Review: Dream Linux 3.0 – Is It Really A Dream?

Just when you thought it was safe to come out from behind that rock I’m back with a long awaited review. It’s true to say the pace here has slowed in the last month or two but I’m getting back at it now and I’m even contemplating another distro tour, this time on my Dell m1330 laptop. Today’s victim… sorry guest is the Brazilian distribution Dream Linux 3.0, a Debian-based distro I’d heard quite a bit about but never actually used. After a while out of the game would I still remember how to do this? Well, I’ll leave that up to you to judge but here’s how I got on…


Vital Stats:

Distro base – Debian (the testing branch)
Packaging – .deb (managed by Apt)
Linux Kernel – 2.6.23.12-dream
Default Desktop – Gnome 2.22.0 (Debian build)

Installation:

I downloaded the Dream Linux install live CD and fired it up to be greeted by a splash screen and then a menu asking me to choose whether I wanted to load the Gnome or XFCE desktop version. I chose Gnome as it’s my favourite window manager but I’ve also found XFCE very usable and capable in the past, it’s just not my preference. Interestingly Dream Linux makes a big song and dance about something they’re calling Flexiboost. This offers a way for different window managers to share applications, I wasn’t really sure how to use it but more on that later. I saw an error on the screen as the distro was booting, it was the old familar “IO-APIC sync error” I seem to get with all Debian-based distros on this hardware, sharper minds than mine tell me it’s the motherboard. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems in operation but some distros, notably Ubuntu require me to boot the live CD with the “noapic” option. Thankfully Dream Linux just carried on booting and I didn’t have to do anything which is always my prefered course of action.

After a minute or two I was ready to start using the desktop and I have to say on first impressions I thought it had been designed to look like Mac OS X. Dream Linux comes with the Avant Window Navigator enabled by default which reminds me heavily of the Mac dock with it’s animated roll over icons. The toolbars and icons also looked like they’d been through the Apple finishing school. I really don’t know OS X well at all as I’ve only ever used it once or twice on other people’s computers and then only for a short period but I definitely get the feeling this interface would appeal to Mac fans. There were two install icons on the desktop labelled “DL Install” and “Pen Drive Installer” so I chose “DL Install” and entered some details into the subsequent dialog box. The installer seems to be a custom development for DL and it’s certainly not inherited from Debian. It seems to try and give you everything you need on one page, hostname, user accounts, disk partitioning and grub setup. It’s a laudable goal but I’m not sure it’s quite as intuitive as the installers I’ve seen in other distros. I also found a little quirk with the form fields which bugged me, I entered the partitioning details and then the user account information above that but I found after I’d touched the user account fields the “apply” button was grayed out and I couldn’t continue. I had opted to use the full disk instead of partitioning with the radio buttons and I couldn’t see anything wrong with the setup I’d chosen. I found I had to switch the selector back to “partitioned disk” which enabled the “apply” button again. I scratched my head a little at this and then selected “use entire disk” for a 2nd time, thankfully the button remained active and I could continue. As a test I changed data in the user details fields again and sure enough it disabled the button. It seems that unless you fill in the fields in the order they appear from top to bottom you can fall foul of this little quirk, I’m sure it’s designed to prevent people from accidentally messing up their disks or prevent them from continuing without entering user details but the implementation needs to be looked at.

Having successfully navigated that mine field I clicked the “apply” button and waited for a minute but the screen didn’t change so I wondered if anything was happening. The fact that the hard drive indicator light was flashing away like mad and the disk was obviously in use suggested something was happening and eventually the progress bar came up but it took a while. The progress bar doesn’t really tell you anything and it often freezes for long periods as if nothing is happening. It stopped at 56% for a good few minutes and left me wondering if the installer had crashed but I decided it was best to just leave it for a while and cross my fingers. All that finger crossing had the desired effect and the install eventually completed in 15mins which is not bad but also not lightning quick on a 30gb disk. The installer just tells you to close the window and then reboot the system with a small line of text at the bottom, I think it could be made a lot more obvious with a pop up box or even better a button to eject the disc and reboot like a lot of distros do. I had to rush to eject the CD manually between power cycles before the system came back up and booted from the Live CD again. Not a major problem and it may sound like I’m just moaning about nothing here but I’m a perfectionist and I think this could be polished up a lot, the whole installer feels like it could use a little work really. It did do it’s job in a reasonable time though and that’s all that matters I suppose.

