I have seen a couple of sites mention problems with the Beta 1 implementation of SimplyMEPIS. Perhaps that was news to them for the simple reason that MEPIS has an excellent reputation for quality. I would like to point out the need to test, and the need to provide equally high quality feedback for the developers, not only of SimplyMEPIS, but for whatever software you happen to use.
Personally, I have been a big fan of the MEPIS community since May 2003 and I have installed and tested nearly every build since I first heard of the project. One reason that I have done so is that I am consistently impressed with the high quality of the software. Even when there are defects in various components in the early builds, the remaining components are well put together, and many times, even early builds work well. The few times I have encountered issues, I've jumped right in, provided my hardware configuration and a clear description of the issues I have encountered and how to reproduce them, and in every single case, the very next build resolved the issue.
My friends, that's how many of us, whether we are developers or not, can be active contributors to the free software movement. Some of us can develop, but many more of us can test, evangelize, write documentation, or help others with issues. The collective work that we donate helps keep free software alive and vibrant.
I hope that many of you will want to test out SimplyMEPIS and help iron out the remaining issues so that the next release maintains the high standard it has set for itself, and even improve upon it. Warren Woodford is an outstanding developer, but even he cannot do it all on his own. In fact, he gets most of the components of his software from others. What he does so well is integrate it and put it all together. Let's help him do his job well, and in return, he will deliver us yet another excellent example, not only of his work, but that of the MEPIS Lovers Community.
Special mention, in fact, should be given to the MEPIS Lovers Community, one of the finest free software communities. The helpful attitudes and the desire to keep pettiness to a minimum and helpfulness at a maximum is perhaps not unique to the MEPIS Lovers, but it is as strongly modeled there as in any forum that I've seen, so they deserve to be highly commended along with Warren for making MEPIS such a solid, stable, well designed, well documented, useful system. It takes more than one: Linux started the kernel, the GNU project created many utilities, developers from all interests developed excellent applications, and great system integrators put it all together, with the help and support of their communities. Everyone plays an important role, so let's remember our own roles and do what we can to support and promote freely available software.