MadPenguin reviews SimplyMEPIS, and concludes: “The bottom line here is when reviewing a desktop Linux candidate, I expect to have a certain amount of functionality at hand, and a certain amount of polish. SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3 lacks both in my opinion. If you’re looking for a fundamental installation and don’t mind spending a bunch of time fixing/adjusting things that normally would have been done for you already, MEPIS might be for you. If you’re looking for a desktop that pretty much works out of the box, handles removable media with grace, and isn’t going to rob you of productive time, then I’d recommend sticking with something like Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva, or SUSE.”
Review: SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3
About The Author
Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda
2006-03-12 3:30 amryan
“OR…you could just right-click and send it to the trash using the convenient popup menu.
I mean, really, it’s 2006 and he didnt try to right-click it? ”
Well, he _did_ mention that he was an OSX user. Maybe his laptop only has one button, as those are prone to having. I’m sure there is a key combination that works the same as ctrl-click does for KDE, but I don’t know it — obviously the reviewer didn’t either.
Damn! The guy was too harsh on MEPIS… Like another poster already pointed out, the lack of automounting of USB thingies is a drawback for a desktop-oriented distro, but most of the other complaints are unwarranted.
MEPIS comes with some proprietary stuff already installed, like True-Type fonts, Flash player, Java and Acrobat Reader, sparing the new user from installing this stuff.
Their default theme choices does leave something to be desired and that fish applet on a default desktop really is hideous. Here is where I think that they should take a lesson from other KDE distros and improve. Both Kubuntu and Linspire looks much better in this regard. I had to do some manual fiddling in order to present a pleasant desktop for my wife and my sister-in-law to use, but so far, I have yet to hear complaints from them regarding its looks.
The “All Applications” menu is the old Debian menu, I guess. I’m not too fond of it either, but sometimes it’s nice to have it there. There are lots of applications on Debian repositories that don’t sit too well with these desktop distros and are only added to the Debian menu.
MEPIS is kinda stable as-is but since it is based on Etch and Etch is passing thru changes right now, one have to be careful when upgrading or installing things with too much dependencies. However, I don’t think that MEPIS is the only Debian based distro suffering from this (even though I heard that Kanotix is based on Sid and somehow manages to keep somewhat stable… I’ll try it soon or later). Hopefully, this will be settled soon.
I also became addicted to the KDE-way of one click. It became like second nature and sometimes is painful to use Windows or GNOME, even if they can be set to use single clicks (not sure about GNOME here…). But if double clicks is what floats his boat, he could very easily change the default behavior on KDE Control Center.
The reviewer made several personal remarks which counted as negative points on the distro, yet missed some obvious flaws such as OSCenter being a little bit too basic compared to the likes of YAST and the Drak tools. I’ll stand by my opinion that the reviewer was a bit unfair to this nice distro.
Although the reviewer has some points, I think that 1.5 was far too harsh.
Mepis’ handling of wireless cards has always been good. I was running wireless on Mepis after SuSE could not handle my wireless connection. That was a couple of years ago. (SuSE does better now.) One of the guys in my LUG switched to Mepis because it was the only distro that correctly configured and activated his wireless card.
I agree that the Quick launch area next to the KDE menu is too small (I have since adjusted mine) What I really liked about Mepis is that it made me aware that I had a Quick Launch.
Default Konqueror filemanager view was not pretty but I have customized mine.
I would give mepis a 6 of 10. (10 of 10 for wireless!!)
He has a point on the removable media part, but the rest of it is simply a matter of personal taste. This is less like a review and more like an “impression”.
While I no longer use Mepis, I found that they have a very active and responsive user community. Their wiki is very much up to date, and answers are quick and detailed.
I use debian pure compiled everthing and i am computer literate person.
Cons : lack of polish, cant compile programs sometimes and takes time to adjust settings
Pros : at least provides real click to install button, very easy installer, and repair also. Easy to install/repair grub again and again if you get blue screen.
Common to all distros(at least debian based): Why all distros make same mistakes over and over again? Just look at Mepis forum, or ubuntu or knoppix forum. You Will see EXACTLY same problems occuring for average Joe. Why can’t one distro learn from mistakes of other distro? Afterall opensource has given a choice : “not to repeat mistakes from others”.
I was thinking by the time 2007 all many problems will be sorted out but looks like we will be facing same difficulties over and over again, no matter how brilliently developers design a distro.
The reviewer mentions Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva, and SuSE as being easier/more trouble free.
I would agree on Mandriva and SuSE, particularily the packaged “for pay” versions. Both have tons of stuff working out of the box, due proprietary codecs, fileformats, software, and drivers being supported.
However, Fedora and Ubuntu are totally “free” distros, thus do not ship the extra propietary stuff, and thus require a lot more work than Mepis (which does ship some of the proprietary stuff) to get a full desktop system, as most users expect, up and running.
But, I haven’t read the review yet. 😉
I’ll proceed to do so now …
Just wanted to clafify the free/proprietary thing and how it relates to the out of the box desktop experience.
Well, I, sadly, have to agree with the author of the article.
Two years ago I though Mepis was the huge and most relevant thing in the Linux world… Now they are dissapointing me.
