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Feature: MEPIS/SimplyMEPIS

SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

By Susan Linton on January 18, 2008 (9:00:00 AM)

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The long awaited SimplyMEPIS 7.0 was finally released just before Christmas, and it was worth the wait. In this mature and sometimes underrated operating system, everything looks good and works well.

Because I was familiar with previous MEPIS versions, the first thing I noticed in 7.0 was the lovely new artwork. The tasteful theme begins at the live CD boot screen and continues through the boot splash and login screen to the desktop. Developers add a air of professionalism to their distributions when they include a matching theme throughout. It shows attention to detail and indicates that an enjoyable user experience is one of the main priorities. I get this feeling when using SimplyMEPIS.

SimplyMEPIS has found the balance between user-friendly and advanced options with its hard drive installer. It is basically a configuration wizard that requires users to select options from drop-down boxes or input data in text areas. It includes all the basic steps usually required, such as choosing the disk, partitioning the disk with GParted if necessary, and choosing the target partitions and filesystem types. There is no package selection; the KDE desktop and the same set of applications is installed on all systems. After the installation, you can choose whether and where to install GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader), whether to built an initrd, and which common services to enable. You can also input the computer name, hostname, and Samba workgroup name, set locale and keyboard, and set up the user accounts and root password. It's all easy and straighforward.

I was pleased with MEPIS's hardware detection and configuration. My display was correctly configured to use the desired 1280x800 resolution, a welcome sound greeted my first login, the volume controls worked on my keyboard, and my wireless Ethernet adapter was ready for the input of my Wi-Fi Protected Access passkey.

SimplyMEPIS includes several assistants for system configuration. I used the MEPIS Network Assistant to set up my wireless access point password, after which my connection was ready at boot time. I didn't have to fuss around with Ndiswrapper or Wpa_supplicant, as SimplyMEPIS ships with the necessary firmware in place and ready to go. The KNemo network monitor appears in the system tray for easy access to information and statistics concerning the connection.

If you choose Automatic (networkmanager) instead of Manual (mnetwork) under the General tab of the Network Assistant, roaming becomes much easier. When you use KNetworkManager, it scans your location for available wireless access points. A mouse click on the one you want will connect your machine. You can then store any passwords required in KWallet.

I used the MEPIS X Windows Assistant to set up Nvidia proprientary graphic drivers. When you selecting the Nvidia option, the drivers are downloaded and installed, and the X configuration file is set up. I now have 3-D graphic drivers upon login with very little effort from myself.

With the System Assistant you can set your computer and hostname, set locale, recover disk space, set USB key options, repair GRUB, and test and repair partitions.

The User Assistant helps you add new users and remove or repair existing user accounts. It contains some advanced feature options such as setting up skeleton files or copying existing files from other user accounts. Since setting up new user accounts remains intimidating for new Linux users, this is a particularly helpful program.

But the fun didn't stop there. One of my usual tests for distros is to visit video sites. With SimplyMEPIS I was watching Youtube, Veoh, and even Apple.com without having to install anything myself. The same held true for video formats I had stored locally, such as Audio Video Interleave, CD/DVD image files, and MPEG-4 video -- but not encrypted DVDs.

SimplyMEPIS supports advanced power-saving features for portable computers. A battery charge monitor appears in the system tray via KPowersave, and right-clicking the icon provides options for the performance level of the machine and sleep features. Suspend didn't work initially; a dialog box popped up and stated that I would need to edit the SUSPEND2RAM_FORCE boolean in the /etc/powersave/sleep file. After doing so, suspend and hibernate worked fine.

SimplyMEPIS assembles a desirable set of applications. KDE 3.5.8 is the desktop environment, and under the hood we find Linux 2.6.22-1, Xorg 7.1.1, and GCC 4.1.2. Graphic applications include the GIMP, Xara Xtreme, and digicam. Internet software includes KMail and Thunderbird for email and Konqueror and Firefox for Web browsing. Multimedia tasks are handled by K3b, Amarok, KMPlayer, and KsCD. OpenOffice.org is available for routine office chores. Other utilities include KlamAV, Keep (backup system), and GParted. Planet Penguin Racer is among the included games. For those wishing advanced eye-candy, Compiz Packages have been updated for 7.0 and added to the MEPIS software repository.

