Reviews

Review: DreamLinux 2.2 MM GL – Multimedia Fan’s Dream Come True

While I was having a discussion on some of the popular Linux distribution on my favorite forum, CHIP TownSquare one of the members(thanks, Aditya :D) suggested me to try out DreamLinux. And I did that, downloaded DreamLinux 2.2 Multimedia GL edition. Since I was using my office PC, I couldn’t install this on the physical HD, had to make use of VMWare.

DreamLinux is a Brazilian distro, based on Morphix, and Debian. The Brazilian connection is evident from the Live CD screen:

dl_livecd__menu.JPG

Dreamlinux runs with Xfce as the default window manager, and it is full of style cues from the Mac OS X environment, the most notable nod being the Application Panel, which is handled by an independent version of Enlightenment’s Engage. The distro comes with a simple set of applications suited for the average user, including OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, IceWeasel(Unbranded FireFox) 1.5, Icedove (unbranded Thunderbird) as an email client, and aMSN 0.97 for instant messaging.The LiveCD booted up pretty quickly, but remember that this is on a VM.

You can continue to working on the Live CD, or can install it. Finding the Install button is a bit tricky, as it’s not present on the desktop, neither on the dock, but under System->Install DreamLinux(which I missed, have to admit).

Unlike other distros or even operating systems, which require to click 5-6 “Next” buttons, DreamLinux has only 1 button, that’s “Setup”! This is no dream:

One-Click Install

For partitioning you can make use of CFdisk or QTPart.

Partitioning using QTPart

However I noticed a strange quirk: After allocating the space, I noticed that 552 MB was marked as already used! I don’t know why this was so, I thought this was because of VMWare, I tried it out in VirtualBox, and lo! Faced the same quirk again. After filling in details like user name, password and root password, I clicked on install button, there you go, it started installing. Installation finished real fast, and upon completion I was prompted to exit the Installer, and boot the system.

Here’s a screeni of the BootLoader:

BootLoader

The desktop looks really nice and neat, and the Mac OSX look is evident in the Engage dock

dl_dektop.JPG

As I mentioned earlier, DreamLinux uses Xfce as the DE, and comes packed in with a lot of very useful applications, more so at the Multimedia end, with a CD Ripper(GRip), DVD Ripper(DVD Rip), Media Players(GXine, Mplayer), Audio Player with out of the box MP3 support(XMMS), Audio Editor(Audacity)

dl_mm_fans.JPG

DreamLinux also features a unique “EasyInstall” feature, where you can download some of the most popular applications like Firefox, Google Earth, Opera, Nvu, Last.fm client and even the ATI/Nvidia drivers by launching the Easy-Install application and just clicking the app. You’ll just get a message to confirm installation and uninstallation of the application and that’s it! It’s that hassle free! And of course for more application, Synaptec and apt-get comes as a part of the distro for easy installation/upgradation.

dl_easyisntall.JPG

DreamLinux comes named as DreamLinux 2.2 MM GL edition, in reference to Beryl(version 0.2) which comes installed but isn’t Activated by default. For this you’ll have to install NVIDIA/ATI drivers, after which, enabling Beryl is simple, as the below screeni would show:

dl_beryl.jpg

Since Xfce is used as the DE, FIle Manager used is Thunar, which is nice, but it’s nowhere near Konqueror both in features as well as bloat!

Thunar

DreamLinux also comes with the MkDistro LiveMaster application, which allows you to remaster DreamLinux, add/remove applications that you need, don’t need, set a custom background, and once done, create the ISO image and distribute it. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to test this out, but you can get more details here.

My experience with DreamLinux was good, but certain things left me befuddled. Firstly, in the Live CD mode, the network isn’t started automatically. Furthermore, even IP assignment by DHCP wasn’t successful automatically. New users would definitely be at a crossroads with this. After installing, the IP address was assigned successfully by DHCP, but still all was not rosy. DreamLinux was unable to mount any of my Samba shares. Now the network/permissions wouldn’t be a problem since I was able to mount the shares on openSUSE10.3, which is again installed in a VM.

Some minor grouses I had was, the IM client(aMSN) which supports only MSN protocol, and lack of a screen capture utility.

All in all, DreamLinux is a Linux multimedia fan’s dream come true. With out-of-the-box MP3 support, loads of useful multimedia applications, a good amount of eye-candy and all the basics that you expect from a Linux distro, DreamLinux is fantastic.

2 Comments

  1. Wow, this distro looks custom made for the first time user, as also it is ideally suited for power users. The native support for most codecs and purposes makes it effective and lucarative. The GUI is definitely Mac inspired, and thats definitely not a bad thing. The easy install (if I’m understanding it properly), is what many novice users have been waiting for. The flaws highlighted are certainly places to improve but personally I think it might even beat Ubuntu , though I can not be sure without using it (which I’m planning to do ASAP)!

    Oh yeah (rhetoric, no I was not about to forget this), Kudos to the reviewer, for splashing so much detail, that he literally paints images which is the best kind of review.

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