Mepis 8.0 Linux is a Linux distro designed for ease of use and suitable even for beginners.
Mepis is built on Debian 5.0 stable core with the 2.6.27 Linux kernel and comes in a 32bit and 64bit version.
You can download from the Mepis mirror sites here.
Their motto is “SimplyMEPIS just works!” We decided to give it a try.
The installation disk includes a Live CD so you can try out Mepis before installing it to your hard drive.
KDE 3.5 vs. 4.1
Mepis has chosen to stay with the KDE Desktop 3.5 instead of moving up to the plasma-based 4.x that is already available on many KDE distros. The differences between 3.5 and 4.1 are major enough in function that Linux really looks and acts differently with each of them. I have written about my disappointment with the current KDE 4.x desktop in earlier posts, but some of our viewers have commented that the plasma desktop is a major improvement.
The makers of Mepis have probably stuck with 3.5 since it is ostensibly easier to use than the newer version, and Mepis has stated that it is dedicated to ease of use and simplicity. I think it was a good decision.
Desktop – First Impressions
The desktop is standard KDE 3.5. The bottom bar has a nice assortment of quick links and system tray information. It has a clean and pleasant display of menus and easy access to most-used elements. Nothing shouted out to differentiate Mepis from other simple distros.
The menus show software items by function with the package name in parentheses. For example, Ksnapshot is “Screen Capture Program (Ksnapshot)”.
Internet browsers include Firefox & Konquerer. The KDE Kmail program is installed along with Kontakt and Korganizer. For multimedia, Amarok is installed, as you’d expect in a KDE distro. Mepis also includes the Open Office tools for spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation.
As you’d expect for a beginner user-friendly distro, Mepis comes with its very own user manual. It’s actually quite useful. Some may consider this a gimmick since popular distros like Ubuntu have so much written documentation online and user forums, that you’re never far from an answer to any question even without a ‘manual’.
Gallery of Screenshots
With the plethora of available linux distros and with new ones cropping up seemingly every month, there’s still room for KDE lovers to have a competent and easy to use stalwart such as Mepis. As the version 8 can attest, Mepis has been around for a while, and the installation and handling of the distro is very smooth. Mepis is also a popular distro, sitting in 12th place on the distrowatch.com page hit rankings.
KDE users who want the updated Linux kernel and the 3.5 desktop out of the box in a competent and tested distro will want to check out Mepis 8.0. (Yes, you can run thru hoops to not upgrade Kubuntu and other distros desktops if you’d like, but most users still like the ease of ‘off the shelf’). If you’re looking for a standard distro in KDE 3.5, Mepis is a worthy option.