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It is my long pending work to install, experience and review the DreamLinux. Atleast now I have done it. What I expected from DreamLinux screenshots are just eye candy desktop, but in reality? Let us get into the review.

Configuration:

Hardware: PIII 800MHz / 192MB RAM / Intel 82815 Chipset board

Operating System: Dreamlinux 2.1 WORKS Edition (Debian based) with 2.6.14 kernel.

Live CD:

Booted the system through Live CD. GRUB menu presented a lot of options to start the CD. It is a welcoming attempt so that no one should be left with error in booting the CD. I selected default option. It started smoothly. Before starting X, it only asked for preferred resolution (to make sure that X is working properly, DreamLinux’s concern on starting X successfully in some way is obvious here). Then I got a wonderful eyecandy desktop (no login required) with Mac OS X like XFCE launch bar. I tried important applications, they worked very decent speed. I was quite happy. All my hardware were working properly.

Installation:

In Live Cd mode, I opened Firefox. The home page shown was file:///usr/local/share/html/index.html, which is a nice, simple user friendly document. It covers installation, configuration and MKDISTRO tool. As per guide I fired System->Dreamlinux Install. It launched Installer, called Morphix Installer. The installation wizard is breezy, nothing geeky stuff. It has GUI partition tool called Partitionmorpher (cfdisk is available as another option). I created new partition of type ext3. Selected newly created partition as installer. In next step, the installer quit abruptly. I suspected the issue in identifying newly created partition, hence restarted the system again on Live CD. This time it worked. Installer did not ask for Time Zone. It should have been, right? Installer recognized my other linux installations such Arch Linux and Symphony OS properly. They were added in grub menu. Installation took just 12 minutes in my legacy system.

Desktop:

After installation, restarted the system to get nice GDM login. It some way resembles Mac OS X login screen. I logged in with normal user created during installation. Waaaav! wonderful neat and clean eye candy desktop. It has XFCE menu on upper left corner, date and show desktop on right top corner. A very well polished nice XFCE launch bar is on bottom. Though this launch bar occupies some additional screen estate, it is nice to work. Using Settings->Enable Dock, I enabled engage launch bar (I had to delete XFCE launch bar manually, any other way to disable XFCE bar?). engage is a perfectly smooth, fast and shiny launch bar, very similar to Mac OS X launcher. It is a big plus point of Dreamlinux desktop. Thunar handles the desktop icons. Once important thing to mention is nice looking default icon set which you may not tend to change. But one negative aspect is absence of Trash. Since it is available in recent XFCE, we can expect in next Dreamlinux version. Please click the following thumbnail for a screenshot.

dl-21-desktop.png

Performance:

I tested the sytem on continous day to day use for 4 days. All applications responded quickly. I can even compare the responsiveness of applications with my favourite Arch Linux also. This is an aspect I did not expect from Dreamlinux (blaming me to underestimate, now!). It is interesting to note that my system is not shiny, it is a bit legacy system. I realize the power of Debian. If Debian is properly configured, it can be a wonderful desktop system for end users also. Dreamlinux is a good example for that. Startup is also cool with decent speed.

Configuration:

/home/<user>/utilities is a built-in folder with useful GUI based configuration tools. It includes a nice grub configuration tool, ALSA configuration and mixer, services configuration, login screen configuration, Networking tool, Folder sharing and Wireless card windows driver installation tool. The last one is worth noted. ADSL/PPPOE configuration is available at Settings menu. Through this wizard, able to configure Cable modem for internet flawlessly. But pppoe service does not start at boot.

Applications:

One of the impressive thing about Dreamlinux is the default applications selection. It suits my choice around 100%. Most of my favourite applications are available by default. It includes XFCE 4.4 beta2, Firefox 1.5.0.1, Thunderbird, MPlayer, XMMS, Thunar File manager, mousepad, gimpshop, GNumeric etc. Out of box support for proprietory audio/video formats and flash are worth noted.

