I really like to make positive, interesting, and informative posts here. Unfortunately, the real world does not always cooperate with me on that. Today is one of those days.
According to announcements on the Manjaro and Manjaro-Arm websites, the Manjaro-Arm project is being shut down. A longer post in the Manjaro-Arm Forums explains the details about why this is happening, and what is going to happen to the existing distribution and infrastructure.
I am really sad to see this distribution go. In my opinion it is the best of the non-Raspbian distributions for the Raspberry Pi, and my recent posts about running it on the Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, and especially on the Raspberry Pi 1 and Zero, showed how much I enjoyed it.
The end of the distribution reveals two important facts. First, producing and maintaining a Linux distribution is very, very hard work. It requires a lot of dedication, a lot of time, and a lot of knowledge. I recall when the SolydXK distribution went through something like this a couple of years ago, and the SolydXK Forum post at that time sounded very similar to Manajro-Arm today.
Fortunately, some talented and dedicated people stepped up to help with SolydXK and it survived that difficult time. I hope that the same might happen with Manjaro-Arm.
Second, I think this shows that providing an alternative to Raspbian GNU/Linux on the Raspberry Pi is extremely difficult. There will always be a small number of people (like me) who are interested in non-Raspbian distributions, but finding a user base beyond those people will be extremely difficult.
So, I will take this opportunity to say thanks very much to the people who have put a lot of time and a lot of hard work into the Manjaro-Arm project. I have found it fun and interesting, and it has helped me to show some people what the potential of the Raspberry Pi is. I wish everyone who has worked on the project well.