TROMjaro Forum


Dear Tio and everyone,

Firstly, thank you very much for all your hard work on TROMjaro – the love and care you have put into it very much shows. I have tried out nearly 20 different distributions over the past few months and it is the only one that I have truly felt “at home” with, and brings a sense of joy in providing an OS that I can now work towards moving to. I come from quite a technical background (mainly in instrumentation development and R&D project management – no coding abilities I’m afraid), and have always relied upon quite a wide range of different software, which has made it difficult for me to escape using Windows. But I have long had an interest in moving to Linux and away from reliance on tools developed under compromised motives. The people and groups you spend your time engaging with has a way of reflecting back upon yourself more than most people seem to appreciate.

I last tried out Linux perhaps a decade ago, and at that time, Mint was the only one I could find that worked out of the box on my laptop. Currently I still use Windows 8.1, which, despite all the hatred for it is quite a decent OS under the hood once you have tweaked it well away from the silly defaults. But I have spent too much of my life fixing Windows 10 machines for other people to ever wish to use it myself, and the pathway Microsoft is following all the other big tech companies down is looking increasingly ugly. In the meantime, the entire Linux ecosystem has clearly made significant strides forwards in recent years.

I had actually come across TROM before, though I’m afraid I only recall getting as far as a very large pdf file which was difficult for me to digest (I have a strong preference for books in .epub format so that I can read them on a non-backlit display). I still have yet to go through most of the TROM content, but from what I have seen seems very much aligned with my own ethics (which could be described most simply by saying that if you come across someone who is thirsty when you have water, then any sane human would offer the water, rather than first asking for something in return).
[What I couldn’t see is whether there is some kind of separate discussion forum for TROM?]
I was also very much touched by Tio’s personal story on his blog which resonated deeply with me for multiple reasons. I can certainly relate to losing your health from working too hard for other people. I was already past breaking point with that well before the pandemic arrived, and have been barely surviving in the years since then with long covid.

I was going to say and ask more about TROMjaro, but that is as much as I can manage for now, so I will have to return with a follow-up another time.

Best wishes to all,


1 Like

Thank you so much for this wonderful message! I hope you like TROMjaro and if you find any bugs or you don’t know how to do this or that, let us know of course.

I always recommend to read our books online not via the PDF. Thing is these books are interactive at times and we post videos, links, popup images, and the design overall is there to enhance the message. We tried to make them into epub versions but that did not work…

We have a matrix chat for that but currently it is muted. I muted it so I can finish the TROM II documentary. I plan to unmute it in a month or so again.

Exactly! We should all have this mentality.

Oh sorry to hear that…hope you’ll get well. I’ve heard about long covid that can be quiteeeeeee a challenge.

Thank you again for giving TROMjaro a try and for your kind words.

1 Like

Thank you! I already have started a list of things to ask about but most of them are not too important. I will try to work through them slowly to avoid either of us getting overloaded :grin:

Yes, I understand. I think you are probably right with the design choice with regards to making them accessible to a wider audience. I think the format should display ok on my e-reader actually. I am downloading the PDF folder from your TROM Drive now :slight_smile:

OK, thank you. I have been curious to try Matrix for years, but haven’t had a particular motivation to before. Let me know when it is live again and I might check it out. I was under the impression that XMPP is much lighter on resources (particularly on the server side) so was trying that out recently. But found it to be quite a complicated and buggy ecosystem to get to grips with which seems to be an opinion shared by other people I spoke to in the Fediverse.

Indeed, words cannot describe it. But it only makes it all the more wonderful to come across truly decent people :wink:. The more you struggle in life, the rarer and more precious gems they seem to become :smile:

1 Like

Oh yes, I meant to say more about what drew me to TROMjaro. The first thing that is important to me with any project is understanding what the true motivations are that are driving it. No matter how people try to spin things, it always has a way of shining through in the end. So I very much appreciate the impression of “good people working for good reasons”. The consistent aesthetic also resonates with that same point in feeling friendly and designed for human beings, rather than that kind of cold and distant polish that comes about from aiming to look “professional” or to sell yourself in a presentation showcase.
It is for similar reasons that I had already been gravitating towards XFCE before even trying TROMjaro. It feels like there are sensible people behind it with the aesthetics built on top of the solid functionality and stability as top priorities, rather than trying to do it the other way around, or rush out updates as fast as possible to keep things feeling “fresh and exciting”.

I also very much like the default tools and ease of configuration. Apart from the layout switcher, I even more so appreciate having the XFCE panel profiles config application setup out of the box with a nice selection of different starting points already in place. I haven’t noticed this in any other XFCE implementation.

However, the most significant practical point to me is that I can actually install at least most (or possibly all) of the native software I want straight from the GUI package manager. What surprises me most about other Linux distributions is how limited their software repositories are. I don’t know how you can call something user, or even beginner friendly, if you can’t even install many of the most popular internet browsers without having to go searching on the internet and then messing around in the terminal adding custom repositories and the like.

