This page is my attempt of explaining why I think LinuxHints/SimplyMepis is a distro really worth trying.
SimplyMepis is what I call "desktop" debian made easy. Now, what do I mean by "desktop"? If you are someone that enjoys building debian from scratch, and configuring things by hand, then SimplyMepis is probably not for you. However, if you are someone that loves debian (are there people that don't?), but would really like a desktop enviroment setup in minutes not hours, then SimplyMepis is pretty cool.
Why is SimplyMepis so cool then?
Well, firstly, it's got that little ingrediant called "live cd"
When I say "live cd" most of you will be thinking "Knoppix", and yes, Knoppix is a great distro. However, whilst Knoppix is a great distro, it is a little confusing for Windows users that are trying a flavour of Linux for the first time, and have decided that they want (now they have booted off of this wonderful live cd and all of their hardware has been detected and works great) to install it to their hard disk, but more importantly, they want to "dual boot" with their copy of Windows that they know and have a come to..... well, get used to
OK, so what makes it easy to install then?
Well, when booting off of the current latest version of SimplyMepis (2004.6) the biggest give away is the "Install Me" icon that is sitting on the desktop, and what is really great is that by double clicking on this icon, a Windows user is greated with a GUI "wizard" which is probably "exactly" what they were expecting to see when they clicked on it. The Install Wizard asks some basic questions on how SimplyMepis should be installed, and then does it. On top of that, an extra bonus is the fact that the install waizard actually has a partition resize program built in (qtparted) if needed, to make installing along side Windows an easy task as apposed to booting back into Windows and using software such as Partition Magic.
Simply Mepis 6.5 (April 2007)
Its been a while since the original piece was written so having just moved to Mepis I though it was time to update this article.
Simply Mepis 6.5 is based on Ubuntu Dapper Drake but unlike Unbuntu, Mepis comes with the KDE desktop (version 3.5.3 to be exact) and does not have the sudo user setup found in Ubuntu (and Kubuntu) but the more traditional seperate root and user accounts. Along with KDE you also get Open Office 2.2, Firefox 2.0.3, Thunderbird 1.50, Amarok 1.4.4, Beyrl 0.20 the 3d desktop toy (which I am told works out the box but I have not tested this yet). So all the mod cons are there. Mepis is still supplied in Live disk format, which is downloadable or purchasable from the Mepis store. Stick the Live CD in your PC, play with it for an hour or, like what you see, then just click on the install button. Answer a couple of questions and depending on how your PC is setup, around 20 minutes later Mepis is installed on your PC. If you only have one disk and want to daul boot, QTParted is available during the install session to help move or modify existing partitions. If you have a previous partition that has a Linux install on it there is an option to preserve your home partition if you want to.
Updating and additional program installation is done through synaptic. Mepis comes Samba 3.0.22 as well as ntfs-3g drivers so connecting to a Windows network is not a problem. Also found on the CD are the latest Nvidia drivers.
Having played with and installed around a dozen distro's in the past, Mepis is simply the easiest distro I have ever installed, once installed I was at home straight away, this is why Mepis is my distro of choice