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Dreamlinux 3.5 GNOME

January 25, 2011

Dreamlinux has been requested a number of times since the blog launched, and this week I’ve finally gotten around to taking a peek at it. Dreamlinux is based on Debian and it comes with Xfce or GNOME as the default desktop. I picked the GNOME version for this quick look.

Before I get into this quick look you should know that I was not able to get Dreamlinux installed in a virtual machine. The OEM installer seemed to go fine right up until the end, and then I got an error message. Since Dreamlinux is a Live DVD distro (you can run it without installing it), I decided to do the quick look anyway based on the Live DVD desktop. I’ll talk more about my install problems in the install section.

Live DVD Desktop

Live DVD Desktop

What’s New In This Release
I was not able to locate a list of new features for this release. This is another thing that the developers might want to consider adding to the Dreamlinux site at some point.

Linux Mint has an excellent What’s New page when it has a new release, it might be a good idea for the Dreamlinux developers to emulate it in future releases.

System Requirements
I could not find a set of system requirements for the GNOME version. The Xfce requirements are listed under the GNOME version, so I think there’s an error on the Dreamlinux site.

GNOME Requirement Error

GNOME Requirement Error?

Perhaps the developers will correct that soon for the folks who wish to use the GNOME version of Dreamlinux.

As I noted earlier, I was not able to get Dreamlinux 3.5 installed properly in my virtual machine. There are 3 ways to install Dreamlinux from the Live DVD desktop:

DL Installer
OEM Installer

The DL installer requires partitions to be already set. The Easy-Install was the first thing I clicked on but it wouldn’t run. The OEM installer seemed to be working but gave me an error message at the end. See the screenshots page for a full walk-through of the install.

Install 5

Install 5

Your mileage may vary with Dreamlinux, especially if you are installing it on hardware rather than a VM.

Dreamlinux users Synaptic for its software management. You can access it by clicking on the Apt-Get button on the dock. Synaptic works well as a basic software manager but it feels rather outdated these days in comparison to the Ubuntu Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager.



Here’s a look at some of the software you’ll find:


Pidgin IM
Thunderbird Mail

Media Player
Sound Converter
Sound Juicer
Sound Recorder
SPDIF switch
XBMC Media Center




Using Dreamlinux 3.5
Dreamlinux ran pretty well for me as a Live DVD desktop in my VM. For a Live DVD desktop, it was pretty quick and very responsible. I had no problems opening or closing applications or otherwise using it in that regard. I wish I had been able to get a proper install done though.

The desktop is very attractive and comes with a Mac-like dock at the bottom. The dock contains icons for some popular applications, file browsing, Synaptic and the Dreamlinux control panel. The desktop itself contains various icons including one for each of the different install options.

The Dreamlinux site needs a bit of fixing though. I was disappointed to find out that the wiki (which I had hoped would have some helpful information) wasn’t available either. I got an error message when trying to access it from the link on the Dreamlinux site. See the error message in the screenshot gallery. I hope the proper URL gets inserted so that Dreamlinux users can access the wiki at some point.



Flash is installed by default and I had no problems running YouTube videos while using the Live DVD version of Dreamlinux. Dreamlinux comes with some great multimedia applications including XBMC Media Center, Media Player, AviDemux and others. Most of what you’ll need is available by default.

If you need help, you should check out the Dreamlinux forum and the Dreamlinux Tutorials.

Final Thoughts
While I hesitate to directly compare a Live DVD desktop with a fully installed distro, I can’t help but feel that Linux Mint Debian Edition is a better bet for now. Dreamlinux needs to fix its installer problems, and it needs a more polished software manager. At this point it should be relatively easy to install a desktop Linux distro. If Dreamlinux wants to be competitive with LMDE and other distros, the developers are going to have to take another look at their installer.

Overall, I think Dreamlinux has a lot of potential and I look forward to checking it out again at a later date. Since this version (3.5) has been out for a while now, I am hopeful that a new release will fix some of these problems and hopefully put it on par with LMDE. I’ll probably do a full review of it for DLR once the next release is out, so stay tuned.

Dreamlinux is probably best suited to intermediate and advanced Linux users.

Click to the next page to view a full gallery of screenshots.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments. For full distro reviews, visit Desktop Linux Reviews.


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9 Responses to Dreamlinux 3.5 GNOME

  1. Damiano on December 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    You’ve talked a lot, but not a single one of you has mentioned WHAT version of Gnome DL is supplied with? WHAT VERSION??? Why doesn’t it say anywhere? Do i have to install it to look it up, or may it know in advance? Is it 2.30 or 2.32? That’s all i need to know, and the rest doesn’t really matter.

  2. Allen Meyers on September 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I only disagree with one comment, to wit if wireless recognition fails just contact forum and you will be up and running in no time. That has not been my experience. Still not online wireless with DL and believe it or not been 3 months

  3. Monarky on March 30, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Not one to jump on a review, unless it’s as severely flawed as this one. If you are a first time Linux user this may not be quite the best to get your feet wet on, but I would never limit this distro Linux gurus or even moderately experienced users. If you’ve gone through at least one successful install of Linux, you are most likely ready to give this a shot.