Anyway, I’m guessing the above point was your main motivation for basing on Manjaro? Tbh, this was quite an off-putting aspect to me as a beginner Linux user (and seems to be for many others too). I never had the impression that Manjaro is the most stable or trouble-free experience, nor does it have the most open or user friendly feel to it (e.g.). And while I am really not a fan of Ubuntu nor its philosophy (surely the whole point of Linux is to escape walled-gardens…), distributions that are based on it really benefit from the depth of beginner friendly solutions and tools that are easily found on the internet (e.g. I found this tool very helpful on a couple of different occasions for rescuing non-booting systems).

1 Like

Yes that’s true and I will consider that on the future. For now Matrix is a very solid chat platform. We provide a free instance via - you can create an account there.

Hope you’ll get better. You seem like such a nice human being. I am happy to come across such humans.

Oh I love your feedback so much! Because you touch upon core points about this distro. I wanted a distro that simply works and is not limited. 100% agree how are others thinking that they make a friendly distro when you can’t find most applications unless you know how to “drive” that terminal!? To me that’s insane. I actually have a Peertube channel called LUT: Linux Usability Test LUT - Linux Usability Test - - I hope to start to post again there soon - where I take Linux distros and test for such things like: can we find mos Linux apps from a software center and install easily? Is the theme system wide or only works with a few apps? Can we open most file types with the pre-installed software?

And it is astonishing to me how bad most of these distros are. And I learn from these and try to make TROMjaro more user friendly.

I test TROMjaro with my parents at times, or my girlfriend or my sister, to make sure it is easy enough for them to use and update. And I chose Manjaro because for one they have easy to use tools to create your own distro, and second because they are based on ARCH and have their own huge repo, so software availability is massive. I know there are a bunch of loud voices that bash Manjaro, and actually before making TROMjaro I was fighting with their devs on their forums :smiley: - well, contradicting. About some of their decisions. But there are many misconceptions about Manjaro into the wild. For one, for the past 2-3 years Manjaro has been rock solid stable. I keep a close eye on some 10 different devices for example, none bricked or experienced any major issues for the past 2 or so years. Sample size is small, but then take the Manjaro user base…

Interesting. I do not there is an alternative for Arch, but I could be wrong. Also we have setup system backups from the get-go, and while it is not that intuitive how to restore, if you know how, you can always recover your system. I’d like a better solution for this.

Thanks again and if you have any suggestions let us know :wink:

1 Like

That’s exactly it! Both flexible and easy to use :heart_eyes:

Yes, I have already enjoyed watching most of those thank you! I had a similar idea to test distributions quantitatively against my own much larger list of software. But since TROMjaro currently seems to win on this point by such a large margin, it doesn’t feel so worthwhile any longer :smile:

Actually, it was things like the LUT tests that encouraged me to try TROMjaro in the first place before even considering the results, because it showed that you had an open attitude towards keeping up to date with and learning from others. It is a trait all too often found wanting in others.

OK, that makes sense. I wonder why there aren’t more distros based on Manjaro, or maybe I am just not aware of them.

I am rather wary of Timeshift running hidden in the background tbh, as this is what broke my MX Linux install. The automatic backup before an update filled up all the remaining space I had allocation for it leaving the process stuck without any kind of error or feedback for the user (you’d think a backup tool would check remaining space, and be able to anticipate if it was about to run short). I couldn’t find any way of quiting the whole process except to reboot the system. But after doing that I now only get a terminal display at login and it refuses to accept my password. I will try to fix it with a live image boot, or just re-install someday as I want to capture a screenshot of a particular (albeit minor) XFCE quirk that only they seem to have found a fix for.

In general I’m not a fan of anything that runs in the background without at least first asking the users consent. I appreciate that it might be desirable to setup some things like this for less technical users, but it would be good to make the automation more optional for those of us who like to keep a tighter grasp on what the system is doing.

There are many many actually. But lots come and go. People do them because they are excited and then give up on them.

It only keeps 3 backups, so unless your disk is always almost full, this should not be an issue. Also when you install TROMjaro if you select BTRFS for partitioning in the install process, then backups take one second and take up less than 1MB. So they are virtually nonexistent. That’s the best and we will try to make BTRFS the default for the install.

Thing is many things run in the background. That’s how we sync the themes and icons, how processes work, etc… I get your point, especially coming from Windows. I used Windows for a decade and I know there are many shady things running in the background. With Linux it is almost always the things that the system needs and nothing more.

1 Like

Thanks for the info! I left it as the current ext4 default, but I had read up about BTRFS before, and would be interested to consider it in the future. My recollection is that it had some really nice features, but also made the file system and setup and management a little more complicated.