Compiz and other software can be install through the APT package management system. Synaptic is provided as its graphical front end, and it comes preconfigured with software repositories. APT Notify resides in the panel to inform users of available updates to the packages on their system. Clicking it opens Synaptic for easy upgrades.

SimplyMEPIS has one of the widest selections of help methods in the Linux community. It begins on the desktop with the MEPIS Users' Manual, one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful guides I've reviewed. It contains sections for most of the common areas of desktop computing with explanations suitable for new users as well as enough depth for anyone more experienced. An online wiki offers more information, guides, and how-tos. Also available are the MEPIS IRC channels and a discussion forum.

My entire experience with SimplyMEPIS was a pleasure. The system is pretty and everything worked as I hoped. I didn't have a single problem, unless you count the manual edit of /etc/powersave/sleep.

SimplyMEPIS has always been and remains one of my favorite Linux distributions because of its no-nonsense approach to the user desktop. It contains virtually all the things I desire in a desktop and does so in a logical and easy-to-use manner. Its selection of included software is well-rounded and intuitive without a lot of overlap. It is one of the rare systems that is equally appropriate for new users and the experienced. I always keep a version of SimplyMEPIS installed so that no matter what else I do to my laptop, I will always have at least one system that will work when I need it.

SimplyMEPIS continues to be at the top of the short list of systems I recommend when asked which Linux distro to try. It is one of the best distributions available today. It is SimplyWONDERFUL.

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on SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 121.115.255.186] on January 18, 2008 10:23 AM
It seems to have dropped Asian language support. Does it have the same fast downloading of updates worldwide as Ubuntu? I wish your reviews offered a bit more meat and less gushing praise.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.110.82.240] on January 18, 2008 10:28 AM
I have several computers running on my home network, and I'm always playing around with a number of different distros. For the one or two computers that I maintain for daily use, however, Simply MEPIS is my distro of choice. I have been running it since version 3.4, and it has always worked for me as well as for my guests, some of whom had no idea they were working with Linux at the time!
Many thanks to Warren Woodford for making it as great as it is!

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper? perhaps ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.224.196.100] on January 18, 2008 10:33 AM
But I'm not sure it will keep as well as PCLinuxOS.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 18, 2008 11:57 AM
Oh please, is it so hard for some of the PCLOS users to see the sun shining in somebody else's backyard?

PCLOS is a good distro, and MEPIS has its very own qualities that make it attract its share of users. Be an asset to your community and accept that there are other distros that get glowing reviews....

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 18, 2008 12:16 PM
It kept longer than PCLOS on my machine. That is not to say PCLOS is a bad distro, I just happen to like MEPIS better.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.82.124.92] on January 18, 2008 12:47 PM
Yes Mepis does have fast downloading of updates worldwide. This is a first rate distro and a lot of work has gone into it. Its based on Debian now and includes rolling updates. All reviews are subjective to the reviewers hardware, what the reviewer needs in a distro and also personal preference. This is a good review and yes it will keep as well as PCLOS. While PCLOS is a first rate distro we need to remember that distros are not in competition with each other, or they shouldn't be. Its all about having a choice. SimplyMEPIS is a very good choice.
Eddie Wilson

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.142.82.247] on January 18, 2008 12:48 PM
I'm not a computer geek but someone who just wants to get away from the dominance of Windows. For me, SimplyMepis is a great distro and I'd recommend it to anyone - as far as I have found, it just works and has a good selection of packages installed by default. Certainly for anyone dipping their toes in Linux, Mepis is a good choice.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a sleeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.209.64.185] on January 18, 2008 02:53 PM
Yeah it snores

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 122.104.58.229] on January 18, 2008 03:08 PM
Having tested almost every distro I always end up with Simply Mepis. It is reliable and for me it is the best Linux distro. I also like PCLinusOS but Mepis has the edge.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.91.173.36] on January 18, 2008 03:12 PM
Why is this blog setup to where everyone has to post as Anonymous?

