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Yet Another Debian-based Distro: Mepis 206

emgarf writes "Today, on the first anniversary of the MEPIS Project, MEPIS LLC announced the release of MEPIS Linux 2003.10 for Pentium processors. MEPIS Linux is a desktop Linux that is designed for both personal and business users. MEPIS Linux offers a live/installation/recovery CD, advanced automatic hardware configuration, XP/NTFS support, ACPI power management, WiFi support, personal firewall, KDE 3.1.4, OpenOffice 1.1, Mozilla 1.5, and much more."
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Yet Another Debian-based Distro: Mepis

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  • Good... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:47PM (#7578300)
    At last a versioning scheme unaffected by marketing! "2003.10" is actually informative!
    • Re:Good... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SIGPrez ( 229837 )
      You are absolutely right!

      Regardless of what this distribution brings from a computing perpective, this method of presentation for releases, by itself, could be the one 'killer-app' and major benefit being introduced to the world by this effort!
    • Agreed. This and the integer medthod used by 'less' (and now Fedora Core) are probably the only two versioning schemes that truly make sense.
      • Re:Good... (Score:5, Informative)

        by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:34PM (#7578477) Journal
        Actually, major.minor.teeny makes the most sense for libraries, if the authors stick to it faithfully. If you just do a bugfix or slight improvement, bump up the teeny number. If you add enhancements but do not break backwards compatibility, then bump the minor number. If you break ABI/API compatibility, then bump the major number.

        Ideally, you can install different major numbers side-by-side (this isn't always the case; look at freetype), and you can easily tell if an update will have any negative impact on your system.

    • Re:Good... (Score:2, Funny)

      by RetroGeek ( 206522 )
      Well ok, but what happened to versions 1 through 2002, and 2003.1 through 2003.9?
      • Yeah! And what happened to Linux kernel 2.4.22 and 2.4.99! Or, is that 2.4.999?

        Who said version numbers had to be contigious? All they have to do is express the relationship between versions (which is older and which is newer). The biggest problem with this date-based scheme is the lack of information about the stability of the release (stable, release candidate, developer-only...) or it's "importance" (major new revision, minor revision, maintance release, etc).
  • "advanced automatic hardware configuration." open office. mozilla. will this be a new contender for the everyman business desktop?
    • I doubt it. Somehow I cant see the corporate drones being happy saying something that will sound like "I used to use XP but now I use ME PIS and have been much more effective since I switched to it". Seriously bad choice of name there guys.
  • Debian done right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OmniVector ( 569062 ) <SLACKWAREsee my homepage minus distro> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:51PM (#7578319) Homepage
    I've long told my friend eric that what linux needed more than anything was an easy to install (think redhat or mandrake) debian based distro. Is this the first distro like that? I wish mandrake would stop using rpms and use debian's apt repository to handle software installing/updating, but alas it seems impossible for Mandrake developers to pull their head out of their ass and realize that rpms are not the way to go.
    • Why no RPMs? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by samjam ( 256347 )
      Do you know why you think RPMs are a bad idea,
      or rather
      do you know what makes debians apt-get better than RPM?

      As a heavy RPM user I somehow have the opposite opinion and find the apt tools very lacking;

      Lets swap knowledge and educate eachother:

      rpm -qf /some/file/somewhere

      tells me which package an installed file belongs to, very useful.

      What can apt-get do?
      • Re:Why no RPMs? (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Oh, great! The old my-distro-is-better-than-yours game! Ok, here I go:

        apt-file search /some/file/somewhere

        Your turn!

      • and there is apt for rpm as well... so you can, uh, swing both ways.

        my personal favourite though still remains the rpm-based yum [duke.edu]. truly, a package management system for the lazy!

        • I've been using yum on my Fedora system for a while now, and overall, I like it. The only real problem I have with it is that I have a long list of yum repositories in my yum.conf, and if any one of them happens to be down, yum itself becomes useless. It won't be able to perform any actions, because not being able to connect to a given repository will make the whole app die.

          Also, it's quite slow with so many repositories, since it has to connect to all of them to see if there are any new headers, before it
      • apt is a dependancy resolution tool for dpkg. dpkg has all the abilities of RPM and more.
        • and more....

          up2date is the dependancy resolution tool for RPM.

