Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2 -- Things just keep getting better in Brazil

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This entry was posted on 1/4/2007 2:34 PM and is filed under Distros.



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The other day while on holiday I happened to cross the path of one of my favorite distros out there, just to see where things stood on their RC builds, and low and behold they had finalized their product and now they have officially released Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2 available for download. As excited as I was, I was curious as to why this hadn't been on Distrowatch, but honestly oversights from this small distro like communicating to Ladislav about the latest offering wouldn't surprise me.

The beauty of Dream lies in its overall look and feel. It is as close to OS X as one can get without buying the Apple Hardware and just simply works on almost all levels. The definition of Multimedia is kept, in that everything still works out of the box. I see many people stating that Linux Mint is one of the only to include these types of packages, but Dream was there first in my opinion and the layout is so much easier to the newbie that any Gnome desktop can ever offer. Sure, you could always put Xfce onto Mint, but it doesn't look that great (I had to try it of course).

So what is new in 2.2 over the older Works edition?

Well the list is pretty intense, so if you want to see for yourself, click here and check it out online, we will highlight our favorites below.

So let's head down to South America and check on the boys from Brazil....





Details:

Website http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/
Download Here
Kernel - Kernel  2.6.18.1 Based on Kanotix Kernel
Desktop - XFce  4.3.99.1
FAQs - http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/english/saiba-multimedia.html
Cost - FREE!!!
Special Features - Live installer, excellent icons/graphics, full media support including DVD, Quick Install function for the most popular non-FOSS software

Nitty Gritty:
Installation ()

Note, not much has change in the installation routine, so this is pretty much the same as it was in 2.1, so some of the screens are of the older distro ( I didn't feel like spending too much time taking screenshots when not much has changed)

Dreamlinux comes in my favorite package: a Live CD with an installer function. When you boot up from the CD, you get to choose your monitor settings, which stay with you upon install, so make sure you choose wisely.



Well, once the Live CD boots up, which happens extremely fast, you are welcomed into a world of exciting graphics and loads of software. This Live CD is second to none in what it offers in flexibility, function and flare.



One quickly learns how XFce can really be done right and I can honestly say this is the closest look to Apple to date. The picture above is with Engage enabled, which gives you the zoom icon feel, and across the bottom you have quick access to Terminal, Disk Manager, Internet, PDF, Abiword, XMMS, MPlayer and Apt-get just to name the major hits. Everything you want is there. And more than that, everything works, including audio and Video. There was absolutely no additional steps to do in order to get mp3s or a dvd playing. Simply put, this little distro is a Dream and it Works. What a great name, in that it actually describes the user experience to a T.



So now the process of installation can vary, if you are trying XGL or the Works package, only in one step and that is a command line partition tool in Works versus a graphical and command line in XGL. Since my laptop doesn't have an NVidia card, I went with Works, so that is what you will see.

From the start button in the top left, one simply selects down from the 'System' option and select 'Dreamlinux Installer'. From there a nice dialog box appears and starts this extremely compact and easy to follow process.




The dialog really keeps you in line of where you are, and where you are going, with options to move backwards at any step. I think this is critical for newbies and experience users alike, because one always may change their mind.

The next step (which for some reason I lost my picture of, sorry) is to choose partioning type, which again in XGL you have graphical or command line and Works only command line, so since I am doing Works next shot is of the command line partitioing agent.

What I set up was a simple partition of 3.8 GB and a swap of 500 MB to match my RAM as well.



The next step in the process sets up your swap drive



Followed by the partition choser and format you wish to use. The standard mix of Ext, ReiserFS and XFS are included, so you can use whatever you feel is best for you. I generally go with the default people offer in the install process as most newbies also won't know which to use here.



After you select this, the information is moved from the Live CD over to the newly created and formatted partition. For my VMWare install and my install on the laptop, both took a little over 5 minutes to move the 1.7 GB of data, but kept me informed along the way in a nice little graphic window. I try not to interupt anything during this process, but I was able to continue to use other aspects of the Live CD while the install was happening, such as the web browser. There is a nice little web site built into the Live CD when you launch the browser that gives you enough help if you run into a small problem.


Once the data is moved over, the next step is to setup your computer hostname. MyBox is the default, but you can choose whatever your heart desires as long as it doesn't conflict with network naming conventions.

