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Free Software: Working with Simply MEPIS

GNU/Linux is a free open source alternative to Windows. Hundreds of versions of GNU/Linux exist because it's free — people download it and tinker with it, and then distribute it. SimplyMEPIS Linux is a popular version of GNU/Linux and ranks in the top ten for the following reasons:

  • Powerful and polished: SimplyMEPIS is designed to be user-friendly while not losing any of the power of the GNU/Linux operating system.
  • Runs from CD-ROM or hard drive: It can run from the CD-ROM, giving you a chance to try it out and see whether you like it before you install it on your hard drive. It takes only about three minutes to boot it.
  • Ease of installing: SimplyMEPIS is probably the easiest GNU/Linux distribution to install. It automatically detects your hardware and installs drivers automatically without your needing to do anything.
  • Tons of applications: SimplyMEPIS installs with tons of useful free software applications, all in one stroke, such as Mozilla Firefox, OpenOffice.org, the GIMP, Audacity, and many more.
  • No worries about viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, or anything else that may infest a Windows computer: You don't need anti-virus software when using GNU/Linux. One reason is that the design of GNU/Linux was inspired by the design of the Unix operating system, which is used for large mainframe computers for which security was important.
  • Contains a firewall to restrict anyone from using your computer remotely: Except you, of course, if you need to.
  • Includes KPackage: Use this to download and automatically install free software from the Internet.

For someone who wants a reliable desktop, packed with applications for almost every conceivable purpose — especially when you consider the KPackage program that can download and install thousands of free programs from the Internet — SimplyMEPIS may be right for you. It takes about three minutes to run from the CD-ROM, and it seems to run flawlessly.

Downloading SimplyMEPIS

To install SimplyMEPIS, go to Mepis.org and click on the Download MEPIS Linux link (under Discover MEPIS) to download. Click on one of the Mirror links and click the link titled Released. Then click on the topmost link, which in this case is SimplyMEPIS–3.3.iso.

Downloading SimplyMEPIS takes quite a while because it is 693 Mb. (You probably don't want to try this if you're using a modem connection.) If you don't have a fast Internet connection, you can buy the CD-ROM by clicking on the link in the Buy From MEPIS section on the Mepis.org home page.

When it is finished downloading, burn it to a CD with a CD burner. If you don't have a CD burner or don't want to use it, again you could just buy the CD-ROM.

Installing SimplyMEPIS

You can install SimplyMEPIS in two ways:

  • To run from your CD-ROM: Boot your computer from the SimplyMEPIS CD-ROM as described in the next section, and you'll have a full-blown GNU/Linux environment with lots of applications installed and working in seconds. When you run it from the CD-ROM, however, applications load a little slowly because CD-ROM drives are slow compared to hard drives. But you can still try it out and use the applications and see how you like it.
  • To run from your hard drive: After you install SimplyMEPIS from the CD-ROM, you can use it or further install it by clicking on the INSTALL ME icon on the SimplyMEPIS desktop.

Booting SimplyMEPIS from a CD-ROM

To boot SimplyMEPIS from a CD-ROM, follow these steps:

1. Place the SimplyMEPIS CD-ROM in the CD-ROM drive of any Windows computer and reboot the computer.

SimplyMEPIS boots automatically in 30 seconds, which means you have 30 seconds to interrupt the booting, if you want to do the following:

If your computer is older, you can use the arrow key to choose Boot 2.4 (older hardware).

To explore the Help, click F1.

If you want a language other than English, press F2 and choose German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, or Swedish. Use the arrow keys to navigate the list and press Return after making your selection. To start booting, press Return.

To choose a different screen resolution, other than the default, press F3 and navigate through the choices with the arrow keys and press Return to make your selection. Press Return again to start booting.

After about two minutes, a new screen appears, requesting your Username and Password.

2. Click demo.

SimplyMEPIS fills in the words, using demo as your Username.

(You probably don't want to choose Root, because if you're just trying out or even installing the program permanently, you probably don't need the power of being the system administrator that Root gives you. You can save your work in demo mode, just like you can save it as Root.)

3. Type demo in the Password input box.

The SimplyMEPIS desktop appears after about a minute, with the KMix application running.

4. You can use the sliders of KMix to adjust the volume of your computer, if you want.

5. Go ahead and explore the SimplyMEPIS menus by clicking the K in the lower left-hand corner.

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