The last Debian based distro I tried (for quite sometime at that) was Ubuntu 5.10 (expect review on 6.06 not long after its released) I have been itching to get my hands on Mepis. Especially after I heard that:
a) Its Debian based (yes the joys of apt-get)
B) The downloaded version of Mepis supports popular audio and video codec’s
I managed to get hold of SimplyMepis 3.4.3 (latest stable release) and held my thumbs. First thing I discovered was that SimplyMepis starts up as a live Cd. From there one can install it. (Reminds me of Knoppix)
First screen, (must choose what GUI mode to boot with) I first tried “Boot Normal” but I had graphics problems after choosing “Boot Vesa” I had no problems.
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Then after the kernel is loaded one is welcomed by this logon screen. Ok it took me a few seconds to release that the password was “root”
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Logged in as root the desktop looked like this (SimplyMepis 3.4.3 uses KDE as a default. If you want to use Gnome then it can be installed by using Synaptic Manager) Please note KDE 3.4.3 is now out dated I recommend you upgrade to 3.5.1
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I then went to Mepis Config (OS Centre) which gave me the option to install Mepis to the hard disk. After partioning the drive manually (all this is done while the live cd is loaded) it installs. Installation took about 13mins. Not much to configure, proberly the biggest thing to configure was choosing GRUB as the boot loader. System restarts and Mepis is installed. Very, very, easy installation.
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After installation and logging in the desktop looks as follows.
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I then discovered my favorite audio player Amarok 1.37 was installed
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Firefox 1.5 is default browser
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Open Office 2.0 is default office software
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Some of these applications already have newer versions out, use Synaptic Manger to upgrade them to latest versions.
a) The configuration centre is to my mind pathetic, I know it’s aimed at simplicity but one should not loose the ability to adjust certain settings.
B) Network connection gave me problems, it refused to see my other PC on the network and configuration centre was not much help.
c) Ok the theme could do with a bit of a makeover, tends to looking boring at times. Although I must stress other themes can be downloaded installed.
a) Ease of installation
B) Supports many codecs out of the box including mp3's
c) Supports my other pc's Winmodem with out the need for configuration (only two other distros that I have tried achieved this and they were commercial)
d) Ease of use
Overall if you are new to linux and don't mind not having power features. Then SimplyMepis is for you. 7/10
Review was done on the following machine:
Pentium 3 (866mhz)
Trident Graphics Card with 4-8MB Memory
52x Cd Rom Drive
AC 97 Audio
Installed onto 20GB Seagate Hard drive
Dual Booted with Windows XP Pro
(Please note some screenshots were taken of this in a Vmware environment, rest were taken from installed environment on test machine)
Errors that have been spotted have been corrected