As some of you know, Linux is what my computers run on, and Simply Mepis is the particular distribution. I have been using Simply Mepis for a number of years, and would not go backwards into a Windows environment for anything. There is no need to, really, as all my computing needs are met in Linux: safe, secure, virus free, and easy to use. For more on Linux, you can read my post Linux – Is It For You?
I have been using the 32-bit version since December 2007, and have been extremely pleased with it. The base install is great, but limited in a few areas. It comes with enough software to get most people up and running in about 20 minutes or so, unless you have to do some partitioning work. If I ever have to reinstall, the whole process is only about 10 minutes or so.
Warren Woodford, the creator of Mepis, has been working hard on the next version of his incredible distribution. Currently, I have version 7.9.8 beta installed on my laptop, and couldn’t be happier with what I see. Everything is working very well, with the exception of the built-in webcam, which I have never used. Sound, wireless, 3-D graphics and more are working just right. Keep in mind, this is still a beta version; when this becomes gold, it will be Mepis 8 and rock solid as usual. Warren knows how to put a Linux distribution together.
Here’s a partial list of programs included with Mepis:
- Openoffice.org – a MS Office replacement
- Firefox – Browser
- Thunderbird – e-mail client
- GIMP – Image editor
- Amarok – Music player
- digiKam – Photo management
- Kopete – Instant messeger
- Akregator – RSS feed reader
- Kontact – Personal information manager
- Kino – Video editor
- KPDF – PDF viewer
- More programs than you could possibly use
Linux is highly customizable, too. Switching desktop backgrounds couldn’t be easier. Changing the look and feel is just a matter of firing up the KDE Control Center and changing settings to your heart’s content. I must say, the guys who worked so tirelessly on the new art for the upcoming release of Mepis 8, did an outstanding job. Here’s what the desktop looks like. Don’t like that look? It’s not a problem, as I already mentioned. Change the looks to what you want.
For those of you who have one of the newer iPod Classics, Nanos, iPod Touch or iPhones, you have little recourse for their use in the Linux world. Mepis 8 works well with these devices, though, as I already know first-hand. All I had to do was install a few packages (programs), answer some questions, and now I’m happily using my iPod Classic 80GB Silver, knowing I don’t have to use iTunes or fire up Windows to get the job done. BTW, the two packages are gtkpod and gPodder, which is a media aggregator or podcast receiver/catcher.
I use a package called BibleTime, which is Bible study software. It’s extremely easy to use, and installing is a breeze. If you want to read more about it, look at my post entitled Bible Software for Linux. Admittedly, this is not my favorite software, but it works very well for my purposes. I wish Bible software makers would port some of their excellent products to Linux; that would make me a very happy camper.
This is not meant to be a complete review of Simply Mepis Linux, just a quick overview of the upcoming full release. Mepis 8 appears to working on most cylinders, but, according to the MEPISlovers Forums, there are some bugs. This is completely natural; after all, we are talking about a beta release. On my equipment, this beta is working exceptionally well, and I would not hesitate making it my main system right now. I will wait until Mepis 8 goes gold, which is not that far off anyway.
You should give Linux a try. If you are currently using MS Windows, you should download the .iso image, burn it to a CD, stick it in your optical drive and reboot the computer. You won’t have to install right away, unless you want. This way you can look at Linux and see what it’s all about. There’s more information here. Give it a shot and you’ll probably like what you see.