SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Starting to Look Good
Warren Woodford announced the availability of SimplyMEPIS 11.0 beta2 yesterday, February 8. This release is based on Debian Squeeze with KDE 4.5.3, Linux 2.6.36-1, and X.Org X Server 1.7.7. Best thing about this release is I could get it to work.
Screenshots of previous test releases showed the new images, but they are much prettier in person. SimplyMEPIS always features attractive desktops, and its nice this tradition is still being honored. The KDE desktop is still very reminiscent of SimplyMEPIS KDE 3 desktops, probably due a large part in Woodford's choice of using the Classic KDE Menu style, but also the thin lower panel and the usual icons on the desktop. This release features applications such as Firefox 4.0 beta10, GIMP 2.6.10, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1, Dropbox, GNOME MPlayer, luckybackup, and Sweeper.
Woodford said, "After the release of the first beta, it became apparent that there were lingering issues related to booting the CD to a graphical login. Thanks to the investigations and recommendations of the MEPIS testers, we believe we have fixed these problems in beta2." But there are still some issues being reported in the forums. Most are being attributed to older NVIDIA cards, but I had problems again as well. Although I could eventually get a nice desktop, the NVIDIA boot selection did not work - instead hanging at the GUI startup as with the previous release. I could boot using the Traditional MEPIS Xorg Configuration option, but the desktop was rendered at an 800x600 resolution. I modprobed the NVIDIA driver and after editing the Xorg configuration file, I could get a comfortable resolution and working effects. This is fine for old veterans who remember how to cope from when that was the status quo for Linux, but new users are likely to give up. In addition, the MEPIS assistant which helps users configure their graphic cards is MIA. Hopefully, this will all be automatic by final - and Woodford et al. have plenty of time before then, after all, this is still just a beta.
The installer hasn't changed and performed its job admirably, including the installation of new GRUB; although it didn't add an entry for my current desktop system. Even though I had to manually add that myself, the Xorg configuration transferred over. So, all in all, SimplyMEPIS 11.0 is shaping up quite nicely. It appears it is going to be the familiar SimplyMEPIS we all know and love for its loyal users with nice appeal for new users.