My switch to manjaro on my laptop

December 25, 2019


Compared to Ubuntu, which I previous used for development, the pros of Manjaro includes:

  • Has AUR (archlinux user repository), from which you can install up-to-date programs. This alone is enough reason for me to keep using Manjaro
  • Drop-down terminal, which I find pretty convenient

Some things to note:

  • If pacman doesn't work, try pacman -Syu pacman
  • Remember to modify ~/.xprofile after installing ibus. See below for details
  • Remember to backup with timeshift so you can recover the system when you break something


Although I used ubuntu for about a year at my last job, I never had enough of a reason to install linux on my personal laptop, the only PC I own, as I mostly coded on a workstation at work. And my laptop, a windows machine, although not ideal, was good enough for some personal projects, that was, until recently.

Time to Switch

Looking back, I've wasted countless hours waiting for windows updates to finish searching for solutions to installation and dependency issues on the internet and settled for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

Winter break started recently and I wanted to work on some personal projects. I finally ran into a minor problem that I thought wasn't worth my time fixing. Since I don't have anything urgent right now, I thought "if I'm going to switch to Linux at some point, now is the time."

In the end, I installed Manjaro on my laptop and it works like a charm! I didn't even have to install any driver. Functional keys, keyboard, touch pad, sleeping when closing the lid, everything works perfectly out of the box, which was a surprise to me because the last time I installed an OS, which was when I installed windows XP on my laptop that came with windows vista, I needed to install a bunch of drivers. Now I feel old.

Anyway, I'd like you share with you my thoughts after the switch and some issues I encountered so you don't have to spend time looking for solutions.

Manjaro vs Ubuntu

Compared to Ubuntu, one feature of Manjaro I really like is it has access to the AUR (archlinux user repository), which has virtually everything you need for development, unlike Ubuntu, where a lot of the time, you need to go online and download packages and install them manually because the Ubuntu shop's apps haven't been updated in a century and apt-get can only get you something that's 3 years old.

Another feature I like is the drop-down terminal. If you've ever had over 5 terminal windows/tabs open and had to literally go though every one of them to find the one you need, this feature is going to make things a bit more organized.

Issues I Came Across

Reinstalling pacman

Right after installing Manjaro, the first thing I tried to do, as everyone would, was install chrome. But for some reason, pacman did not work.(I had already enable AUR). I needed to do pacman -Syu pacman to make it work.

Input Methods

If you speak multiple languages, you are going to have to install input methods manually. I installed ibus(framework), ibus-anthy(Japanese), ibus-chewing(Traditional Chinese). I'm not going to walk through the whole installation process here. Here are some things I needed to do after installation to make ibus work.

  • add ibus-daemon -drx to ~/.xprofile
  • add
export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

to .bashrc or .xprofile

  • To set Alt+Shift as the shortcut for next input method (This command is necessary because you can only set 1 modifier key + 1 other key in the GUI): gsettings set org.freedesktop.ibus.general.hotkey triggers "['<Alt>Shift_L']"


When I tried to install some apps for touchpad gestures, I accidentally removed some essential dependencies of the GUI and could not fix it. I ended up having to reinstall Manjaro again... If you don't want something similar to happen to you, install timeshift and back up your system so you can restore to a previous snapshot when you break something.

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