Experiment 1.2: SimplyMEPIS 3.3Test2 Final Rating


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…

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Experiment: Update!

Hello all! Sorry to be the harbinger of bad news…however, we had to go out of town this weekend and therefore mrs.devnet did not get a chance to experiment with MEPIS over the weekend. She still would like to spend about 2-3 more days to do it the same justice for a review as she did with Mandrake. So…once again, sorry about the delay for SimplyMEPIS…rest assured that she will use the same approach to SimplyMEPIS and won’t pull any punches nor hide anything that she thinks. Stay tuned this week for her review!

Experiment 1.2 : SimplyMEPIS, Initial Impression

I wrote this on Monday, sorry it took so long to post. I had to mail this to myself and post it through Windows because my browser would not allow me to paste this from Open Office, that really bugged me! Anyways:

 

Okay, I’ve been fooling around with Mepis for two or so days. It is easier to find my way, so I haven’t even thought about using Gnome yet. KDE is working just fine but I will still try both.

 

I was really impressed that I haven’t had problems with Java or Flash, I have been able to browse all my regular websites without any trouble. I have run into some things that will not work. It has come to my attention though, that this is not a problem so much with the OS as it is a browser problem. It’s also a Windows Media Player problem because they don’t like to play nice with Linux and other Non-IE browsers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I know there isn’t much that can be done about it so I’m not holding a grudge, but I still don’t like it.

 

While browsing the web I got this message:

 

Sound Server-The KDE Crash Handler – The application sound server crashed and caused a signal 6 (SIGABRT).

 

—It’s some sort of bug but what do I do with it? I still have sound so I guess I will just ignore it for now. . .

 

A few annoyances that I will have to work on is, yet again, locating programs that I have downloaded. There is also the fact that I cannot figure out how to import music files to the media player, it’s different from Mandrake. I can only play one song at a time right now. I also tried some customizing but I could not get the screensaver I liked to work. The Internet seems sluggish too, I HATE that.

 

One plus, though, is that K3b, the burning program I had such a hard time installing last time, was standard on the desktop. And it was in the multimedia menu, so I could actually find it! Awesome!

 

P.S. – Something I forgot to include in my review of Mandrake (I can’t believe it!!) is that I somehow got it caught in an “infinite loop” and I basically crashed it. My husband said he’s never seen this particular kind of crash before in Linux. I obviously didn’t fix this on my own because the ctrl-alt-delete thing had no effect and the only other thing I could have done was pull the plug. –Anyhow, just something I thought I should probably share.

 

Experiment: The Hardware Listing

I just realized that I forgot to list the hardware that we are using for this experiment. I originally posted a small list in a different category here…so I’ll put it here and explain more.

  • Mobo: Abit NF7 2.0
  • CPU: Athlon XP 2400
  • RAM: Crucial 1024MB (512X2) PC2700 (underclocked for these tests)
  • HD: Maxtor 7200rpm 120GB, Western Digital 6GB 5400rpm
  • CD/DVD: NEC 2510A DVD-R/RW 8X
  • Video: GeForce 4 Ti 4400 128MB
  • NIC: integrated nforce2
  • Keyboard/Mouse: Standard PS/2 and Multimedia Keyboard
  • Sound: SB Audigy Platinum X-Gamer
  • Floppy: Mitsumi Standard 1.44 Floppy

Ok, so now we know about the hardware setup. Mrs.Devnet has already saved her entry and I’ll get to publishing it. Please point out anything I might be lacking from the hardware list. Thanks for reading!

1. Update to the Experiment

The experiment continues. Today, mrs.devnet spent about 5 hours in her new Mandrake 10.1 environment and was scribbling away with a notebook on her likes/dislikes. She then opened up Open Office and began typing up a storm. I took a couple of screenshots while she got up to take a break so we can have some eye candy for the review. I also had to intervene 4 times right away…so I think what we’ll do is intervene on these four things for EACH distro so that they have an equal playing field. The following items were where I intervened…

I had mrs.devnet run ‘alsaconf’ on the distro because sound wasn’t enabled right away. I checked Kmix beforehand for mute but to no avail for it was unmuted. It seems Mandrake had problems with the SB Audigy X-Gamer sound card I have. No worries, I got it up and running with a quick alsaconf…which I will do for each distro if needed. Reason being, there wouldn’t be much of a review if mrs.devnet couldn’t listen to music…she’d give up before even starting. There is also no way that she would ever figure out to open up a terminal, su, and run alsaconf (now she will…before, no way).

I also mounted a music share to the desktop so that mrs.devnet had access to her music library. I will also do this for each and every distro.

Mrs.devnet also consulted me on a couple of points as well and I attempted to bring mandrake into swing with java and flash with only minimal assistance (i.e., showing her the correct website to get stuff from and showing her where the instructions were…not doing it for her). We’ll have to wait for her final review to see if she got it configured.

The last thing done is that I gave her our smtp and pop server logins and passwords so that she could connect to check her mail. So those four things were done in this distro and will be done for each distro installed.

She’ll continue to use Mandrake 10.1 Community for the next 2 days and then switch back into windows. Then she will compose her review based on the criteria posted in this blog and also her own criteria. She’ll rate the distro on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best for each area in the criteria. We’ll continue on to the next distro which is the latest stable version of SimplyMEPIS, SimplyMEPIS 2004.06. After MEPIS, PCLinuxOS followed by FC 3, then Knoppix, and finally we’ll add Ubuntu…just for kicks. We’ve got a good start thus far! We’ll keep you posted!

Experiment: Initial Impressions of Mandrake 10.1 Community

This is my first entry in the experiment that I have been volunteered for by my husband. I said I would do this because I like the idea of a free operating system and I’ve always heard my husband talk about how great it would be if we could use linux instead of windows. Here is my chance to find out if this would ever really be an option for us.

I installed Mandrake today with minimal help. I could have done it on my own but I just wanted to get on with things so I asked a few questions. There are a few things about the install that aren’t exactly new user friendly, but if I think back to some windows installs I probably did some guessing then too.

This is my initial impression after a little over an hour of use:

Starting with the criteria, I think the look of the desktop is okay. Nothing fantastic but it’s pretty easy to navigate and that is what is most important to me. I haven’t tried changing anything, I haven’t done much of anything yet. I am very frustrated that I had to ask for help getting the sound to work. This should be really easy to do but for someone who knows nothing about “ALSACONF” it’s a bit of a problem. The very next thing I wanted to do was be able to surf the web and have my own website render properly. This wasn’t going to happen without java. I decided to do a search for java downloads. I found one, downloaded it, easy enough. Opening the file was a different story. I tried everything I could think of but I ended up asking for help. This is a complete turn-off to me. If I was on my own I’d be screwed. I want to give up, however I’ve been informed that I will not be getting out of this so easily. You will be hearing from me in a day or so. Now I get to go feel like an idiot some more. –BTW, the very same keyboard I use in windows is MMMMMMuch more sensitive in linux. I find that odd. Anyway . . .