preacherpen

Simply Mepis Linux and My Office – Part Two

In Computing on October 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

In my work as pastor of a small church, I have many tools at my disposal. The most important book in my library is the Bible, God’s eternal Word. Like most students of the holy writ, my shelf has several copies in various colors, sizes, bindings and translations. The Bible I both read, study and preach from the majority of the time is the King James Version (KJV). It is my preference; the particular Bible I use is found here.

If you have read my Linux posts, you know Simply Mepis happens to be my preference out of the hundreds available. I have been happily using Mepis for many years, and have no plans to go elsewhere. It’s easy to install, maintain and customize. That’s a great combination.

One of the things I like about Linux so much is the freedom of choice we users have. It’s easy to customize the desktop to fit individual personalities and tastes. I know this can be done to a certain extent in Windows, but not as easily as in Linux. In Mepis, customizing can be done in a matter of moments using the Control Center. You can change the appearance to your heart’s desire.

You might ask “what does that have to do with your office?” That’s a fair question. If any of you work in an office, isn’t it nice to change things around to suit you? I realize not everyone has that luxury, but this is my office, and I have the ability to change the looks to make a more pleasing computing experience.

As I mentioned before, I use several software packages to do some of my work in my home office. OpenOffice.org (OOo), BibleTime and some Internet sites are all part of the process of studying and sermon preparation. In another post, I mentioned a wonderful Windows program called e-Sword, which works quite well in Linux by using WINE.

One area that Linux excels in is multimedia. Our church records nearly all our services; we also have a CD/DVD duplicator so people can purchase copies. This year’s Mother’s Day message was well attended, and several people wanted to purchase copies of the service. Ordinarily, that would not have been a problem, but for some unknown reason, it was this time. My sound technician recorded the service just like any other time, then handed the master CD to another technician so she could make the appropriate number of copies. Didn’t happen, and several attempts were made; still no copies could be made.

My sound man then tried making a copy using the Windows computer in the sound booth. That didn’t work, either. He took the master CD home and tried making copies from his home computer; still nothing doing. It is no secret around our church the pastor is a Linux guy. After trying for several days to make copies, my sound man came to me, wearing a sheepish grin. “Can you do something with this?” he asked.

I took the master CD home, popped it into the optical drive, fired up k3b then proceeded to make a copy. The first attempt failed, so I fired up another Linux package, did some tweaking, then burned the reworked image onto a blank CD. After that little bit of work, we were able to make as many copies on our duplicator as we needed. Even though Linux is not installed on any computer in the church, Mepis was instrumental in taking care of a ministry need. Linux to the rescue again.

Communications have changed dramatically over the years; some say for the better, while others offer a different opinion. I collect and use fountain pens to do 99% of my writing with, if I use paper, that is. There is just something wonderful about putting your thoughts down on paper while using a finely crafted writing instrument. To most people, those days are long gone or have never been.

Sending and receiving e-mails is a part of our lives if we use our computers very often. This form of communication has taken the place of a vast number of letters and notes written on paper. It has become a very important part of my life, too. I communicate with members of my church, state and international headquarters, and a host of other, too. How did we ever get along without e-mail before now?

My favorite e-mail client is Thunderbird. It is easy to set up, and updates are just a couple of clicks away. I manage three accounts on my Linux desktop, and have the ability to do the same on my laptop. Just like with any other aspect of personalizing the desktop environment, Thunderbird can be changed, too. There are themes and extensions galore to choose from if you are so inclined.

Finally, printing is essential in my office. I print everything from sermon notes to revival posters. I have two HP printers, and each one works perfectly in the Linux environment. What I really like is the fact I can take the laptop anywhere in the house and print from there. There was no special wireless printer adapter to buy, just install the printers on my desktop computer. When I installed both Mepis 7.0 and 7.9.7-beta on my laptop, the two printers were automatically picked up. That was nice.

There is more to write about, but I think you get the idea of how valuable Linux is to me. Warren Woodford and Simply Mepis make the computing experience a pleasure and efficient, too. Give Linux a spin and I think you will be tempted to stay.

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  4. I am an Assistant Pastor that uses Mepis – good to hear of how valuable Linux has been in your ministry. I’ve had similar experiences helping out our Youth Pastor with video and such – keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Paul, for dropping by and leaving a comment. Mepis is such a good distro, and pretty easy to use. Most everything for ministry gets done using SM 7, but SM 8 is coming along quite nicely, and should prove to be most useful. Come back any time.

  5. Come join us at http://www.e-sword-users.org. We are always willing to help with your e-Sword problems and questions. We also have the fastest growing library of resources around.

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