Wednesday 27 July 2022

Goodbye Endeavour Linux, Hello Manjaro!

Goodbye Endeavour!

After a surprisingly long stint of usage with Endeavour Linux on my Dell Latitude E6500, one night the streaming app, the one I specifically installed Endeavour for, Mkchromecast, stopped working for no obvious reason. It's an old app that hasn't been updated since 2017 so I suppose it's easily broken if something else changes. Also I was getting tired of the distro for a few other things, and felt it getting a little sluggish.  Anyway, I went looking for other Arch-based distros, since mkchromecast only seems to work on them, it doesn't work properly on my favourite Linux flavour, KDE Neon, which is Ubuntu based. I was looking at easy to install and use variants of Arch, since I just wanted to quickly get the next distro installed and use it as quickly as possible. 

Hello Manjaro!

I have tried Manjaro before but it was a long time ago, a long time before KDE 5 came out, so it was an opportunity to see if it has improved since then. Naturally I chose the KDE variant, which is currently on version 5.24.6, though it also comes in Gnome and XFCE official flavours. There are also community flavours including Budgie and Cinnamon desktops. I used Balena Etcher to pop the KDE edition onto a USB stick for installation. The Manjaro installer is pretty neat apart from one thing, it does not have an easy way to make a dual partition setup, with a separate /home partition. I tried to create it manually but when I clicked next it came up with some warning about creating an 8MB blank boot partition for GPT, in the end I gave up and stuck with a single partition. 

Apart from that slight annoyance, the install went smoothly, and I was greeted by a Manjaro-ised KDE desktop with it's green accents and icons, which I am really not keen on. Of course the great thing about KDE is it's so customisable. I switched the theme to Breeze Dark and installed Papirus icons from the handy Pamac graphical package manager that comes with Manjaro. 

It's also nice that my favourite terminal app, Yakuake (a Quake style terminal emulator) was already installed, (all i had to do was add it to Autostart) as was VLC. I then installed all my favourite tools, including GIMP, K3B, Clementine music player, qbittorrent, Soundkonverter, Filezilla and Latte Dock. Manjaro has some neat touches like in the terminal it shows how long a task took to complete on the bottom right-hand side. 

Installing Chrome on Arch-based distros is still a bit of a faff, there are a couple of different ways, both requiring copy and pasting a bunch of commands, I used this howto here. Installing Dropbox also required a little tinkering too, similar to Endeavour, and I used this installation tutorialNext up I installed Mkchromecast (with yay -S mkchromecast) and then eventually realised it will not work without also installing python-pychromecast and now it works a treat, much to my relief.

There is one elephant in the room though, Manjaro's track record for security is not great, and they keep back packages in the distro for two weeks, which can cause issues with the very up to date packages in AUR. So far I haven't had any serious issues, and everything seems to be running fine so far, but we'll see! I am open to suggestions of other distros that Mkchromecast will run on. My Dell Latitude E6500 is basically a dedicated player/server casting to a bunch of Chromecasts, main laptop duties have gone to my newly acquired Lenovo Thinkpad T430s.


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