Simply Mepis 8 Keeps Getting Better

In Computing on October 22, 2008 at 3:55 PM

There are two computers in my office, and I use both of them pretty regularly. Admittedly, the laptop has been taken over by two little girls who absolutely must see how the Littlest Pet Shop and Barbie are doing. Pappy doesn’t mind, though. At least they are not stuck using some virus-infected computer, and pop-up ads don’t rear their ugly heads while they’re playing, either.

Linux powers both of my computers, and Simply Mepis is the distribution of choice for many reasons. I have been using Simply Mepis several years, and and have no desire to even test other distros; there were some brief stints with Linux Mint and PCLOS, but Mepis is my OS – final answer. I’ve never understood the need or desire to hop around, trying every flavor of Linux under the sun that hits the Distrowatch list. Again, I’ve tried a few, but always come back to Mepis.

My HP 6449US laptop is loaded with Vista (why, I’ll never know), Simply Mepis 7.0 and Simply Mepis 7.9.90-beta3. The latter is updated through Synaptic, and includes everything that has come down the pike. There have been no major hiccups to report, and hardly any minor ones, either. This is another well-planned and exectued distro put together by Warren Woodford. The Mepis community has helped on several levels with this release, and their work certainly shows in the improved artwork.

Over the last several days many updates have appeared in the Synaptic package manager, and I’ve been diligently keeping my system current. Everything has worked flawlessly, from my nVidia video card to wireless. Updates have been painless and, again, without event. This has been a pleasurable experience to date, and I see no reason not to use the beta as my main system now, even before it goes gold; it’s running that well.

After reading about the new 2.6.27-1 Mepis kernel, I decided to install it this morning. Sometimes there’s problems with this type of upgrade, so after firing up Synaptic and checking a few packages, it was time to hit the “let’s do this” button. After only a few minutes the packages were installed and ready for a test. Some testers at the MEPISlover’s Forum reported kernel panic after the upgrade , so there was some trepidation about the procedure on my end. There was no reason to be alarmed, though, because everything went well without a hitch.

After a quick reboot, I was greeted with my KDM manager and then into my desktop. Impressive, to say the least. Even the nVidia kernel upgrade went smoothly, and that hasn’t always been easy. I am pleased with how easy the upgrades have been, and have no doubt the rest of the process will be the same.

From my post entitled Simply Mepis 8 is Looking Good, here’s a partial list of packages included with Mepis:

  • – an MS Office replacement. I removed the stock OOo and replaced it with the new 3.0 release. After doing some research and removing all traces of the OOo beta, I have a shiny new release on my laptop.
  • Firefox – Browser My preference is Swiftweasel, so that gets used instead
  • Thunderbird – e-mail client
  • GIMP – Image editor
  • Amarok – Music player My preference for streaming audio is XMMS, and after enabling Etch repos, I was able to install this little package.
  • 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

It’s not all peachy, though. There were no schemes included with KPowersave, so it was impossible to configure. Thankfully, Brooko, one of the brains at MEPISlovers, compiled a .deb and offered it for testing in the SM 8-beta. It works flawlessly on my laptop, and I’m quite sure before version 8 goes gold, this issue will be fixed.

One more item to address relates to the net. I opted to install WICD Network Manager instead of the standard Network Manager-KDE. I had to add the WICD repo to my /etc/apt/sources.list, but that was easy enough. It installed without a hitch and I even have an icon in the system tray first time – no muss, no fuss.

The following quote is from the afore mentioned post Simply Mepis 8 is Looking Good:

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.

When it’s all said and done, I would not hesitate one minute to make this beta the workhorse on my laptop. Everything I care about is working flawlessly, and Simply Mepis 8 just keeps getting better. Warren has done a masterful job in preparing this beta, and he will certainly be rewarded with at least one of the best systems around when it’s finally released as SM 8.0; it will definitely be a standard others will have to catch up to.

  1. I was happy to see the kernel. That was a nice surprise. I, too, dowloaded it and have it running in a VMWare session. My opinion is that is looks and feels very stable and very polished. It will be on my home computer when it’s released. Great job as always Warren. Mepis is the best. It will be tough to top. Also, keep up the good reviews.

  2. Richard, glad you dropped by and left a comment. I’m with you on the stable and polished bit; Warren knows what he’s doing. Come back as often as you want, and bring friends with you. Thanks, too, for the kind words.

