Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

A glimpse at SimplyMEPIS_3.4-3.rc1

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3rc1 was offered for consumption recently and it was asked if it was soup yet? It'd been quite a few years since I had looked at Mepis, and I thought this was the perfect time to get reacquainted. The announcement used such enticements as a 2.6.15 kernel, Firefox 1.5, and udev. We downloaded and burnt said distro in record time and was off to the races with great hast. What did we find?

The LiveCD

Upon boot one finds an attractive splash with several nice yet simplified booting choices that hopefully will cover most of the users trying SimplyMepis. With 5 options ranging from Normal (best for newer systems), to Boot Small (try for very old display), one should fit your needs. My first boot I chose Boot Vesa (try if display problems), to avoid any "nv" locks up that might occur. Later I find out Mepis includes nvidia drivers, so in trying the Normal option still netted "nv" use and a lock up. I could modprobe nvidia, and use it, but it wasn't enabled by detection on the livecd (for me).

        

The boot pauses at a login screen for you to ...er... log in. Choices at this point include Root, Demo, and onthego. The recommended procedure is to use Demo with the password: Demo. KDE is about your only choice in desktops, so, I chose KDE.

The KDE splash is a simplified default screen, removed is the top png and left is only the active (and inactive) bar png. I think that's a nice idea giving the experience a more professional understated feel.

At the desktop we find a great looking wallpaper in subtle tones of an-almost country blue featuring the what-I-assume-to-be-the SimplyMEPIS logo. I've seen so many variations of these pyramids overlooked by the heavenly body on so many wallpaper sites that if it isn't the logo, it should be. It's certainly the association I make.

The panel has been customized just a bit with the default look including the kaquarium and kweather applets. I thought the use of kaquarium was a interesting choice and I admit I liked it. Frankly, I'd forgotten that applet even existed and it was a refreshing change of pace. I had quit using the kweather applet myself long ago, but it's nice on a new or transient system - except for the chore of having to change it to your own weather station. No reflection on Mepis, but as KDE has taken out the fill-in-the-blank config for a choose-from-a-list, I can no longer (easily) get my actual hometown in kweather. I had to pick the closest big town.

This release candidate of SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3 includes OpenOffice.org 2.0, Firefox 1.5, a 2.6.15 kernel, Xorg 6.8.2 and gcc 4.0.3. This is a bit cutting edge and is quite welcome in the Debian-based arena. Kernel 2.6.15 is still so new I haven't had a chance to upgrade my main system yet, although 2.6.15.1 was released just today (or yesterday). Many distros are staying within the gcc 3.3 line of compilers as this upgrade is quite a bold step. It's nice to see xorg, even if it's 6.8.2, in a debian derivative instead of a 3-year-old XFree86.

        

As it's been since about the first release since I've tried Mepis, I'm not versed in the norm. I did find the menus quite full of applications. I recall wondering as I explored SimplyMepis how they could fit so much software in one 700mb iso. They include so much stuff, I didn't even know what some of it was for. Big Grin

        

There's the usual KDE apps of course as well as plenty of added in goodies, but they also include lots of programming and advanced networking tools that I reckon lots of business and developers might find useful. I'm sure this allows their distro to compete with the commercially successful vendors for a wider range of user demographics.

        

Some of the goodies include lots and lots of multimedia and internet classified applications as well as plenty of graphic and office apps, monitoring, system tools, package management as well as their own Mepis OS Center. Their range of software rivals such biggies as Suse and Mandriva.

        

I had no trouble with audio cds or video playing. Kaffine did avis and mpegs rather well and mplayer handled the bins. Also included is my favorite tv application, Xawtv and it worked wonderfully, (as seen above).

        

Plugin support was acceptable as flash and java worked out of the box in Firefox, although a movie/video plugin would have been welcomed.