MEPIS is a great distro. Much better and more robust than PCLos, and it installed and configured all my hardware whereas PCLos could not get past the boot screen. And that was on older hardware (2004 HP Laptop). But thats just my own experience with the distro which proved the MEPIS is much more seasoned and well put together. The fact is that there are many KDE centric distro's out there which are each outstanding in their own ways, and which greatly appeal and cater to their userbases needs. This is the only thing that matters imo, so if PCLos is your thing, then more power to ya, but the very last thing any PCLos fanboi should be doing is flaming another Linux Distro, especially one that is superior to it.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.77.208.233] on January 18, 2008 03:25 PM
I wish my experience with Mepis 7.0 was a smooth as yours. I have yet been able to get the real Nvidia drivers working so I have 3D acceleration using the supplied MEPIS X Windows Assistant, so I am afraid Mepis 7.0 will not last out the day on my pc. I think I will head back to Saybon for a while longer.

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Re: SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.118.201.141] on January 18, 2008 04:18 PM
I find that hard to believe. Mepis is the best among all Linux distributions in hardware recognition. Sabayon long way to go before it reaches the standards of Mepis.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 134.174.149.186] on January 18, 2008 04:02 PM
One wonders how much the author tested it given that in the screenshot the most used applications are mostly configuration utilities -- which is what you would use after an install but not on a regular basis...

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Re: SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.118.201.141] on January 18, 2008 04:21 PM
There is a clear difference between a TESTER and a REVIEWER. The author is a REVIEWER and not a TESTER. Reviewers do not test like a tester - so I do not see what the above post is aiming at.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.1.101.198] on January 18, 2008 04:49 PM
i agree with the review. Having been a long time ubuntu user, i tried simplyMepis and was happy to have all the hardware in my notebook installed and working correctly. That incudes wireless pci card with WPA encryption, something that never happened under Ubuntu. On the same notebook lataest PCLOS did not even have drivers for the wireless card (Texas instruments ACX) let alone connect. So maybe you don't get the latest,shiniest software ala Ubuntu and PCLOS, but what you get will all work reliably.
assettt

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.188.190.200] on January 18, 2008 05:46 PM
Susan, Thanks for the review.
SimplyMepis 7.0 is great!
LinuxMint 4.0 is also Great!
These are the only 2 Desktop Linux Distros that I recommend to all of my customers.
If LinuxMint or SimplyMepis don't scratch your Linux Desktop itch, you need to see a doctor.
--welkiner

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Skip the doctor

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.164.56.5] on January 18, 2008 06:46 PM
If LinuxMint or SimplyMepis don't scratch your Linux Desktop itch, you've obviously already switched to Slackware... Nuff said.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.118.182.143] on January 18, 2008 10:17 PM
Susan - thank you for the review. I am really pleased at your comments on the look and documentation as the community has done a lot of work helping Warren with supporting the release of 7.

I also read though the above comments, and can't help feeling the same disappointment with the same small minority of vocal fanboi posters. This review IMO is not about your/our individual distro, it doesn't claim Mepis is superior to anyone else's distro of choice either. Please - before posting and knocking someone else's distro, I'd suggest that you actually try Mepis first (use it for a month so you really get the feel) & make yourself known to the community while you're at it. That way you can have a real comparison. If you're happy with your own distro of choice - great - but please don't knock ours.

To the Nvidia driver poster - one of the driver options provided by the Mepis X-assistant is the proprietory Nvidia driver. It installs easily on my machine for full 3D support. And if you check our forums, you'll find detailed instructions on how to manually install the latest nvidia drivers from their site.

Susan - thanks again for a nice & detailed review. I'll look forward to reviews of other OS's as well. There is so much "good linux" out there.
Regards from NZ - Brooko

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 121.115.255.186] on January 18, 2008 10:21 PM
So can I read and write Japanese in it, or is that too detailed a question for this bunch?

