- About Us
Although I know my way around an operating system, I'm not the kind of guy who wants to fiddle around too much to get a distribution to work. It has to work 'out of the box' or require very little tailoring. At least as important as usability is a good community -- someone to help you when you need advice. And a third thing I need is easy availability of packages for additional software. Mepis has all of that.
It's easy to check whether Mepis will work on your system before you install it, because you start Mepis as a LiveCD. This also makes Mepis a great recovery and rescue CD. Just put the CD in your drive, reboot, and enter the world of Mepis!
This distribution is known for its excellent hardware detection. Where some distributions refused to work with either my onboard sound or my network card, Mepis did a great job.
Mepis comes with KDE desktop environment. But since you have access to all the Debian packages, you can easily install GNOME and many other window managers. I installed Xfce myself a while ago.
While I didn't need help with hardware support, I did want to be sure help was available if I ever did need it. I started on the distro's Web site, but I was not too happy with the search options in the forum section. Then I found mepislovers.com, a site started by Donna South, a longtime Mepis fan. Here you can find a good forum and an art gallery. But sometimes you need help without wanting to wait for an answer on a post you placed on a forum. On the #mepis ITC channel on irc.freenode.net you can find help for Mepis issues almost every hour of the day.
If you want additional software, Mepis is great. Because it is Debian-based, you have thousands of packages available for installation in the Debian repositories. Apt-get and its GUI front-end Synaptic make it easy to install new software. And Mepis comes packed with plenty of preinstalled software. Especially the Mozilla browser has been given some extra attention. I never saw a Linux distribution in which a browser could handle so many different file types, including Windows file types such as WMV, out of the box! All the plug-ins you need are there. Mepis creator Warren Woodford did a great job there!
Mepis comes with the Mozilla and Konqueror browsers. For multimedia it has XMMS, RealPlayer 10, and Xine. The KOffice and OpenOffice.org suites are available for office work. Imendio Planner and Scribus are there too. For IRC you have Kopete, which can also be used for instant messaging with MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, and more. Mepis also has Skype installed, a great application for Internet telephony.
Woodford expanded the functionality of Debian with enhancements like a Mepis Installation Center that makes it easy to install Mepis on your hard disk. There is a Mepis System Center to help you install localizations, change video and mouse settings, network settings, and more, without having to edit configuration files. This makes the distribution easy to use and very newbie-friendly.
Of course there have been issues with Mepis. Some of its enhancements can cause compatibility problems with standard Debian packages. There were problems with hwdata, but these are solved now. The Mepis Web site warns users about this problem and shows them how to avoid trouble. There is a Mepis repository where Mepis-only packages like themes and modified Debian packages can be found. These modified Debian packages should prevent future problems.
Mepis is easy to install, and once installed it's a very good Debian distro, incorporating tweaks it would take you days or weeks to configure yourself. Some people might call Mepis a newbie distribution, but I believe Mepis is shaped the way a modern distro should be. And I will continue to use it!
Marcel Gommans is a former IT manager in Venlo, the Netherlands, who has been using Linux for several years. He is available for jobs and projects concerning IT management, ERP systems, and everything related.
What's your desktop OS of choice? Write an article of less than 1,000 words telling us what you use and why. If we publish it, we'll pay you $100.So far, we've heard from fans of FreeBSD and Mepis Linux.