Garuda Linux is a new addition to the Linux-based distribution. Grid Computer of India started a project in 2020 and as a result, Garuda OS got its origin. Garuda Linux is based on Arch Linux. By simplifying the complexities of Arch Linux, Garuda is designed with new Linux users in mind, where anyone can easily install and use it.
Archlinux is one of the most popular GNU/Linux Operating systems that helps the user to create their PC the way they want, from the beginning of the installation it gives you the choice to select specific drivers, features, applications as per your need and nothing else.
However, Archlinux becomes a bit trickier during installation; due to all the customizations that needed to be done, especially when all those are to be done using the terminal commands. Garuda Linux just solves this issue and creates a predefined installation based on calamares which is very easy to operate.
Garuda Linux has gained tremendous popularity in a very short time. Being arch-based, you will always find the latest features and utilities in this operating system. There are already a lot of OS-specific features that provide a lot of benefits to a user.
GarudaOS contains a graphical installer to manage graphical tools in the system compared to many other Arch-based systems. Here you can choose different desktop environments and we have 15 variants of Garuda. Even though you can choose various desktop environments, their flagship desktop is a heavily customized KDE Plasma with a dark, neon look.
Garuda comes with super easy installation, 15 different variants to choose from, an advanced BTRFS file system, timeshift system snapshots accessible from grub bootloader for enhanced system reliability, garuda assistant for deep system control, garuda gamer and so so many other features that we don’t see anywhere else.
A Brief History:
Shrinivas Vishnu Kumbhar Lead Founder of Garuda Linux. Studying B.Tech at Department of Technology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra. He along with SGS, TBG, dr460nf1r3 (Nico), Yorper, Naman Garg, Rohit, TNE, Πέτρος (Petsam), Dalto invented this OS.
Tech companies like C-DAC (Center for Development of Advanced Computing), IITs (Indians Institutes of Technology), and 45 other institutes are the project participants.
The term Garuda originates from Hinduism, which is defined as a divine eagle-like sun bird and the king of birds. Garuda or Galon/Nan Belu/Karura is variously the vehicle mount (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu, a dharma-protector, and Astasena or the Eight Legions in Buddhism, and the Yaksha of the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha.
The initial operating system was released on March 26, 2020, and Garuda is based on Arch Linux so it follows the rolling release model where you always get the cutting edge features and you doesn’t need to upgrade/reinstall the whole operating system to keep it up-to-date inline with the latest release.
You can access the repository and it’s available in 50 languages on Github and the address is… https://gitlab.com/garuda-linux.
Garuda Linux is all about different desktop environments and to install and run them smoothly you need sufficient RAM and advanced hardware. The default dragonised neon version is based on KDE plasma but adds some modification and garuda-specific software.
The minimum requirement to run the OS is…
- 30 GB storage space
- 4 GB RAM
- Video card with OpenGL 3.3 or better
- 64-bit system
- Active Internet Connection
The User Interface of Garuda:
Garuda is visually stunning on all the desktop environments. I’ve been playing with Garuda for some days now and it has got so many things that left me impressed.
The first and biggest attraction of Garuda Linux is its stunning user interface. Garuda is colorful and bold. It’s available in 15 different variants and all the major desktop environments.
You have the good old GNOME, Xfce, Cinnamon, and a special dragonized edition featuring a modified KDE Plasma along with all the other desktops.
Garuda Dragonized: Saying that Garuda Dragonized is colorful would be an understatement. This desktop is a neon theme stunner. It’s KDE Plasma with themes and customizations applied everywhere.
We have a latte dock at the bottom and a panel at the top, giving us a mac-styled desktop but with more shine and glitter. The theming here is done so boldly and it doesn’t even try to be modest. The icons are red they give out a nice vibe and this wallpaper just makes them look more awesome.
The applications have a beautiful transparency mechanism. Garuda has nailed the dark/ transparent theme. The animations and effects here are so smooth and eye-catchy. They give a very fluid feel to the system. Garuda Dragonized goes for a very non-traditional and non-conformist look and man does this look good.
