preacherpen

Simply Mepis 8 is Finally Here

In Computing on February 27, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Finally, after months of betas and release candidates, the wait is over. In my opinion, the finest Linux distribution a person could possibly use is ready for download and use. Simply Mepis is the superlative work of Warren Woodford, known for creating rock solid distros for beginners and more experienced users, too.

According to an announcement on Mepis.org, Simply Mepis 8 was released on Sunday, February 24, 2009 to the delight of people from all over the world.  It didn’t take me long to download both 32-bit and 64-bit iso images, burn them and begin installing them on my HP 6449US laptop. Actually, I had been testing all the way from the earliest betas through version 8 gold, but wanted to do a clean install on both partitions.

If you’d like to read my other posts on Simply Mepis Linux, follow the links: Simply Mepis 8 Is Looking Good, Simply Mepis 8 Keeps Getting Better and Mepis 8 Replaces 7 – A Good Plan. None of the posts are very technical; they are, however, my views and experiences with a wonderful product. You might find something of interest if you care to read.

Installation was simple and without any hiccups. It takes more time to add all my favorite packages than to complete the installation of the OS. Warren has done a great job with the installer; just answer a few questions and it produces the desired results. I did not have to manually partition my hard drive, as it’s already done.

As always, there is a lot of customization that goes into making each desktop a personal computing experience. It’s so easy to make Simply Mepis look just the way you want; a person is limited simply by imagination or lack thereof. Here’s what I generally do to personalize Mepis (in no particular order):

  • Aptitude
  • Remove Openoffice.org and replace with the one from OOo’s official site.
  • StarOffice
  • BibleTime
  • SuperKaramba and certain dependencies for Liquid Weather
  • KEdit, KGet, KGamma
  • MySQL-Admin, server and everything else it takes to make OOo and MySQL play nice together
  • Swiftweasel, Opera, Thunderbird, WICD
  • gtkpod, gPodder
  • Kaffeine, k9copy, SMplayer and themes, VLC, xine-ui, codecs, xmms from package sharing
  • Acroread
  • Kuickshow
  • WINE
  • Compiz
  • Fonts
  • KDMtheme – a theme manager, ksplash-engine-moodin

There is a possibility I’ve missed some packages, but you get the general idea. With a list like the one above, you can see how a person can customize the desktop quite easily for personal tastes.

With everything coming together so smoothly, it’s surprising to run into even minor problems, but this time I did. Honestly, this is unusual for me, but the great people on MEPISlovers Forums are some of the best around. They are helpful and courteous, always willing to lend a hand if you can’t figure something out.

I ran into an issue with my Maxtor 250GB USB hard drive not working properly and even flash drives not being recognized. After some experimenting, I tried changing permissions on the USB devices, and everything cleared up. Now, it’s no problem using any or all of the devices on a regular basis. I don’t know why it happened, but it did, and now it works perfectly.

One more issue I have not been able to fix up to this point is the screen saver. It only works intermittently and I have to change to another one, apply the change and then it functions properly. There is probably a fix on the Mepis forums, but I just haven’t pursued the answer yet. It’s annoying, though, to have to manually tweak the settings several times during the day. With all the positive things I have experienced with Simply Mepis 8, this is a very minor problem.

My laptop came with a web cam, and I’ve never really tried to make it work. Oh, I tried once a long time ago, but that was long before beginning with SM 8. Just for grins, I think I’ll see what it takes to get the web cam up and running; there’s some helpful information on the Mepis wiki, and that’s as good a place to start as any. Many Mepis users report success with this issue, and I might just get to add my name to the list.

In summary, I am extremely pleased with this version of Simply Mepis. It is rock solid, easy to use and easy to maintain. I must not forget to give credit to the guys from the MEPISlovers forums who worked tirelessly producing quality artwork, giving valuable input to Warren. My hat is off to everyone who had a hand in making this distribution the excellent product it is.

If you want to use an outstanding Linux distro, you could do no better than trying this one. Give it a whirl, and you will be glad you did.

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  1. It sounds like you are having loads of fun with Mepis 8. I do have a couple of questions for you.

    First, does Mepis 8 use KDE 3 or KDE 4? I am thinking you may have already told me it uses KDE 3, but I can’t recall for sure.

    Second, what is your purpose of removing Open Office and replacing it with the one from the Open Office site? I really am curious as to your reasons for doing so.