  3. I have been using SM8 for several weeks now as my main operating system. It is a great distro! In the past I have leaned more towards the “distro hopping” but I’m feeling the need to settle down to something that is stable, and so far, I’m very pleased. You can read more of my experiences with SM8 at my blog: Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Hey, Les. Thanks for dropping by my little slice of the net; it’s always good to see fellow Mepis folk here. I just made it to your blog and looked around a little big. Thanks for the tip about T-Bird in the system tray; I’m probably going to wait for SM 8 to go gold before setting it up, though. Your name is familiar as I’ve seen you on MEPISlovers, although not in a while. Come back often and bring friends with you.

  5. Hi,

    I’m a relative newbie when it comes to upgrade vesions. Can you tell how it is done? I’m currently running Simply Mepis 7 and would like to upgrade to 8.

    Thanks for the article I enjoyed it.

  6. Hey preacherpen, have you made any use of Kino for video editing? I’m just getting started editing video, and the problem with Kino, if I’m correct, is that you can’t lay in a separate audio track.

    There’s a newish app called KDEnlive that looks quite a bit like iMovie and that does allow for separate audio tracks. I added the repository to my Debian Lenny laptop but haven’t had the opportunity to use it.

  7. Hi, Nick. Glad you dropped by today, and be sure to come back often.

    Here’s a couple of questions. 1) Do you have any spare partitions you could install the new beta on? If so, you could just download the beta .iso, then install on the spare partition. 2) Is SM 7 your production machine? If not, and you’re feeling slightly adventurous, you might want to install over SM 7, keeping your /home directory intact. I did that, and things worked out beautifully, but YMMV.

    Nick, as always, you could hop on over to the MEPISlovers Forum for more information. Search the WIKI, too. If it were me, I would try finding a spare partition in order to play around with the beta before installing, but that’s just me.

    As was mentioned in the post, I am almost to the point of making the beta my main system, as it’s very stable and does everything I need now.

  8. Stephen, you’re back! Glad you’re here, too. Anyway….

    No, I haven’t used Kino for editing, nor have I had the pleasure of using KDEnlive. Video editing is not something I’m very familiar with. Several months ago, my youth group asked me to edit a campmeeting video, and I believe the package I used was Avidemux or something similar. They liked what I did, so it was all good, but it’s certainly not my cup of tea. Sorry. You might want to ask over at MEPISlovers Forums. Those guys are very good at answering questions like that.

  9. I am getting around to switching to Mepis from PCLinuxOS because the 64 bit Mepis is faster, it seems anyway, to me. And PCLinuxOS while stable,
    after 9months to a year, it gets a little, nothing major, unstable. Settings just seem to change on their own. Small annoyances. Anti-X is really fast but I like KDE better than Fluxbox or whatever window manager it has. I think I’m gonna like MEPIS just fine.

  10. I usually agree with you whole-heatedly. But to compare Simple Mepis with Linux Mint and say Simple Mepis is even as good is proof that you didn’t give it a chance. I maintain the ISO pages for a linux group, plus I download and burn a copy of any new release of any Linux that people seem interested in for our LUG. Having reviewed all of the top 65 I can honestly say nothing comes close to Linux Mint!

  11. PortLavacaMike: Glad you dropped by and commented here on my blog. Where did you first hear about Mepis? I had PCLOS installed on both desktop and laptop and thought it was okay. Lots of things kept pulling me back to Mepis, though.

    Anyway, glad you like Mepis 64. It shouldn’t be much longer until SM 8.0 is released. Come back soon.

  12. Hi, Preacher Abbott. Welcome aboard. Wow! You do a lot of testing, and that’s evident by the sheer number of reviews you mentioned.

    Actually, I’ve had several versions of Mint installed and used on both my office machines, and had it installed on my daughter’s Toshiba laptop for quite a while (I’m the one that installed it). Yes, I believe Mint was given a fair shake by me, but it just didn’t compare with Mepis IMHO. Admittedly, I haven’t tried Mint recently, but there has been no need on my part.

    I’m glad you like Linux Mint and, hopefully, it’s getting a lot of use. One thing is certain, if you’re using Mint or Mepis, you’re probably not using Windows, and that’s a very good thing.

  13. Greetings Ron. Really excellent blog BTW. I’ve already made Mepis 8 my main install now (although I still have Mepis 7 in a VM in case I need it). The beta is amazingly fast and rock solid isn’t it! Anyway, the kpowersave profile issue turns out to be an easier fix – you don’t need my deb after all. Just exit the app in the taskbar, then open synaptic and completely remove kpowersave, then reinstall again (Lenny standard deb is fine). Purging the config files allows the defaults to be reloaded – then you are away again.
    Oh and if Steven drops by again, please ask him if he’d like to pass on any comments regarding his experiences with kdenlive. I’ve been meaning to try it as well.
    All the best – Brooko

  14. Brooko, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate all the work you do for the Mepis community; you have worked out a lot of issues for the less savvy, that’s for sure.

