So six months had rolled around since my last install, it was a long weekend and the need to install a new variant of Linux came over me.
I felt it was time to update my workshop computer. It is an old Pentium 3 Dell Optiplex Gx something with 512Mb Ram but has a 250Gb drive that I added about a year or so ago (I bought the drive for my wife’s computer without checking the type first and then discovered I had bought IDE).
Of course that means about 232MB that are actually usable but it seems a shame to waste so much space on one distro again so I started by looking at live cd’s of what I thought were lightweight distros. The Dell has some sort of weird Intel video chipset that seems to screw up a lot of distributions.
I started by looking through my recent Linux format magazine disks and saw Mepis and Mint 9 Isadora. I downloaded PCLinuxOS2010 and, for a change, I thought I would check out BSD (or at least PCBSD). I had been reading a review and it peaked some interest.
PCLinuxOS had some video issues and I could not fix it while using the live disk so I rejected it. Mepis worked except for the same video issue but was fixable. Mint found the correct resolution straight away.
Mepis is predominantly KDE based and, to be honest, it was the nicest looking implementation (if that is the right way to describe it) of KDE 4 that I have seen. BSD took several goes to actually boot. The first failure was because the disk was corrupt. Then I had to play around a bit in the menus and ultimately install it to get it to work.
I decided I wanted to try to triple boot Mepis, Mint and BSD. I first installed Mepis and Mint and left a space for BSD, (about 70, 70 and 90GB split). BSD took just over an hour to install whilst Mint took just over 20 minutes. Mepis was about 5 minutes slower than Mint to install.
Mint and Mepis worked fine together and then at some point I clicked so BSD would overwrite grub. When I rebooted I had the menu for BSD, Mint and Mepis. The downside here is that the first time it did actually work, but when I rebooted the menu did not actually accept input. No matter what I pressed it just added a # character. BSD would take over another hour to install, just too much time to mess around if it then did not work, and so BSD was voted off the island.
I reinstalled Mepis and Mint together, 116GB each. This is where I got a chance to really look at Mepis. When it was on the live CD it seemed faster than once it was actually installed. It seemed pointless to keep Mepis when I could just put Mint (Gnome) on the disk and then install KDE as an option at boot up, so that is what I did I also installed (Mint XFCE) Well I have plenty of space.