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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 Synaptic works well as a basic software manager but it feels rather outdated these days in comparison to the Ubuntu Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager.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:
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.
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.