    I haven’t installed SM 8 on my desktop yet as SM 7 is tweaked, locked and running to perfection. Eventually I’ll do a new install, but will likely wait until SM 8 turns gold, although it would hurt nothing to make the switch now.

    The KPowersave fix you mention sounds interesting, and I’ll probably give it a try after posting this comment. Thanks for the tip, and will see you at the forum. Come back and see us.

  15. Great article, Ron, even though I am not familiar with Mepis. As you know, I use sidux, which is Debian based. It has an update script (SMXI) that will update the kernel and the distro. How is that accomplished through Mepis?

  16. Thanks, Larry. It’s quite simple in Mepis. We use Synaptic, a front-end for apt: mark what’s needed, apply, and wait for the new stuff to be upgraded. After a reboot, all is usually well. It’s worked that way on my boxes for a long time.

  17. Does it upgrade the kernel as well? I wasn’t sure how that worked.

  18. Yes, Larry, it will also upgrade the kernel. Per my post:

    After reading about the new 2.6.27-1 Mepis kernel, I decided to install it this morning. Sometimes there’s problems with this type of upgrade, so after firing up Synaptic and checking a few packages, it was time to hit the “let’s do this” button. After only a few minutes the packages were installed and ready for a test. Some testers at the MEPISlover’s Forum reported kernel panic after the upgrade , so there was some trepidation about the procedure on my end. There was no reason to alarmed, though, because everything went well without a hitch.

    You probably just missed it, though. Yes, whatever needs to upgraded can usually be handled with Synaptic package manager. Every now and then, though, I’ll go to the command line and upgrade, but that’s pretty rare.

  19. Yeah, I read that but I reckon I skipped right over the kernel part.

    The reason I was asking is because the sidux folks recommend not to use Synaptic or even a terminal in init level 5 to do an upgrade on the kernel. They recommend going to init 3 and using the script they provide. I am not sure why they don’t like Synaptic or init 5.

  20. Actually, there has been a lot of discussion @ the MEPISlovers forum regarding this issue. All I can tell you is this: the kernel upgrade went off without a hitch in the SM 8 beta. No problems at all.

  21. […] Read more at From Preacherpen’s Desk […]

  22. Seems Warren is in a mood to spell magic into desktop computing. I used the latest SM 8 Beta and can’t stop jumping with joy. A great piece of work! I am sure SM 8 final will go places.

  23. Manmath, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. PCLOS is a good distro, too, and I used it for a while. Yes, Warren has done a masterful job with SM 8, and I can hardly wait until it’s gold.

  24. Just had my hands on Mepis 8 beta5. Overall it is way ahead then those much-hyped *buntu and its clones. Warren deserves award for the great work – beta 5 looks and works the best I could probably expect, it’s better than the finals of some desktop distros. I am just curious to know when the final will hit the world. Any idea?

  25. Hi, Jenny. First of all, thanks for dropping by. My laptop has been upgraded from an earlier beta install, and everything works wonderfully well. Yes, Warren puts his heart into his distro, and it’s a quality product. I would definitely put my beta up against some other distro’s final editions. Warren’s usual method is to release betas, then some RCs and then gold. No, I don’t have an idea as to when we’ll see the final, but would guess before Christmas.

  26. Mepis 8 beta is running smoothly on my desktop. I have no problems though I am a noob to Linux, just using for last 15 days. But I am curious to know if it is really based on Debian Lenny? If so then why Mepis 8’s kernel version is higher that of Lenny? Or will Warren keep the version same with Lenny when its final stable is released.

  27. Thanks for dropping by, nikhil. Yes, Simply Mepis 8 is based on lenny, and will be released as final after lenny becomes stable. As to the kernel information, I’m not absolutely sure what Warren will do, but we can all rest assured, it will work.

  28. […] my brother was using, but there are any number of distros to choose from. A friend of mine over at Preacherpen’s Desk uses Mepis and has written extensively about it. My point is, Linux comes in many different […]

  29. […] pm I wasn’t planning on making the switch quite yet, but it worked out just right, anyway. Simply Mepis (SM) has been my Linux distribution of choice for a long time now, and it’s getting closer to […]

  30. […] Simply Mepis Keeps Getting Better – This post was about Mepis Linux making improvements as it moved forward in the testing cycle. […]

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