of "buzz" around a project rather than the number of people using it and the more frequently a project publishes fresh media, the more interest it generates, causing it to rise up the charts. Most projects get a little bump in our PHR when they publish a new version and Manjaro's installation media is on a rapid update cycle.
PHR rankings sometimes have a positive feedback cycle too. Once a project climbs a little (possibly because of a new release) more people see it near the top of the charts. Then more people talk about it, which gathers more attention and the project climbs more. The same thing appears to have happened in the past with Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS, and may be happening with elementaryOS at the moment.
I would also observe that Arch-based distributions are fairly popular right now (new ones are added to our waiting list virtually every month) and distributions which can take Arch Linux and make it easy to set up and use (as Manjaro's team has) is something a lot of people seem to desire right now.
As for the question as to whether someone is gaming the PHR system, I feel that answer has two parts. The question appears to imply that the Manjaro team themselves are somehow trying to boost their PHR rank and that idea strikes me as highly unlikely. The Manjaro developers have lots of better things to do with their time and don't directly benefit from having a higher PHR spot. The second half of my answer is that while some community members (of one distribution or another) sometimes try to encourage people to visit their favourite project's DistroWatch page, any bump in traffic tends to be short lived. It also tends to be small and cancelled out, effectively, by fans of other projects doing the same thing. To date, we have not discovered an evidence that increased interest in Manjaro is anything other than the combination of factors mentioned above, which when added together, caused a rapid rise in PHR numbers.
Plus the fact, once there here we have friendly helpers. The mods here are very active in keeping control.
I come from a long use of almost every distro and especially Ubuntu. Manjaro in the past just didn't work for me. Now since the installer has matured, its much easier to get it up and running.
More and more people are interested in Manjaro. Distrowatch shows it, this forum shows it.
Last year, after being off-line for a day, there would be between 5 and 10 new threads, today there are 36.
It's almost a full time job to go through them.
I'm "retired" and spend too much time here anyway, but man, are you right on. I even find myself skipping less than germane threads nowadays unless they offer entertainment value.
It's a worry of mine that there will be more and more "spoon-fed" expectation in threads as other users come to the forum.
We've always managed to keep an atmosphere of learning in threads, so most people here want to learn how to fix their system rather than be given a one-line fix, but I'm seeing more of the "wilfully ignorant"-type threads appearing more regularly now.
We might need to separate #newbies into two sub-categories, e.g.
- Willing to learn
- Just fix it for me
Then we know who to spend time helping.
On the other hand... there are plenty of forum members who asked endless questions when they first arrived, and now are some of the most helpful people on the forum. You know who you are.
I remember when I almost got into ban territory, because my findings (of what was eventually a bug into LFN support of the fat32 driver of my laptop efi firmware, with a boot setup even some devs weren't aware was offered) were so random that it almost seemed trolling to some mod.
Anyway, having an organized wiki for just about every problem is invaluable into solving most noob issues (which are always the same, eventually)
p.s. on the other hand, I always feel guilty for (almost) throwing the dices back then, and choosing manjaro over antergos. Is there anybody that could point out any merit or demerit of the thing?
We had a big jump in traffic last month on /r/ManjaroLinux as well. It has more than doubled in the last year.
Will they tell the truth?
I may try to post some statistics from the main homepage and @jonathon might do another statistic about the forum usage. Also we see more interest to support us also from the development point of view. We will be always open and do stuff our way. I'm glad that we still have this nice thing going on ...
That is quite the spike. What happened last month? Mint 19 release?
If you think about it, it doesn't matter when it comes to our approach.
There's not much change since the last one. Page views are increasing at roughly the same rate, total requests have recovered somewhat after the server upgrade and are back to levels just prior to the last Distrowatch bump.
Antergos is "closer to the bone" of Arch, but it does not offer the same degree of system stability than can be had with Manjaro.
I recently spent some time in Fedora, replacing Arch with it on this machine. When it was time to return to Arch, Pacman had gone to 5.1 and it appeared a bit troublesome (reading the Arch forums). Rather than having to deal with any new issues immediately arising from that during or post-install, I thought I'd just slam Antergos on here and be done with it. But Antergos--again, being "closer to the bone" of Arch--had inherited those "problems" I was trying to avoid. It was a wash.
In the end it was far easier just to install Plasma (unstable) using the Manjaro-Architect TUI. Boom, done.
And I am getting to an age where I should probably decide on a canned distribution to settle on. What I used to do by rote, I now sometimes have to do by "write" instead, keeping printed sections of the Arch installation guide in front of me.
Manjaro offers me enough hand-holding during the M-A TUI routine. It also allows me as lean and speedy a system as I can get with Arch, since I know my hardware and can avoid what is unnecessary.
I even practiced taking the system from Manjaro Unstable to Stable, then back up again. What a trip! And it worked (Note for that particular Wiki section: It takes "-Syyuu" to downgrade repos).
I suppose at some point I will probably just stay with Manjaro. I'm not a "joiner"--never have been--and hate the feeling of being "tied" to anything. But I suppose if the amount of time I have spent here counts, I'm fairly well tied to Manjaro. Besides, what a cool name.
