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Old 08-23-2005, 10:05 AM   #1
Superion
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Registered: Aug 2005
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Tried Mepis Live CD! Now, questions!


OK, everyone...first let me say thanks for helping me get this far!

I finally downloaded the Mepis live Cd and ran it on the older computer...BINGO! it worked! I was actually surprised. However, it booted slow AND it ran like a turtle! When it first starts up it asks you which Graphical Interface boot you want to use: one for current PCs, one for older PCs, and one with minimal options only. I picked the one for current PCs, although in retrospect I'm sure someone's gonna tell me that was a mistake. That computer is running at 600MHz and with 312MB of RAM (or something like that), and I've heard that KDE (the graphical interface Mepis uses) is a true monster. SHOULD a 600MHz computer been able to handle that, or should I have "booted-down" to the lower-resource version of the GUI?

Also, does Mepis play a sound when it boots up (like Windows?) If so, then I noticed my sound card wasn't working.

I tampered with OpenOffice...HMPH! NOT BAD! ;-D I was suitably impressed. I'll have to jump into it when I have more time and REALLY put it through its paces.

Can you change the GUI's looks and feel? I'm not particularly fond of what KDE looked like...although if what I've been hearing is true, I can make it look and act like WHATEVER I want, so I'm excited about that.

*wryly* No, it's definitely not Windows...and it doesn't really act like Windows...but I'm actually kind of excited. IF all the Linux proponents I've heard aren't just saying the party line and this thing really IS as configurable and customizable as they say it is, then it'd be pretty neat to have an "intermediate's/expert's" OS...I intend to make mine jump through some hoops. ;-D

One last note: I signed in as a demo/guest user, not as root (I've heard bad things about the root/administrator account). Would that have had any impact on performance?

THANKS! And wish me further luck!
 
Old 08-23-2005, 12:39 PM   #2
corfe
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Washington State, USA
Distribution: Debian Sid
Posts: 128

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Good luck, and glad to hear you've had a good experience so far!

One thing to keep in mind about performance, is with a live CD, it's decompressing all the stuff you use in real time, and it's reading it all off of a CD, which is much slower than a hard drive. So a live CD should give decent performance, but a hard-drive install will always be faster. It also may not have the best video card driver for your video card installed, that would hurt performance too. I think CD-ROM speed, RAM size, and CPU speed are what affects your performance booting off of a live CD (in that order). Fortunately your RAM size looks pretty good. I'd try turning down the quality to "older machines", it might turn off a lot of graphical touches that make things slower.

About the sound, KDE does by default play a sound on bootup, but it might not depending on which distribution (I'm not familiar with MEPIS). I'd try downloading a sound file off the 'net (or a USB stick drive), and see if you can get it to play! If not, come back here and we'll help you get it working.

KDE is fully customizable, and if you don't like KDE's options, you can try entire different desktops / window managers (the distinction between the two isn't important now, but window managers are much simpler) on linux - some of them are more customizable than others, but with the variety of choices out there, you should be able to find one you like. If you want to look at some KDE themes, try kde-look.org. It's got all kinds of wallpapers, window decorations, icon sets, and whole themes (a theme encompasses all of these I believe). I don't know what choices besides KDE come on the MEPIS live CD, but some other desktops you might want to check out (if available): Gnome (the other big desktop, directly competing with KDE), XFCE (a more minimal / faster desktop), IceWM, fluxbox.

Not being root shouldn't have any impact on performance - in fact, you did the right thing not logging on as root. One of the security advantages of linux over windows is that you don't typically need to be root/Administrator for day-to-day operation of the computer, without annoyance. It's easy to type in a password to gain temporary

I wish you further luck, and ask us if you have any problems or questions!
 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:08 PM   #3
tekkieman
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Northern CA
Distribution: Mepis 6.5
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Welcome fellow MEPIS user!

I have run a few live CDs on a K6-650 w 512M, and yes, the performance IS somewhat pitiful. The real purpose of the LiveCD is to test whether it will work with YOUR system. If you're happy with what you see, it may be time to consider the HD install. That would help your performance issues. The icon to install to the HD is right on the desktop. I haven't found too many current distros that are difficult to install, but MEPIS couldn't make it any easier!

KDE does play a startup sound, but if you're not hearing it, I would suggest you check the volume level in Kmix. The speaker icon should be in the lower right side of the bottom panel. It's been a while since I did my install, but I think it defaults to minimum volume (you can do this using the LiveCD as well.

Good luck!
 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:09 PM   #4
NetRAVEN5000
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Registered: May 2005
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04
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As corfe said already, probably the biggest reason your computer's running slow is simply the fact that it's a LiveCD. Since they're compressed and have to decompress everything "on-the-fly" they're AMAZINGLY slow. I used Knoppix to diagnose my sis's computer (a 2.6GHz machine with 512MB RAM, I'm pretty sure - maybe not quite that powerful) and it was SLOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.
As for the "KDE's a beastly monster" thing. . . that's not really true - I've got KDE running on a 400mHz laptop with 128MB RAM. Of course, it's not fast, but it runs like you'd expect it to on such an old machine - it runs as fast as (maybe even faster than) Windows ever did, I'll tell you that. And it doesn't crash either.