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.230.183.86] on January 18, 2008 10:53 PM
Susan- Thank you for your review. As a long time Mepis user and an admirer of the work Warren Woodford has done with Mepis over the years, it is gratifying to see such a positive review of Mepis' latest incarnation.
richb

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.27.71.92] on January 18, 2008 11:19 PM
I have been using Mepis off and on since 3.4.I'm writing this on a Acer Aspire 3004LCi laptop with Mepis RC1 that was installed in Dec. It does everything that I need this computer to do and just works. Installation and setup went without a hitch not a lot of extra work a pleasant surprise. Before 7.0 this laptop was dual boot XP home and Freespire 1.0. Took them both off and haven't looked back. I have a desktop to build in the next month and will install Mepis 7.0 64bit on it as a learning tool.Hat's off to Warrem thanks againe.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.140.65.35] on January 19, 2008 05:24 AM
I think that Simply Mepis is behind the times. The Mepis tools are not open source and are easily replaced by tools like Envy. The grub splash looks thrown together with it's mustard yellow progress bar. There are better choices out there.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 19, 2008 11:23 AM
Ah, so it is not OK to have closed source tools in your distro, but it _is_ OK to have an open source tool that installs closed source drivers.

Interesting. Are you by any chance a politician?

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.140.65.35] on January 19, 2008 03:41 PM
Explain to me why the Mepis tools are closed source. By the way, ATI drivers are open source now.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.219.54.215] on January 19, 2008 03:59 PM
Sorry but a Distro review without stating the hardware specs is pretty useless.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.179.10.251] on January 19, 2008 05:20 PM
There are two distros that I default to when installing them on my customer's/donor's machines. They are Mepis and Mint. That isn't to say I don't use others...It's simply a statement of reliability and the lack of support calls in the future. New users have old habits. They love to pile software on top of software and complain when the system craters from overload. Windows users experience this with .dll conflicts all the time. While I discourage this practice in new Linux Users,I know many will not accept wise counsel. Mepis and Mint are the two distro's that consistantly outlast others with massive amounts of software pile-on via mixed repositories (testing/unstable/experimental). I personally have two partitions I use daily. Guess which two distros are on them. My Mepis install is "corrupted" with these mixed repositories and can be considered by some to be "broken" due to the mess I've made simply by screwing with libc6 dependencies. I have been running this "broken" system for 5 months...it runs as quickly and with the stability of any newly-installed distro I've tried.

The distro wars may ultimately be the downfall of GNU/Linux on the desktop. I know for a fact that Redmond is counting upon it.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 19, 2008 09:39 PM
In my humble opinion, there are no Distro wars. Only a diminutive group of overzealous fans or self-proclaimed moralists that may cause some ripples, but who cannot stop the tide.

Most Linux users just get along and respect the magnificent work done by an army of developers, documentalists, graphic artists, forum supporters etc etc, in order to make the Linux community as a whole better and stronger.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.32.14.84] on January 20, 2008 12:53 AM
First off, Susan..Thanks very much for your review, I thought it was accurate and well written, you highlighted the unique qualities that Mepis 7.0 Final has.

I've used SimplyMEPIS since the early days (on & off) But it's a Distro I've over always came back to, (simply because it just works) and is now my main system for the following reasons:

This new release is based on the stable Debian Etch branch, and as rightly pointed out, it may not have the 'bleeding packages' but the packages and applications that are included are rock solid, stable and reliable.

Personally, I'd rather choose a stable, solid reliable system over one with the latest packages or software. Because at the end of the day, SimplyMEPIS offers the following important things: reliability, stability and solid performance, and second to none hardware detection.

And lastly but by no means least. The SimplyMEPIS forums offer a level of support, friendliness & community spirit I've never come across before in my 5-6 years of using Linux.

The mepislovers.org community forum is very helpful and friendly and in my experience will do everything possible to help anyone from someone who has never used Linux before to the seasoned Linux veteran.

I suggest anyone thinking of trying SimplyMEPIS to stick with it for 30 days and use the mepislovers.org community forum for support.

What have you got to lose? If you don't like it your always free to switch to something else, but I strongly suggest at least give it a try for 30 days and use the excellent community support should you have any queries or run into any issues.

For me, SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is The Best of The Best Linux operating systems around today, it has worked for me on any piece of hardware I've ever tried and never fails and will remain my Main system of choice.

Finally, I'd like to give special thanks to Warren Woodford, the developers, and all the members of the MEPIS Community for making SimplyMEPIS 7.0 what it is today, an undoubtedly rock solid, world class, stable system.

Warm Regards

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.243.92.38] on January 20, 2008 02:48 PM
I agree with all of Susan's comments and the positive threads. Your time and praise is appreciated but make a donation and keep a good thing going. It's the highest form of praise!

