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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

By Ben McGrath on March 27, 2007 (8:00:00 AM)

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When it comes to choosing a Linux distribution, people tend to stick with the major players, such as Ubuntu, SUSE, or Fedora. However, every once in a while a distro comes along that offers a look at Linux in a new and fun way. One such distribution is Dreamlinux, a Morphix-based implementation of Linux that can be run from a single CD or installed on a hard drive. Dreamlinux 2.2 aims to offer a full range of desktop applications while providing a wealth of multimedia tools for easy production of professional-grade media.

Dreamlinux installs easily. For a basic Dreamlinux installation, you'll want to have at least 128MB of RAM, 3GB of free space, and a processor that runs at at least 500MHz. Depending on your hardware, you may have to edit your BIOS settings to force a boot from CD. Dreamlinux should automatically detect all the hardware, but if for some reason it cannot, it will present a list of more basic options to get started, and you can tune and set up the rest upon installation. During the installation, Dreamlinux prompts you to select English or Portuguese as your language of choice, but you can configure it to install with a different language.

Once the system is up and running, you have two options: you can continue running with a live CD, or you can do a full installation. If you plan to just try out Dreamlinux, the live CD offers an excellent look at the system and can guide you through much of how it works, and lets you store data on a USB storage device.

If you want the entire experience, a full installation is recommended, especially if you intend to work with the XGL 3-D interface, which takes advantage of newer graphics cards to produce some great graphical features for the X Window System. XGL works only when the distribution is installed on the hard drive. A function within the Control Panel, aptly titled HD Install, handles the hard drive installation.

Screenshot
Click to enlarge
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, Firefox 1.5, Icedove (unbranded Thunderbird) as an email client, and aMSN 0.97 for instant messaging.

Dreamlinux has excellent support for multimedia, in terms of both creating and viewing. It comes pre-installed with XMMS for playing music, Grip for playing and reading CDs, Audacity for recording, Kino for editing video, Blender for modeling, and GimpShop for basic graphical work. In terms of multimedia support, it comes ready and set up with all the necessary codecs to play MP3s and DVDs. All of these applications make Dreamlinux a good choice for a multimedia system.

While Dreamlinux shares many likenesses with other modern Linux distributions, it has a few tools of its own that stand out -- most notably Mkdistro, a collection of four shell scripts for building and remastering distribution ISOs. MKdistro was developed by Nelson Gomes da Silveira, one of the cofounders of the Dreamlinux project, with the intent of letting users with any level of technical knowledge edit, design, and create a Linux distro suited specifically for themselves. This is likely the reason why the developers chose to adopt a Morphix-like philosophy -- that is, aiming to make the system as modular and changeable for the end user as possible.

Some restlessness

While much of the software works like a dream, not all is perfect. Dreamlinux is still relatively new, and as a result its community is still in its own developing stage. The distribution's developers are Brazilian, and the community seems a bit divided due to a language barrier.

In using the software, I ran into some small hindrances. Upon first running the system, Internet connections are not automatically configured, which can throw some new users off. A graphical interface guides you through the connection process, but it would be more efficient to have Internet connectivity automatically configured, and keep the GUI around just to allow users to make modifications as necessary. aMSN also had difficulty starting up correctly at points, and one time refused to even start at all. I downloaded Gaim and used it as my instant messaging client instead with no problems.

Nevertheless, the distribution itself looks good and functions well. The Mkdistro tool will be useful for users who want complete control of their systems, and the overall ease of installation and use Dreamlinux offers is good enough that the average user can download and install the distribution and jump right in.

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on Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

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Live CDs

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 28, 2007 01:28 AM
Before committing to a Linux distribution, I think it's best to try a Live CD first. There's a big list at <a href="http://www.linuxlinks.com/Distributions/LiveCD/" title="linuxlinks.com">http://www.linuxlinks.com/Distributions/LiveCD/</a linuxlinks.com>

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Re:Live CDs

Posted by: Administrator on March 28, 2007 05:08 AM
Such as DreamLinux?

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another one

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 28, 2007 05:33 PM
People which are loosing the track on reality, usually call this freedom of choice. Most people indeed call this the Linux-distro-babel, instead concentrating on quality, people are eager to build themselves a memorial for their ego.

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Wireless Support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 28, 2007 06:17 PM
It is amazing how distros vary in the ability to recognize and configure a wireless card/chip. Two distros that have not done very well are Fedora Core 6 and Dream Linux.

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Why the negativity?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 07, 2007 03:11 AM
This is a great bit of work. It is a very attractive XFCE setup on a solid platform (Debian Etch) and it is free. I am not sure why people are so hard on "another distro". I just used this as a rescue disk for my laptop and ended up installing it and I must say with a very fast install it has my rt2500 wireless working, nearly all the software I use on a daily basis and a a huge repository available through apt, not to mention it is very fast. OK some controls are still a bit heath robinson, but it does work and it can easily be customized and a lot of manual config is dispensed if you want it to be. I like it and maybe tempted to stick with it for a while.

