This review at DesktopLinux.com takes a quick look at the just-released, Ubuntu-based SimplyMEPIS 6.5 Linux distribution. The author finds it to be easy to install and configure, and a solid desktop platform to use, but notes that the distribution’s Beryl 3D graphics support can be challenging to get working.
A First Look at SimplyMEPIS 6.5
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
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2007-04-06 7:27 amraver31
At the minute I am just burning off a copy of Mepis 6.5. I will test it on this machine here.
This machine used to be running Kubuntu 6.10, however, I changed it to the KDE version of Linux Mint.
Linux Mint (kde) uses Ubuntu 6.10 but has its own version of KDE. So it is not Kubuntu….
It has things like the Tasty Menu, all codecs working and set up correctly. And a selection of applications that are usually included in Ubuntu, but not in Kubuntu, like Firefox, Gimp and Hugin.
So, I will test Mepis 6.5 and maybe report back.
and it is SWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!
Rebooted the CD, selected the boot menu option for nvidia support, then when KDM started there was an option for Beryl. Works brilliantly. I have Firefox in this window and Amarok in another, and and it spins nicely when you roll the mousewheel…
It is fast… very fast compared to Suse 10.2 and Ubuntu 6.06 and 6.10 and 7.04 which have all been tested on this machine.
However, one thing I do not like about Mepis, is that I have to either edit fstab to add the extra hard drives this machine has, or use the Kwikdisk program, which I do not like to use. I like it all to work transparently.
Now, the differences between it and stock Kubuntu;
It uses Firefox, Gimp, Gaim, Thunderbird, NX and all codecs works out of the box.
Now the difference between Mepis and Linuxmint;
Nvidia and Beryl support from first boot.
Has some games installed.
It uses OpenOffice instead of Koffice
Does not have Tasty menu.
Is far far faster.
So… the crux… what would you use it for ?
If you have a machine with no fast internet connection, just drop this in and install. Everything works and no messing around on the internet looking for apps to get this or that working. Good selection of software.
Edited 2007-04-06 08:36
2007-04-06 3:19 pmTommyD
Thanks for the quick review, and it didn’t take 2 weeks. You get an A!
After a quick review of the package versions, it looks like Mepis 6.5 is built on the Ubuntu LTS (Dapper) base system. Then Warren Woodford has apparently backported many applications from newer Ubuntu releases and also built several packages on his own.
Programs like gcc (4.0.3), glibc (2.3.6), perl (5.8.7), python (2.4.3), linux (2.6.15), udev (079), alsa-lib (1.0.10), iptables (1.3.3), gimp (2.2.11) and openoffice (2.0.2) are in Mepis 6.5 the same versions as in Ubuntu Dapper, while all of these are newer in the later Ubuntu releases. Other programs like xorg (7.1), xine-lib (1.1.2) and k3b (0.12.17) in Mepis 6.5 seem to be backports from Ubuntu Edgy.
Kdebase is 3.5.3 in Mepis 6.5 while Dapper had 3.5.2 and Edgy 3.5.5. Amarok is version 1.4.4 in Mepis 6.5 while Ubuntu Dapper had 1.3.9, Edgy 1.4.3 and the current Feisty beta 1.4.5. Cups is 1.2.2 in Mepis 6.5 while Dapper had 1.2.0 and Edgy 1.2.4. Gtk+ is 2.8.20 in Mepis 6.5 while Dapper had 2.8.17 and Edgy 2.10.6.
Firefox is 220.127.116.11 in Mepis 6.5 while Dapper had 18.104.22.168, Edgy 2.0 and the current Feisty beta 22.214.171.124. Thunderbird is 126.96.36.199 in Mepis 6.5 while Dapper had 188.8.131.52, Edgy 184.108.40.206 and the current Feisty beta 220.127.116.11. Mepis 6.5 has the latest mplayer that is not included in Ubuntu at all.
The above information comes from simply comparing the DistroWatch pages for Mepis and Ubuntu that list the versions of the most important programs.
I was a longtime MEPIS user before it became more frequently unstable due to fluctuations in the Debian unstable pools. Before finding MEPIS, I literally tried dozens of distros over a two year period trying to find just the right fit for me. MEPIS was it. I made the reluctant decision to switch to PCLinuxOS, which I used as my primary OS for almost a year. PCLOS is a great distribution in which everything “just works.” I then switched distros again when I upgraded my workstation hardware to a shiny new AMD64; I jumped to Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS x86-64. Recently I upgraded to Edgy x86-64. Now that MEPIS is based on Ubuntu’s repositories and supports 64 bit processors right out of the box, I may take another look. Great review!
Mepis, even though based now on Ubuntu, is very much distinct enough to differentiate itself from regular Ubuntu.
Here are some differences and improvements that Mepis offers above and beyond (K)Ubuntu:
1. It’s own compiled kernel
2. Faster in live mode
3. A much better, faster installer
4. Codecs, proprietary drivers, and browser plugins installed by default (and legally as well)
5. Mepis shares the Ubuntu main, universe, and multiverse repos, but adds it’s own, distinct repos to the mix, to the tune of 20% of the default install (for backports, extra utilities.
6. It’s own, unique look and feel (nice looking KDE implementation.
7. Distinctly faster, and lighter on resources, than Kubuntu.
8. It’s own GUI config tools.
And as for this latest release of SimplyMepis – Fantastic! It seems much improved over 6.0 (the first Ubuntu based version). It seems faster, more bug free, smoother, and has a nicer look and feel.
i was experimenting with feisty fawn last week, i never could make a successful install, but it is still beta, right ? anyway, i am running mepis 6.5 32 on my athlon 64 system and all things are hitting on high cylinders. the install was flawless, hardware detection perfect, i’m using brazilian portuguese language support and locale for all apps and processes. also, my download speed with synaptic is topping 200 kbs, where as with pc linux 2007 tr3, i could only pull, on the average, about 50. for not being a linux guru, i would say these small issues make a difference with me.
I use kubuntu at work, and it is not funny anymore, there are just to many bugs, that I don’t have with Gentoo and KDE at home.
But since I can’t run a source based distribution at work (I’m not allowed to spend that much time installing), is the KDE in SimplyMEPIS stable? No weird bug, like duplicate mails in kmail from imap for each check-for-mail during the day? (Which do not happen at home from the same mail-account)
Since Mepis is now based off of Ubuntu, it would be good to list the things that distinguish it from its cousin. For instance, since it is KDE-centric, what are the top 5 things I get from Mepis that I don’t get from Kubuntu.
This assignment is due in 2 weeks. Extra credit available for posting it at OSNews.com
[EDIT: Spellinig errerz, sorry about the title!]
Edited 2007-04-05 21:00 UTC