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Dreamlinux (Multimedia Edition) 2.2 Review: Mixed feelings, great possibilities January 12, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (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.

Installation ScreenshotI 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, Poor display of configuration windowit’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.) Easy configuration of network

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.

A good Dreamlinux 2.2 Multimedia Edition (installation) review is found here.
Another review of Dreamlinux (2.1 Works Edition though) is here.



1. swamytk - January 12, 2007

I too agree with you on installation issues. There is some instability also. I faced this after working for more than a month. Hope developers will concentrate on these areas. It seems to be light weight (works with speed comparable with Arch Linux), a big salute for the Dream Team.

2. DarkStarAeon - January 14, 2007

Dreamlinux looks incredible, I was really excited to try it, unfortunately I never got any further than burning the iso to disc. (3 times) When I put the disc in my machine, nothing happened, at all. When I took the disc out, then my current os would load. I redownloaded the iso and burned it again, nada.

So, I just gave up and went on to try openSUSE 10.2 instead. But having read this review made me feel better about not being able to install Dreamlinux. Maybe once they get it stable and manage to make a better install process I’ll give it a whirl.

p.s. trying to sign up for the support forums at dreamlinux was a joke. First, the registration form is in portugese, then even if you manage to fill it out (thanks babelfish) and hit send, the activation email never comes.

openSUSE, Ubuntu, and PC-BSD have been the most stable distros I’ve used so far. Freespire works great, but has major sound issues for 3/4ths of it’s users, when they get that fixed I’ll use it again.

3. Dreamlinux 2.2 review: the dream turns sour « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 14, 2007

[…] I said earlier, the Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition installation process was fraught with problems, and as a result […]

4. sean lynch - February 21, 2007

Try running the commands:

>apt-get clean
>apt-get update

at the command prompt as root. Then open synaptic and see if you still have upgrade problems.

5. marshall - March 1, 2007

I have to disagree with Nayk’s review of Dreamlinux. I first tried Dreamlinux 2.1 the works version. I don’t get why he says Ubuntu is out of it’s league! I tried all versions of Ubuntu and they were the reason I looked for something better and Dreamlinux is just that. I don’t mean just the look. Dreamlinux is faster and uses less resources than Ubuntu. I won’t ever use Ubuntu again. The team of Dreamlinux is very small and don’t have the money behind them, and when they released the 2.2 version, I believe that will be their first yesr. Ubuntu has been around for years and Dreamlinux shot right passed them out the box. Ubuntu is cutting the fat, in the OS world. They had to get the Mepis teams help to advance. I’ll put Dreamlinux up againest anyone, as I have tested over 50 different distro’s my self.

6. Marshall - March 1, 2007

When I put both feet into trying linux last year, I did just that and looked for the best linux distro that would work on my older computer and I had Ubuntu to test at the same time. Just beacuse Ubuntu says their the best don’t mean their the best. They have the best distributing and thats why they are everywhere. Mepis is ahead of Ubuntu,, and I mean that. I’m not a programmer or a linux guru. I’m just a normal windows user looking for a good linux OS. Mepis and Dreamlinux made my mind up, on using linux as a day to day desktop. I’m still testing different distro’s and as of today Mepis and Dreamlinux are the overall best.

7. NAyK - March 1, 2007

To Marshall: thanks for the corrective, Marshall. You’re probably right about Dreamlinux being a better distro than Ubuntu. I haven’t done a comparative study, so my impression was simply a first impression. I guess, comparing distros at the moment is like comparing Apples and Oranges… there are many differences and usually a user’s preferences play a huge role. Personally, I use Ubuntu for one thing alone… to fix my grub! Other than than I use openSUSE and Windows XP Home. I have found openSUSE more userfriendly and equally robust and definitely more powerful than windows XP home… but I need some Windows-based software so I keep returning.

I am looking forward to seeing more of Dreamlinux!

8. bub - March 8, 2007

Dreamlinux is a wondeful operating system, its nice to see someone step away from the all too bloated kde these days and make xfce look stunning, the speed is incredible, ive tried all sorts of linux’s, ive delved into mac, solaris, but this took my breath away. In a project im working on at the moment we’re going to use the included mkdistro tool to make a network educational version of this distro as it is so intuitive. This distro has so much potential. It runs off of the deb repo’s, once installed unbelievably fast and reliable, the best experience ive had installing nvidia/ati.
Hat’s off to the dreamteam

9. Dreamer in Toronto - March 23, 2007

I’m typing this message on a box that I’ve just loaded Dream Linux 2.2 on. It’s an older “junque” box…Celeron 333 MHz. with 160 MB RAM, 4 GB hdd, 8 MB ATI AGP video card and an old ISA Soundblaster Card.

I haven’t tried Xubuntu yet, but did want to see how well Dream Linux would work on an old spare “clunker” like this.

On this old dinosaur it is really pretty speedy with the very cool looking XFCE desktop. The old ISA soundblaster card isn’t working…although not exactly surprised at that…lots of distros need a bit of fiddling to get these old things to work.

The biggest problem I had was that I found the repositories were “broken” in alot of cases.

