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EndeavourOS is a Wholesome Arch-Based Distribution

EndeavourOS 2020.09.20
  • Available software
  • Creativity & Inventing
  • Daily Use Purposes
  • Stability & Bugs
  • Customizability
4.3

Summary

Combining the features of easy install, multiple-desktops support, additional drivers support and good default eyecandy make EndeavourOS one of the best Arch-based distributions to try for beginner users who would like to start their journey in the Arch Linux world.

Most readers may probably remember the Antergos Linux distribution which was discontinued in 2019. It was an Arch-based Linux distribution that aimed to be beginner-friendly, easy to install and easy to use. Making the average life quite possible with Arch Linux as a base. It featured a graphical installer with multiple options to install various desktop environments in a few clicks.

After it was discontinued, a group of the older community merged efforts to create a new continuation of that distribution, named EndeavourOS.

The latest version was released around one and half months ago, and it uses Xfce as a default desktop environment, with many other options available for users.

We’ll go today in a review of EndeavourOS 2020.09.20 and what to expect of it. TL;DR: It is a good distribution for anyone who wants an easy, minimal Arch installation.

EndeavourOS Features

One can summarize the main distribution’s strength points in the following:

  • Graphical installation wizard instead of the default text-based Arch installer.
  • Graphical desktop environments ready to be installed easily during first install, one can even choose to install multiple of them at the same time.
  • NVIDIA support is also available during installation, with additional steps for NVIDIA Optimus users.
  • Welcoming app to help both before and after installation the distribution.
  • Nice eyecandy by default, featuring the Arc theme.
  • Minimal Linux distribution with no bloated software, following the original K.I.S.S pricinple of Arch Linux (Keep it simple, stupid).
  • ISO size of 1.8 GB, comes with Xfce by default.
  • An ARM variant as well for smaller devices and IoT.
  • Good documentation for most system’s aspects.

Installation

After you boot up from the live USB, you’ll see a welcoming app offering you two installation methods: “Online” and “Offline”:

EndeavourOS

The offline method will allow you to install the Xfce desktop environment along everything shipped in the default ISO, while the online option will allow you to select which desktop environments you want to install. You can even choose to install NVIDIA drivers at the same time too:

The installer will show you the progress in a separate terminal window (Online installation):

Few bugs we noticed with installation:

  • If you choose the online installation and still decide to install Xfce, the default settings will be wiped and you will get a bare-metal Xfce desktop with no welcoming app.
  • The online installation takes 45-60 minutes regardless of the Internet connection speed.
  • An error message appears in the offline installation saying that there’s no Internet (Duh!).

But aside from that… It is quite good that the distribution offers users the ability to install whatever desktop environment they want during installation. Those who don’t want anything additional can just stick to the default Xfce desktop.

The installer is the famous Calamares installer which is used by many other Linux distributions as well. They didn’t save an effort in styling it and including many screenshots and information about the distribution with it:

Post-Installation

The welcome app will appear again, this time offering you some actions and tips to take after installation. You can update your packages, change look & feel or take other steps.

There are also some “tips” buttons that you can click to take you to the official documentation of EndeavourOS, which is a very good and stylish documentation portal:

Finally, you can also choose to install a set of applications, if you need them. LibreOffice sadly does not come by default with the distribution and you have to install it manually by yourself:

The “kernel manager” you see in the above screenshot is a simple utility developed by the EndeavourOS team to allow users switch between old and new kernel versions. One can just select the kernel he/she wants and it will be installed instantly:

Overall System

For the Xfce desktop environment (Which we’ll be going with) one can notice that the new Whisker menu appearance is enabled and kicking by default, which is quite nice:

You can easily search for applications or launch them with Whisker.

The style of the default apps, like the Thunar file manager, is also well-organized and designed, thanks to the Arc GTK and icon themes:

One of the specially-developed tools by EndeavourOS team is the “EndeavourOS log tools”, which allows users to aggregate log files from many sources for debugging purposes and then share them over the Internet. This would be helpful to examining newbie users issues with the system by the developers:

Other than that, the EndeavourOS desktop is quite minimal following the K.I.S.S principle; Just basic system utilities with your ordinary Arch as a base. Nothing more or less to see.

The system was quite stable and no apps went into crashes or bugs while using it. Even many continuous updates over many weeks didn’t cause any issues.

Performance

The Xfce desktop with EndeavourOS used around 530MB of RAM after a fresh boot:

[mhsabbagh@fosspost ~]$ free -m
    total used free shared buff/cache available
Mem: 15999 527 15092 12 380 15187
Swap: 0 0 0

And took around 5 seconds only to fully finish the booting process:

[mhsabbagh@fosspost ~]$ systemd-analyze
Startup finished in 2.532s (kernel) + 2.345s (userspace) = 4.877s
graphical.target reached after 2.060s in userspace

This review was done on the following hardware:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 1600, 6 cores and 12 threads.
  • GPU: Asrock AMD RX 580, 4GB of VRAM dual-channel.
  • RAM: 16GB OF DDR4 RAM, 3000MhZ.
  • Motherboard: ASUS Dragon B450M.
  • SSD: Apacer Panther AS340 240GB SSD.

Conclusion

Any new user who would like to start his/her journey with Arch Linux should definitely give EndeavourOS a try. It is a the continuation of the old-and-good Antergos that provides a minimal Arch system with no effort at all, and without any further changes or modifications to the system like in the Manjaro case or other distributions.

When you use EndeavourOS, you are using Arch Linux but just with a nice pre-configured desktop by default, and a good installer to get things done.

Totally recommended for new users and those would like to say they use Arch btw in few minutes.

You can download EndeavourOS from its official website.

EndeavourOS 2020.09.20
  • Available software
  • Creativity & Inventing
  • Daily Use Purposes
  • Stability & Bugs
  • Customizability
4.3

Summary

Combining the features of easy install, multiple-desktops support, additional drivers support and good default eyecandy make EndeavourOS one of the best Arch-based distributions to try for beginner users who would like to start their journey in the Arch Linux world.

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