Note that the steps along the process are still counting at 4 of 7, but now that we have installed on the harddrive, there is no reason to go back to chosing what partition or partition type, so the back option has been removed.


Once we name our machine, we have to name ourselves and secure the PC from attacks. First up is our Root password. Once again, please do not just simply try and skip this step as this is the corner stone of Linux/Unix security. Here Dreamlinux requires at least 5 characters which I feel is good but would rather see 7, not a big deal but a bit longer would make the system just that much more secure.



Next we get to chose our user name and password, again with the same rules as the Root password. Almost done, just one more step to go!!!! I can't wait to see this thing for real.



Our final step is to chose where we wish our Boot Loader to be installed, or to set up a boot disk. I always set this to MBR (Master Boot Record). I can say that this does find your windows partitions but not any other ones that I had installed.



And that is it my folks. About 10 minutes in and I have a new little sext distro from South America that I just can't wait to take on a test run and see if the Dream is really Working.

Let's find out how well this thing purs, shall we???



Starting (
)

Once the first boot happens, you start in a desktop second to none in way of look and function. Just like the Live CD you start out with Engage enabled, which is one of the first changes one would notice from the previous edition.This is by far the sexiest desktop on the market, period, IMHO. The only thing that comes close would be PCLinuxOS with their KDE and translucent windows, but this is a dream come true (no pun intended). I simply love the efficienct desktop of Apple, but hate their costs and lack of community that Linux has. (I know Apple people will debate that with me, but bring it on) Now I have it in Linux and honestly I think a little better in some aspects. Plus Blue is my favorite color, so no one can go wrong with me on this stunning backdrop.




A quick run around the options and one is just simply caught off guard on how this little compact Live CD has everything one will need: Office, media, CD-DVD Burning, PDF, Picasa, and I could go on and on. Now, my wireless didn't work (of course, only Freespire has managed to pull that off) so I tried the wireless drivers utility that is found in the DCP(Dreamlinux Control Panel) which is found on the task bar. This used to be the Xfce control panel, but now has much more functionality. I was able to get the ATI graphic mode of 1280x800 functional by using the ATI/NVIDIA icon, which honestly just tells you to end the graphics manager and then run 'fglrx-intall' from the command prompt as root. The same is true for Nvidia, just subsitute what command that asks you to run.




Unlike before, there actually is some tutorials and support forums for English speakers. I think the overall success in the past months has allowed the community to grow enough in English speaking countries to garner support of translators that was so needed.  Click here to see all the English speaking tutorials.



Once again I was amazed to see that all my media worked, I mean they all worked. Period. No issue. Nothing. Damn. This used to set Dreamlinux apart, but now others like Linux Mint and Elive have followed suit, but still they include solid packages with the base distro and make like easy on many of the other proprietary packages that people complain if included in the base distro.

I do like that they included the new version of Baker, which to me is very solid and user friendly for CD-DVD burning.




I did sync up my iPod and read the files, but since most of my music is actually DRM protected I wasn't able to do much. It did get sync'd and I was able to read directories which I love as well. Another plus and more to why there are 5 Pennies for this distro on Starting.

The Apt-get icon pulls you into Synaptic screen which has an decent repository but one can always add more. One thing that you typically need to do with Synaptic is change the default repositories, which typically are either Brazilian or European servers to the one in your own country.

Another issue that pops up a lot is that there seems to be a lock on one of the initially upgraded packages that requires one to use the APT-GET Force feature on Synaptic. Simply select the Settings/Set Internal Option and put 'APT::Force-LoopBreak' into the variable field and put 'True' into the option and that works. If you also have the ntfs3g crap out, simply deselect that package from Synaptic and then upgrade later. That might require you to delete first, then add back but it will eventually work.





Bonus Stuff ()

What else can one person need in a package: Media, CD-DVD Burning, iPod support, ability to add proprietary software with one click in a control panel, Office and so much more??? The amazing thing for me is that in writing this review, I started with my old one to save time on the screenshots, but it allowed me to read what I wrote before. Everything I asked for came to exist in this latest offering. I wanted NTFS Write capabilities, it is now there. ATI graphics, done. Better wireless support, easy as a little app. Better English support, well not quite at Ubuntu levels but getting better every day.