After 20mins or so I had the new system installed and running, that’s not bad but the work was only just beginning really. If you want to check out the installation slideshow please use the link below.

FULL INSTALLATION SLIDESHOW

Configuring the system – Needles in haystacks:
So at this point I wanted to install the binary Nvidia drivers (insert freedom hater joke here) and get the system set up with any software I needed to use it as an everyday desktop. I hit something of a brick wall though which I later found out I could have avoided, I’m not quite sure whether to say it was my fault or a design fault in the software, possibly both. I’ll just tell you what happened and you can make your own mind up.

I looked through the Dream Linux control panel for options to setup my video drivers as I could tell they weren’t installed by default. There were options to configure AWN and Compiz 3D effects among the icons but they didn’t work and I assumed the remedy would be to get the Nvidia driver installed. I searched in Synaptic for the term “nvidia” but didn’t find anything of use. I was hoping to find the package “nvidia-glx-new” which I normally use on Debian-based system but it didn’t appear to be in the repos despite having the “contrib” and “non-free” options enabled. After this I went onto the Dream Linux forum and searched for information on installing Nvidia drivers without finding any real answers to my problems. After some Google searching and a bit of beard stroking, I decided I’d have to do this the Debian way and install the Nvidia driver manually. The last time I did this was months ago and I honestly didn’t expect it from this distro. I downloaded the “.bin” file from the Nvidia website and switched to terminal mode with the “CTRL+ALT+F2″ key combination. I then used the terminal to navigate to the location where I’d downloaded the driver, disable the X server and execute the installer. You don’t need to be a Linux guru to accomplish this task but I’m not sure it’s for the inexperienced Linux user and a certain degree of Bash terminal fu is required. I won’t go into the commands I used and get technical because I found out after going through all this rigmarole that there was a much easier way to do it, more on that in a minute. I got the driver installed through the terminal, allowed the nvidia tool to modify my xorg.conf and then rebooted. It worked and I saw the Nvidia splash screen which gave me a fuzzy feeling inside, a cheap geek thrill.

So here comes the moment when I wanted to kick myself. On rebooting the system I was looking under the “system tools” menu in Gnome for the “nvidia-settings” tool when I noticed something in there called “Easy-install”, opened it up and saw Nvidia drivers listed amongst it’s options. “Damn!!!” I thought to myself, in fact it was probably something far more profane than that but we’ll leave that where it is. I was sure I’d looked through all of these menus before going through with the manual install but now I was beginning to doubt myself. I wondered if the item had just appeared after I’d installed the driver, paranoia or what? The only way to be sure was to reinstall the system from scratch and see if it was there or not. To cut a long story short I did this and discovered I need an eye test or something, the menu item was right there, doh!! So this time I clicked on icon to install Nvidia drivers and it simply gave me a box instructing me to switch to terminal mode “CTRL+ALT+F1″ and login with my username and password, then type “nvidia-install”. I did this and the system downloaded the driver for me, installed it and then rebooted. Pretty painless and a nicer process than my previous method but I think this could be improved a lot, when you’ve used something like the Restricted Driver Manager in Ubuntu and it’s offspring, this doesn’t seem that impressive. It could automatically detect you have an Nvidia card and prompt you to install the driver or even better just cut out the middle man and install the driver right away like Mandriva 2008. I may sound like I’m whining again here and maybe I am but I think this could be improved. Why isn’t the “easy-install tool at least in the DL control panel where you would expect to find it? It’s not very obvious, I accept responsibility for being incompetent and not finding it but a prompt might have been nice.

The Easy-Install tool does work pretty well (after you’ve found it) and simplifies things like codec installation, enabling DVD playback and adding software such as last.fm, picasa, Google Earth and so on. I installed quite a few additional things through it and it all worked fine apart from Skype which it kept failing on. I think possibly the installation files were moved on the Skype website and that’s why it doesn’t work, it seems to have trouble locating them and crash out. I installed Skype easily enough though with the “.deb” file I located on their website, I just chose the Debian option when it came to downloading. I then had to install it through the terminal with “dpkg” as I couldn’t seem to find Gdebi Installer or something similar which I’d normally use. I added some other software through the Synaptic tool, DL is based on Debian of course and the repositories are pretty deep as you’d expect. I installed Deluge, Bluefish, Audacity and Gpodder without any trouble. I also decided to update the system in Synaptic by clicking “mark all updates”, this selected 528mb worth of packages to update but the downloads were very fast and it completed in less than 30mins.