Yes, KDE normally is set up by default to play sounds, but maybe not with MEPIS. And maybe your computer has some odd soundcard that they didn't compile support for into the Linux kernel (that's not to say that there's no Linux support for it, just not in MEPIS). On my laptop, I have to specifically enable support for my soundcard in my kernel options to get it to work.

KDE's interface is highly customizable. What don't you like about the way it looks? If you don't like the icons, you can change to a different set of icons in "KDE Control Center" by going to "Appearance & Themes -> Icons". You can change a multitude of other things about the appearance in "Appearance & Themes", such as the way your windows, scrollbars, and buttons look, and the color scheme. If you don't like the way the Taskbar or KDE Panel looks, you can go to "KDE Control Center -> Desktop -> Taskbar" or "KDE Control Center -> Desktop -> Panels". One cool effect I've got on my desktop machine is transparent panels - it lets your desktop background show right through the KDE Panel.

corfe's right that being root has no impact on your computer's performance, and that you really should avoid logging on as root - root's the only user (unless you set up another administrator account) who can ruin the ENTIRE system. Even on a LiveCD you shouldn't do this - a hacker could still mount your HD partitions and delete stuff from them.

By the way, you don't usually need root access to install programs unless you want them to be available to all users. I think that's a fairly common misconception.
 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:37 PM   #5
ingvildr
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Quote:
I used Knoppix to diagnose my sis's computer (a 2.6GHz machine with 512MB RAM, I'm pretty sure - maybe not quite that powerful) and it was SLOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.
Hmm all the livecds i've used on my 2.8GHz box with 256MB RAM have run fast, only ever slowing when i stop using them for a while. Check out either pclinuxos or kanotix (knoppix but faster and with a better HD install).
 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:50 PM   #6
Superion
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Registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 28

Original Poster
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Quote:
Originally posted by tekkieman
Welcome fellow MEPIS user!...KDE does play a startup sound, but if you're not hearing it, I would suggest you check the volume level in Kmix.
THANKS, Tekkieman! Actually, that was the first thing I tried fiddling with (KMix helpfully popped up right onto my desktop after bootup).
Quote:
Originally posted by NetRAVEN5000
Yes, KDE normally is set up by default to play sounds, but maybe not with MEPIS. And maybe your computer has some odd soundcard that they didn't compile support for into the Linux kernel (that's not to say that there's no Linux support for it, just not in MEPIS).
Now that you mention it, NetRAVEN, that MIGHT be it...on this older computer, I believe this soundcard is integrated with the motherboard. It's supposed to be SoundBlaster compatible, though...which may not mean anything, but since most other soundcards use the SB standard, I'm hoping that means it'll more easily have a linux equivalent.
Quote:
Originally posted by NetRAVEN5000
KDE's interface is highly customizable. What don't you like about the way it looks?
First off, I don't like the layout of everything, particularly on the taskbar at the bottom. I'm not too crazy about the font they used, or the large-style icons. And I hate that I can't right-click/context-menu. I was right-clicking like crazy trying to get something like that to come up.

I've seen some really fascinating desktops out there, and I have some cool ideas for customization...for example, has anyone ever heard of an app that would let you have a video file as your background, while you work? That'd be cool as heck. Add to that some of the neat menu/window animations like you see at www.terminator3.com, and your desktop would be killer! *sheepish grin* I know that might not be possible; but hey, everyone keeps saying Linux is customizable, right?

THANKS for your answers!
 
Old 08-23-2005, 02:11 PM   #7
NetRAVEN5000
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Registered: May 2005
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04
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Quote:
Originally posted by ingvildr
Hmm all the livecds i've used on my 2.8GHz box with 256MB RAM have run fast, only ever slowing when i stop using them for a while. Check out either pclinuxos or kanotix (knoppix but faster and with a better HD install).
Well maybe I was exagerrating a bit. . . I meant a lot slower than my regular Slackware box. I was multitasking, too, which I understand makes LiveCDs a lot slower - I was playing with all the games and trying to make everything look pretty while I was trying to fix the thing .
Quote:
Now that you mention it, NetRAVEN, that MIGHT be it...on this older computer, I believe this soundcard is integrated with the motherboard. It's supposed to be SoundBlaster compatible, though...which may not mean anything, but since most other soundcards use the SB standard, I'm hoping that means it'll more easily have a linux equivalent.
Well maybe, like I said before, support for your soundcard isn't compiled into MEPIS's kernel. Or maybe it's just not loading the module properly. Since it's SoundBlaster compatible, it should work. Could be that everything's muted, too - try running "alsamixer".
Quote:
First off, I don't like the layout of everything, particularly on the taskbar at the bottom. I'm not too crazy about the font they used, or the large-style icons. And I hate that I can't right-click/context-menu. I was right-clicking like crazy trying to get something like that to come up.
That's odd that you don't get a menu when you right-click - I do, but I didn't change any settings to make it do that.
Like I said before, too, you can change all the fonts and the size of the icons and everything from the KDE Control Center.
 
  


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