I really don't think there is much that Dream left out with this package, except that the XGL functionality has seemed to be put on the back burner. In a recent interview on another site, they stated "About the XGL use, we have already created and distributed, in experimental character, a Dreamlinux-XGL version, that had a great success. As that aplicative is more mature, we want to work in a new version with the same recourse, with unquestionable beautiful." So hopefully this will return soon in a new XGL release to compliment this Multimedia version.

The only complaint I have about Dream is that I cannot find any way to get a battery indicator working on my desktop or task bar. Any and all help on that would be greatly appreciated.


Overall ()

I am honestly pleased to give this package a 5 Pennie review, simply in the fact that I love the look, the functionality and the way they went about getting what any newbie would want into an easy to use Live CD, quick installer, ease of access to proprietary packages and functional desktop that is easy to use and a joy to work with. One tutorial for newbies to Xfce and Engage that will be a must read is how to add programs to the Dock bar which is found here.

Drealinux 2.2 is as close to a valid option for Apple lovers to a more non-hardware based OS as their OS X is, as one can find today. Sure, other Xfce versions and Enlightenment packages have similar looks and feels, but with the ease of installation, solid performance and building community, I see Dream as one of the best available today for any newcomer and ethusiast alike. As one of my commenters once stated about setting up a Linux system for his wife
 "To my wife 3 things are important:
1) Looks
2) Application she wants are there
3) It works

If it fails on any of the account I am always nagged about it. Windows has problems with "3) it works", and linux normally have suffered from problems on 1) and 2), and for my wife mainly on the looks part, so I look forward to trying it out, and I hope it will not run into any compability or stability issues."

Well Rune, I think your wife would be happy to have Dream on her system and I am pretty sure it will meet all needs.

As always, good luck in your personal Linux knowledge search and best wishes!!!!

Cheers

KnoLinuxGuy (Kevin)

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    • 1/5/2007 4:34 PM lucho wrote:
      I just installed Dreamlinux
      (although the RC1, not the final
      version). In brief,
      I second your review. This is an
      excellent distro for newbies and people
      who can't be bothered to configure a
      full Debian or Slackware; it's ready to
      go right out of the box.
      My only gripes:
      that #@$##% conflict in apt-get. Yeah,
      there's a workaround, but it's still
      annoying.
      The installer won't let me use JFS
      for my partition. It's a quietly
      reliable file system that's available
      everywhere but Dreamlinux :(
      Kudos both to Dreamlinux and your
      review
      Reply to this
      1. 1/5/2007 7:08 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Yes, I know the issue on the partition is a bit annoying. The apt-get issue seems to be a large issue, but in reality once you get past the setup, you never see it again. Once I get the battery issue fixed I will be a lot happier myself.

        Thanks for the comments and glad you liked the review.

        Cheers!!!!

        KnoLinuxGuy

        Reply to this
    • 1/5/2007 7:15 PM samatik wrote:
      Wouold you tell us if wireless worked? You mention it and give the impression that it worked but I tried and it does NOT work (at least not easy to make it work as said). Mind that I am a very experienced Linux user, and had struggle to make my broadcom wireless work (not succeeded yet). I tried DL in the past, and I still think DL is not as good as many other distros out there (except the OSX look, if one likes it).
      Reply to this
      1. 1/5/2007 8:12 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Well, I wasn't quite clear on how I got the wireless to work, but I did mention I used ndiswrapper and installed the driver from the ndiswrapper list site located here.

        But on my new laptop, I have a Belkin wireless card and not broadcom, thank god. For broadcom you would probably need to see if the bcm43xx drive is installed. Now, with that one you could either install the firmware or you could remove the bcm43xx driver with rmmod and then install the right one via ndiswrapper. Most of those are the bcmwl5 or bcmwl5a, depending on whether you have a 32 or 64 bit hardware.
        Even though this is not Ubuntu, typically the best place to get this type of support is from their website. Now, I don't want to try and take any credit, so let me provide you with the links to places where I have gathered this for my old laptop, which no longer exists.

