Top Linux Distros: Simply Mepis

 Lesson 9 / Lesson 11

A Debian-based desktop Linux distribution, Mepis Linux is a live CD that will allow you to run operating system and all programs from the CD before installing. MEPIS does this by copying a virtual filesystem into the RAM acting as support for the temporary operating system. If you like, you can end your live CD session and your computer is returned to normal. This offers certain advantages including determining hardware compatibility with MEPIS and providing a demo for users unsure of a complete installation. Once installed this is a ready to go desktop operating system that works very well on Intel or AMD installed computers that have 32 or 64 bit architecture and on Apples with Intel processors. Although Mepis comes with the best programs around for productivity and it also offers thousands more available free from the Mepis and Ubuntu repositories which are easily installed using the package manager. This operating system works well beside Microsoft's Windows or Mac OS X in a dual-boot situation or installed by itself.

Warren Woodford set out to create a Debian-based desktop operating system that "just works". In 2003 the first version of MEPIS was released to the public and now releases continue to track Debian development, the most recent version just released following Debian's most stable version. 64-bit support for MEPIS was born in 2007 and shortly after antiX was available, based on MEPIS core and aimed at old low spec computers.

This distro is hard to categorize because it provides multiple desktop solutions. Although this distro has been placed in the "Live CD" category I feel this is mostly because of its extra capabilities not because that is all it can do. MEPIS makes an amazing desktop for installation on your hard drive and would be a great addition to dual boot or use by itself.

Desktop Screenshot
The SimplyMEPIS desktop appears in stoney blue-grey type colors throughout the login window, desktop and menu. The icons I found useful right away are arranged on the left side of the desktop while a floating grey panel appeared at the bottom including the time and date, shortcut icons and the KDE menu. I appreciated the older version,(but stable) of KDE that was used in this version of SimplyMEPIS. I find new versions of KDE sometimes buggy and this one gave me no problems, worked and looked beautifully.

Help Resources
One help resource I found immediately while using the latest version of SimplyMepis was right on the desktop before I even had the chance to look for help. It was the MEPIS User Manual icon that brought up a very detailed guide of how to do everything from install MEPIS to using the command line. I was able to use the manual out of the gates while using MEPIS following step-by-step instructions for setup and other basic tasks. The MEPIS website is located at The site provides a good selection of help resources for beginners and advanced users. Featuring a list of blogs, community wiki, and other MEPIS related pages its the first place I would go to get help or jsut read up on recent MEPIS releases or news.

One thing specifically that I found useful was the MEPIS User Assistant which allows you to copy or sync your entire home directory or specific files to another PC or it can be used as a backup.

My Feeling
I've used MEPIS in the past and thought of it as an average distro that had some work to do. However now after using a recent release and experiencing the KDE integration and stability the desktop offered, I'm second guessing myself. This desktop could be easily used in my office daily as it contains a large amount of application that work well for me. Multimedia applications like Amarok and K3B installed by default make accessing and managing my media pretty easy, while the OpenOffice software suite has all of my office needs covered. All of these features and applications are accessible from a live CD so really I can see no excuse for not giving SimplyMEPIs a try.

Make sure before doing any type of installation that you save your files and data to protect them in-case of a problem. Boot from the live CD and log into the login window as a demo user. I logged on and clicked on the MEPIS Install icon on the desktop.

Next I enter the root password which by default was root.

 This brought up a license agreement which I accepted and clicked Next on the bottom right of the window.

 On the next window were a list of MEPIS installation instructions on the left, which I found helpful, and options to choose disk to be used, options to modify partitions, and choose type of installation.

After clicking next and agreeing it was okay to sue my entire hard drive by clicking yes, the installation began. The status bar showed full in about 10 -15 minutes on my setup and automatically brought me to the next window.

The next window allows the selection of the boot method. I clicked Next.

The next screen allowed for the adjustment of services enabled such as desktop firewall and bluetooth wireless.

Now we need to set the computers name, domain, Samba server enabling option, and workgroup name.

Next I chose the localization formats and configured the clock.

Now I need to create a user, password and set the system root password.

Finally I receive confirmation that this installation has been completed, agree to restart, login to my new user account and im staring at the SimplyMEPIS desktop installated on my computer.

The installation process was quick and easy while still gathering the appropriate information to make my SimplyMEPIS installation a success.