Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More adventures with Mepis

Had a real busy day, the battery in my car which is supposed to put out 600 cold cranking amps only kicked out 21. It is a wonder the car still started, but Chevy's turnover fairly easy anyway. The 30 minute replacement operation turned into a couple of hours. I called a friend to assist me and we got it done. Things don't usually go as smoothly as we'd like. I had better luck with my computers. As you know I made the switch to Mepis 7.0 and it just works. I am learning to like KDE desktop, it has so much stuff, but I miss Xfce. So, I installed Xfce as an alternate desktop and am in the process of setting it up. To see all the tools Mepis offers in Xfce is making me feel I made a good choice. Mepis does something that other distros should pick up on. Instead of the missing manual that nobody provides anymore, Mepis comes with a desktop link to a manual installed on the live-CD or your hard drive. Not an internet link to a web site or a help file. It is clear it is the manual, you don't have to look for it. Then I read that Mepis uses Ubuntu repositories, but the truth is that it uses some, not all. Mepis is compiled from Debian "Etch" which is the latest stable version. So a better choice is to seek out the Debian repository sites. I am not clear which Ubuntu versions Mepis 7.0 is compatible with. Some Ubuntu based .deb packages will not work properly on Mepis.
My second machine, a 32 bitter took a major change, I removed Mepis 7.0 (is this guy fickle or what?) and swapped and reformatted the drives. In the Mepis camp, there is this distro called AntiX. It is Mepis, but very skinny. It reminds me of Wolvix, small with lots of tools and apps. It is just over 350MB in size and is full of light weight stuff. It has Fluxbox and Icewm for the desktop and looks great. As a hit and run live-CD it is adequate for rescue work or an office you take with you. And as I will use it, to manage files on my network and explore and tinker and tweak and general geeking out. What happens to all those other live-CD distros stacked on your desk? I like to from time to time revisit neighborhoods I have known and do demos for friends. Promoting Linux is not easy as one distro is good at somethings but not at others. The coolness factor depends on how much Linux you understand and appreciate. Eventually you get past all the flash and want the functionality too. Mepis and AntiX are an interesting combo.

5 comments:

Tom G said...

Hi arnold, I found your blog while checking to see what's been going on with MEPIS lately. I use PCLinuxOS (a KDE-based distro), but have used Mepis in the past and like it very much.
It's good to see others using Mepis out there. I've been using Linux full-time since last November, and dual-booting for years. It's likely that I will try Mepis again when they have another full release (I'm unsure how easy it would be to install AntiX and try to ramp up from that)

rnojonson said...

Hello tom g,
Actually the scariest part about AntiX was finding the install button buried in the menus. Right click the screen, then Admin tools, Mepis tools, then install. They should put an icon on the desktop. Anyway after that last selection it is a piece of cake. And it's a live-CD so you can try it now, install later. Have fun with it.

Roy said...

I used SimplyMEPIS for years, but switched to Ubuntu a year ago. It wasn't that I was disappointed with MEPIS, but Warren took us (MEPIS users) on a rollercoaster ride. He switched from Debian core to Ubuntu, citing problems with a rolling release, then he switched back to Debian, after only a few months, citing dissatisfaction with Ubuntu. For me this was, not acceptable. I use Linux full time and don't want to go flying off on tangents.
I tried MEPIS 7, but after using Ubuntu I got spoiled by the number of packages available in the repositories and the strength of the community.
I still run MEPIS on another partition and have AntiX on an external hard drive. I still have a fond attachment to MEPIS and recommend it to people who want a stable and easy to use distro.
As far as I know, MEPIS is no longer compatible with Ubuntu's repositories, as of 7.0. Version 6.5 was compatible, sort of. It is very easy to mess up your MEPIS by using Ubuntu debs.
Thanks for your blog!

Satchmo said...

Hi,
Mepis doesn't use Ubuntu repos anymore. It used to, in the 6.* releases, but with 7.0 it's back to Debian stable.
Thus, the kernel and many other packets are Mepis' own, while the other packets are from etch.

rnojonson said...

Greetings Programs!!!
Thanks for your comments. Yeah, to be subject to the whims of a one person distro is quite a hardship, but a big development group can also stress you out. Small ship, big ship, the waves are the same but the on deck experience......I still have Xubuntu 7.10 and it is just fine. Mepis is easy, friendly but rough for newbies. App installs easy in Xubuntu are a short trial in Mepis, why? If distros are Debian based, .deb packages should work, right?? Standardization anyone!?