Which Manjaro version should I use?

Which version should you use?

That is a question with only biased answers.
There is only one which can answer really :point_right: YOU!

Why is that?

Because GNU/Linux is what it is - and every distribution is more or less based on the same foundation - the Linux kernel and the GNU software delivering the tools you will be using.

The real choice is the workspace - the desktop environment.

Why all the choices then?

What really differentiates the choice of environment, is how it is put together.

We all have different workflows, different taste, different hardware, different requirements.

Some prefer eye-candy while other prefer a workhorse and some is deeply accustomed to a specific layout of the screen like where the Start button (Windows users) is located, how the menu system is displayed/organized etc.

Eye candy versions like Gnome and KDE often get updates and tend to have more issues than older and more stable versions like Xfce or pure Window Managers.

Windows users might like the Xfce desktop or even the KDE best as they offer a certain familarity in the layout of the application menu and taskbar.

But as said - you are the only one to decide - and it is your taste, your data, your computer - it is all about you and not us.

We cannot tell you which desktop layout is right for you.

How do you decide then?

First glance using live sessions

Safe installation using VirtualBox

A safe installation of Manjaro can be done using use VirtualBox. You can install the downloaded edition as a virtual computer.

A virtual computer is a safe way to try how the different environments behave on a longer term and if they appeal to you in either way.

Such a virtual computer comes with absolutely no risk to your current environment. It requires only disk space. You can create as many virtual machines as your available disk space allows you.

Create a virtual computer for diving into the world of Manjaro and assign it

  • two cpu's
  • at least 2GiB RAM
  • 16 GiB virtual harddisk

Official Editions


Community Editions


Some hints from @Chrysostomus

If you don’t know what you want

  • Start with Xfce. Try next KDE or Mate.

If you like Windows

  • Try Xfce, KDE, Mate, LXDE or LXQt.

If you like mobile devices

  • Try Gnome and KDE.

Those have the best integration with phones. Gnome UI feels familiar to smartphone users and KDE has decent touch screen support.

If you like online integration

  • Try Gnome. Maybe KDE.

If you like using the keyboard

  • Try Gnome, Awesome, i3, Openbox or bspwm.

If you are open minded

Requires patience and willingnes to try something very different

  • Try Awesome, i3, Openbox or bspwm.

If your computer is really slow (Windows XP era or before)

Manjaro has no official support for 32-bit systems. 32-bit community support is provided by two very small teams. Manjaro 32

  • Try LXDE, LXQt, i3, Awesome or bspwm.

If your machine runs Windows, chances are that it runs almost any Linux desktop just fine. Except maybe Gnome and its derivatives (Budgie, Cinnamon, Deepin).

If you like eye candy and effects

  • Try Gnome, KDE, Deepin, Cinnamon or Budgie.

If you want things to just work

  • Try Xfce, KDE, Mate or Gnome.

If you like tinkering and tweaking

  • Try Xfce, Openbox, Awesome, i3 or bspwm.

Bare metal installation


I think, installing a VM shouldn't be the first advice. All official and community editions can be used as live-sessions directly from the dvd/usb-stick. That should be enough for a first glance. Then, in a second step you could test a little further on a VM if you as a new user don't dare to install the most interesting distributions directly on some device.


You are right about the first glance - and I think most users do what you say.

It is not those users targeted in the question.

The users targeted here is the users which ask for others opinion.

We cannot advise those which system to install and therefore it is recommended to install it in VB and getting to know the system more intimately than is available with a live ISO.


I wonder if we could make a flow chart that would help people to choose what to start with... But yes, testing things for yourself is the best option.

If you don't know what you want, start with xfce. Try next kde or mate.

If you like Windows, try also kde, mate, lxde and lxqt.

If you like mobile devices, try gnome and kde. They have the best integration with phones, gnome ui feels familiar to smartphone users and kde has decent touch screen support.

If you like online integration, try gnome. Maybw also kde.

If you like using the keyboard, try gnome, awesome, i3, openbox or bspwm.

If you are open minded, patient and willing to try something very different, try awesome, i3, openbox or bspwm.

If your computer really sucks (Windows xp era or before), try lxde, lxqt, i3, awesome or bspwm. Otherwise, if your machine runs Windows, chances are that it runs almost any Linux desktop just fine. Except maybe gnome and its derivatives.

If you like eyecandy and effects, try gnome, kde, deepin or cinnamon.

If you want things to just work, try xfce, kde, mate or gnome.

If you like tinkering and tweaking, try xfce, openbox, awesome, i3 or bspwm.


If you are coming from MacOS, try Cinnamon but with the panel on top.

1 Like

Very nice Info
Many thanks :slight_smile:

look here


Sorry for necroposting, but I am wondering: Shouldn't this include KDE as well? I mean, aren't xfce and kde similar in this respect?

As a sidenote, I think it's a nice post, but I question the usefulness of the If you list, since there is no info on why these DE's are good for that use. I guess people have to do their own research on these DE's, but since this info is suplied by one dude (no offence), it would be helpfull if he would suply a little more background on his opinions.

I think necroposting shouldn't be applied to FAQ - they are meant to be applicable for all of the time.

Well, you can tweak Plasma and Gnome, too. It is a bit more difficult to do on the level of config files, but there are very advanced GUI tweaking tools.

The only two Linux DE I remember which are difficult to tweak were Deepin (beyond the possible settings of panel/dock) and Unity.

1 Like

Forum kindly sponsored by