Monday, 27 July 2009

AntiX Mepis 8.2 On The Eee PC 900.

AntiX Mepis 8.2 is a stripped down Mepis, using the Ice WM desktop on a Mepian/Debian Testing base.

Let's get down to business. I downloaded the .iso, put it on a 1GB stick using UNetbootin, rebooted and after hitting space to skip the video options, I was presented with a nice looking desktop. In the top right of the desktop there was Conky telling me what was going on with the CPU and stuff. A stormy looking background and a nicely configured panel completed the rather polished look.

No battery indicator anywhere, though I'm pretty sure that's easy enough to sort out.

So, first the acid test. Would it work with wireless?

Clicking on the network icon in the tray said yes, it did work.

So I hit connect, entered my WEP pass, hit OK...

...and then hit Connect again.

And there I was, connected.


But, could I toggle the wireless on and off?
This is something that almost every distro I've tried on the Eee fails on. Some can't turn it off. Some can turn it off but not on again. And some can turn it off and on but then run into trouble reconnecting.

So, I hit the wireless toggle (Fn+F2) and the blue wireless LED indicator went out. I waited about ten seconds and hit it again. The LED came back on and I was able to connect to my network again. Excellent!

I found the webcam app, Cheese, in the menus. Fired it up and voila! A working webcam!

I thought I'd take a look at what was available in the repositories as the screenshot utility is annoyingly forgetful of your settings. I opened up Synaptic and hit Reload. But no dice. Checked that I was still connected...hit it again, still nothing.

So I opened the Iceweasel browser and went to Google. Nothing. Still connected, though.

I rebooted into Mint and went to look for an answer...

...and found it. But first I changed the theme to something a bit more, er, green.

Anyway, when you start the wireless manager, Wicd, go to Preferences > External Programs > and enable dhclient. Like this:

And so I was able to use Iceweasel and Synaptic.

Flash works out of the box but there's no Java although that's only a Synaptic install away, as are the W32 codecs that I insist upon.

I say only a Synaptic install away...

...the menus really are something of a shambles.

With a little tweaking, this really could be the ideal distro for the Eee. Wireless, sound, webcam and resolution all working out of the box. It's a small-ish install (if you want smaller, look to Puppy), it looks good and it's nice and zippy.

Highly recommended.


  1. Hi a nice quick review.

    Synaptic is also in the antiXControl centre.

    The Applications part of the menu is the standard Debian one. It is kept there as icewm (and fluxbox) custom menus do not auto-update, but the Applications part does.

    You should be able to find all the apps included in antiX without having to use that section of the menu.

  2. Thanks for that...I suppose I've been spoiled by the Mint menu! :0)

  3. I would love to see someone come up with a menu like EasyPeasy or Jolicloud added to this. Can't take up too much resources, I would think. I like their (easypeasy) menu even more than the mint menu... most distros don't give you precise touchpad control, and such an interface help with that too, in addition to the obvious: it is a step ahead of conventional windows user interfaces in terms of user-friendliness and convenience.