        

Hard Drive Install

On the desktop one finds an icon labeled "Install Me." Leaving no doubt as to its function, this icon seems to open a variation of the Mepis OS Center containing the hard drive installation module. This great tool walks the user through an installation and new system configuration with ease. I found it to be one of the best installers I've tried out so far. Perhaps not due to looks, but due to the layout, speed, and almost flawless operation I say that. It prompts the user for installation location, offers a partition tool if needed, and an option to install on the entire drive or already prepared partition. I like how one first chooses the hard drive and offered the chance to partition on one screen and then the next screen is for picking the partition and setting up the swap and chosing the filesystem. The next screen gives a pop-up confirming and upon agreeing, a progress bar. This is really nice. If you install as many systems as I do, you might appreciate this process being streamlined into 2 easy screens. The rest of the install/configuration is very much of the same logic. Easy, fast, compact. This is perhaps Mepis' crowning jewel.

        

After the install the Mepis OS Center no long contains the installation module (logically), however, it does have many nice features for setting things up, changing settings or tweaking your new system. Found are even Nvidia and Ati specific options. Also handy might be the user accounts setup or tweaks, copy between desktops, or the repair partitions tools. I do believe this is the first time I've seen a gui tool for copying one user's home to another's. This could real handy in setting up new users or if someone wanted to change their username. Pretty cool.

        

And of course what's a debian-based distro without synaptic and apt-get. SimplyMepis ships with several repositories already setup and ready to go. Just click Reload to update your sources lists.

        

Conclusions

As stated I haven't tested Mepis in several years. I was impressed with Mepis back then, but they have certainly grown and expanded to accommodate the needs of a wider user base. For the home desktop system, I'd almost dare say SimplyMepis might be all one needs. For the small business user, I imagine SimplyMepis can make for a wonderful foundation. I found its performance and included applications well above average, while it's hardware detection and stability in the respectable average range.

My usb scanner would not function and I was to discover usb detection was all but non-existant. Firefox 1.5 was a bit unstable. It froze up after extended use and I could not kill the persistant processes with even the most extreme prejudice. In another negative note, I found the fonts were not rendered as nicely as I would have liked even using the nvidia drivers. Otherwise the system performed admirably and perhaps these issues might be cleared up by final. I imagine SimplyMepis users will not be disappointed in the final release.

Another note of interest, a friend of mine was also testing this release candidate and stated that he could not install onto an ext3 partition. He had to format his partition in the reiserfs before the installer would continue. That was a bit of a head-scratcher for me, as I chose ext3 for my partition. It formatted it and continued on without a hiccup for me. <shrugs>

More Screenshots here.


SimplyMepis

Hi Jose,
Enjoyed your review having travelled a similar route. After trying many distros over a couple of years, including SimplyMepis & MepisPro, I settled on Libranet which for 4yrs I considered to be the best but have recently installed PCLinuxOS on it's own HDD, a non-commercial distro which I find to be without equal. PCLinux is an absolutely superb desktop distro for use by the home user or small business alike, whether a complete newbie or a seasoned Linux user. They even have a 60 page "new user" wiki manual. I'll shortly be sending a modest donation to assist with expenses for, altho' I also use a Mac m/c, I intend to use PCLinux as my normal regular OS. Try it!
bernard.

re: SimplyMepis

Who's Jose? Big Grin Actually Jose is the talented artist that designed our logo, but he's pretty much fallen off the radar since.

Thanks for your comments. Yes, we here at Tuxmachines are very aware of PCLinuxOS. Many of our first days concentrated on this very capable and beautiful os. However, we must look at others from time to time. There are always going to be folks more in the debian camp, or in the slack camp, or lean more towards rpm based. If we limit our options, then we risk stagnation.

Thanks tho. I agree. Everyone should try PCLinuxOS as well. It could be everything anybody needs. Please check my original content for reviews of that system as well as many others.

