Linked by Andrew Hubbard on Wed 25th Feb 2004 18:24 UTC
Linux Mepis Linux is a liveCD, debian based distro, with some additional features, which makes it an excellent introduction to debian. A recent review provided a good overview of the background and basis of Mepis, my review aims to focus more on the day to day use for a desktop user.
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Testers often too euphoric for my taste...
by Anonymous on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:08 UTC

I had d/l-ed a Mepis ISO a couple weeks ago. For what it wants to be -- a Live-CD -- it is quite OK. After all, the "live" in Live-CD gives you an idea what these things are generally/ultimately aimed at. What I will not grasp however, and this is true for all Live-CDs, why people always try to draw a line of some sorts to distros like SuSE. Hell, there are like 100-200 (?) full-time employed people working on SuSE for years now and this Mepis-guy is tampering along for a couple month all on his own -- so don't even dare mentioning projects like that in one sentence with RH, Madrake, Suse... What's next..?! Give these people one more week and they'll be bought out by Novell? Offer servers with HP? -- These Live-CDs are a totally different matter...

A great distro
by eightiesdude on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:26 UTC

Amazing what he has accomplished as basically a one man distro. Can't wait to see what he can come up with over some more time.

by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:28 UTC

Mepis is based on Debian, which has hundreds of developers, and has been in development for more than a decade.

Mapis as one man project
by kc on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:32 UTC

I use mepis at work for workstation (since 2003.12) (I develop PHP/MYSQL apps). Surely mepis will not do for server job. But for workstation this distro is really worth giving a try!!

Re: Testers often too euphoric for my taste...
Please remeber that Mepis is based on Debian so you have to give credit to whole lot of people. I use RH at home (dont have time to get rid of it), i tried recently Mandrake and my experience is that RH and Mandrake are much overrated.

Polish != polish
by Taras on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:43 UTC

This was a bit confusing..For a moment I thought you meant lack of a Polish for country called Poland.

by Justin Sane on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:45 UTC

I installed Mepis about 2 weeks ago and have finally found a GNU/Linux distribution I'm going to stick with. Previously I've tried Corel Linux, Slackware, Red Hat, Lindows, Suse and Mandrake. Installation was simple and everything except for sound worked without any tinkering. I installed ALSA and had sound in no time. Being based on Debian you have a vast library of software that's simple to update.

@ R Hashem -- your point..?
by Anonymous on Wed 25th Feb 2004 19:52 UTC

Is this to say Suse can fire 199 of the 200? Are they doing something wrong maybe?! You need not point out to me what Debian is + you probably figured that out already by what I said... I am not even aware whether there is a distro not giving credit to Debian upon booting, if one hadn't figured that one out by that time.

by debi-nite on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:08 UTC

MEPIS is actually a pretty neat distro. However, I merely used it to get a Debian setup up and running. When I installed MEPIS, I immediately did a dist-upgrade and then grabbed the gnome 2.4 apt source and went to installing that. I then tweaked gnome out and compiled a custom 2.6.2 kernel. All in all, I don't use anything MEPIS related anymore and would say that MEPIS only aided me in the installation of Debian. Perhaps one day MEPIS as a distro will get to be really good and then maybe more of us would use the defaults.

Re: comments
by Jimbo on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:12 UTC

Well said Anonymous. I never understood why these one man Linux projects are even rated on the same scale as the major distros. I am willing to bet there have been over a thousand Linux distros at some point. The sad part is it is still a pain in the ass to find packages that work for even the most popular distros (I am not counting the software that comes on the disks). Almost all distros are just reinventions of the wheel.

RE: Re: comments
by Anonymous on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:20 UTC

Innovation is doing the same thing, incompatibly over and over again. Like GPL redefined the common usage of Free, I'm redefining innovation. Please notice the upper case "Innovation" is different from "innovation."

Re: Polish != polish
by Adam Scheinberg on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:24 UTC

Interesting fact: Polish/polish is the only word in the English language that changes pronounciation when capitalized. Also interesting is that you DO capitalize it in a title. So, it's all about the context.