          The only advantage apt or dpkg have over RPM is that by default it allows you to specify more than one repository for software.

          • Re:Why no RPMs? (Score:3, Informative)

            by be-fan ( 61476 )
            Actually, apt/dpkg still has a number of advantages over apt/RPM or yum/RPM.

            1) APT uses a text database, unlike RPM which uses a binary database. This makes fixing errors much easier, and also makes it harder to corrupt the database. For example, recently, one of the xfce libraries refused to uninstall in Debian sid. I was able to just go to the apt directory, and modify the appropriate removeal script so the package uninstalled cleanly. Doing this in RedHat would be much harder. Also, I've had my RPM data
      • Re:Why no RPMs? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Abjifyicious ( 696433 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:19PM (#7578426)
        Well I've used both Red Hat and Debian, and while I'm not an expert Linux user by any means, rpms and .debs seem like pretty much the same thing as far as functionality goes. The real reason people like Debian is not because of the package format, but rather because of tools like apt-get which allow you to quickly and easily retrieve and install packages and all of their dependencies with a single command.

        Now I know that there are plenty of tools out there that use rpms and give you similar functionality to programs like apt-get or dselect, but I think people just like the fact that in Debian they install these things by default and are built specifically with them in mind.

        Anyways though, for a new distro that's just come out, it seems like it wouldn't really matter whether it's Debian Based or Red Hat based. You can get the same functionality with either package format, it just depends on what tools you include with your distro.

      • Re:Why no RPMs? (Score:5, Informative)

        by derF024 ( 36585 ) * on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:39PM (#7578493) Homepage Journal
        Lets swap knowledge and educate eachother:

        rpm -qf /some/file/somewhere

        tells me which package an installed file belongs to, very useful.

        dpkg -S /some/file/somewhere

        Very basic simple functionality.
      • It's apples to oranges. dpkg and rpm are comparable, as are urpmi and apt-get. I personally really like RPM too.
      • Re:Why no RPMs? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 )
        What can apt-get do?

        apt-get install foo: locate foo, download foo and its dependencies, install foo and its dependencies, uninstalls conflicting packages (yes, it tells you what its going to do before it does anything)

        apt-get dist-upgrade: upgrade your debian distribution.

        apt-cache search foo: regular expression search for "foo" in package name and description.

        In truth, apt and rpm do not compete. Apt is a mechanism for retrieving updates in an orderly fashion, and rpm is a package manager. This
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And another Linux user comes out of the closet
    • Try looking up Libranet.
      • Yes, Libranet is very good, but it is still a text-based installer, which many people don't like. I do believe it's the best text-based installer, and I use Libranet (the adminmenu is nice too), but I'd have to say the Anaconda installer is better, at least for someone unfamiliar with Linux.
        • I would argue that a text installer is just as usable, and new users could get through Libranet's just fine, but graphical installers go a step further to really impress the new user.
          • I do believe a text installer is just as usable as a GUI one, but it may not be as intuitive to new users. Either way, we both say new users would prefer GUI installers like Anaconda. Now Slack's or FreeBSD's text installers are not something to recommend to any new user.

            However, of the few people I recommend Linux to who actually want to try it, I install Libranet for them so they don't have a chance to be turned off by installation of the OS.
    • Urpmi? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by msimm ( 580077 )
      Mandrake's developers have really done a great job with their rpm system. Urpmi can be used just like apt-get, but it works with rpm's instead. You can configure multiple sources and run it with their great looking gui (rpmdrake) or their command like app urpmi. So on my multimedia system I can install the basics then run (after configuring urpmi as described at plf.zarb.org [zarb.org] and thacs [nyvalls.se]): urpmi mythtv, then have a nice functioning PVR to record my episodes of The Shield on.

      The apt/rpm arguments are pretty d
      • Re:Urpmi? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jagasian ( 129329 )
        Debian isn't great just because of apt. Tools like apt are nothing without comprehensive high quality package repositories that are tested to ensure that all dependencies can be met, every package works with every other package, etc...

        Debian has this. Sure you can use apt with RPM based distros like Redhat, but the available repositories are not nearly as comprehensive or as well tested as Debian stable repositories.