        Now, if you use the fwcutter driver with the broadcom firmware, then you will be limited with 11 Mb/sec, instead of 54 Mb/sec with ndiswrapper. Go here and there is a good Ubuntu forum entry for broadcom for ndiswrapper. Now, to use fwcutter, go here

        Good luck with getting your wireless going. The problem you are having with wireless on most distros is not the distro, but the fact you have a wireless card from a company who refuses to work with open source code so most people won't touch it, nor will they even try and include support for it due to GPL license restrictions.

        Let us know if this helps

        Thanks again

        Cheers!!!

        KnoLinuxGuy

        Reply to this
    • 1/5/2007 10:09 PM samatik wrote:
      Thanks for the info, very kind of you...But I know all these, and I was always able to use ndiswrapper+bcmwl5 successfully with many distributions. I mainly use Freebsd, slackware, and ubuntu, and none of them gave me any trouble at all. DreamLinux is one exception among couple of others that are problematic in one way or another. Anyways, good luck with your reviews, I usually try to read your reviews, and I encourage you continue your good work. Thanks again :)

      Sam
      Reply to this
      1. 1/6/2007 8:58 AM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Thanks a lot Sam for your feedback and I am glad you enjoy our reviews. Sorry that Dream doesn't meet your expectations, but not all distros work the same on all hardware. This is one of my issues now with Linux in that there are so many copies of copies that people are spending less time on fixing the problems and more on "customizing" another distro to fit their wants and needs.

        Hopefully the community will realize that less is more, and we can find about 10-25 distros and all get behind those rather than having nearly 1,000 out there being worked on.

        Good luck with finding your distro

        Cheers!!!!

        KnoLinuxGuy

        Reply to this
    • 1/6/2007 12:06 PM Gene Kelley wrote:
      KnoLinux: I tried DL before & liked it except for apt-get problem which caused me to break it. I put 'APT::Force-LoopBreak' into the varible field & hit apply & nothing ever gets me to an option. I have been PCLinuxOS for a while now & I am not afraid of the command line, but I am not an expert. I just love linux, but I don't want to spend an enornmous amount of time to make it work for me. Any help muchly appreciated. waco4linux
      Reply to this
      1. 1/6/2007 10:47 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Gene,

        Did you put the True statement in the value field? That is also required in order to do a force break. You can also put that into one of the apt tables, not sure which one, but I am sure you could google that.

        Let me know if that works. PCLinuxOS is an excellent distro as well, but I am not the biggest fan of KDE. It is so inefficient and a memory hog. I would much rather use a good Xfce or Enlightenment package such as Vector or Elive over PCLinux, and Dream just works for me.

        If you don't get that working, let me know and we can try something else.

        Best wishes

        KnoLinuxGuy

        Reply to this
    • 1/12/2007 12:07 AM NAyK wrote:
      Hi I just installed Dreamlinux and it's working great on my system. I had a tough time installing though, but on the whole good experience. Looks wise, the configuration look is terrible, but the overall look (even the blue) is quite cool.

      I would say that dreamlinux still lags a little behind ELive in looks, but still, it's getting close. In functionality, I would be still tempted to play around with LinuxMint rather than Dreamlinux, partly because of the more stable (FEEL). However in comparison to Freespire, this is certainly a much better distro.

      ps. You have a really (paranoid) commenting security setting. One really needs to persevere to get something on. Perhaps you should try getting spam protection for your comments. Cheers!
      Reply to this
      1. 1/12/2007 10:09 AM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Thanks for the comments NAyK and yes, I do have a bit of a paranoid setting, but that mostly comes from the website I use from godaddy, which is called Quick Blog. It isn't as flexible as most other blogging sites, and it is only in use because it is free with my domain and I don't want to be a part of the profit of some other blogging site where my work is only to drive traffic to their sites.

        I continue to work with godaddy on trying to improve their product as they have stated to me that I am one of the most read of their bloggers. You can read about early issues with them if you like on my blog, which mostly have been overcome.

        I like LinuxMint, except that it is just a combination of Ubuntu and Automatix to me. Yes they have a couple of cool features, but nothing jumps out and says "use me over the source".

        Again thanks for the comments and sorry it is a bit harsh to get on. I have to delete about 100 spam messages a day so trust me you don't want me to unlock comments or trackbacks as too many people are bot'ting blogs today to get their sex scum ads on all blogs they can

        Cheers!!!!

        KnoLinuxGuy

        Reply to this
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