Re comments
by Anonymous on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:28 UTC

I never understood why these one man Linux projects are even rated on the same scale as the major distros.

Because that's what they are competing against. When people try several linux distros they do not group them into "one man operations" and "coorporations". They try a selction -- "linux".

Having tried a LOT of distros, including Mepis, I have now settled on SUSE. It just works the way it should. Everything is easy to install and admin. The interface is pretty enough not to inflict pain on my eyes. It's like a fresh install of windows. Most defaults make sense, and it is easy to beat it into shape. I just love it!

I thought
by Sandwich Boy on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:32 UTC

that all version of Linux supported Polish?

Ok, mod me down...

Re: Comments
by Jack on Wed 25th Feb 2004 20:50 UTC

Bitter aren't we? Did we forget that Linux started off as a one man operation? What does it matter if it is as one man operation or a slew of people, if in the end it accomplishes what it sets out to do. Your arguments are alot like those of a MS fanboys who knocks linux for one reason or another.

Back on topic, Mepis does look like a neat GNU/Linux Distribution. Just give it time.

v RE: @ R Hashem -- your point..?
by jsagazio on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:24 UTC
But Why KDE
by Steve on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:29 UTC

I like Mepis, its easy. I want debian, but I DONT want KDE by default, if KDE had a good look I would enjoy it but it makes me feel like im a little kid. Gnome/KDE options would be good. I run Fedora 2 TEST 1 right now, my opinion is that its the best distro yet... also with 2.6 running... which is schweet...

Re: Jack
by Jimbo on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:33 UTC

I am not an MS fanboy, I just don't have a political agenda so I call it like I see it. Sometimes my opinions are even 8gasp* anti-Linux. All that emperors new clothing stuff is for the other autistic retards. Linux has flaws, pointing them out does not make me anti-Linux, just objective (I swing both ways ;)

by Anonymous on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:36 UTC

I had a terrible time with fedora myself...good to hear it's working out for you tho. On my machines, where just about every other distro has failed Mepis has shone. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for folks with older systems, but it's really quite adaptable since it'll do anything Debian you want it to...

Warren sounds like just the kind of guy I want backing the distro on my machines. Figure I'll register soon, I owe him for getting me to where I can run the ut2k4 demo perfectly ;)

foo out

a good quickie review
by gnobuddy on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:37 UTC

Andrew Hubbard wrote:
Overall Mepis is an excellent distro, it lacks polish in some areas but shows real potential. In particular it would be good to see some more polish around the KDE desktop, including rearranging the menus and having nicer default fonts. Mepis is undoubtedly the best liveCD installation Iíve used and I would not hesitate to recommend Mepis to anyone looking for an easy introduction to debian.
I think Andrew summed Mepis up nicely. I first tried Mepis with no great enthusiasm, then started to like this distribution more and more as time went on. Surface polish is lacking, yes, but what's underneath is surprisingly solid for a relatively young distro. Yes, I know it's built on Debian which is very mature, but Mepis often "just works" where other Debian-based distros falter. For instance, Mepis found and auto-configured my wife's Wacom Intuos USB graphics tablet, while the pricy and much-praised Xandros 2 Deluxe failed to do the same (it's partially configured, but doesn't work).

Recently I was setting up the PC I use for a desktop and small intranet server at work. Mandrake 9.2 failed to create a working install in three tries, booting up into a black screen each time with no keyboard and no console prompt, never mind a GUI. I then installed JAMD 0.0.6b, which worked well in initial testing, but eventually broke as I installed various bits of software I need (apache, various Perl modules, tetex/latex, etc, etc). Third up was Mepis, which worked flawlessly, as it has on every PC I've tried it on to date..which is to say, 3 desktops and one laptop so far. I'm typing this from the PC in question right now.

One thing the reviewer omitted to mention was that by default Mepis sets up a firewall (using Guarddog) and closes off most ports. Running the command "guarddog" as root brings up a fairly intuitive GUI which lets you tweak the firewall as needed, opening new ports or closing existing open ones.