So IMHO, it’s not quite ready for prime time yet but definitely getting there and certainly a distro to watch. I look forward to testing future versions.

10. John Smith - April 3, 2007

For more Dreamlinux information, go to:

http://www.dreamlinux.com.br (Website)
http://www.epron.com.br/ingles/index.php (English forums)
http://dreamwiki.co.nr (Unofficial wiki)

11. William - April 15, 2007

I also love Dreamlinux 2.2, it detects my ethernet card, whereas 2.1 did not. Great eye candy. Wish they included support for multiple harddrive MBR booting. Having two installed drives, I would like to be able to use the second one (drive B) to run Dreamlinux. I have not tried to install it, but I imagine it will choose MBR on drive A for the install site. That is the main reason I wont be installing this distro.

12. Which Linux distro to choose? Help for first timers « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - April 25, 2007

[…] popular distros making the rounds called Dreamlinux Multimedia Edition 2.2. My report of it is here. It is easy to use, and allows for quick on-the-fly multimedia capabilities. Something like Linux […]

13. astromech - June 24, 2007

I tried Dreamlinux 2.2 on a old Toshiba Satellite 4020CDT Pentium 2 at 300mhz and experienced lockups everytime I started up a program.I would have to restart the machine in order to get control again . I had high hopes for finding a linux distro that is current but will still perform well on older equipment this is something that is much needed. I thought Dreamlinux could be one that would do that.I haven’t tried this on other machines yet hopefully it will work better than this .Dreamlinux does look really good though ,be nice if it worked too.

14. James - August 9, 2007

(Sorry if this message is out of place) I’ve just installed Dreamlinux and have a MT882 connected via USB but can not get it to work. I wondered if you could let me know how you got yours working. Thanks

15. NAyK - August 10, 2007

To James: I used a CD to install Dreamlinux and did not have any problems with it. I’m not sure how I would manage with a USB though!

16. James - August 10, 2007

Thank you for your reply. Sorry I mis-read your review and assumed you’d connected with a USB.

17. DarkStarAeon - October 15, 2007

Well I gave Dreamlinux 2.2 MMGL a try and had wonderful results, much better than the previous version where I couldn’t get past the install.
The latest version is now happily on my laptop and working great. Also, I have to say that before I didn’t realize it was only 4 guys running the whole show at Dreamlinux so I feel a little bad about being down on them for the forum support. There are more users now and quite a bit more assistance than there was before.
The only downside for me with this install is that DL doesn’t support SD card readers, but I can live without that for now.

So, if you haven’t tried the latest version, give it a try, I am very glad I did.

18. Cye - December 8, 2007

You all just do not know what you are doing. Just partition the drive in something else. I for one just use ( Hirens boot cd ) & you can do everything in hirens boot cd. Download it & use it & you will be saying how did I ever get by without it. It is the best boot cd ever made. Anyway I am sorry dream linux is the best looking linux that is actually functional & not all that useless beryle crap that is more of a 3D pain in the (beep) then anything & again we are all trying to leave the windows world not go into something worse which is 3d beryle heck. Dream Linux finally a linux distro with all of the right audio & video codecs & I did not have to do major repository surgury on it to just get flash working because the maker of this distro already installed it. I do not know what is wrong with all of you but Dream Linux is one of the best desktop linux distro’s out there & Mepis Linux Also, but the rest like ubuntu & I have been trying to figure out why because it is lacking big time because this crap about not using flash & crap & let’s stay opensource well numbnuts people actually want to use the dang browser to browse & if flash is not in it to see youtube & every other website that has flash in it then I am sorry your ubuntu distro then sucks without it because then a person has to search for hours trying to install flash, good god just install all of the video & audio codecs from jump street & then users would use linux & do not get me wrong I use linux, but the linux world would be alot easier to swallow for newbs if it just did the basics and that is not just office crap I am sorry did they forget about multimedia, good lord everytime I read about another linux distro these idiots are talking about openoffice that word processor crap shoot every os can do that & plus Abiword is a way better word processor hands down because it is less bloated with crap & it works very fast no slow downs of any kind. But anyway do not take offense to anything I am saying I love linux I just get fead up with people & that moral compass crap, just install .mp3-.flv.swv.avi.xvid.divx.mov.264,mp4.mpeg.mpg.ogg.wmv.wma.apx in the linux distro a head of time & I garantee that any distro with all of the codecs inside of it will whip some windows & Mac OSX A**. becuase linux to me is the best OS ever made I just wish it did not take an hour to find repositorys for things that should already be installed & I know windows you have to do the same, but the only different thing with windows that makes it easier is the ease of installation because if you do not have flash in windows, then all you have to do is goto a site that has flash on it & then if you do not have flash installed then the link is right there waiting for you to click on it & in a linux machine it is not that easy & that to me sucks & again no offense I am only trying to make things in linux better, so please bare with me I am still sorta a linux newb, but I am slowly transforming myself into linux only because WINDOZE is a royal pain in the(beep).

19. Review: Dreamlinux 2.1 WORKS Edition | Black God - March 27, 2009

[…] is a honest and wonderful review on next version 2.2 written by […]

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