antiX M-7, The Fat-free Simply Mepis

Posted by jun auza On 11/02/2007
antiX M-7, The Fat-free Simply Mepis: Simply Mepis is a Linux newbie’s dream. It is known for its ease-of-use and its exceptional hardware detection. A new lightweight flavor of Mepis, which is intended for older hardware was released recently. It is called AntiX with a code name “Lysistrata”, and so I quickly jumped into trying it out.

Xubuntu RC is already installed on our old laptop, but I was tempted to also install AntiX on it. So I got the ISO image of AntiX live CD from here, and then burned it on the CD after. I also made sure to copy some of the important files from my laptop using a couple of online backup services and other Linux data backup tools.

Test Machine Specs:
Prestigio 109 laptop
Processor: 1GHz VIA Nehemia
Memory: 256MB RAM
Hard Drive: 20GB


Installation:
The installation can be accomplished with just several steps to take. But, newbies may find it difficult where to begin with as there’s no installer icon present on the desktop. That is why I’m here to help:

To begin the installation, just right click to display the main menu, and then click ADMIN TOOLS → MEPIS ADMIN → INSTALL. A terminal will appear then just type “root” for the password. After this, the installation menu will appear and believe me it will be an uncomplicated process from here.


The installation on my system was fast and flawless. The hardware were well-detected, and everything worked as normal from audio, video, DVD-drive, Ethernet, and USB.


Look and Feel:
I find AntiX slow to boot compared to Xubuntu running on our not-so-old laptop. It is also less responsive considering that it has a lighter Fluxbox desktop. At login, there is an option to use ICEWM but I preferred to use the default FWM for this test. The desktop look is not as polished as that of XFce, but I still like it because of its geeky appeal. Linux beginners will find the FWM unfriendly the first time that they will use it, while the novice will love it for its simplicity.


Package Management:
The very reliable Synaptic will smoothly take care of installing, removing, and updating software applications for AntiX. Also, there are plenty of pre-installed applications on AntiX like Xchat, IceWeasel, gMplayer, Brasero, Flash, and plenty more. As I’ve said, Synaptic is your friend if you want to download and install additional packages.


Stability:
There’s no question about the stability of a Debian based system. Though I can’t really make a concrete judgement regarding AntiX’s steadiness based only from the short period that I have used it, I can declare that it is secure enough for regular computer tasks. I’ve encountered few bugs while using a number of applications, but it is only minor and did not really affect its overall performance.


Conclusion:
I would say that AntiX is highly recommended for those who have older machines because of its dependable hardware detection and its light footprint. While it did not perform as well as Xubuntu on my older laptop, I still consider AntiX as a very promising distro that could easily beat any lightweight distribution in the near future.

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