Chris J Powell

OS Sunday – My First Permanent Distro

As a Geek and Linux Lover, the funny thing about an OS for us is that the distro is constantly evolving.  Since the beginning of my time with using Linux it has been rare that any Single Distro would survive more than 1 week of me fighting, cursing and diving into forums because I was limping along an ancient PC.  I looked back in my history of computing with some fond memories and as I charge forward to a milestone birthday on Thursday (turning 40) I figured rather than only taking you through the latest and greatest, it was time for a little blast from my past…my First long term install of Linux!

The first OS to survive the 1 week cut off was SimplyMepis back in July of 2005.  The PC I had at the time was a Single Core 1.8 Ghz with 768 MB of RAM and a 20GB HDD (well it had 10 Hard drives that I would swap out from time to time).  I was able to dig up a screenshot of the Mepis 3.3 that was available at the time:

But unfortunately, to fully allow myself that nostalgic rewind, I was even able to locate a copy of that version from over at

From what I new then to what I know now about the wonderful world of Linux is truly like night and day.  I am going to give the install a try (not sure how it will take to the MonstaPuter or the Virtual Machine) but the download is still as fast as I remember it from back in the day when all I could get was 1.5 MB DSL, except now instead of loving the 150 KBps that I would actually get…the 1.8 MBps that it is coming to me is a welcome change.

I decided to see how this now ancient distro (currently on Version 11) would run with the same stats that I use for all other OS Sunday reviews (4 GB RAM and 20GB HDD).  I must say the boot up went splendid, it was on of the first to use the now standard LiveCD installs and it ran through and got me to a working desktop in under a minute.  The install went as smoothly as I remember back then (with very little prompting and nagging for me to do much of anything).

The first boot took a grand total of 38 seconds to come to a full KDE desktop and then it was like bringing back a flood of memories from a simpler time.  This 7 year old OS comes with some very capable software pre-installed:

  • The Gimp Image Editor
  • OpenOffice 10 and KOffice
  • Konquorer and Firefox for Web Browsing
  • Xine and XMMS for multimedia

I think back to this OS as the entry point into my love of Linux and even though it is really the only OS that I ever ran that used KDE for the desktop, it did one thing really well…it started up every time, did not spit errors at me and let me do 95% of what I was used to doing with a Windows PC with no problems or issues.

For each person with Linux, there are different reasons for getting started, mine was the Openness and with the improvements that have happened in the past 7 years to both the general uptake and usability of Linux…Mepis is a shining example of how a small team, spread around the globe really can build a Community Supported project and make it last.

If you want to give the latest version a spin, head over to version 11 sports many of the latest and greatest improvements but has also doubled in size, needing 1.5GB for the download!

That is it for me this week but I encourage you to give a test drive of at least one Linux Distro this week.  They are Free, can be a ton of fun and you know what…learning new things never goes out of style!

As for a Rating on this…well for nostalgic reasons…it is not really fair to the other distros but even with more modern versions out there, this 7 year old Distro installed easy, works like a charm and had no issues (even with updating itself and installing new software) so I would give it:

I would also put out a call…what was your first Linux Install?  Leave a comment!


Chris J Powell


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