100 Days to Offload: Day 15

Installing Manjaro on a Pinebook Pro

We bought a Pinebook Pro, the $200 Linux laptop, at the end of last year:

The custom Debian install always felt a bit weird, and one frustrating bit was that I never got it to print to our network printer. When Manjaro became the default OS, I thought that it may be a good idea to switch.

Yesterday I finally got around to installing Manjaro on the Pinebook Pro. It took a while to figure out how to do it, but after finally discovering the right image file, and using unxz to extract the .img from the .xz file and using dd to write it to an SD card, I was able to get it installed on the laptop. I wanted to user Etcher, but could not get it to run on the Pinebook Pro.

I'm used to Ubuntu and use Elementary OS as my daily driver on my main laptop, so first I had to learn how to use pamac to install and update packages. I got some weird pacman error, which was resolved after going to the forums and finding the right command-line incantation to make it work again. Doesn't seem like Manjaro is quite ready for people who are not software developers?

After rebooting the laptop, it would only show a black screen on startup. Went back to the forums again and found out that a lot of people are experiencing this, but that the Manjaro developers have not been able to reproduce the issue. I tried a bunch of things, until I started wondering if it may be that the power supply I was using was under-powered. I switched power supplies, let it charge overnight, and lo and behold, everything seems to be working fine the next day.

I tried to set up printing, but it was even harder to do than on Debian, because neither the printer settings applet nor CUPS come preinstalled. Finally discovered the printer on the network, only to have the test page not print even after the applet said it printed successfully. Go figure. I really wish Elementary OS would run on ARM devices, as it's a night-and-day difference in user experience. I sincerely hope that that the stability of Manjaro on Pinebook Pro improves, but I'm a little bit surprised that it's already the default OS.

If you're using Manjaro on a Pinebook Pro, let me know your experience @gendor@merveilles.town.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.