At this point I had the system set up pretty much as I needed it and bar a few quirks it wasn’t a hard process, I’m not sure how a Linux novice would find it but for an experienced user it’s not difficult. I found a couple of minor problems, firstly the icons on my desktop and all through the system in fact were suddenly massive after the update. I’m not sure why this should be and it’s not a major thing but it did mess up my desktop a lot and cause some usability problems. The second hitch was depsite having my video drivers and Compiz installed I still wasn’t getting any 3D effects. I opened up the control panel and found an applet to enable 3D effects, once I’d done this it was fine and I soon had a spinning cube.

Using the system:
I only really used the system intensively for a couple of days but I found to all intents and purposes it was just like using Debian, all be it with a slightly Macish feel. All the usual applications you would expect to find were present and correct. Being Debian based DL comes with IceWeasel instead of Firefox, this is a repackaged version of Firefox minus some copyrighted elements that don’t fit in with the Debian philosophy. I’ve used IceWeasel on a few different distros and it’s always worked exactly like Firefox for me, all my extensions and everything else work perfectly. The desktop is Gnome 2.22.0 which ships with Brasero as the default disc burning utility and I think it’s a great improvement over Gnomebaker the previous default. I usually install it first thing on new Gnome systems anyway. My favourite music player and manager Rhythmbox is there, the default video player is Mplayer which is not a favourite of mine but does it’s job well enough. Dream Linux has something of a reputation as a graphic designers distro and is popular with creative types apparently so it ships with GimpShop rather than the GIMP and also includes Inkscape for vector drawing out of the box. I’ve not used GimpShop too much but it’s essentially a version of GIMP with a modified GUI to make it more intuitive for users of Adobe’s Photoshop. Basically the distro comes with everything the average desktop user could want and adding programs through Synaptic is easy enough thanks to the depth of the Debian testing repositories.

I tested out media support and it was very good, I’d installed the codec packs through the Easy-Install utility so I expected it all to work. I was able to play my mp3 music files, Xvid, WMV and DivX videos along with DVD discs. I also tried navigating to a movie trailers website with IceWeasel to test out browser plugins and everything worked like a dream, no pun intended ;) Flash and Java were also supported in the browser without the need to install anything. I expect this from most modern user-friendly Linux distros these days but I still think it’s worth mentioning, it was useful to have these things working without any hassle.

Conclusions:

Ease Of Installation & Use: 3/5
Stability: 4/5
Community & Documentation: 4/5
Features: 3/5

Overall I think Dream Linux is a very competent distro but I worry about where it will find an audience in an already crowded space. I’m not quite sure who it’s aimed at and it may just be that it’s not aimed at me and that’s why I don’t get it. The attempt to look and feel a bit like Mac OS X is lost on me and it seems at odds with the Debian base in some ways. Taking a distro like Debian which I love for it’s freedom and ethics and trying to make it appeal to Mac fans seems odd to me. Are there really that many Mac users out there who are in the slightest bit bothered about software freedom anyway? I’m not so sure. I’m not knocking Mac users by saying that, I just don’t think there are many who lie away at night worrying about Richard Stallman’s latest opinion. If enticing Mac users isn’t the intention then why not do something more like Linux Mint and base your distro on Ubuntu, you could inherit useful tools like the Restricted Driver Manager which seems superior to me than the current DL solution. Just a thought.

As you may have detected from my tone so far in this summation, I wasn’t that impressed with Dream Linux 3.0, maybe this is partly due to my going in with high expectations but after using so many other distros in the past year I think my expectations are justifiably high. I found little things like the lack of a workspace switcher were annoying and I quickly added that. I know that versions of OS X prior to 10.5 didn’t have multiple desktops either and maybe this is something to do with that. Maybe I’m overplaying the attempt to copy the Mac but that’s honestly how the UI felt to me. I’m not totally against that and if it helps Mac users to use Linux and get comfortable then great I’m all for it, it’s just not for me.