I have tried the last Live CD of Mepis and more or less is what the outhr says. Only that in several of my PCs in won’t even boot. even trying hacks. Even worst, Older versions of Mepis Linux did boot very well in those PCs. How is this possible???
Just to name one of the PCs I could not make it to boot at all, is a Dell Precision 410 Dual CPU, with 2 Pentium 2, or pentium 3 processors, 512 Mb SDRAM, ATI Radeon 9000 128Mb AGP…
About the detection of sound cards, Mepis has always been bad in that… It never recognised a Crystal sound card in that PC, for instance, that other Debian based distros did… but this was a minor incident because the rest of the distro was very smooth and good.
Now, I can not say the same. Its OK if it boots in your PC, but just that.
And if it does not boot , then it worths nothing… It is supposed to be a really “eaasy – out of the box distro” isn’t it ?
Besides the packages are not very recent, compared to other distros ( whether it is because of the Debian pace of development, or not. That is a question that users and customeres do not contemplate, or give a damn for …
I hope they will improve and come back to what they were …
Having become frustrated after screwing something up using synaptic on Mepis 3.3.1 I tossed it for Kanotix. But even then my experience was for the most part a positive one; everything looked good with attention to detail like out-of-the-box True Type fonts and integrated multimedia had me singing Mepis’ praises. This current offering does this and more. I’m in awe of the short boottime and after updating to KDE 3.5 it’s as polished as any distro out there. It deserves its #5 spot on distrowatch.
I haven’t used it, so I can’t comment much, but one good thing about Mepis is the livecd’s support for wireless cards with ndiswrapper. For ages, I couldn’t get my card to work in 32 bit linux at all, no matter what driver I tried (countless different versions from the net, as well as the one that came with my laptop). Then I tried mepis and it worked fine. I don’t know where they got their Broadcom wireless driver, but its the only one that works.
So naturally I ripped the driver files from the livecd and used them in my Debian install
We both admire Vector and I’m using PCLinuxOS but I spend slightly less time configuring the simply MEPIS on my 9 linux hard drive/s. I PREFER seeing the hidden files so when my amateur users need to alter some dot file they see it – WOW they HATE it when they can’t see them.
In fact, it saves me time every day when I do backup and grab the .mozilla file to preserve browser history as my users insist on keeping that after rebuilds, NO – I CAN”T TEACH THEM BOOKMARKS but I did try frequently. I still change to keramic white and highten contrast for our older eyesight/s. [ highlight in yellow by default, please, that color outsells the others as a marker so take the hint if building a distro! ] I hate when ctrl alt + and – don’t work! True newbies think they broke the computer when they activate accidently and they have not learned those commands yet, thus MEPIS works better for newbies than some GNOME abomination. It is easier to train newbies to deal with visual clutter vs constant whinning of “Now I can’t find anything, this OS sucks!” contrary to the “GNOME human interface guidelines”. I was a MEPIS Admin. but am leaning towards Vector in the future as it seems faster. For amateurs Administering their own Stuff MEPIS is great: KANOTIX is worth mention, really boring because nothing ever seems to go wrong there and I am studying Vector with OOO and kde added to see if it or MEPIS will default boot my/our next rebuild.
Pros: Debian – based, huge repositories sources, apt, synaptic, built-in Firebox multimedia support, easy install.
Cons: lack of support of major World languages (like Russian), cluttered desktop and menu.
It supports all my hardware. In my opinion it deserves the fifths place in Distrowatch.
One of the stupidest decisions made by Microsoft when designing Windows was the use of the unnecessary, unergonomic, inefficient, RSI-inducing double click. I suspect this was done only to differentiate Windows from the Unix and Mac OS of the day.
As one who developed RSI (repetitive stress injury) in my right hand from endless double-clicking in Windows, I am truly thankful that KDE *halves* the amount of clicking I have to do.
Adam, dude, if you’re going to review a KDE distro, at least learn to use basic features in KDE. If you want to do something with a file without launching it, RIGHT CLICK on it, and use the context menu. That’s what that other button on the right side of your mouse is for!
I fully agree the default Mepis desktop is cluttered and ugly, as is the panel. But in some two years of using it, Mepis has repeatedly turned out to be probably the ugly little distro that comes closest to Just Works (TM) of any Linux distro I’ve used. I was shocked when it even found and configured a winmodem on a PC I was setting up for a family friend. By contrast I find Fedora buggy and unusably slow, Suse less buggy but also painfully slow, and Mandriva better only when it comes to the Drak config tools.
At the moment, I find myself installing Mepis whenever the PC is for a newbie. I use Gentoo at home, Kubuntu on my laptop, and Suse 10.0 on an intranet server at work. Using Suse was a mistake, it has been buggy and despite running on my fastest hardware it performs slower than any other of my PC’s. But my point is, I’m no Mepis fanboy – but I’ve come to acknowledge its very notable strengths.
“In a double-click environment, you’d click to highlight and then press the delete key. In single-click mode you can’t do that without opening the file. The only way I’ve found to do it is click/drag around it to highlight it, then delete the file.”
OR…you could just right-click and send it to the trash using the convenient popup menu.
I mean, really, it’s 2006 and he didnt try to right-click it?
Edited 2006-03-11 11:07