New User Guide
From MEPIS Documentation Wiki
!!! Warning! The info contained in this article pertains to older versions of MEPIS !!!
(Manual new for MEPIS 8.0 is here)
Welcome to MEPIS and the world of Linux. By trying out the MEPIS Live CD you have taken the first step to a better computing experiance.
Deciding what version to get
If you are a new user it would be a good idea to get the latest stable version.
Verify the md5sum
When you have finished downloading the LiveCD image, but before you burn the distro to a CD, make sure to get the md5sum file from the same place and verify the md5sum of the .iso against what is recorded in the file. This is to prevent errors from your download passing into the CD you burn. If the md5sum does not match, redownload the iso.
Windows users should download a tool called md5summer at this point
- Download the self-extracting exe. Execute the file by double-clicking on it, and it will expand 2 files in the current directory: md5summer.exe and md5summer.md5
- Execute md5summer.exe, respond "yes" to associate extension "md5" with md5summer program
- Now you can either double-click on the .md5 file and the program will check the md5 sum automatically, or from md5summer you can select as "root folder" the folder where you downloaded the .iso and .md5 files and then select "verify sums" and select the .md5 file you want to check.
Linux users need to open up a console/terminal and cd into the directory where they have the iso and md5sum files. They next need to issue this command:
- md5sum -c filename.md5sum
Be sure to replace filename with the actual filename
If md5sum complains that filename.md5sum is not formatted correctly then issue this command:
- md5sum filename.iso
and visually compare the result with the downloaded md5sum.
Mac users need to open up a console/terminal and cd into the directory they where have the iso and md5sum files. They next need to issue this command:
- md5 -c filename.md5sum
Be sure to replace filename with the actual filename
Burning the distro to a CD
Use 700MB blank CDRs. Some CDRWs will work but some won't.
- Using Windows:
- Download CDBurnerXP Pro
- Install the program.
- Put a blank 700MB CDR in your drive. Start CDBurnerXP Pro. Choose burn iso, find the iso file, then click Burn.
- Using Linux: Start K3B
- Go to Tools -> Burn CD Image -> Select the image.
- It is advisable to check "Verify written data" check-box. Click Start.
- To compute the md5sum of a CD after it has been burnt, put it into a drive (hdc for example) without mounting it and command:
- Using Mac : make sure you burn it as a CD Image (ISO) not as a data CD.
The very first screen you will come to will be the kernel selection screen. This is better known as Grub. presently there are 3 options avaliable to you
- Kernel 2.6
- Kernel 2.4
- Kernel 2.4 Failsafe
NOTE: The 2.6 kernel is the recommended kernel. If it doesnt work, keep going down the list.
A common error at this point is to see a black screen with just grub> pictured. Should you get this error read the guide to Booting Mepis CD When Machine Does Not Support It
Login manager: kdm
You should now see a bunch of black and white text flash by, followed by a colorful screen prompting for a username and password. This screen is known as KDM
You will see 3 users listed:
root is a powerful user that has full privileges to the entire system. It is NOT SAFE to log into this user for more than a few moments.
onthego is a user name reserved for a special MEPIS feature
demo is the user we want for now. Its password is demo, same as the username. Once you have entered into the system we will advance to exploring the system.
NOTE: If this doesn't come up and you see MEPIS Login: in white text on a black background, your graphics card did not get configured properly on bootup. Make a post on one of our forums letting someone know that your xserver has not started and what your graphics card is. If you don't know this info, then login in with the username:root and password:root, type the command lspci | grep VGA and give us this info on the forums.
Exploring the LiveCD
If you have never tried a liveCD before, you are about to be pleasantly surprised. What awaits you is not a cryptic text-mode installer or some kind of DOS-like environment, but rather a fully graphical environment, just like an actual Mepis installation, only running from your CDrom drive purely in your computer's RAM. You can run programs, surf the internet, set up email, or whatever you'd do normally on your computer (within the limits of your hardware). And if you like what you see, installing to your hard drive is not much harder than your typical software installation.
Note: Because the liveCD is running completely in your RAM and often has to read compressed data from your CDrom, its performance can be slow and somewhat "choppy" compared to an actual hard-drive installation. You may find it "locks up" for 10-30 seconds now and then, or more often depending on your hardware. This is normal, but in no way indicative of the sort of performance you'll have once you install it!
Once you've logged in and the desktop has loaded, it's time to look around a bit. Mepis uses the KDE desktop environment, so you'll probably notice a lot of programs begin with the letter "K" as well as references here and there to KDE. You'll also notice a large icon in the lower left-hand side of the screen with a "K" on it; this is the KDE menu, which is more or less analogous to the windows "start menu". Click on it to check out some of the software installed on the CD.