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apt-get

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.152.22.82] on January 20, 2008 08:38 PM
Yes, I have also tried Mepis and I like it, but I miss the following information. It's about installing new software:
- Is Mepis fully compatible with the Debian repository?
- Does Mepis have its own repository? If so, what is it like?
I will be grateful to anyone for a hint.

Martin Jasny

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 121.115.255.186] on January 20, 2008 09:32 PM
I agree with Martin Jasny. A review should tell us a bit more about the usability of a distribution, and the software repository is right at the top of things we would want to know about. (wt)

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 20, 2008 09:51 PM
Yes, MEPIS is fully compatible with Debian Etch. It has its own repositories as well, that hold KDE 3.5.8, OpenOffice 2.3, Amarok 1.4.7, new versions of Digikam, Gwenview, MEPIS 2.6.22 kernel, FF 2.0.0.11, Thunderbird 2.0.0.9, etc etc. A community repository is available as well, that will act as a mirror to the MEPIS repos and will offer extra packages as well.
Just try it out for yourself.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.166.43.178] on January 22, 2008 03:44 PM
although, I am using archlinux currently and Linux Mint based on ubuntu, and have used PCLOS in the past for a while and still have it installed on a partition, Mepis has tended to be the most reliable distro for me. I stopped using Mepis when they switched to Ubuntu-base and when Debian sid was having issues, but I am thinking of using it on another partition. PCLOS is great and works, but not as optimal for me. I tire of the artwork and inability to fully customize my Desktop behavior and look as I see fit. It is slightly slower and not adaptable to all my PCs. mepis was one of the first distros I used that fully got me away from windows XP until gaming became a fascination for me this year. Mepis still carries the crown and the community used to be one of the most helpful and responsive ones around.

It is definitly a keeper if it anything like Mepis anti-X 7.0.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 125.20.39.39] on January 22, 2008 05:18 PM
I have always liked Mepis. This time I was expecting much. But it harassed me.
Mepis was popular for its hardware support. What happened to this great distro this time. Phoo... it came with xorg 1.1 and lacks drivers for the latest modern graphics cards from intel. Whereas even the distros that came six months before it have those intel drivers...

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 22, 2008 07:30 PM
This is where MEPIS' flexibility shines through. Since it is based on the Debian repos, you can easily upgrade your xorg from Lenny, and then revert back to stable. I did that to solve a minor DPMS issue with my xorg.

The intel driver is available via the Package Sharing section of the mepislovers forum. So you are welcome to give it a try ;)

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.191.132.204] on January 24, 2008 06:02 AM
With regard to stability... MEPIS 6.5 has been the most stable computer operating system that I have used (in 17 years). It will be some months before we have enough evidence to assess 7.0 stability. Since 7.0 is based upon Debian, rather than Ubuntu, it isn't certain that the updates will continue to be as stable as the updates to 6.5. Since 6.5 has been 100% reliable, I just can't leave it for anything unproven... even another MEPIS. For the next couple months, I will be running MEPIS 6.5 and Mint 4.0 (because nobody should limit themselves to only one distro). Then, if early evidence is that 7.0 updates are as reliable as 6.5, I'll move to MEPIS 7.0 as our primary system.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.51.184.40] on January 24, 2008 08:14 PM
after trying some 20 different distros, this is the one for me, yes I tried Ubuntu, and its' branch, Freespire, PCLOS, to name a few, but for me and my familySmepis is our choice, with 2 desktop, 1 laptop, 2 PDAs and 2 PSPs, we have no issues.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper and so is PCLinuxOs. Nothing to flame about.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 125.20.39.39] on January 29, 2008 02:53 AM
Susan, you've done a good review!
I have always liked Mepis. This time I tried it, overall it's very stable and usable, but the only negative point in it is its love to stick with old xorg 1.1, where as most of the desktop distros have appropriated xorg 1.3 or 1.4 into them. My point here is xorg 1.1 lacks driver support to most of the latest intel drivers. Well, Warren must have a greater reason. Hope, you he will include latest xorg-server in the next release.
And as for comparing mepis with pclos, I would say both are very much stable and polished desktop distros.

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SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.156.187.191] on February 11, 2008 01:02 PM
It is the only distro my wifi works. Kudos to them !!

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