Mepis also does an excellent job of locating shared printers on the network. It auto-detected the printer on my other PC, which is shared over the network with CUPS.

IMHO, Mepis is already one of the best distros out there, which is why it's on three of my PC's. The fourth runs Gentoo, showing my masochistic side!


One man project?
by Metic on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:41 UTC

What are some people talking here, and don't they read what they are commenting on? Mepis is not just a one man project. It is basically just plain Debian with some small enhancements and those enhancements may be mostly based on other projects too. So there is a very large developer community behind Mepis too. The very small parts that are specific only to Mepis are not too difficult to maintain even for a very small team.

"The sad part is it is still a pain in the ass to find packages that work for even the most popular distros"

Mepis is Debian, so one can easily install and use all those thousands of official Debian packages via APT or Synaptic, plus the unofficial packages...

Though, I could understand that some people might not like Mepis because it does what it does quite well, is relatively easy to use and install even for a beginner, but it costs nothing unlike some commercial distributions...

MEPIS has no SCSI support!!
by franknputer on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:46 UTC

NOTE: the current release of MEPIS has no SCSI support in its kernel. Worse yet, there is absolutely no mention of this on their website - the HW compat specifically says that Adaptec is supported - outside of their forums, and then only if you happen to dig for it.

Nor is it mentioned on the CD itself, in either the install routines or even a lousy README - the Live CD will mount & access your SCSI disks, but the installed kernel will not. I found this out after going through the d/l & burning what are now 3 coasters, going through the whole install procedure, only to have it find no boot volume - and then, while searching for a solution, I found out that the solution is "wait for the next release".

Apparently there is some sort of conflict with SCSI & ATA living together nicely, so they opted to remove SCSI. Now I understand the choice, but not saying so up front is lame - I don't care if it is a 1-man project, it wouldn't take all day to add something to the frickin' download page that says that SCSI support had to be removed.

MAYBE I'll try the next release - it still looked real good, but not being up-front about something so basic was a pisser that I really didn't need.

RE: MEPIS has no SCSI support!!
by franknputer on Wed 25th Feb 2004 21:47 UTC

I should add that this is bootable SCSI support. Secondary SCSI stuff might just work fine, I'm not sure.

Re: Jimbo
by Jack on Wed 25th Feb 2004 22:01 UTC

Go back and *reread* my most. I never called you a MS-Fanboy, not that there's anything wrong with that. And please stay on topic, and spare us your high and mighty attitude.

PS: Please feel free to mod down this posts.

v *YAWN*
by Maxamoto on Wed 25th Feb 2004 22:05 UTC
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 25th Feb 2004 22:29 UTC

No, my point is *not* that SuSE can fire all those developers, and I never said anything of the sort! My point is that the sum of the total effort put into MEPIS (because of its Debian core) is much more significant than would be suggested by the fact that it is a "one man project." Further, note that a lot of the code written by RH, SuSE, etc, gets returned upstream to the original projects, and thus filters into Debian as well.

Your original comment was:

"so don't even dare mentioning projects like that in one sentence with RH, Madrake, Suse..."

That statement is profoundly absurd. MEPIS is a superset of Debian. If Debian is worth mentioning "in one sentence with RH, Mandrake, Suse...", and I think everyone would agree that it is, then surely so is MEPIS!

RE: MEPIS has no SCSI support!!
by psilo on Thu 26th Feb 2004 00:07 UTC

I noticed mepis doesn't use initrd. Initrd is used by almost every distro out there to be able to mount the root partition on a large variety of hardware and setups with the same kernel. These kind of headaches (no scsi boot support) could've been prevented if the mepis team realised why every other distro out there uses initrd.

RE: Anonymous
by Omer Hickman on Thu 26th Feb 2004 03:53 UTC

> Innovation is doing the same thing, incompatibly
> over and over again. Like GPL redefined the common
> usage of Free, I'm redefining innovation. Please
> notice the upper case "Innovation" is different
> from "innovation."

