I've been having some issues as of late with Manjaro, one of the biggest being I can't use Steam VR without my system completely locking up and I still can't find a solution. The lovely nature of a FOSS OS is that I'm not worried about maintaining licenses, so I was wondering if more long term Linux users refresh their distro of choice every once in a while? My system is usable (outside for VR) but with rolling release distros would it be in my best interest to once a year or two to refresh my system or try to fix problems as they come?
Answer to title question - No.
Answer to question "should I reinstall if I broke my system?" - If you cant recover, then yes.
If by "refreshing your system" you mean reinstalling, then the answer is no. Just make sure you keep your system up to date at all time.
If you're on the Stable branch, then there will be a major update every two to three weeks ─ if you're on Testing or Unstable, it'll be a lot sooner than that.
Your problems with Steam are a different topic ─ and for that matter, one that I'm not versed in ─ but if you're using an Nvidia graphics adapter with a proprietary driver, then it may be the result of said driver.
Video drivers run in the kernel's address space, and if your system completely locks up solid, then this is caused by something running in the kernel. And given that Nvidia's drivers are proprietary, there's no knowing what they might do, and no way for the kernel developers to debug that ─ which is why they will categorically refuse to even try.
you will lose all customizations unless you back up them.
Because storage is not too expensive I recommend to back up the full system.
PS: To select the right backup tool for you can involve quite a lot of reading and comparing and trying out.
PPS: Sometimes I reinstall, but then I usually make use of manjaro-architect and use the downloaded package cache from another installed Manjaro system on the same machine.
Generally - you don't have to.
Personally - I do it regularly - mostly because my system becomes messy after many experiments - so the fastest way to clean up - so when I decide to do - I backup the necessary dots in my home - all my stuff is on other partitions - I have scripted my restore - the hardware is reasonable fast.
Do you backup /etc ?
No - I don't - I have no special config there - nothing that cannot be recreated by scripting.
Of course if you have specialized graphic settings or other requirements like dnsmasq they need to be backed up.
Have you published your script somewhere?
I use to backup some files like /etc/locale.conf, vconsole.conf, mkinitcpi.conf, /etc/grub.d/40_custom, /etc/default/grub, /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/.
Generally, it is not necessary to do so, certainly not on a regular basis, though some issues are so difficult to troubleshoot that it is often faster and easier to reinstall. Trying to fix things without reinstalling is a good opportunity to learn about your system, but if you're in a hurry and have to get some work done, reinstall is a perfectly viable option.
So is always a good idea to have a recent backup of all important files (including settings) just in case...
Those can be pretty handy especially if they are configured beyond defaults
I have not published my complete script but I created a post in #technical-issues-and-assistance:tutorials a while ago - outlining the basics - not all will use the same structure.
I will post the content of my personal scripts for reference.
Never. I install only once and that is it.
"Refreshing" your system doesn't have anything to do with the rolling release nature off Manjaro. All the more with messing with the system when you only partly understand what you are doing.
So yes i refresh my system from time to time but thats on me not on Manjaro
No. My install is ca. 3,5 years old and running fine so if you keep yours in good shape, Manajro theoretically can run forever.
Yes, you can clean install it if the issues are too big and you have no solutions to them. Usually there are some but there are issues that are best handled by clean install. System can be broken seriously
In ideal case you should have backups to restore last working version (using timeshift), so that clean reinstall wouldn't be needed, but again, sometimes in the rare cases the best solution is to do clean install.
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