        Of course, I am writing this from a Fedora install using apt with FreshRPMs repositories
        • Also, there are tons of third party Debian repositories. A whole lot of stuff can be found at Apt-Get.org [apt-get.org]
        • Debian always had that going for it. Mandrake has mirrored its success here as well with the multiple branches Main, Contrib, Update, Testing, Club and of course a few independant archives as well (PLF, Thacs, TexStar). Its not a Debian replacement, but for the lazier of us it really works!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:53PM (#7578327)
    What I'd really like to see is someone taking advantage of the capabilities of distros like Knoppix to create a bootable disk management tool.

    I'd love to see a distro that I could boot with drive imaging software (local, network, with support for almost any kind of media,) partition editing (with support for non-destructive resizing of all filesystems including NTFS.)

    Preferrably it would have both command line and good GUI based utilities (I find partitioning a disk to be easier when I see things in a bar or pie graph, as opposed to 2048byte blocks.)

    Sorta like a blend of Ghost and Partition Magic, except more powerful and free. This came to mind after trying to use Norton Ghost to image out to a firewire hard drive, and trying to image with dd. Ghost "supports" firewire but includes no drivers for any devices, and dd would have worked, but I was trying to stick it on a FAT32 partition (didn't feel like making a 5GB ext2 partition just to have windows bugging me to let it destroy the thing.)

    Anyone know of a project like this?
  • by ryan1106 ( 689609 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:54PM (#7578333)
    I don't see why anyone would have anything against another Linux distro. That is what the Linux community is based on isn't it? Choice?
    • Certainly but with with so many distributions the confusion to a new user may be daunting, that's why so many end up going with Red Hat. The world doesn't need 200 distributions but the freedom to make your own distro is a nice choice you don't get with proprietary code.
    • That is what the Linux community is based on isn't it? Choice?

      Aside from EMACS vs vi/GNOME vs KDE/ insert favorite flamewar here?

      What are we based on? I don't think it is choice. I think that we are based on the desire to learn more about the OS and contribute if we can. Diversity is healthy but not an end unto itself.

      BTW I think that it is good that people are marketing their distros as having support for NTFS. This is good and will only mean that we will get much better NTFS support if Mepis does
  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:55PM (#7578338)
    It's always good to see another distribution from a research/development standpoint. Rolling your own distro builds more who are familiar with the landscape.

    But why is this here? What defining feature of Mepis make it /. worthy? I think it'd be better suited on distrowatch [distrowatch.com]. Posting each new distribution won't help Linux, but rather it gives the impression of being a little desperate.

    I'm not trolling or trying to start a flamewar (I'm a Debian user myself), but Linux needs to push the envelope for creative code hacking.
    • Historically Slashdot has always had Linux/BSD/open source news about releases and updates. This is news for nerds. You can always configure slashdot to ignore these stories. I'd rather see more news, and let users configure what they want to see, than less news to make a few people happy.

      With 500 submissions an hour, theres no shortage of news.
    • Disagree.

      It's news for nerds. I like hearing about this stuff, and Slashdot discussions about new distributions and new kernels are usually interesting.
  • The answer my friend is blowing in the wind - I'm sure. But does anybody know a list, that is complete as possible? I know only a list of CD-Live-distros at knoppix.net .
  • Whereas I'm all for more linux distro's, I'm not convinced that it's a /. item.. maybe a freshmeat announcement.

    On the other hand, well done boys, you've just got a whole load more exposure - hope your server is up to it :-)

  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscowardNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:59PM (#7578352) Journal
    The trend seems to be towards two standard meta-distros:

    - Debian for installations
    - Knoppix for live-cds

  • by Franciscan ( 720329 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:05PM (#7578377) Journal
    Click Here [mepis.org] for the reason this distribution is called MEPIS.

    I just gotta say, that's the most obscure, and possibly one of the dumbest distro names ever. Okay, Yggdrasil was slightly more obscure, but in a cool way.

    Regards, WPostma/Franciscan
  • by ironcladlou ( 681078 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:08PM (#7578390) Homepage
    I had the opportunity to meet Warren and participate in a 2 hour interactive demo of the then latest build of Mepis a couple months ago right here in Parkersburg, WV at a Mid Ohio Valley Linux Users Group meeting. I was VERY impressed both with the distro, and with Warren's EXCELLENT ability to continue adding "Oh yeah!" features that you wish you could find in most Linux distros (For example, the ability to use the CD as a portable graphical partition manager, internet terminal, etc) along the lines of Knoppix. At that time, the "next major feature" he was hammering out was the ability to store your home directory and such on thumbdrives (Does Knoppix do this now?).

