MEPIS AntiX on 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb

Ive never worked with MEPIS or any of its derivatives before. I know about them, but I never took the time to install or investigate until now, and thus far it has been a very enjoyable experience.

I snagged the AntiX
ISO after a comment left elsewhere here, and while I’m not a big
Fluxbox fan, I find this to be one of the most pleasant setups I’ve
seen yet. The disc booted cleanly and went straight to a clean, albeit
dark-themed, desktop.

The installation tool, like Wolvix’s,
was a good step easier to run than Ubuntu’s, in my experience. It
handled partitioning without any input from me, and had only a few
questions to ask before it was done. Time to install was probably under
20 minutes, even on this old machine. (The only quirk was the root password — which is “root”. I guessed it and everything was happy.)

It found and configured the network without a hitch — the Xircom
card never made it blink. Video went straight to the right dimensions
and depth. USB mouse? Check. JP106 keyboard? Check. In fact, I can’t
think of anything that didn’t get set up right, on the first try, and
without my picking at it. It was a nice change.

AntiX seems to be set up with a good array of GTK2, GTK1.2 and CLI
apps, for just about every need. It’s not as overwhelming a selection
as some distros, but it’s plain that someone made sure a machine of
almost any power has an option. As an example, Firefox is coupled with
Dillo and something called hv3 — which I need to investigate a little
more. Likewise, rox-filer is default, but Xfe is available. Xchat is
installed, but so is irssi. Sylpheed plus mutt. And so forth.

Speedwise, AntiX ranks pretty well. I should repeat that it’s
Fluxbox-based, which means it’s probably faster than an XFCE-based
distro by default. But the numbers are still very good.

Firefox opens in around 12 seconds, but needs another 6 or 7 to
finally render a working page. (Dillo, on the other hand, is up, loaded
and finished in less than 4 seconds … but that’s to be expected.)
Startup is in 1:25, which is pretty quick. Shutdown is about 25
seconds, which isn’t great, but usually doesn’t matter to me. Other
applications are as peppy, or fall in a range that’s proportionally

In fact, the only things I could complain about would be
superficial. The gray theme is nice, but would be nicer if the GTK
theme matched as well. The glossy clearlooks effects are a little out
of place; something flat and gray, like a rezlooks variant, would probably fit better.

But that’s exceedingly trivial. The default desktop is sharp, and cosmetics beyond that aren’t worth mentioning.

One thing that does strike me as interesting, and I think I knew this from the Ubuntu forums,
but MEPIS has some Ubuntu built into it. Since the repositories and
kernel match the Dapper release, I decided to play a little shell game.
I tacked the Gutsy repositories on to the end of the sources.list file
and let it upgrade itself.

Which didn’t really work. Some packages weren’t exactly compatible,
and I got a lot of errors out of aptitude. I could reboot, but after a
point there wasn’t anything I could fix or install. Sometimes that
works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s always fun to try.

In all, I think AntiX, and probably Mepis by extension, is worth
trying out. If you like Fluxbox, I’d definitely suggest it. And since
it did a fantastic job setting itself up on a very peculiar machine, it
wins extra points with me.

Thanks to Source Web Site for sharing this Review: