Mepis Linux operating system
MEPIS linux operating system was launched by Warren Woodford in July 2003, which makes it one of the youngest distributions on this list. Despite being late for the party, MEPIS has succeeded in generating much positive feedback from users and reviewers right from the start. MEPIS Linux is a successful merge between Debian Sid and Knoppix, a new kind of Linux distribution that can be used both as a live CD, and as a full distribution with a graphical hard disk installer. This way, users can try the product by simply booting from the MEPIS CD, and install it on hard disk only if they like what they see. Many other distributions copied this idea later, but it was MEPIS that pioneered the concept of a live CD + a full graphical installer launched from the booted MEPIS CD.
What made the MEPIS linux operating system successful? Unlike most of the major Linux distributions, MEPIS comes with many non-free, but highly useful applications, all pre-configured and ready to use, out of the box. These include the NVIDIA accelerated driver, Macromedia Flash plugin, Java, various multimedia codecs for playing popular audio and video files and other applications. With MEPIS Linux, there is no need to hunt for Java Runtime Environment, then search for the documentation to find out how to enable Java support in your browsers - it is all available right after installation. This simple idea proved tremendously popular, not only with users new to the linux operating system, but also with the more experienced ones who found it convenient not having to spend hours of post-install configuration and tweaking just to set up a complete working desktop.
Beside standard Debian applications and the above mentioned non-free software, MEPIS linux operating system has excellent hardware auto-detection (including the auto-detection of some "winmodems"), and it includes several configuration utilities developed in-house.
Pros: Full distribution and live CD in one package, comes pre-configured with NVIDIA, Flash, Java, multimedia codecs and other non-free applications, excellent hardware auto-detection
Cons: Not yet a well-established distribution, the developers should consider employing a graphics artist to improve the distribution's default look and feel.
Software package management: APT (DEB)
Free download: Yes