I believe this line of discussion has happened before - if not on the Manjaro forum on other distros. The thing is I am sure, that it's a bit like learning to drive a car. You need a learner's permit and a licenced driver at your side before you can contemplate driving on your own. In those early stages you worry that you are going to crash the gearbox, run into the kerb or worse but after some careful coaching by your helper you soon learn to drive much like other fully licenced drivers. At that point you rarely need to go back to the driving instructor for help but it is good to know he/she is there to help. So let's keep the forum newbie friendly please as I think it means more people will feel happy about trying and then (full time) using Manjaro.
Absolutely, as long as they are more
then all will be well.
Honestly dont think you should worry about it, but some prep may not hurt. I think however, in my humble opinion, that a newbie forum/category should be a single place with a sticky. Call it whatever you like, "Must Read", "Read before posting" etc. I have even seen some forums make it mandatory they accept the terms of such a post before being able to post themselves.
In such a sticky spell it out for people. The gist, "We are very willing to help, we are not willing to do it for you.". Go on to explain that problems will happen, because we are dealing with computers and that they should have an expectation of wanting to learn and tinker from time to time. That doesn't mean its not stable, just that any computer/OS will need maintenance and fixing from time to time. When the occasion arrives, check x, y, and z resources (we could put links to things like our wiki, arch wiki, etc)...if you still do not know where to start come and ask for help, and expect to spend some time and effort resolving it with the input provided.
You cant prevent it, we are gonna get some people who expect "enterprise level" support...honestly let them go, they will weed themselves out. We had a guy here a little while ago who basically shot himself in the foot, complaining and whining like a toddler here and in another forum and in both places basically got told he was acting like a fool. He was given links, members gave him input and asked for more info and he complained...someone like that cant be helped because they dont want help, they want someone to do it for them or wave a magic wand and fix it. They arent worth your time worrying about.
The people worth your time are the respectful and intelligent people who come here willing to learn and help themselves and need a push in the right direction by the wonderful people here. In that regard I think you (and the Manjaro community as a whole) are already going above and beyond.
Well obviously I can't speak for anyone but myself in terms of my own journey in Linux. Suffice to say that on this (and indeed on other forums whenever I've explored a distro) I have sometimes needed some "driver training". Usually that is freely enough given but I do understand any maintainer/moderator's time is precious enough without any duplication of his/her effort. I expect that's really where your "spoon-fed" reference is coming from and if so, fair enough. Perhaps a reiteration of that which I think has been posted in an earlier thread here (in different words but same meaning) would be useful to put up as a sticky or some such - "new users are very welcome but please help us to help you whenever you have an issue or a query by doing the following: 1. search the forum for an answer that might solve your problem 2. if the answer isn't clear or simply seems not to be there sometimes a general internet search can lead you to the answer 3. if 1 and 2 do not help then by all means post a question in the appropriate topic area".
I like your philosophy but it will never work. Users think they are the most important user on the planet
They also truly believe their problem is unique only to them so why should they search for any answer as they do not apply to them anyway how can it possibly help their unique problem.
As for spoon feeding well @jonathon and co have brought it on themselves not intentionally it just happened, why they are to nice. A line has to be drawn very early in a distros life, "We are here to help not to spoon feed" Of late their are a lot of double sometimes triple posts of the same subject the user insist theirs is unique.
Their are the double posters again they feel they need to double post for attention again they think their problem is so unique one post is not enough to get attention, and of course the attention seeker say no more you know the one that can't be helped by any other user all help is incorrect then after 30+ posts they say well I deleted this and that, or Manjaro is crap, or insult users that try to help again they have omitted to give the full story and it goes on.
So I give credit to these guys and what they do.
I do not agree with the way Manjaro sells its self,
I do not agree the way Manjaro users got Manjaro to NO1 in distrowatch.
I do admire the forum and the work involved running it for free, I can tell you it is not always easy being a moderator and sometimes you have to make hard decisions, fortunately for me all forums I have moderated have had more mature users so no real problems.
The other problem facing @jonathon and co is they have waved authority to a certain degree for friendliness and that creates another set of problems for them.
Whilst Manjaro continues describing itself as a noob friendly distro on the website ...
Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users.
... there will be an influx of new forum users with limited technical knowledge or Linux experience.
Ignoring the merits of claiming any Arch based distro is noob friendly, which it is not, I think a pinned thread in the Newbie section containing links to existing useful threads could be useful.
Similar in concept to the known issues post in update announcement threads, this "Starter Pack" thread can contain common issues / questions with links to forum threads, specific forum posts, Manjaro wiki pages, and Arch wiki pages.
Keep it closed and evolve it over time to be a useful noob learning resource and timesaving troubleshooting tool.
From a forum support perspective it will help with the support of commonly experienced issues (just point them to the starter pack), will help weed out those willing to learn as opposed to entitled help vampires, and avoid answering the same questions over and over and over ... and over.
Just a thought ...
A picture tells a thousand words.
For Manjaro, I don't think "suitable for newcomers" means it's always easy to maintain. Because that can be tricky with a cutting-edge, rolling release distro. But I do think "suitable for newcomers" means someone with little to no linux experience can get Manjaro up and running in a few minutes. It is absolutely "newcomer friendly" in that respect.
And getting a system up and runnning where you can do real desktop work is 95% of the linux learning curve in my opinion. Is that learning curve something that some in the linux community pride? I think so. Is learning all that really needed to run a linux system? I don't think so.
Once the desktop is up, anybody can read email, watch YouTube videos, listen to music, draw pictures or write documents. Even on Manjaro. It's not rocket science.