Dreamlinux (Multimedia Edition) 2.2 Review: Mixed feelings, great possibilities January 12, 2007Posted by NAyK in Dreamlinux, First Impressions, How-To, Linux, Linux Mint, Other Distros, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Working on Linux.
Out of the blue I downloaded an installed Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2. Actually, as I said in an earlier post, I was trying to convince a friend of shifting to Linux and he has two main needs (outside the normal basic needs of an operating system): he needs remote desktop sharing and he needs multimedia capabilites. Dreamlinux promised the latter at least, and I thought that I’d give it a try and then let him play with it.
I must say that I was quite impressed by the LiveCD. The look was unique, and it was fast. Entirely unlike Xubuntu… and of course more alive than Linux Mint. In fact, with the lower Mac-like doc panel, Xubuntu finally looked cutting edge! (cf. Enlightenment) I still feel that the icons in all linux distributions are too big, but then, that’s just me, isn’t it!
Anyway, when I tried to install, that’s when I faced many problems. (bytheway: I’m writing this in Dreamlinux, so this story does end happily, for the most part).
I found Dreamlinux’s Morphix Install difficult to understand. The chief hurdle was hard disk partitioning. While I have used partitions for linux installations regularly… the Partition Mopher was too simplistic, which, because of lack of features, wasn’t as configurable. I just feel that even though XFCE is trying to be smart and cool, along with low-resource intensive, still I hope that they don’t compromise in basic functionality, especially of essentials. I mean they use Firefox don’t they? So why can’t they use GParted or something!
In comparison to Freespire and Linux Mint, Dreamlinux is certainly the best in looks. However, in terms of functionality/installation and stability, I would rather hedge my bets (and precious harddisk space) for Linux Mint. However, Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2 must not be ignored.
Anyway… the problem was that I had to delete my partition to then allow me to configure to install. Worse of all, it changed all the numbers of other (later) partitions and thus, my grub settings were affected. Basically, I feel, it should allow me to format and install over existing partitions, but that is not the case. Anyway, after a bit of struggle, I was able to install DreamLinux.
After installation, the Grub menu option was limited too… I would like to see the existing grub settings that would allow me to configure/change, but no. I have to simply accept the grub settings they give.
Anyway, after all this, the computer copied the files from CD onto my partition. And the whole copying and install process took only about 15-20 minutes, not bad, not bad at all.
When I rebooted, I saw in horror that it had edited grub to such an extent that I had lost both my Windows and my Linux Mint partitions! Eeks!
Anyway, knowing that I could change grub somehow I contined. And the rest of Dreamlinux 2.2 as pretty painless, in fact, quite nicely done.
The installed look and feel is pretty good. For once, I wasn’t put off by the blue. The dock (especially since I’m not a Mac-user) was amazing! Reminded me of Enlightenment/Elive. Fun stuff to play around with, now if only it’s more functional like the macs. Anyway, it’s pretty much a good display, and quite fast. However, it’s configuration windows look like something out of Windows 3.1… Terrible! They clash so much with the modern interface and make one wonder why the team left those ugly configuration windows be. Especially since Linux users are expected to be configuring their systems, they should have spend more time beautifying the configuration windows. Then it would have certainly been a stunner of a system.
The easiest thing was the network configuration. DreamLinux seems to have recognised most of my drivers (I still don’t see 3D capability). And that included the SmartAX MT882 Sterlite ASDL modem; which many distributions, especially Freespire 1.0 didn’t easily recognise! I just had to enter my broadband ip address and I was connect (Freespire are you listening???)
Regarding usage, I tested DVD and mp3 and they worked (though DVD files need to be played individually, hopefully that is my oversight and not dreamlinux’s).
However, I’ve been a little disappointed with the packages. That’s mainly because I have a limited download connection and can’t add too many packages at once. Wish it was more functional. For instance, it only has Firefox 1.5. Plus, there is no Remote Desktop Tool (which is what I wanted to install in this distro in the first place). Funnily, I wasn’t even able to find “screenshot” that is supposed to help with screenshots. It may be there, but I can’t find it. Now why should it be so difficult?
Of course Dreamlinux has got an EasyInstall tool that allows quick access to important non-OSS installs, which functions something like Automatix.
Also, DreamLinux is geared to be a multimedia package, and there is enough in it to do music-movies-graphics etc. Regarding multimedia, Dreamlinux certainly looks feature-rich.
(update: There is one problem immerging is the repository/update manager. I’ve suffered with a lot of broken links. I haven’t selected anything other than the defaults and yet I’m not able to even “reload” my repositories without it having to be aborted. As a result, most downloads I make are incomplete.)
I also still don’t know how this distro would be in a work-situation… and I don’t intend to try, because my Thinkpad already has dual(triple) boot for WindowsXP/Ubuntu2.10/openSUSE10.2. But I guess Dreamlinux’ wi-fi and printing should be pretty solid. But that’s just a guess.
Finally, I have edited grub. I mounted my Linux Mint grub/menu.lst and copied it onto dreamlinux’s. My Windows and Linux Mint now work. High points to Dreamlinux for allowing me easy access to Windows/other Linux files!
In conclusion: Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2 looks exciting (and thus the idea that it has great potential). It’s got lot of multimedia features (and recognition ready-and-out-of-the-’box’), and it’s hardware recognition looks excellent (barring 3D, perhaps). However, some installation problems will keep away beginning users; both partitioning and grub recoginition poor. However, the best thing I liked about this distro was it’s fresh/exciting look and it’s simplicity in configuration. It’s biggest competition is Freespire (Ubuntu is way beyond it’s league), and perhaps Linux Mint. But I think in comparison to Freespire and Linux Mint, Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2 is certainly best in looks. However, I am still concerned by the ‘core’ of Dreamlinux and would rather hedge my ‘stability’/functionality/usability bet with Linux Mint. Yet this distro must not be ignored.
…And I think I will give it to my friend.
More info on Dreamlinux, here.