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Re: SimplyMEPIS: The best desktop Linux you haven't tried

Posted by: Brian Masinick on November 21, 2008 08:42 PM
To the gentleman who wrote just prior to my note, commenting that MEPIS uses a model that is good for those who want stability, I would agree. I would add that MEPIS gives you the stability of Debian and the simplicity of putting together a collection of software that just works with a minimal amount of intrusion. I love it for that. I do, however, also empathize with his desire to get a bleeding edge fix every so often.

Here is what I do to get it:

1. I always keep at least one instance of SimplyMEPIS on each of five systems that I own. If something goes wrong with any of the other systems, SimplyMEPIS is still there. When I am busy and have no time to tweak, SimplyMEPIS gets used more frequently because it just works.

2. I have found a couple of other systems that are much more flexible in changing them without damaging the fundamental layout of the systems. These are antiX and sidux.

a. With antiX you get a really fast, relatively lightweight system that has a lot in common with both SimplyMEPIS and sidux. It meets somewhere in between the two; not quite as solid, relatively unchanging, but boring, as SimplyMEPIS, but not even approaching the tipping edges of instability. All it really does is take out the fat desktop environment, replace it with a fast set of window managers and a few lighter applications, then change the repositories from the stable ones to the testing ones for somewhat more current software. (You can set them back to stable with a very good chance that you will not blow it up or break it beyond repair. You can also set the repositories to unstable and live out on the edge). antiX is flexible. It includes some sidux tools which help manage that flexibility, and I will discuss that next.

b. sidux is the most cutting edge system you can get and still have a reasonable expectation that you will be able to consistently run and use a working system. Mandriva has The Cooker, openSUSE has their community repositories, and Fedora has their cutting edge developments too. These three, and Ubuntu, may approach Sid in their ability to provide cutting edge applications, but when you factor in the management tools (smxi in particular) that sidux adds to Sid, it stands clearly ahead of Mandriva Cooker, openSUSE testing, or Fedora testing, and I feel it is easily more stable and usable than the cutting edge branches of either Arch or Gentoo, two other distributions heralded for cutting edge and efficiency. To me, whether they beat Sid in anything is immaterial. Sid with sidux gives me something quite current that I can count on to work. The guy who wants his fix ought to come to sidux for the fix and keep SimplyMEPIS tucked away as a stable backup when he has no time to tinker.

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