--
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

SimplyMepis

Woops, sorry srlinuxx.I was having,as Gregory Peck would have put it, a "senior moment" when I inadvertently picked it from the bottom of the webb page. Now I'll search for your review to read with great interest.
bernard.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

CentOS vs Ubuntu: Which one is better for a server

Finally decided to get a VPS but can’t decide which Linux distro to use? We’ve all been there. The choice may even be overwhelming, even for Linux distros, considering all the different flavors and distros that are out there. Though, the two most widely used and most popular server distros are CentOS and Ubuntu. This is the main dilemma among admins, both beginners and professionals. Having experience with both (and more) distros, we decided to do a comparison of CentOS and Ubuntu when used for a server. Read more

This Script Updates Hosts Files Using a Multi-Source Unified Block List With Whitelisting

If you ever tinker with your hosts file, you should try running this script to automatically keep the file updated with the latest known ad servers, phishing sites and other web scum.

Read more

via DMT/Linux Blog

today's leftovers

  • FLOSS Weekly 417: OpenHMD
    Fredrik Hultin is the Co-founder of the OpenHMD project (together with Jakob Bornecrantz). OpenHMD aims to provide a Free and Open Source API and drivers for immersive technology, such as head-mounted displays with built-in head tracking. The project's aim is to implement support for as many devices as possible in a portable, cross-platform package.
  • My next EP will be released as a corrupted GPT image
    Endless OS is distributed as a compressed disk image, so you just write it to disk to install it. On first boot, it resizes itself to fill the whole disk. So, to “install” it to a file we decompress the image file, then extend it to the desired length. When booting, in principle we want to loopback-mount the image file and treat that as the root device. But there’s a problem: NTFS-3G, the most mature NTFS implementation for Linux, runs in userspace using FUSE. There are some practical problems arranging for the userspace processes to survive the transition out of the initramfs, but the bigger problem is that accessing a loopback-mounted image on an NTFS partition is slow, presumably because every disk access has an extra round-trip to userspace and back. Is there some way we can avoid this performance penalty?
  • This week in GTK+ – 31
    In this last week, the master branch of GTK+ has seen 52 commits, with 10254 lines added and 9466 lines removed.
  • Digest of Fedora 25 Reviews
    Fedora 25 has been out for 2 months and it seems like a very solid release, maybe the best in the history of the distro. And feedback from the press and users has also been very positive.
  • Monday's security updates
  • What does security and USB-C have in common?
    I've decided to create yet another security analogy! You can’t tell, but I’m very excited to do this. One of my long standing complaints about security is there are basically no good analogies that make sense. We always try to talk about auto safety, or food safety, or maybe building security, how about pollution. There’s always some sort of existing real world scenario we try warp and twist in a way so we can tell a security story that makes sense. So far they’ve all failed. The analogy always starts out strong, then something happens that makes everything fall apart. I imagine a big part of this is because security is really new, but it’s also really hard to understand. It’s just not something humans are good at understanding. [...] The TL;DR is essentially the world of USB-C cables is sort of a modern day wild west. There’s no way to really tell which ones are good and which ones are bad, so there are some people who test the cables. It’s nothing official, they’re basically volunteers doing this in their free time. Their feedback is literally the only real way to decide which cables are good and which are bad. That’s sort of crazy if you think about it.
  • NuTyX 8.2.93 released
  • Linux Top 3: Parted Magic, Quirky and Ultimate Edition
    Parted Magic is a very niche Linux distribution that many users first discover when they're trying to either re-partition a drive or recover data from an older system. The new Parted Magic 2017_01_08 release is an incremental update that follows the very large 2016_10_18 update that provided 800 updates.
  • How To Use Google Translate From Commandline In Linux
  • How to debug C programs in Linux using gdb
  • Use Docker remotely on Atomic Host
  • Ubuntu isn’t the only version of Linux that can run on Windows 10
  • OpenSUSE Linux lands on Windows 10
  • How to run openSUSE Leap 42.2 or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 on Windows 10

Leftovers: Software and Games