I was left a little underwhelmed it’s fair to say and I’m sorry to say that as I know a lot of people put a lot of hard work into this release. I commend them for that but in comparison to the other distros in the market right now I just think this needs a lot more polish, the little quirks need to be ironed out in order to give the impression of a truly finished product. I don’t think DL is too far away from being a great disto and I encourage the developers to keep working at it, maybe I’ve missed the point but I just worry a little for them when faced with the likes of Linux Mint. There are some innovative features in DL which it’s only fair I mention. Flexiboost as mentioned earlier uses modules to allow 2 different window managers to share applications but I didn’t use it much in practice. The Live Remaster is also a very cool feature, it allows you to run the Live CD, modify the desktop as you see fit and then generate a new ISO disk image which can then be distributed including your changes. That’s a very interesting tool and I think other distros could learn from it.

In short, I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. It goes back to the target audience thing again. It’s a bit too complicated for complete Linux newbs with the likes of Mint, Ubuntu and Mandriva offering a much gentler introduction. On the other hand it’s not hardcore enough in the freedom stakes to please the Debian fans I know either, they would probably just stick to plain Debian. I don’t know a lot of Mac users but maybe if I knew one who wanted to get into Linux and stay in their comfort zone with the UI changes this is who I would give a Dream Linux CD too. Sadly I don’t know anyone like that and this is what makes me worry about the distro,they seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. If there are any developers reading this then please prove me wrong, I will be back to check out the next Dream Linux release and I’ll gladly eat my words and congratulate you if it rocks, I really will. It seems to me that in the post Ubuntu Linux world simply taking Debian and offering to make it more user friendly is not enough. That’s been done very successfully and you need to do something more to distinguish yourself in this market.

Don’t take my word for it, you might have a totally different opinion so why not try Dream Linux yourself and let me know what you think? You can download it here.

Up Next:
I’m not sure exactly what I’ll review next time but as I intimated earlier I’ve been contemplating another little distro tour, this time with my laptop as it will give me a chance to test out the wireless capabilites of certain distros. I’m definitely going to be trying out Arch as promised, I hope to get into installing that this week. I also intend to check out Sidux, a distro that’s been on my list for ages but with a new release just out it seems a good time to give it a whirl. Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 9 and OpenSUSE 11 will all be released in the near future and of course I will have to look those. So there’s plenty to come on the other side of that hill and as always if you want to join me for another adventure soon you are more than welcome, you bring the picnic hamper though ok…

About Dan

Hi I'm Dan, I'm the nutter who creates the content here and oversees things. You can read more about me on the biog page if you like. Thanks :)
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48 Responses to Review: Dream Linux 3.0 – Is It Really A Dream?

  1. Matt says:

    May be it can appeal to the people who would like a Mac but don’t want to pay the price.

  2. Dan says:

    Yeah that’s a good point, maybe it can. I know Linux and particularly Debian are big in Brazil so there may be a large market at home for them who knows, I hope so :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    From Brazil, you need to try GoblinX, one of the best livecd ever.

  4. Dan says:

    I’ll add it to my list thanks, I’ve heard the name but never used it :)

  5. Giorgio Beltrammi says:

    Dreamlinux is the only distro that had convinced me to leave Ubuntu/Linux Mint.
    That’s all.

    Ciao Ciao :-)

  6. Dan says:

    That’s cool, I’m really glad you like it. Like I said maybe it just didn’t suit me and I’m glad it works for you :)

  7. Darksoul says:

    I have been a debian based distro fan and I find dreamlinux to be like having 2 ose’s, in one machine, linux ( debian ) and Mac’os X convined into a single Os

  8. Anonymous says:

    This release might appeal to former Mac users that switched to PC many years ago because they couldn’t afford the price of Mac anymore (it did for me).

    I haven’t installed this distro yet, but have tried the live CD on three different computers, and so far, it is one of the few that worked on all three of them (the other ones being Ubuntu and Knoppix). I am a real newbie at this, but I am overall pleased with what they have to offer. Notably, all the applications that I need worked well, including one that I had to install the Debian way (r-base => a statistical package that also work on Windows and Mac).

