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):
- Remove Openoffice.org and replace with the one from OOo’s official site.
- 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
- 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.