Ubuntu vs. PCLinuxOS vs. SimplyMepis

Posted by jun auza On 7/30/2007
Ubuntu vs. PCLinuxOS vs. SimplyMepis: This is my own quick views on some of the most popular Linux distributions today. On Distrowatch, Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) is currently ranked number one, PCLinuxOS 2007 is second, and SimplyMepis 6.5 is number five on the list.

So get ready for Ubuntu vs. PCLinuxOS vs. SimplyMepis...

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Seagate ST340016A ATA (40.02 GB)
Memory: 1GB DDR2 RAM
Display: RADEON X300/X550 Series [Display adapter]

SimplyMepis 6.0 simply rocks for its easy and trouble-free installation. It only took about 10 minutes to completely finish the installation without a problem. Based on using SM 3.5, my first ever Linux distro, and also having tried more than 10 Linuxes, I think SM's installer is the best among the rest in terms of user-friendliness. Ubuntu sucks big time on my test machine because I can't boot the live CD at first. After trying several boot option parameters, adding "noapic nolapic" finally solved the problem. After the installation, I have to edit grub adding the option again in order to boot and also to the menu.lst once booted. PCLinuxOS has also a very user-friendly installer but I have to choose the Safe Boot option for my test machine to boot the live CD. It took 15 minutes to install without any problems.

Look and feel:
I prefer GNOME so Ubuntu is for me. It has a sleek and fast default theme. Compiz or Beryl doesn't work on Ubuntu using my test machine. PCLinuxOS has also a nice and smooth looking GUI. Beryl can be activated but it made some applications unstable like Firefox freezes from time to time. SimplyMepis has a toy-looking default desktop but it is highly configurable to suit your taste. Beryl worked just fine and more stable than in PCLinuxOS.

Package Management:
Ubuntu has the best collection of installed and installable software available on their repositories and can easily be removed and added using install/remove menu. You have to install several multimedia codecs though but it can easily be done via Automatix. Simply Mepis has also a lot of good software installed including multimedia codecs for playing DVD, MP3 and more. Installing and removing software is not as easy as that of Ubuntu but there are plenty of freeware avialable on Debian and Mepis repositories. Meanwhile, PCLinuxOS has plenty of additional RPM packages available but you have to know the package name for it to be installed. Several multimedia codecs are installed by default but not DVD support.

I have briefly used PCLinuxOS or Simply Mepis to make a concrete review. But judging from that short experience, they were both quite stable with some minor bugs. I have used Ubuntu the longer time than the two. Most Ubuntu users will agree with me that it is a tough and tested OS. It has very few bugs and very stable indeed.

For me, Ubuntu overall has the edge on both PCLinuxOS and SimplyMepis but I will only recommend it for novice users. SimplyMepis simply works out of the box and is the most user-friendly, definitely good for beginners. PCLinuxOS though radically simple, it lacks what the other two have but still a fine working distro.

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