The point is not just about whether something is shady or not, but also whether it is truly required, who is making that call, and how transparently these choices are made. So for sure things that are absolutely essentially needed must be able to run as required for the system to function. Anything else should be user choice. Having things setup as “sensible defaults” is perfectly fine, but the user should be made aware of them and given the option to change it if desired. The user should understand what is going on with the system, and should be empowered to be in control of it as far as practical.
A maintenance task that can be run at any time should never risk interfering with a user’s own activities (and most certainly should never pose a risk to the integrity of the system). And ultimately it is impossible for any automatic system or algorithm to always accurately predict how a user may wish to utilise their system (and by extension, what risks any automation may entail). In trying to achieve this, you end up with the modern fad for always connected “smart” systems, which end up being horrifically inefficient and resource intensive while achieving often a worse user experience than simpler systems.

Anyway, I don’t wish to belabour the point here considering TROMjaro has far better defaults than most :ok_hand:

P.S. While we’re on the topic of Timeshift, I also noticed that cancelling a Timehift backup leaves the files for that fresh backup in place taking up space even though there is no reference reminaing of them in Timeshift.

Interesting I have not tested that. You should perhaps mention it here Issues · linuxmint/timeshift · GitHub since this is likely an issue with TImeshift itself

Well, I’ve done my best to resist getting a Github account to date. I seem to be a natural magnet for bugs, and so I could easily end up spending my whole life on things I could report there. Probably I will give in to it someday, but for the time being I prefer to prioritise TROMjaro and XFCE :slight_smile:

It is always good to report the bugs you find. I almost always do that. It helps you and us all :slight_smile: and I know can be a bit annoying and time consuming to do so, but you will get used to it :wink:

Yes, I know. But there is also the matter of priorities. Timeshift does seem like it could do with some attention though, so maybe I will bump it up the order in mine.

Is there any way to adjust the settings around the automatic backups before a system upgrade? I’ve found that the same issue can appear in TROMjaro with it as I had in MX Linux where it fills up all remaining space and risks breaking the system. I noticed this time that it does actually do a check on remaining space before running the backup, but this check doesn’t work correctly. E.g. it reported expecting to require 76 MB for the backup, when it actually got to 13 GB when run (which then became 27 GB after deleting older backups which I guess is due to there being symlinks involved, unless it just never completed until there was space to do so…).
So I will add that to my list of things to report to them :nerd_face:

P.S. The last system update reset my Whisker menu all back to default settings, which was a little irritating, but no big deal :grin:

I am not aware of how to change the settings for automated backups easily. Or what you may want to change for that matter. I never noticed “junk” for my own system in regards to timeshift. I recommend you better use BTRFS as your main partition as the backups are minuscule, KB in size.

I am sorry to hear about the Whisker settings reset and should not have happened. Do you remember if you updated the TROMjaro Layout Switcher and then switched between layouts? I want to make sure is not our package that resets these.

I think I will set up a second TROMjaro install sometime with BTRFS to try that. I just need to clear out some other distributions first to make space for it, but want to keep at least a few of them a little longer as they serve for useful points of reference for troubleshooting/comparison (I will post more here soon and find MX Linux and ManjaroXFCE particularly handy for isolating whether any issue is to do with XFCE, Manjaro, or TROMjaro in particular :slight_smile: )

I don’t think so, but not certain. Looking at my update history I think it happened after the updates that came with linux61 (6.1.23-1 → 6.1.25-1).

This is odd since the config files for Whisker are in the /.config/xfce4/panel/ so updates should not touch the home folder.

Maybe it was just a coincidental bug then. On reflection it would have been a good opportunity to test out my Panel Profiles backups :man_facepalming: :joy:

Timeshift jammed everything up again yesterday with only one backup in place (which got to 27GB in size). I guess it is the timeshift-autosnap-manjaro package that is controlling these backups, so I might try having a look at that script sometime, or otherwise just uninstall it. I think all I really care about for the time being is my .config, which I can just backup myself manually.

Timeshift is not good for backing up your home directory but it is geared for the system. For files we have Files Backup (Pika) which is weirdly not working currently I think a library issue but am too busy to look into these days. But yah I recommend not using timeshift for anything but your system.

1 Like

Thanks! Yeah, I noticed that there are non-functioning launchers in place for Pika, Ida, and Warp, though I don’t think I have much need for any of them. I would be curious to see what Ida is like sometime being one I have never come across before. I’m using XnView currently which seems to be the closest native solution to my favourite FastStone Image Viewer.
…and MenuLibre also complains about there being some invalid desktop files: hp-uiscan.desktop, hplip.desktop, kcm_trash.desktop

Anyway, I’ve uninstalled both tromjaro-autosnap-hook and timeshift-autosnap-manjaro, so I think that is sorted now :grin:. Apart from my .config, the only other thing I might like to have is a record of my package list, so I might look into how to most efficiently keep an updated backup of that too at some point.

Warp and a few other apps stopped working because of the libadwaita patch we are using in order to be able to theme these apps… I am investigating further. It is terrible that we have to do patches and spend time on these things instead of these devs making these libraries in a way that they keep on respecting the system’s theme…