You get a splendidly good-looking system out of the box with this neon futuristic decor. If Garuda Dragonized is too shiny for you, you can experience the same Garuda awesomeness in a gorgeous-looking GNOME desktop that is a bit modest.
Garuda GNOME is pure eye candy. The desktop here looks so polished and simple. It’s not a neon fest like the Dragonized version and thank heavens for that. This looks more… professionally presentable than the dragonized version.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, I would be happier to use this in an office. The icon pack and theme selection here are very good. The developers have gone with a more sophisticated look that appeals even to a more mature audience.
While there is no shortage of shell themes, gtk themes, and icon packs for Linux, achieving a look that feels 100 percent perfect and also works uniformly across all the applications is not easy. But that’s what Garuda Developers have done here.
I’m really happy with the way GNOME desktop looks here. Garuda has many amazing features and tools, which are not found in any other Linux distro. These features make Garuda one of a kind Linux distro and the best recommendation for 2022.
Performance of Garuda Linux:
Garuda Linux, under the hood, is powered by a custom engine that is tuned for maximum performance throughput. Garuda uses Linux zen kernel, which comes with many performance-oriented optimizations and tweaks.
Out of the box, Garuda feels more responsive and fluid than other operating systems because Garuda uses RAM in a slightly different way. Garuda uses a little bit of unused free ram to cache up things that you or the system might use. So that you get a more responsive system.
Garuda also has Z-RAM enabled by default. With this, the system responsiveness and multitasking will be improved if you have an HDD. Then we also get various intelligent tweaks to improve the I/O speeds, CPU frequency scaling and so many other things.
Do all these enhancements translate to any visible, real-world performance improvements?
Yes, Garuda Linux does feel more responsive and faster than other systems using the same desktop environments on older and lower-end hardware. The underlying Linux Zen kernel has been shown to improve multitasking.
But don’t expect any visible performance gain on newer or more powerful computers as a high performance from newer hardware will make it very difficult to see any meaningful speed boost. But You’ll still get a responsive and fluid system with Garuda anyway.
Garuda Linux is a performance-driven operating system by design and it scores top points for that. Garuda is based on Arch Linux and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Arch is more of a Do-It-Yourself kind of distro.
Arch Linux is incredible. But it can be restrictive to Linux newcomers and beginners because of its DIY principle. Garuda takes a completely different approach and brings the Arch awesomeness to everybody, minus the installation hassle.
Some Garuda Specific tools:
Garuda Linux comes with many homegrown tools that make Linux just more familiar and simpler to the user, even those who use Linux for the first time can do things here that would otherwise require basic knowledge about commands and concepts.
All these tools are grouped under an application called Garuda Welcome: you get fine control over your system about the system.
Garuda Assistant here gives us a simple Graphical Interface to control various advanced aspects of the system. Many complicated tasks like installing a firewall from a choice selection can be done with a single click here.
Arch specific system maintenance like refreshing the mirror list, reinstalling every single package, clearing out orphan packages, all can be done here with a single click.
Along with Garuda Assistant, we have a settings manager that gives you full access to your hardware management, kernel management, and other stuff.
Then we have other crucial things like partition management, timeshift, and a few other nifty tools thrown in here. Garuda Linux is very easy to use. Garuda, with its homegrown applications, makes Arch Linux accessible for more people than ever before.
Many things that would require you to google around and mess with commands, here they can be done with a few clicks.
Garuda Linux has a gaming dedicated application called Garuda Gamer, this application is the gateway to manage all your gaming tools all from one place. You can install Steam, PlayOnLinux, WINE, Proton, and a ton of other gaming applications from here.
Operating system stability and reliability:
Arch-based systems always have frequent updates and this keeps them unstable at times. Sometimes driver issues, boot loops, and other issues can occur after updates. While these issues are rare, Arch-based systems do require more care and housekeeping from the user than say, Debian.
To overcome this reliability issue, Garuda developers have implemented two features and they are just ingenious together.
Firstly, Garuda Linux installs on a BTRFS file system by default. While there’s no shortage of excellent file systems on Linux, BTRFS is just better in many ways. It’s a modern file system that has advanced features such as powerful snapshots that are just impactful in preventing data loss and data corruption.
