Let's get one step closer to Arch
My Ubuntu installation on my laptop somehow became hosed and I have no idea what I did wrong, but some application snatched keyboard shortcuts and I couldn't figure out which one and also other things felt weird and so after my experiences with earlier reinstalls I felt the urge to either do a clean reinstall (my desktop machine still runs stock Ubuntu and I'm generally happy with it) or to try something new. Now that I have a new desktop, my Laptop became somewhat of an experimental machine (a thing that surely will never bite me in the arse in the future, I'm sure), runing the fast insider version of Windows (So that I can play around with WSL2) and so I thought I'd continue to make this more experimental.
This machine now runs Manjaro, in the XFCE edition. Manjaro (and the underlying Arch linux foundations) have intrigued me for a while and I've used the Arch wiki as an excellent source of knowledge about all things Linux and hardware a lot of times before. I didn't want to go all in with Arch and Manjaro has a good reputation for being a solid desktop computing focused Arch derivative.
Handsonness + 1
So far, so good. I have to say, everything is quite a bit more hands on here. After installing packages that provide services (databases, etc.) you have to then activate those services on your own which may be actually a benefit but was irritating at first. With the help of AUR, the “inofficial” user generated package repo I have yet to come across a software I couldn't install via pacman.
I also had to adjust a couple of things by hand, such as the Synaptic driver settings for my touchpad, but that's something I struggled with on Ubuntu as well. It's one of those things where the Apple experience is really just so much better.
The dreaded HiDPI
One thing that is annoying is that XFCE still struggles a bit with HiDPI displays. In hindsight, this is one of the most annoying things about this laptop and I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't have been better off with a standard HD display which would simply work. Support on Gnome on Ubuntu was “fine”. It wasn't great and the odd application simply refuses to scale properly. Luckily, this display doesn't look too blurry on smaller resolutions (such as full HD as I'm running now) and the fact that I'm slowly turning blind (I'm developing an annoying longsightedness – seems to be about time, I guess) does help.
Apart from that XFCE is quite nice and is surprisingly undemanding – A breath of fresh air after the resource hog that a modern GNOME can be. After I installed it I hear the fans a lot less and battery life got a lot better as well.
What also needs to be said is how awesome it is that I can simply back up my home directory, install a new OS, dump my home directory and apart from a few nicks here and there (such as things like databases) everything prety much works.