If you've installed PCLinuxOS with an advanced partitioning, prepare for a painful surprise. SimplyMEPIS (up to 8.0 beta 2) doesn't let you install /usr, /var and /tmp into the partitions of your preference.
Which means that once you've logged in, you need to enter the console (through ctrl-f1), mount the other partitions, delete their contents, cp -a /usr /your-usr-partition-mount-point, rename the other partition, edit fstab, etc. etc. etc.
It's not something that you can do while in the LiveCD (I've tried to an extent and I failed miserably).
Also, if you've used a non-standard file system such as XFS, just forget about it. You need to mkfs.ext3 the other partition (in this case, /tmp) and then proceed. Speaking about /tmp, an additional step is required: You need to delete /tmp, which is a symlink to /var/tmp.
But after I managed to do all that manual installation work so that I retain the structure of my partitions (which I carefully tuned), I'm actually enjoying it.
For starters, you get nVidia support right out of the box. I booted the LiveCD in 1280x1024 with no problems whatsoever.
The KDE provided with Mepis 8 is awesome. It's not KDE4, but 3.5.9, and that gives you stability. But this KDE is better configured than the one with PCLinuxOS 2007. I can pump the volume up and down with my multimedia keys. In PCLOS, I had to set up the mixer manually (not without the help of some friends on slashdot and irc) and add some lines in some obscure alsa config file.
The kernel: PCLOS2007 ships with 2.6.19, and the latest upgrade is 2.6.22. Mepis 8 ships with 2.6.26, which also means support for tons of more wireless and external devices.
Package management: The Synaptic package manager is also provided as default (yay!), but Mepis provides an excellent addition: The actual applet tells you how many upgrades are available. And finally, there's no "pay-for-upgrade" policy. The latest packages are already available for no additional price (like Firefox 3.0.3, which I just downloaded an hour ago), and the repositories are based on Debian, one of the most community-supported repos. Try to beat that, Tex!
If you're stuck in PClinuxOS and want to try a debian-based distro, the upgrade is painful (unless you happen to have installed in only one partition), and you need to delete your packages - for compatibility - anyway. But it's really worth the upgrade, provided you manage to install prettier themes. Personally, the default ones suck - but hey, it's a beta version. And no crashes! :)
If you're undecided between PCLinuxOS and Mepis, go for Mepis. Nothing beats getting connected to the default Debian repos.
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