Along with this, Garuda has Timeshift deeply integrated into the OS. Timeshift not only creates daily snapshots but makes system backups just before you install software or upgrade the system.
And secondly, these backed-up snapshots are accessible from the grub bootloader itself. I experienced this mechanism first and when I installed NVIDIA drivers and the system wouldn’t boot into the GUI. All I had to do was restart and select timeshift snapshots from the boot menu and select the last one.
I booted into a fully working system that was backed up just before I installed the drivers. I loved this. This backup feature now allows everybody to try out Arch Linux and play with Linux without having to worry about updates breaking the system or themselves messing up the system.
Garuda Linux fetches software from Arch repositories. Along with that, it also has access to the Arch User Repositories which is the biggest collection of Linux software out there. Anything created for Linux will be available in the Arch User Repositories and they have all the newest packages.
Multiple Desktop Environments:
Garuda Linux is designed to give users a variety of flavors and Garuda brings 15 different desktop environments for those who want to try something new from the same boring desktop. Notable among these are.
- Garuda Xfce
- Garuda Cinnamon
- Garuda LXQT-Kwim
- Garuda Deepin
- Garuda UkUI
- Garuda Wayfire
- Garuda BSPWM
- Garuda i3WM
- Garuda Gnome
- Garuda KDE Plasma
Go to garudalinux.org or Click here to download the ISO file.
And there’s a dedicated version of Garuda for gamers too, check out that too if You’re a hardcore gamer. GarudaOS is optimized explicitly for gaming purposes; it has various game applications such as steam and emulators. It is impressive for the people who love to play games on the Linux system, giving an optimized gaming experience.
Use of Emulators:
We also get several fantastic emulators that just ramp up the gaming experience. I have gamed extensively using PCSX2, which is a PlayStation 2 emulator that I’ve had great fun with. I loved that Garuda has gamers covered too.
It also comes with a range of Emulators such as Dolphin-Emu, PPSSPP, mGBA, and Citra.
Like EndeavourOS and Manjaro, the GarudaOS also has a Pacman management tool to manage all the software packages. Additionally, you can install, delete, update, and make other modifications using the Pacman Graphical management tool.
Pacman supports Arch User Repository (AUR) by default which is a community-driven repository and users also have the choice to enable snap and flatpak management tools.
Garuda Linux ships with Calamares installer. It’s one of the simplest Linux installers that has simple options and workflow. You just select the language, your location, keyboard layout, the portion you want to install Garuda on and Calamares does the rest.
Garuda installs in 15-20 minutes. Even Linux newcomers can install Garuda easily. And after installation, there’s a little setup procedure that takes you through setting up the system exactly the way you like it.
This Linux distro has been catching traction and is being received by the community in a very positive way. Since Garuda is arch-based, most of the guides written on ArchWiki will be useful for solving issues on Garuda. Even for some Garuda-specific issues, I found help online very quickly.
And because of the brilliant work done by Garuda devs in creating various tools like the Garuda Assistant and Garuda Gamer, things which generally would require you to go online and look for how-to articles, they just become one-click operations.
Lastly For whom it’s most useful?
I loved every aspect of Garuda Linux. Garuda is different, it’s trying to be more than just another Linux distro. It’s a combination of amazing things Linux already has and brilliant innovation. Overall, because of the superior GUI tools, I needed significantly less helpful and even when I needed it, I found it easily.
Garuda developers have gone out of their way to create a suite of applications that make Linux easy, for beginners and everybody else. I’ve always been a fan of Arch-based distros. With Arch, you’ll be using bleeding-edge tech that others will use tomorrow.
But reliability has always been a concern, which Garuda has addressed beautifully with its superior backup mechanism. The way Garuda looks, its performance, its incredible software availability, With so many things to offer, Garuda is a leap forward.
For game lovers, a ton of fantastic games and emulators are available in the system. Other helpful additions for beginners are Garuda setting manager, assistant manager, and networking manager to run administrative tasks.
Well, in my opinion, it is good to experience the Garuda Linux because it has unique, minimalist style icons, an attractive appearance, and the support of many user-friendly desktop environments.