So you must be the founder of Microsoft?

RE: RE: Anonymous
by Anonymous on Thu 26th Feb 2004 06:54 UTC

Yes. Microsoft Windows, is famous for being incompatible with itself. Linux on the other hand, can install any binary package on any distribution with the help of autopackage. This is quite a feat considering there are 500+ linux distributions of varying quality. Wake me up when you can download a single binary of Winamp and install it on Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows 95 OSR2, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. This is truly how Linux will win the desktop market.

RE: MEPIS has no SCSI support!!
by acobar on Thu 26th Feb 2004 08:54 UTC

From | System Hardware | page

When installing MEPIS on a hard drive, at least 2.5GB of space is required but 4GB is preferred.

A hard drive or CDROM drive may be IDE, SCSI, or USB but when MEPIS is installed, <strong>the root partition must be on an IDE drive</strong>. The next major release of MEPIS, due in April 2004, will include SCSI and USB support in a special kernel.</em></p>

And in response to many posts, a good distribution is much more than just put packages together, and no, I don't use MEPIS, I use Slackware and FreeBSD.

debian issues
by gromit on Thu 26th Feb 2004 10:32 UTC

1) isn't there actually a problem with the mixed repositories mepis uses (unstable/testing/stable)? I thought that I read elsewhere that this means that it can actually be broken quite easily. I must admit that that scared me off a little bit, although as soon as I get some time I will be giving MEPIS a good look over.

2) as regards praising the one man distribution, remember that it *is* a one-man distro. Just like a DJ's remix is as much his own work as the work of the original artist, a distribution "mixed" by one man is a one-man distro, even if the kernel, DE etc were made by hundreds of people. It's this guy's mix: his distro. By saying it's a one man distro we can impliedly acknowledge the work of the many and the craft of the one. Good luck to him and all credit.

Re: Single binary
by Ucedac on Thu 26th Feb 2004 10:49 UTC

>> Wake me up when you can download a single binary of
>> Winamp and install it on Windows 98, Windows 98 SE,
>> Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows 95 OSR2, Windows XP,
>> and Windows Server 2003. This is truly how Linux will win
>> the desktop market.

Well on winamp's website there's only one installation. and at least it works on Win98/ME/NT4/Win2K/XP. I do not know about 95 or 2003...

by Jonatan Andersson on Thu 26th Feb 2004 14:32 UTC

For days I have incorrectly read the title "Mepis Linux: Despite Lack of Polish, a Worthwhile Distro". I until recently thought it meant that despite the lack of the localization to the Polish lanugage it was a good distro. Hmm... I might give it a try I honestly don't care if it has Polish localization.

Silly me....

Fonts fonts fonts.
by Mrzehl on Thu 26th Feb 2004 14:40 UTC

Yesterday I tried MEPIS and ineed, the menus don't look good. But that's my problem with every distro I tried. I seems to be a Linux thing. I don't like antialiased fonts in my menu. By the way: same thing with MacOS. I don't like the looks of a Mac menu.

A very important thing of an OS is the way it looks. An that is the point Windows where Windows wins.
Just strait pixelfonts in the menu. Must be easy to read.
I don't know how fonts work in Linux.
If I open a document in Linux...yes..I know... Linux is the kernel, if I use the word Linux I mean the distros I tried, Mandrake, Vector, Mepis, Peanut, Knoppix, ...
So when I open a doc in Linux ... in OpenOffice or KOffice or Abiword it never looks as smooth as it looks in Windows.
Most of the time I'm reading from my monitor.. websites, mails, documents... so the most important thing is if fonts looks good. Mandrake did look best from all, but still not perfect.
Mepis works good, everything works...anyone knows how make it look good?

Why are the looks that unimportant with Linux?
Any desktopdistro must look good. Is it that hard?
And if it's possible somebody should write a tutorial: 'How to make the fonts look at least as good in Linux as they do in MS Windows. Polish your distro.' That would be great.
Should be a biiiig step to make Linux more popular.

