Manjaro LXQt 2016.03 & Ubuntu 14.04 on UEFI

manjaro_lxqt

Since my last experiments with KaOS, I had been looking forward to try another distro. Being a long-time user of LXDE, I picked up Manjaro LXQt. LXDE development has almost stopped and LXQt is indeed the way forward. Having it the Arch way would be exciting, I thought.

Installation

dd-ed the ISO to my pen drive:

$ sudo dd bs=4M if=manjaro-lxqt-16.03-x86_64.iso of=/dev/sdb

The installation started without any glitches on UEFI mode and package installation completed. Manjaro LXQt uses Calamares which looks beautiful. However, bootloader installation threw an error. My GRUB form Ubuntu 14.04 got corrupt. I followed the Fixing UEFI boot steps (refer the KaOS article). Soon I had Manjaro LXQt and Ubuntu 14.04 running in dual boot mode on UEFI.

Personalization

The desktop closely follows Windows. Being a Linux old-timer I didn’t like it. So the icons changed to Breeze. LXQt ships 5 desktop themes and I am using the Dark theme.

Installing Infinality was the next logical thing to do and I merely followed the standard Arch instructions. My brightness keys wouldn’t work out of the box but the same procedure from Ubuntu worked. Adding shortcut keys on LXQt is very easy from the GUI tool.

sddm is the default display manager. You can change stuff like greeter theme, enabling auto-login etc. by editing /etc/sddm.conf.

Packages

Octopi is the default package manager. Less than 750 packages were pre-installed by default for my hardware. Chromium is the default browser with Pepperflash pre-installed. I removed it though (believe in living life flash -free). Worried about playing media? SMPlayer and mpv come pre-installed too! You also get a lighter version of Gimp and Transmission BitTorrent client.

systemd is the init system.

Manjaro follows a rolling release so you don’t need to bother about OS upgrades. If you find some of your favourite packages missing, install it from AUR. To prepare for AUR, install all the required packages for compiling newer packages:

$ sudo pacman -S –needed base-devel

The download (from AUR) the PKGBUILD tarball of the package you need. Extract and run:

$ makepkg -sri

I installed some of the apps I use regularly: AltYo, eboard, wcalc (Speedcrunch comes installed by default), fish shell, HandBrake, googler, buku etc.

If you have an Arch package (pkg.tar.xz format) you can install it using:

$ sudo pacman -U packagename

Speed

The best thing about LXDE or LXQt is they provide a highly customizable desktop without affecting performance.

Cold boot time: 4 secs (I use a SSD drive)
RAM usage at complete login: 200MB

Apps run blazing fast.

Cons

  • Brightness keys didn’t work out of the box
  • You may need to install some of your favourite apps from AUR (though this isn’t strictly a con)
  • SMPlayer GUI has some glitches while playing audio (installing SMPlayer latest without dependency checks from AUR fixed this)
  • Switching audio between headphones and laptop speaker may have some glitches

However, the cons are trivial given the performance you get out of the box. While LXQt is still under development and not in a position to challenge Budgie or Deepin desktops, it is heavily customizable and with a little effort you can make it look the way you want. After spending years on Ubuntu, Manjaro LXQt is the first distro where I got stuck through a night.

Troubleshooting

If you update your kernel on Ubuntu and run:

$ sudo update-grub2

Manjaro might run into a kernel panic with the following error:

kernel panic-not syncing: VFS: unable to mount root fs on unknown block(0,0)

To fix this edit /etc/grub/grub.cfg of Ubuntu and change the following line for Manjaro grub menu entry:

initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img

to

initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-4.4-x86_64.img

Note the Manjaro kernel version in bold. It with change with different kernel versions as you upgrade.

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