jueves, 7 de octubre de 2010

Simply Mepis 8.5 challenge: the first four days

I decided that it was time for me to test SimplyMepis 8.5, so that I could have a closer impression of this efficient Linux distribution to write a non-technical review. As I promised, I have been running SimplyMepis consistently for four days now and these are my first findings:

DAY 1: Access to networks and browser customization
Mepis magic was a perfect match for Mandriva magic concerning picking up networks, both wired and wireless. I had to do absolutely nothing: just click to see the available networks and then click again to pick one Actually, I am typing this post from Mepis, using a wireless connection down here in campus four days after the experiment started. I downloaded my favorite add-ons for Firefox and customized it.


DAY 2: Desktop configuration and package installation
I had anticipated that, being a Mandriva user, the lack of an orchestrator of all the processes in Mepis could bother me a little. After all, Mandriva Control Center has become an innovation that some other Linux distributions aspire to emulate. However, my previous training with Linux Mint enabled me to use Synaptic without a great effort. Visually, there was a difference between downloading packages with Synaptic and doing it with MCC, but it was nothing to be traumatized about. I tried to customize the KDE desktop a little. I noticed some unresponsiveness of the desktop cube, but that was nothing I ignored, so I counted it as a minor bother. What actually became a major headache was the placement of four different wallpapers on each side of the cube. Everytime I booted the computer, the wallpaper images would play hide and seek with me. Sometimes, the images I selected went to a different cube side; some other times, they would be replaced at random and I would get a solid light blue wallpaper instead. I was also familiar with that behavior because Mandriva 2010 (Adelie) was shipped with the same KDE environment and, consequently, would show the same Kproblem...after several trials, I think that the four wallpapers have finally stabilized.

Package installation went fine. I installed Cheese! for the cam (it can take snapshots, but I do not get cam image) and then tried to install aMSN. That was a real problem because it would not finish installing a dependency, so used Kopete.

DAY 3: More installation and configuration
I tried installing aMSN again and it turns out that a Debian server might have been down because the installation went smoothly. Aside from that, there is not much to say because the computer is working perfectly.

DAY 4: General use
I have used SimplyMepis for my everyday work (typing letters, checking email, sending documents, opening video/audio files) and it has met all my needs magnificiently. I hardly find any problem other than my Mandriva customary behavior. Well, and maybe the visual impact was also a minor concern when I started. However, I am used to seeing the Mepis dark blue by now.

To sum up, my experience as a Mandriva user handling Mepis is satisfactory up to this point. SimplyMepis is not simply a disappointment. I think that it rivals Mandriva in its KDE handling...maybe a simplified experience than the one I am used to with Mandriva, but Mepis had given me little to complain about.

What's next? The following days I will try a multimedia class. This will let me assess the video display and the sound quality.

9 comentarios:

  1. It seems that you've used Mepis 8.5 more than I have. I've read that when it comes to packages, the Community Repository is a better choice. You have to add it manually, though.

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  2. Well, i checked and that looks a little complicated for me...and I do not have time for doing it right now. However, I think I should because Mepis is not handling .flv files pretty well.

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  3. Thanks for the good review. I wish, though, that you had said something about the boot-up time and overall system speed of SimplyMEPIS in comparison with Mandriva. I was using Mandriva until my desktop rig stopped running because of a bad PSU. I am assembling a new rig and will try out both Mandriva and SimplyMEPIS.

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  4. @ Barista Uno,
    As a Mepis user, I observed the boot-up times of the different operating systems on my netbook (Toshiba NB100, with an Intel Atom N270 processor and 1 GB RAM):
    Mepis 8.0 (my main system):1 min 30 seconds (after Grub loads; entering password)
    Mepis 8.5: 1 min 15 seconds (after Grub; entering password)
    Windows XP: 1 min 35 seconds (after Grub; without password)
    Hope it helps

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  5. @ Barista Uno,
    Well, since I have a chain boot, my record of boot time is not very accurate and, hence, I did not include the information. However, I looked and the Dell Inspiron Mini10v system boots in 1:33 +/-7 (because of the two grubs and password entering screen)

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  6. The only pain with mepis 8.5 being a mandriva user would probably be utilizing the mepis community repositories. Which has a wealth of backported programs.

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  7. @ anónimo,

    I agree. I'm still trying to get those community repositories

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  8. then again, there was big reason i went to mepis instead of using mandriva. urpmi is crap. i like what mandriva is trying to do with it, but it's not reliable and apt blows it out of the water.

    as far as community repos go. Go here
    http://www.mepis.org/docs/en/index.php?title=Sources.list_MEPIS_8.5

    Just add the main and restricted community repos and you'll be fine.

    then go on to step two.
    step three is two go into synaptic and hit the reload button.
    Then you have access to the community repos.
    When done using the community repos, disable them. Only enable them when you need something.

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  9. @ Anonimo,
    Hahaha, thanks!
    I actually got stuck trying to install VLC because I was not using the community repositories.
    Let's see if that improves the sound quality...

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