Mepis 8.0 Linux – Review and Screenshots

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.

Desktop

Desktop

Installed Packages

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.

User Manual

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’.

User Manual

User Manual

Gallery of Screenshots


Conclusion

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.

14 thoughts on “Mepis 8.0 Linux – Review and Screenshots

  1. Pingback: » Mepis 8.0 Linux – Review and Screenshots | Tech Exposures

  2. samuel

    Mepis 8 is one of the few LiveCDs that I feel comfortable giving to Windows users. Office people and students can do what they need to do. OO gives them the opportunity to exchange files with MS-using friends. Mepis plays MP3s and flash. Printer drivers are on the CD.

    Installed Mepis boots reasonably fast and is reasonably responsive compared to other popular distros. My experience since Mepis 6.5 (2.5 years) is that updates are more reliable than any other distro that I’ve used – only one thing “broke” (network connection) and it just needed to be reconfigured using the GUI application.

    There are several respositories. Some are optional. I don’t have to look anywhere else for what I need. Everything is there including lame and Adobe reader (so I can use the savable IRS tax forms).

    The Mepislovers forum is special. Experts there try to give answers that nonexperts can follow. Really. I don’t post there, probably because I have few problems, but when I do have a question about how to do something – e.g. install a new software release that isn’t in the respository or extract an mp3 from a flash file – I find that somebody has already answered my question and given instructions that I can understand. It may be only coincidence, or it may be that the people there understand the mindset of people who don’t want to make computers the focus of their lives.

    We have no computer experts in my family, though we do experiment with Linux distros. We have several computers and Mepis is the only system on all of them. Personally, I am only interested in polished systems that work. Mint is another user friendly alternative.

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  4. JD

    Nice Review!, i can’t believe people think plasma is a huge improvement ! I’ve never used a more slow, buggy & resource sucking piece of software in my life! (besides windows but i like to put that behind me now) seriously! it crashes on me 3+ times a day! and sucks all my memory and uses 80% of my cpu just being in a idle state! i don’t have a crappy pc either i don’t know what to think of kde anymore i’m a gnome user now, ever since kde4! i loved kde 3.5! Opensuse sort of does kde4 right though, check it out, i still prefer the older kde or gnome but they still make it usable!

  5. Seventh

    KDE4.0 and 4.1 were slow and buggy. KDE4.2+ has improved upon that 100 fold. As of right now KDE 4.2.4 is NOTHING like KDE4.0/4.1.

    They may as well rename 4.2 to 5.0 .. that is how far it has advanced.

  6. Ed

    I love Debian Lenny, which this is based upon, but Mepis is somewhat easier to configure. A major gripe I had was that the wireless connectivity tool that was configured through the Mepis control center didn’t seem to work at all, they should have tried wicd or configured knetworkmanager properly.

    Also, I didn’t have the author’s good experience upgrading Mepis in the past. I tried to upgrade a 4x and broke it. Then Mepis moved to Ubuntu, which broke the upgrade path. Then they moved back to Debian, which broke it again.

    I much prefer KDE 3, as well, I’d switch to Gnome or XFCE4 before using any version of KDE 4 I’ve encountered. But what kept me from recommending Mepis to a friend who doesn’t have many Linux chops and was abandoning sidux after the transition to KDE 4 was that I wasn’t sure how upgradeable Mepis would be in the future. Lenny will be supported on the desktop for a year after Squeeze becomes stable and given what a PITA KDE 4 and the latest versions of xorg are, I doubt Squeeze will be mainlined for at least a year, probably 18 months or more. It required some work to get is ralink wireless going and the Nvidia drivers installed but he is thrilled with the results.

  7. shamil

    One who understands the usings of kde can better write about why mepis chose to use kde 3.5.10 as opposed to kde 4.2.

    kde 3.5.10 is stable software, where as kde 4.2x is not. Kde 4.2x is just as easy to use as kde 3.5.10. Try testing out versions of kde past 4.1 for a change…

    Education helps.

  8. shamil

    @Ed
    Take a look again at the mepis network assistant again in the general tab and select “Automatic networkmanager”.

    Apply the changes with mepis and restart, knetworkmanager is the front for networkmanager and will give you what you desire.

  9. Ed

    I only tried Mepis 8 as a live CD, shamil, rebooting was not an option, but GUI tools didn’t seem to see my network. I suppose I could have used the CLI to connect, but I was looking for an easy distro for a friend who is still making the transition to Linux.

    As to KDE 4, I’ve tried more modern versions. I have used whatever Jaunty & Fedora 11 have and it still wasn’t up to snuff for me, not very configurable, not as stable, requiring more CPU and memory, even with eye candy disabled. But I’m downloading 4.24 in the guise of the first sidux release with KDE 4, so I’ll give the latest and greatest a go (in a live CD).

  10. Hristo Bozhkov

    Nice review, but you’re wrong – kubuntu got a 3.5 version even for Karmic Koala.(I’m not a *ubuntu fanboy, just mention it) Also PCLinuxOS, Slackware offer distribution with 3.5 as a main desktop :)

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