- Make sure you don't have anything on the disk that you might regret losing. Back up all important data!
- Defragment the disk if you plan to resize the disk.
- Plug in and turn on all the hardware that you plan to use with MEPIS.
- Boot up the MEPIS Live CD ( the computer should be set up to try to boot first from the CD).
- Resolution should be autodetected, if you have problems or you want a specific resolution select the desired resolution and kernel from the GRUB menu. Example: Press F3 to choose resolution 1280x1024.
- When you get the log in dialog use "root" for user name and "root" for password.
- Click on "INSTALL ME" icon in the desktop.
- Select Install MEPIS on Hard Drive and click "Next".
- Choose "auto install using the entire disk" if you have an empty disk or you want to remove everything you have on that disk. If you choose this option, skip the next steps to the GRUB installation, otherwise choose: "custom partitioning".
- If you have a partition free for MEPIS go to the next step, otherwise repartition your hard drive
- Click "Next" and select the partition for / (root) (if you created only one partition it should be already selected).
- Chose the filesystem type--choose the default ext3 if you don't know any better--and click "Next". Respond "Yes" to format the partition.
- .... get a coffee and relax.... depending on your system the installation should take between 15 and 45 minutes.
- When that installation step is over you will be prompted with a dialog to install GRUB (Linux boot loader). Choose to install GRUB on MBR (master boot record) of the system boot disk. (Alternative boot methods).
- Choose the localized defaults. Example: Keyboard "us", Locale: "en_US". Click "Next". Confirm the GRUB installation.
- Choose the username and password and the root password. Click "Next".
- Choose computer name, domain, and workgroup. If you plan to network your MEPIS computer its domain and workgroup have to match your Windows machine's, otherwise it is not important what name you choose (cannot be left blank). Computer name should be unique on the network. Unselect "Samba server for MS networking" if you don't plan to network your computer with Windows computers. Click "Next".
- Choose the services you need to start each time you bootup MEPIS. It's a good idea to leave Guarddog Firewall service on. Click "Next".
- Select additional language support that you need. Click "Next"
- That's it! Congratulations!
Connecting to Internet
- Internet connection should work automatically in most of the cases if your computer is connected with a Ethernet card to a network that has access to Internet.
- Otherwise, start oscenter (older versions) or mutilities (Mepis 6), type in the root password when prompted, and click on "network interfaces" . There you should be able to configure your network. You can find more information about networking here
The two most common email clients used in Linux are Kmail and Mozilla's Thunderbird, both installed with SimplyMepis 6 and available by clicking KMenu --> Internet. Thunderbird has its own wizard for account setup, so instructions here will be restricted to Kmail.
The following will help you with basic setup to be able to send and receive email.
- From the Kmenu icon, goto Internet and select the Kmail icon
- There are nine drop down menus that are fairly standard among email clients.
- Under that are a series of icons. Move your mouse over them to see what they are.
- There are three different panes showing. The one on the left contains your mailboxes. The one at the top right is where your message headers are listed and below that is where the message body is displayed.
Setting up your Mail Server Settings
- From the drop downs select SETTINGS\CONFIGURE KMAIL The configure window will now be open. For now we'll worry about only the Identities and Accounts sections.
- Highlight the "Identities" icon. On the right you'll see add,modify and rename buttons. From here you can add a new identity or modify an existing one. If there's default identity listed already, lets click the Modify button.
- Enter your Name "or whatever you want to be shown on your email" and your email address in the appropriate boxes, then hit ok.
- Now click the "Accounts" button. From here you'll set up your Receiving and Sending options. Click the Receiving tab at the top. If there's a default account showing in the middle window, highlight it and click the "Modify" button on the right, otherwise click "Add" and highlight pop3 and click ok.
- In the menu that pops up, you enter the name you want your account to be. The "Login" and "Password" boxes are for your mail username and password that you get from your isp. The "Host" box is for the pop address ie. "pop.isp.com". Don't worry about the rest of the boxes and buttons for now. Just press OK
- Now it's time to click the "Sending" tab at the top.
- Again, if there's a default account listed, click "Modify" otherwise click "Add" This time you'll select SMTP and press OK.
- In the Name box, enter the same name you used in the pop setup. The "Host" will be "smtp.isp.com" or whatever your isp tells you.
- Depending on your isp you'll probably have to click the "Server requires Authentification" box to make sure there's an X shown.
- Enter your isp mail server Username and password. Click to X the Store SMTP Password button if you want the password to be saved.
- Now click OK and then APPLY and OK on the next window.
You should have a basic setup for sending and receiving email with Kmail. You can add more accounts, following the above if you have more than one email address that you want to use.
- One easy way to start chatting is to go to http://www.meebo.com in Firefox.