The huge debian repository is a huge plus point. The great Synaptic is available for application installation. apt-get also works seemlessly. Apart from these for proprietory closed source applications Adobe Reader, Opera, Skype, Google earth & picasa, open source Nvu are available through easy-install application (apt-get install easy-install). This is a nice user friendly tool to install proprietory applications. This tool includes Easy Install icon in utilities folder. Clicking Easy Install displays icons for these applications to be installed. Double clicking the corresponding icon, installs the application by downloading the package through wget tool. The following screenshot depicts this scenario.

dl-installer.png

GTKPod for iPod, MKDISTRO for custom ISO creation and NTFS write support are worth to mention. I am yet to test MKDISTRO tool.

Conclusion:

Is there any distro which is user friendly, eye candy, good speed and stable? Here afterwards, no need to dream for such distro. It is reality which is nothing but Dream Linux. But I have to admit that I have tested it for short duration only, yet to watch for stable long time performance.

Wonders come only from people who dream – It is true for Team Dreamlinux. Thank you Dreamlinux team!

Update on version 2.2 (mutlimedia edition):

Here is a honest and wonderful review on next version 2.2 written by NAyK.

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20 Comments

  1. Firefox 1.5.0.1? a bit old & riddled with exploits!

  2. Hi JaRaEez,

    I have installed the CD ISO image. I have not updated the system. This review is based on released 2.1 Works Edition. Thanks for pointing out the exploits in Firefox 1.5.0.1.

  3. Hi, I use Linux from SUSE 9.2.. I tried maybe all distros from Distrowatch top 100, so far Dreamlinux Multimedia 2.2 RC1 (current) is the best distro of all. Everything works, the preselected aplications are just perfect, you can download another 10.000 aps from Debian repository.

  4. Dreamlinux is nice with a lot of eye candies, and this version has also a lot of thing to improve. Engage is nice, but when you have a screen cover it, you can not see what you want to lunch by pointing your mouse to an icon (especially that some icon are similar). Any one can help to make it always on top?
    Try to upgrade using synaptic! Then you will see the help that the creator needs. New version 2.2 MultiMedia Edition promises an improvement, but the upgrade process is still far from convenient, and worst it still comes with Firefox 1.5…. :-(
    Anyway, it is a nice, quite stable, fast and most important usable for everybody, even a newbie in computer.

  5. Hi j3nm4r,
    -m option of engage is for keeping the dock always on top. Please check “engage –help” for more info.

  6. I tried several versions. 2.0 – 2.2It is a pity that it is not yet as functional as Mac OS X.4. But it is fast, nice to work on for most functions. But my biggest problem is: where is my CD / DVD? Is that missing because it is a Beta version (2.2) ?

  7. Hi Henk de Jong,

    I am getting Cd/Dvd icons in desktop when I insert media.

  8. A Warning!! Read the tutorial on how to upgrade the system because if you download the Multimedia Edition and you don’t follow th steps it would crash your system. (sorry my bad english)

  9. I downloaded the 2.2 final version, it works marvelously! There is now engage option for always on top (unfrntly dock is 100% opaque). Upgraded bravely using Synaptic with ForceLoopBreak (remove the mplayer before doing that), it worked, because have problem with terminal (env is ajusted) ie can not use terminal to upgrade using apt-get as indicated by the tutorial. ATI with fglrx is now installed (using root account on terminal).

  10. The multimedia edition (2.2) is quite good.But like movaxes said, we need to know what we’re doing, especially in partitioning, before installation.

  11. I couldn’t install :(

  12. thx NAyK:D

  13. Greetings!..
    Pretty nice site, wants to see much more on it! :)

  14. This distro is one of my top 4 favorites. Eye candy wise, it’s the best, bar none! Only thing I don’t like, is not being able to choose which MBR you boot from. I have two harddrives, and would like to be able to choose which one I boot from.

  15. I downloaded DL 2.2 MultiMedia Edition. :)

    It looks nice, but It did not recognize my Linksys wireless adapter.

    DreamLinux and Elive are my favourite now. :) They look-alike.

    Super. :)

  16. Oo “Hardware: PIII 800MHz / 192MB RAM / Intel 82815 Chipset board” :D

  17. I like it’s design a lot.I may install it sometime when I’ll get bored of vista.How are softwares from adobe running on this operating system?

  18. Good post,thx..And very usefull :D

  19. Very nice article! Thanks for this!
    doumo_arigatou


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