We are glad to see you join us in the MEPIS Community, and have put together this quick introduction with special attention to helping Windows users make the transition to a new operating system.
The MEPIS Linux LiveCD that you have just opened combines a bootable operating system with an installer--that means you can test-run MEPIS Linux directly from this CD without touching your existing Windows system. This way, your current applications and data are not at any risk while you explore and test this new OS.
This LiveCD will operate nearly identically to a MEPIS Linux installation on your hard disk, and it presents you with the actual full MEPIS desktop for you to work with. Speed while using the LiveCD will be limited by your computer environment (because it is running from your CD-rom), so please be patient as programs load. Once installed and running from your hard-drive, you will find MEPIS Linux runs very quickly.
Once you decide you are ready to try MEPIS, you can then use this CD to install the operating system, either alongside your current operating system ("dual boot") or on its own. We'll guide you through that later.
MEPIS Linux builds directly on the highly popular Linux version called Debian, which itself derives from the GNU-Linux operating system formed in the early 1990s from the merger of a Unix-type kernel and a free, open-source software environment. Thousands of volunteers around the world work to keep this operating system current.
Now in existence over six years, MEPIS Linux was started and is still maintained by Warren Woodford. This industry veteran and independent consultant (www.mepis.com) continues to strive for a user-friendly operating system that "just works." Behind him stands a vibrant community that contributes to development and support.
Above all, we urge you to have fun. You have some adjustments to make, and a few habits to change--but don't lose sight of the freedom and pleasure provided by this modern Linux operating system! We hope to see you around.