    • Yes, Larry, I’m having tons of fun with SM 8. Honestly, for one who likes to constantly “tweak” things, it sometimes gets kind of boring, as the system is so solid. I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, but it’s true.

      SM 8 uses KDE 3.5.10, which is perfectly fine with me. I know how to get things done using this version of KDE, and am in no hurry to learn 4.2 or whatever it will be when Warren eventually gets around to incorporating it into Mepis. From what I’ve read, I’m glad we’re using 3.5.

      On to your second question. I use MySQL for all my database needs, with OpenOffice.org as the front end. Sound doesn’t work for me when using the OOo which comes with Mepis and, more importantly, I can’t get MySQL and OOo to play nice together with the stock install. I have discovered when using OOo from the official OOo site, both problems are solved quite nicely. Of course, there’s a couple of changes that have to be made in order for it to work. I have to install “libmysql-java” and add a couple of class paths: jmf.jar and mysql-connector-java.

      I didn’t give you a lot of specifics, but hopefully you’ll basically understand my reasoning in answer to your question. All I can tell you is my set up works very well for me. With MySQL-Administrator, it’s easy to back up all my databases and restore them in just a few mouse clicks.

      Hope this answers your questions.

  2. Hi, Pastor Ron,

    I thought I would let you know that I came by this time. I haven’t installed M8 yet, but hope to soon. It’s always fun to see what others do to their system.

    • Hi, Mariel. Good to see you here. SM 8 is impressive, to say the least. I’m still running SM 7 on my desktop, but have it on a spare partition. 7 is running so well, it’s hard for me to give it up. Come again.

  3. I would be interested in seeing a screenshot of Liquid Weather.

    • Sure, that’s not a problem. Look at this post, Show Off Your Desktop in the upper right corner. That’s Liquid Weather. You can set it to display weather where you are, or any other place, for that matter. It’s highly customizable, too. Let me know if you need help setting it up.

  4. I’ve never played with Simply Mepis. I downloaded it by torrent and will keep it seeded after it completes. BTW, rtorrent is a great file sharing bittorrent program, command line, written in C++ to be extremely efficient, and you hardly notice that it is running other than how much bandwidth you allow it to use. I’ll load it in a VM and give it a whirl. Since it’s Debian based, I wonder if the Amazon.com MP3 downloader works with it? I keep a Debian 4 VM so I can download music since they aren’t supporting Fedora 10 or Slackware 12.2 directly yet.

    • Bugz, it seems to me some of the people on MEPISlovers has commented about the Amazon.com MP3 downloader. If you search, you might find what you’re looking for.

  5. [...] Simply Mepis 8 is Finally Here In summary, I am extremely pleased with this version of Simply Mepis. It is rock solid, easy to use and easy to maintain. I must not forget to give credit to the guys from the MEPISlovers forums who worked tirelessly producing quality artwork, giving valuable input to Warren. My hat is off to everyone who had a hand in making this distribution the excellent product it is. [...]

  6. Good review of a fine distro. I just hope Mepis can release updates more often to keep current with new hardware.

    Not sure why you would install Wicd. Networkmanager handles my wpa wireless connection just fine.

    I like liquid weather too.

    Smxi is a nice tool to get the sought after extras like googleearth, java, flash, and VirtualBox.

    • hotdiggettydog,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment; it is greatly appreciated. I really like WICD, though it is not entirely necessary to install. It meets my needs well.

      In reference to the “smxi” script, it is one I have never attempted to use. Many of the people on MEPISlovers have written much about it, and I will probably give it a whirl one day. How do you use the script? What must you do to install packages using it?

  7. Trying to lighten up for my “somewhat” aging machine, i ran into your comments regarding xmms and got it working great under M8. I’ve been playing with LXDE — it integrates (almost) flawlessly into Mepis 8 straight out of Synaptic without much tweaking. It does remove a dependency for K3B (which i love), but i haven’t noticed any problems with it so far. The only pain is a program “Gradekeeper” i run under wine — i can’t associate the files as cleanly as under KDE, but that simply menas opening is a two-step process instead of one. It’s kinda like having antiX but with all the K-apps available. Interesting, i hardly use KDE anymore, but still have all the power and simplicity of Mepis, in the latest version as well.

