Linuxblog Introduction: We took an average windows user, gave her a handful of distributions of Linux, and forced her to use each distro for one week. We gave her alsaconf, email servers, and mounted her windows partition to the fresh install. Then, we faded away and quietly watched her in her new environment. You too can join us by reading on…
|I think everyone knows what’s going on here….so let’s get on with the review…|
1) Look/Feel - I was confused by the desktop icons that read Hard Disc HHD1 [/] and the like. Figuring out that this was what was similar to “My Computer” took me quite some time because I was just so intimidated by the way it was labeled. There are four icons labeled similarly (Hard Disc, etc.) on the desktop and I was confused. I am sure plenty of other people would be too. For this reason I am taking off a few points that I would not have otherwise taken.
I didn’t get as much of a chance to use Gnome as I would have liked to this time around. I will probably use it first on the next distro so I can really decide which one I like the best. But regardless of the desktop I use, Simply MEPIS seems to be about the same to me in the looks department as Mandrake. It does not dazzle me because I am a real sucker for attractive designs. I think that it feels a little more familiar than Mandrake, so I give it points for that. It is easier to find my way around too. The start or K menu resembles the ones I am used to in Windows. (Score – 6)
Edit: On reviewing my notes one more time…I remembered the dragon at the logon screen. It looks like some second rate PBS kids show character. Really, what is with that dragon? Somebody needs to kick that to the curb.
2) Performance – It’s not as fast as Mandrake was in opening applications and surfing the Internet. I can’t figure out why programs are slower to start. But this is not too big of a deal. Overall, it performs well. (Score – 8)
3) Hardware/Software – I liked the fact that so much is already there and I didn’t have to go around trying to figure out how to download so many different things. The problem is that the things I did have to download, I had that same problem of trying to track down their location. I didn’t like the fact that all the cool features of my mouse do not work. (Score – 5)
4) Upgradeability/Security – It seems like MEPIS is set up to make upgrades really easy but I do not dare try one. The upgrade menu has endless options but it all looks like Greek to me. The security issue is kind of lost on me, I have no idea how secure it is. (Score – 10)
5) Documentation – There seems to be no shortage, I found a few websites out there that looked ready to help a new user. I did learn that sometimes you don’t get answers to your questions though. I can’t say that I expect much when relying on the kindness of other people; They don’t have all the time in the world for idiots like me. But they do seem to have a major community thing going on. Besides that they have a really decent quick start guide but because of my stupidity, it didn’t do me a whole lot of good. (Score – 8 )
6) Installation – The initial install was smooth with less than fifteen minutes total to completion. This was possibly the most impressive part about the whole thing. (Score – 10)
Now we talk about MY Criteria…
My Personal Criteria:
1) Mail – I used Kontact, which was even easier to configure than what was used in Mandrake. (Even though I get help with this, I do the legwork so I can see how confusing or not confusing it is.) (Score – 10)
2) Internet – This was another really nice surprise. Just about every web page rendered properly, I went to as many places as I could to make sure I tested it to the max. As I mentioned in my initial impression, the only difficulties were with Windows Media Player. They sometimes though, somehow worked. It was kinda cool. (Score – 9)
3) Listening to Music – Using the particular media player (XMMS) that came installed was confusing. I could not figure out how to play more than one mp3 at a time. I had to get help in the end. The amount of fooling around it took to get my files imported was disappointing and there is no way to import them all at once so I had to go one folder at a time. This was really a bore. The Real Player that came installed was cool because it helped out with viewing streaming media when I was browsing but this was not ideal for playing mp3s. Something like a jukebox is what I want when listening to my music. (Score – 7)
4) Download Music/Files – It has a bittorrent program already installed, so I guess that is nice for people who know how to use them, which I don’t, so it does me no good. I could not figure out how to install and run a file sharing program on my own. I can see that I need to execute a shell script but I again have no idea how to do this. This seems too much like programming to me. Way too much work. (Score – 0)
5) Burning CDs – Once again as stated in my initial impression, I was very pleased to find staring at me on the desktop, already installed, K3B. This was a really smart idea, whose ever it was. Like I said in my review about Mandrake, I really like K3B. (Score – 10)
I am one of those people who likes packaging. It took me three years to be able to walk past Bath and Body Works without going in and buying at least one thing because everything was just so appealing. I don’t think I am all that different from a large percentage of the population in this respect. I think that making something really sleek and cool would be huge in winning over users. Also making it look familiar but in some way better than than what people are used to would be the best lure in getting people to make the switch. That’s just my two cents and I know people might have a problem with me saying that Linux needs to be more like Windows, but until it can be properly introduced to the masses, it’s going to have to be dumbed down a little and it doesn’t get much dumber than Windows. Besides, let’s be honest, we have nothing else to compare it to.
Anyhow, I like Simply MEPIS for the most part. Even though it is sometimes confusing and sometimes annoying I know this could be easily overcome with a little more time. I would probably give it a chance as my OS, more so than Mandrake anyway. Because when it comes down to the reasons I use a computer, it just functions better. I give Simply MEPIS an overall Score – 8.
SimplyMEPIS 3.3 Scores: 8 out of 10
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