    Although Mepis looked pretty damned solid and useful, what grabbed me the most was Warren's willingness and outright enthusiasm regarding feedback. This guy is SERIOUS about trying to listen to EVERYBODY regarding the project in order to improve it and make it something that everybody wants to use. He not only is producing the distro to achieve personal goals, but he genuinely is in it for "the people", programmers and users alike.

    If you've ever wanted to really make a difference in the development of a growing and powerful distro, this is a good one to check out.

    What other distro teams or people have you all had exceptional interactive experiences with?
    • What other distro teams or people have you all had exceptional interactive experiences with?

      http://squeak.org/ [squeak.org] Yes it's its own OS.

      • Hardly. Does it boot on raw hardware? Can I pop a Squeak CD in the harddrive and find myself inside Squeak, without having to boot Linux or something else underneath? No. Yes, there has been work on that front, but it's nowhere near an OS yet... although, when it is, I'll be *very* excited. :)
    • --I've emailed Warren back and forth with suggestions, and even a utility script or two. He's a **really** nice guy, and both his response time and willingness to consider/act on suggestions are simply outstanding. I actually wish he was hiring, I'd go to work for him in a heartbeat.
    • At that time, the "next major feature" he was hammering out was the ability to store your home directory and such on thumbdrives (Does Knoppix do this now?).

      Yes! You can keep a persistent home directory anywhere you like, in a directory on a Windows system, or on an external drive. So you can carry "your own system" around with you, in the form of a Knoppix CD and a thumb drive, which you can put into any computer as needed. Very slick.
  • by biendamon ( 723952 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:27PM (#7578455)
    Having seen the screenshots available for this distro, I'm not terribly impressed with the user interfaces for the configuration screens. It's nice to have a GUI for a lot of those things, but the Mandrake control center and SuSE YaST seem to do it in a friendlier way.

    That said, there's something nice about elegant simplicity, too. There don't appear to be that many bells and whistles, and each utility appears to do exactly what it describes, no more and no less. That's something I find attractive in a configuration tool.

    From what I've seen, it's not enough to make me switch distros (I'm a Mandrake and SuSE fan, personally), but I think this sort of thing has real potential for the crowd that thinks of themselves as power users, who nevertheless want a simple method to do a lot of the otherwise time-consuming busy work.
  • Mepis is useful (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've been using Mepis for a while now, definitely more than a month. It has the strengths of Debian, and is an easy install. Sure, the name of the distro is silly, but a lot of distros have silly names. It is KDE-based, but it's a breeze to install GNOME with apt-get. More than anything, Mepis is useful as a way to get Debian on your system without going through the somewhat arduous Debian install.
  • While its nice people are working on making debian ( the one last hold out of common sence and anti-commercialism ), why does it have to include everyting + the kitchen sink?

    What about a distro that just has what the average person needs.. no bloat, no extra crap.
    ( sort of like what FBSD does.. but make it more friendly to the new user )

    Sure, give them the OPTION of 12000 packages once they 'grow up', but dont shove them down the users throat from the start..
    • Different distros for different purposes. There are some really skinny distros out there. And there are the kitchen sink versions. (I don't know about Mepis, but most kitchen sink versions DON'T require you to install everything. They merely allow you to.)
  • NTFS (Score:2, Informative)

    by gid13 ( 620803 )
    It hardly seems fair to say it has NTFS support when what it really means is it can use NTFS read-only. Like Gentoo, Knoppix, Mandrake, and God only knows how many other distros.
    • er, NTFS write support has been available for a while now. Granted, it *can* cause problems, but I haven't had a single problem yet. I never use it for my system partitions though, just in case.
  • by Corrado ( 64013 ) <rnhurt AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @10:01PM (#7579815) Homepage Journal
    Hey guys,

    We really need to get it together and distribute these ISOs on BitTorrent. I checked and no one had one available. I am downloading it now over a 56k link :( and will put up one myself if I have to. When will these distros learn from Slackware (The Great!)? :)
  • Has the 'mepis - yucrap' joke been made allready?

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