    That is of course considering the person has at least modicum of problem solving skills to at least explore in Live mode the OS to see how it works before proceeding with an install and at least did an MD5 check on your download. Along with a check sum after it’s been burned to disc (most assuredly NOT ever burning an install disc at anything close to fast, if you do you’re just burning yourself).

    Aside from this, one needs to be aware of the origins of a given distro. Sabayon being Italian, has it’s own set of quirks and demands. Dream Linux has it’s roots in Brazil. As such it has it’s own distinct style and setup. What I’ve always like about Dream (especially XFCE) is how simple they’ve designed the Control Panel. A grandma could use it after only minor instruction. The package installer is one of the most widely used in the Linux family of distros and should need no explanation. Unless…. you’ve only used some that are so generic and milktoast sweet like for OS-X numbsckulls who need their mommy’s holding their hand while they take a pee at 25yo.

    You speak of an Installer that is literally used (customized) by 100′s distros and generally targeted at native hardware installs. Some of these distros are coded and managed by one man development teams. They are after all FREE… like in FREE BEER, you never knock the host! …most if not all have an option to run an updater prior to install and I’ve never seen ANY “Quick and Easy” install of anything actually turn out that way!

    All in All Dream LInux may not be the cleanest or fanciest install out of box, but like all dreams… it’s all in what you make it!!! :cheerful:

  4. Stephen Green on February 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Definitely not for intermediate users either, unless they like to be aggravated! The problem for ‘noobs’ is that distros like this one a touted
    on certain sites in such ‘glowing reviews’ that almost never mention that
    fact. So here’s a classic mistake, just waiting too happen. Linux will always suffer from too much of a good thing. Enthusiasm is one thing, but it can be unintentionally misleading..

  5. chad on January 28, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Let me begin by saying that DL 3.5 was never touted as a noob distro. It’s biggest draw – to me – was that most wireless cards worked OOTB on boot. If they didn’t work OOTB, it was a matter of asking a question on the forums, and they were up and running post haste.

    Not only was hardware recognition a plus, but the Gnome version of DL 3.5 was fast; the XFCE version was even quick. The DL installation experience was the other thing that drew me to it. It installed for me in VB in under 10 minutes.

    Secondly, there are only two methods of installing DL 3.5: OEM installer or DL installer.

    To clarify: the easy install app is an installer, but not an OS installer; it installs proprietary ATI/Nvidia drivers and apps that aren’t bundled with the OS. The reason why you couldn’t get the app to run is because of some broken ruby dependencies. A check on the forums would have revealed this to you.

    Thirdly, the DL installer is the slickest installer I have ever seen/used. What’s so hard about opening gparted and configuring your partitions manually? I do this with every distro I install.

    Fourthly, I would say that a distro is only as good as the people – read support – behind it. I’m not criticizing here, but some, if not all the issues cited here, could have been solved at the forums. Granted, the forums are slightly less active today, than they were 6 months ago…but next time you blog about a distro, why not check out what kind of support the distro is backed by?

    @John: This is due to the fact that DL never had it’s own repo…Thus, whenever your updated, all the DL customizations went bye-bye.

    In closing, I’m not sure why your install ended in a fart, but I would md5sum the iso you downloaded and try again.

  6. John on January 26, 2011 at 6:02 am

    One problem I had with DreamLinux some time ago was when updates were run it screwed up the desktop and basically I was left with a Gnome desktop and nothing else. I like the idea but they need to take it account that updates may break their desktop and then how does it get fixed.

  7. jellmoo on January 26, 2011 at 12:34 am


    I would just point out two things:

    1) It’s pretty hard to give an in depth review of a distro that cannot be installed.

    2) This blog is simply for quick looks on a distro, which tends to be pretty superficial in scope. Jim does full distro reviews on the Desktop Linux Review blog.

  8. cherax on January 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Last time I checked, the main developer has retired for health reasons. A couple of other developers are continuing with it, and the new version will be built on Linux Mint Debian Edition. As such, I don’t know that it will have much to differentiate it from the growing number of distros built on Debian Testing (e.g Debian Testing itself, LMDE, SalineOS, etc.), except for its strong copying of the OS-X desktop. Still, Squeeze is a pretty solid base.

    Your review didn’t really contain much of substance. Did you even mention that DL is build on Debian Testing? And, while the Synaptic package manager has been around for awhile, and is not an “app store” like the most recent Ubuntu and Mint package managers aim to be, it is very complete, fast, and easy to use. Since Synaptic is not specically a DL development, it seems a little unfair to use it as a basis for criticism of the entire distro. Also, what about hardware detection? Memory usage? Video and audio codecs? Java? Seems like you didn’t actually *use* this distro, just fiddled with the liveDVD for an hour without even installing it. “Quick Look” = “superficial glance”.

  9. Otto Yamamoto on January 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    These problems w/Dreamlinux have been ongoing since at least 2.2. It would be nice if they sorted some of these issues out.

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