    • Marty,
      I’m so glad you dropped in and left a comment. Glad you got xmms up and running under SM 8; that is just about my favorite player for streaming audio, and does a great job with CDs, too.

      Some of the people at MepisLovers have talked about LXDE, too, and seem to be impressed. You mentioned installing it with Synaptic, which removes a dependency for k3b. Have you gotten that little problem straightened out? Are you able to use k3b at all? I have found using Aptitude to install packages works quite well, and takes care of dependency issues better than Synaptic. Just a thought.

      Speaking of WINE, the version in the community repo is working very well on my laptop now. It sure is a great way to run programs you would normally have to boot into that other system for. There’s just a couple of Windows programs I have that won’t work with WINE, but may some day.

  8. Yeah — i didn’t get the “problem” straightened out b/c it’s never weemed to affect anyting…all apparently works fine still.

    Wine? Oh, yeah — there’s only ONE Windoze program i use, Music Tmie Deluxe – only b/c WHO has the time to learn a new one? But i’m abuot ready to take the plunge into the cross-platform MuseScore (MScore) — we’ll see!

    I don’t even HAVE MS on my home pc! “The more i use Windoze, the more i love Linux” — and that’s from a guy who has to deal with a few dozen XP units….sigh…

  9. [...] Simply Mepis 8 Is Finally Here – This post is about Mepis 8 going gold and my experiences installing it on my computers. I must say, this version is rock solid and a breeze to set up. You should give it a try. [...]

  10. [...] preacherpen Many of you know my preference for computer operating systems happens to be Linux and Simply Mepis in particular. I have written several posts about Linux and site real examples of how the OS helps [...]

  11. Hi Pastor,
    I tried Linux for the first time a few years ago–Simply Mepis & PCLinuxOS. I tried these two because a review I read said these were two great distros for Windows users (Linux newbies) to try. Out of the two, PCLinuxOS was much more user-friendly; everything worked. With Simply Mepis I had to search out help on forums and still couldn’t get everything working. I used PCLinuxOS (with Wine for some programs I didn’t want to give up) for about a year before going back to Windows; I currently use XP Pro on both of my computers.
    If I had an extra computer, I’d try Simply Mepis 8. As it is, XP does everything I want and does it very well. When it comes time for me to upgrade, I’ll have to decide whether to move on to Windows 7 or give linux another shot.
    By the way, how did you get two columns half way down in the right sidebar on your page?

    • Hello, Peter. I’m glad to hear about your adventures in the greatest operating system on the planet. You picked two fine distributions to test the waters with, but it’s been a while since you’ve been involved with Linux, it seems. There have been great advances in Linux over the past few years.

      Simply Mepis 8 is still the official release, but Warren Woodford, its creator, is working on the newest iteration of my favorite Linux distro. I’m not sure quite when he will begin releasing betas, but I’ll definitely grab a copy and write some more reviews. The new version will include KDE 4, and that should prove to quite interesting.

      Why not dual boot? You could still keep your M$ XP Pro on one partition while using Simply Mepis on another. That’s my setup on both desktop and laptop computers. It works well. Actually, my laptop has Vista on one partition and Linux on another. Dual-booting gives you the ability to choose which operating system you will use; there might be something XP can handle and Linux cannot – that is possible.

      Peter, I’ve just never looked back. I keep XP around for the odd necessity. For instance, I bought a DVD and couldn’t make a backup copy in Linux, so I booted into XP just to fire up one piece of software. The copy process was completed in Linux, though. I don’t like having to maintain anti-virus, malware, spy-ware and every other kind of “ware” software. I don’t like having to reboot after I install software. My preference is stability, and I have it in Linux.

      Are you speaking of columns on my blog? If so, it’s the theme from WordPress.

  12. Hi Pastor Ron!

    A long time ago i got OO Impress working just fine with embeeded videos on my home computer. However, i can’t seem to replicate what i did on my school desktop and laptop. GRRRRRR — ! Silly me for not taking notes, but i don’t remember having to deal with JMF files. I tried the shotgun approach, downloading most gstreamer files that looked remotely related, and i think i have the correct libs, but no go. Of course, JAVA is enabled. Can you point me in the right direction? (Also, can one embed .flv files in IMpress?)

    Thanks!

    Blessings –

    Marty (Subito Piano on the forums, tho’ i’ve been pretty scarce lately!)

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