If Mepis fixes this it's realy a winner. It seems to be an innovating distro. Easy for windows users as me, but including the right fonts and rendering them good is a realy really really important thing. I don't care how fancy buttons look. I want nice looking fonts!

A readibley pixelfont in the menus and a nice working antialiased font rendering in my wordprocessor please...
.. that's essential for beating Windows. For me it is.

RE: Fonts fonts fonts
by Mrzehl on Thu 26th Feb 2004 15:23 UTC

Mmm... I found something here
I will try to polish MEPIS this weekend. First I've to install MEPIS. Just tried it live.

PC Linux OS
by Anonymous on Thu 26th Feb 2004 16:00 UTC

Those who like Mepis should give PCLinuxOS 2K4 a try. It tries to follow Mepis' good points: easy hard drive install, automatic Nvidia configuration, useful apps... with more polish. The desktop is more beautiful too, and better hardware compatibility.. at least for my case. In Mepis, I have problems with the modem configuration (using Linuxant's driver) and network browsing -- can't get Komba to work. With PCLinux, everything is smooth. PCLinuxOS is based on Mandrake and is created by texstar which I've seen on Mepis' forums. Probably he got quite a few tips from Warren, but he sure does does give his version better polish and better sense of desktop aesthetics, IMHO.

Mepis - My experience
by Haldir on Thu 26th Feb 2004 16:13 UTC

My primary Distro is Slackware and always will be. I tried Mepis on my desktop and laptop. I think it is a very good distro for someone that just wants to install it and not have to do alot of configuration of their system. Both my systems it set up fine and gave a good workable system.

My problems were:
1) For most people doing a dist-upgrade may break several things in the system. This was my experience and from comments on their forums it is common and they recommend not doing it. So you have to be careful with some software installations you do and what gets upgraded.

2) The last time I checked, the kernel source was not available for the kernel being used. Not sure if it is totally a stock kernel or what patches are included. This became an issue for me when I wanted to get my wireless card working.

Oh and by the way. Windows really does suck. Most of the a criticisms above about linux are because people do not want to take the time and effort to learn how to tweak/configure their system. Linux allows you to make your system look however you want it to, if you take the time to do it. M$ will not give near that flexibility.

Re: Polish != polish
by DrP on Thu 26th Feb 2004 20:05 UTC

Interesting fact: Polish/polish is the only word in the English language that changes pronounciation when capitalized. Also interesting is that you DO capitalize it in a title. So, it's all about the context.

Polish my Polish shoes, please.

I have to agree with you. Mepis is easily the finest Live CD around. It begins with a very nice Knoppix core, adds a very easy hard disk installation, and requires very little out of you to get it up and running. There certainly could be more polish, but I find it amazing that Warren has been this successful in turning out a great system.

For those who know what they're doing, it doesn't take much to add additional Debian packages they want and remove what they don't want.

Personally, I view this project as a great way to jump start my own customized, personal system. I applaud the work that Warren has done!

Mepis User
by KRiSX on Fri 27th Feb 2004 01:06 UTC

i just recently went through a bunch of dists trying to find one that suited my needs, i was determind to find a debian based dist that i liked.. and mepis came out on top.. even above the extremely nice xandros 2.0...

i am a proud mepis user and will continue to use it as my desktop OS ;)

just to add
by KRiSX on Fri 27th Feb 2004 01:09 UTC

if you want to improve the look of kde you might want to just update to the latest version.. or at least 3.1.5.. i did.. KPackage and/or Synaptic are your friend! ;) lol

by on Fri 27th Feb 2004 09:20 UTC

سلام من هم خيلي دوست دارم Mepis کار کنم

Tried Mepis
by dennis on Fri 27th Feb 2004 09:56 UTC

I tried Mepis.... it could not not even find my microsoft wheelmouse USB... it if can't find and install something that simple, I cannot trust it with the rest of my system. I will stick to Mandrake or SUSE.