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:
Kernel - Kernel
220.127.116.11 Based on Kanotix Kernel
Desktop - XFce
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 softwareNitty Gritty:
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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???
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.
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.
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 ()
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.
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:
2) Application she wants are there
3) It works
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