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Links

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2007 09:09 PM
The following links may be useful:

<a href="http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/english" title="dreamlinux.com.br">Official site (English)</a dreamlinux.com.br>
<a href="http://www.epron.com.br/ingles" title="epron.com.br">English forum</a epron.com.br>
<a href="http://dreamwiki.co.nr/" title="dreamwiki.co.nr">Wiki</a dreamwiki.co.nr>

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This is a surprisingly fast and complete distro

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 19, 2007 10:45 AM
I find this to be a very fast,compact distro which runs acceptably on a p233 128mb laptop. You do have to configure it a modest amount but nothing a motivated computer literate person could not handle. As for asthetics, it is beautiful in the default Xfce desktop, that engage thing is hip man! The install was painless but with several options for those inclined to modify the typical install. These guys know linux software and have synthesized a very complete package and presented it clean and pretty.

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It is very fast

Posted by: Administrator on May 17, 2007 11:46 PM
I installed it on an old Pentium Pro 200 and it is running very smooth!

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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

Posted by: Antisocial83 on July 01, 2007 07:39 PM
The installer is horrible. The partition software especially. Not a bad idea i guess, But why not install a much more stable os like ubuntu,fedora...... and add Kiba-dock and the other apps. Thats really all the dreamlinux is. If you want someone to do everything for you and have a prepackaged o.s. ... go for it...and whille your at it, why not throw vista,xp, and osx on there. Just my two cents but the only allure is the dock and kiba dock is much nicer and allows much more customization.

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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.70.110.96] on July 29, 2007 11:06 PM
I tried the LIVE cd, worked great. Internet worked automatically so i don't know what was wrong with the reviewer's setup. Same with aMSN, worked fine. Peace.

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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.68.194.50] on September 05, 2007 03:53 AM
Happens quite often (with me) that software doesn't launch, doesn't operate properly, or you can't even close it. Really flaky in that regard. I didn't see any option to download updates for the OS or the software installed (such as with Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu), so I'm a curious how that is handled. Mind you, even without any security updates or patches, Linux will still be a gazillion times more secure than anything Microcrap can produce :). All in all, I would say this is an excellent effort by a small group of people. It's just not quite "there" yet - not as mature as other distros. In time I think it will be one of the best out there. It's the fastest booting (from CD) distro, at this level of development, that I've encountered. I would certainly suggest that people with older systems, such as the ones suggested here by other posters (200mhz or 233mhz cpus for instance) consider this distro. You don't have to toss that old system away if it still runs well. A lot of schools could benefit from Dreamlinux, because they usually have older computers that won't even run Windoze 2000 or XP properly. Usually all they need their computers for is to teach students how to use a word processor and a spreadsheet app. Maybe even surf the Internet to do research. They also don't have to worry about students loading viruses into the system or messing it up by trying to install videos games designed for Windoze.

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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.1.195.187] on February 01, 2008 10:21 AM
Its a nice distro, with some small niggles, my personal niggle was not being able to get it to recognize my internal network, it just could not see computers running windows never mind how often I tried this was on the Live CD apart from that what is needed is a good network scanner to detect other computers on the network. apart from that it has some menu oddities like the engage bar proper access to this with a drag and drop facility would be good. At this time I have just downloaded the new version desktop beta DR3 and so far its got more problems than answers. Its a real bust.
DL MM 22 is possibly the best out of the box setup for a new distro I've come across. This is just how tolerant it is, I ran it on a celeron 1.3Ghz with 384Mb ram no graphics card on-board video ram 8Mb an old Aztec sound card ..a ISA ! An Ethernet connection to broadband... The whole setup was seriously suspect we are talking bum of the range ifreind should be in a museum and it still worked right from the CD set up internet connections no problems except the home network.. but thats nothing really.. It still could run movies from HD on this machine something it cant do in windows. Browse the net do mail write a letter play a game..all in all pretty outstanding. Once its fully worked out and a few versions down the line I cant see this one staying a freebie for long.
One thing I will say about the makers they have put out a real frostyDL 3 Beta and thats a beta 2 when you get that far with the New Dreamlinux 3 and still get faults like Kernel panics I think its time they backtracked to Dreamlinux 2.2 MM Edition.

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Review: Dreamlinux 2.2

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.104.192.147] on February 26, 2008 03:58 PM
Considerable 'wow' factor; seems well-thought out.

Smooth, fast, LOW RAM FOOTPRINT: Better on the RAM side than Morphix' KDE distro; just a touch more intensive than the Morphix ICE implementation. OUTSTANDING RESOURCE MANAGEMENT! Impressive...

Probably has a few bugs still; but then again, so does XP :oO Can't beat the modularity/ease of use anywhere.


One could do a whole lot worse than trying this one out...

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