- If you prefer a specialized program for chatting, MEPIS comes with GAIM, a multi-protocol client. Start it from KMenu -> Internet -> GAIM or just type "gaim" in Konsole or "run program".
Sending a FAX
- Use an internet fax service. Choice and price of service depends on volume and services needed, see this fax price comparison.
- NEED HERE LINK ON HOW TO SET UP A POSTSCRIPT FAX PRINTER IN KDE!
- Use Efax-gtk on Postscript documents
- Use KdeprintFax (included with MEPIS 6.5) on documents in common formats such as *.doc, *.rtf, *.html, or *.txt
- For Open Office, consult the documentation,using the hyperlinked ToC to get to the section on faxing.
Provided with Mepis is a top notch music system called amarok. Amarok is database driven and somewhat similar to musicmatch on windows. Simply start the application and it will walk you through the setup.
You will find several applications at your disposal for watching videos and DVDs already avaliable for you. However, many of these will not run without the packages w32codecs and/or libdvdcss you will need to install these, please refer to Make Media players work. Currently MEPIS comes with a media player called Kaffeine.
Installing and upgrading new programs
The process of installing software is simple in Mepis. Click here for infomation about installing new software
Configuring your Computer's appearance
To change the appearance of your Kicker Panel you can either:
- Right click the MEPIS menu icon at the left hand end of the kicker panel and follow the "Panel Menu" heading.
- Or right click in a clear area of the kicker panel and follow the menu headings.
- Install, Remove & Configuring Kicker Panel Applets:
- To add or remove an applet (e.g. weather, fish), follow the "Remove from Panel" > "Applet" menus
- To set your location in the weather applet
Editing the Menu
When you install a package it usually but not always puts an entry in Main Menu. You can add the package by using the Menu Editor.
- Start Menu Editor by clicking K Menu > Settings > Menu Editor.
- Click File > New Item
- Enter a name for the application and click OK.
- On the right side fill in the appropriate information, in particular fill in the command box. Applications are usually installed in /usr/bin, so navigate to that folder using the open file dialog button next to the command box, and find the program.
- You can also change the icon by clicking the icon square.
- If the program requires root access (e.g., wifi-radar), check "Run as a different user" and enter "root"
- Once added you can move the application in the list by dragging and dropping.
- Save the configuration.
Setting a background
Right click on an empty area of your desktop and select 'Configure Desktop...'
The desktop configuration module allows you to control all aspects of your desktop:
- Background image/colour/pattern/slide show or even display web page/content (click 'Advanced' to enable this)
- Behaviour - which icons to display, tooltips to show
- Number of desktops to use - up to 20 can be configured!
- Screensaver selection and configuration
- Display - it is possible to change the screen resolution and frequency here - but use this with care as it may be possible to select a setting your hardware cannot display - and if you have 'Apply settings on KDE startup' checked - will make it very difficult to recover from. Monitor power control (you need to have option DPMS enabled in your X-config file in: /etc/X11/ , to enable power down), gamma and colour balance can also be adjusted here.
A similar desktop configuration module can be found in the KDE Control Centre (from the command line: kcontrol)
Setting A Theme
To change the appearance of your KDE destop manager you can either:
- Changing the look yourself by:
- Opening the KDE Control Centre (from the command line: kcontrol) and in 'Appearance & Themes' section - choose an aspect you would like to change - have a look around this section to familiarize yourself with the possible choices and available options. You can change almost every aspect of KDE's appearance here - from desktop background to menu transparency to widget style. Remember to click 'Apply' after making any changes you wish to keep.
- Install a Theme or Icon-set:
- Simply download the theme or icon package - usually a compressed tar.gz type file - to your home directory,
- a good site to for getting themes/icons:
- www.kde-look.org/ - there is a link to this site in - Control Center - Appearance & Themes - Theme Manager
- No need to extract the archive to install it - just open the KDE Control Centre (from the command line: kcontrol) - Click on 'Appearance & Themes' - then select either 'Icons' or 'Theme Manager' - and click 'Install New Theme' - it's the same process for both icons and themes - just browse to the downloaded theme/icon package - select it and click OK. To use the new theme or icons - select the newly added theme or icons from the list and click 'Apply'. Easy!
- For a graphical 'how-to' see here
- Note: There may be some themes that have a different install method - read the release notes from the download page to be sure.
For further documentation on all aspects of theme install in the KDE environment see kde-look help - although some of the info appears to be more relevant to older versions of KDE.
Changing the fonts
1. Press Kmenu icon
2. Select "Control Center"
3. Select "Appearance & Themes"
4. Select "Fonts"
From this window you can select the fonts for various
KDE tool bars, window titles, etc.
Additional fonts can be installed using Synaptic