    Thank you Dan for your review. I found some useful tips on how to install it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Greetings from Atlanta, U.S.A., Dan.
    I usually don’t comment on reviews, but have read several from your last “tour” and now this one. You seem to start your reviews with an open mind, then offer helpful information to potential users, as well as balanced criticism to distro developers… Always interesting, and definitely not the same old cookie cutter reviews found in too many places. I look forward to your next tour.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Remaster-thingy is great and should’ve deserved a closer look-it’s not only about beeing able to save your graphical configuration/generic preferences-it’s an instrument to care about your friends-which means “give them a Linux as they certainly would not expect, resp. ‘lunixifice’ them without (or less) frictions” – because you know which apps/style they use/prefer. It’s that simple: create some space (i.e. removing Openoffice+Inkscape), update the browser/get useful extensions for the weasel, install (and!?) configure icedove/get it encryption-ready (nur wegen des Herrn Schäuble), apt-get ‘Gnome-Games’, codecs, DVD-support, make the engage-dock fully transparent, change the windowstyle/wallpaper and set the appropriate locale, you name it…, create the ISO…; all that within a conventinal livesession!
    Have fun!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dan, I think you should remove Zololkis comment, its a link to spyware or something like that.
    Always enjoy your reviews!

  12. Frasco says:

    As a Graphic Designer and a hard “Blender” user I recommend Dreamlinux, its very powerfull distro. it runs very well with programs to design, and it has a very impresive look. I used OpenSuse and Ubuntu before, but neither make me stay so many tiem out of my windows box as Dreamlinux

    This is the better distro i have tried, and if you concern the security system i recommend WifiSlax

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dreamlinux is beta (maybe even alpha) labeled as “stable” release. Furthermore, it was the only distro (after distro-hopping for a year) that broke my Vista partition.

  14. Dan says:

    I’ve removed the spam comment, thanks for the warning, I seem to be getting a lot of these lately. Maybe it’s a sign of popularity who knows :)

    Thanks for the comments everyone I appreciate hearing your views. I wish I’d had more time to look at the Live Remaster tool as it does seem like an amazing thing. As I said I think it’s something other distros could learn from.

    As for stability I found DL to be stable enough for me, it never crashed or broke anything but maybe I was lucky. It’s based on Debian testing of course so the Debian Project do not consider it’s contents stable. They are very conservative though and one thing’s for sure, if the Debian team say something is stable you can be damn sure it is :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dlinux is o good distro but does not always allow DMA to be enabled with some machines it was rushed to meet deadlines and the new kernal was left out unfortunatly.

  16. Matt says:

    I got my first spam comment on my blog a couple weeks ago. It was just like the one you deleted. I’ve seen a lot of those around lately.

    I think I may try DL. I didn’t like it before because it used xfce, but now that they’ve added gnome and awn it looks pretty nice!

  17. davemc says:

    DreamLinux really is nothing more than Debian base and touched up to emulate a MAC. Thats really what I got out of your review, and it matches my own experiences. Call it “The pretty face of Debian”, and it shows what can be done with Debian when you’ve got way too much time on your hands!

  18. Daz says:

    I’ve used DL 2.2 before and I’d be tempted to use it again but for odd reasons. It didn’t work seamlessly, configuration was a nightmare at times and I had to configure some config files manually.

    It was great, I’d forgotten what it was like to mess around with config files and the other internals :)

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think it was a fair review. To me it’s Gnome with a dock I mean the panel on top is identical to the one in Ubuntu isn’t it? I haven’t used Mac’s but I suppose it’s very Gnome like then.
    My main problem was that it didn’t perform as well as it used to (it was lightning fast in 2.2) but I think it didn’t like my hardware (Dell Inspiron XPS) so it was a no keeper for me.

    Shanghai

  20. Anonymous says:

    A couple of things I would like to say. First up, while your “review” was an interesting read, I found it more a personal gripe report, rather than a distro review.

    Next up I don’t recall ever reading that Dream Linux was intended by accident or design to be targeted at Mac users. I think your continued reference to Mac is way off the mark.

    Last, DreamLinux is based on debian, not ubuntu. Whilst ubuntu is a fine distro in it’s own right, & based on debian, It is a different beast altogether. Ubuntu is not compatible with debian. Therefore , your reference to why isn’t this or that like ubuntu, is again off the mark.

    If I was a newbie reading this “review”, I would be very confused and reluctant to try it. I am an experienced debian user and know how to sort the chaff from the wheat. I try a lot of distro’s as a hobby. I find DreamLinux to be a good distro, and one that has a few unique features. These are my thoughts and good luck on your future reviews.

  21. Dan says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. My reviews are always deeply personal as they are my experience with a certain thing. That’s the point. If you want a generic review I can understand that, there are loads of sites full of them. I try to be fair and open minded as much as I can but I’m afraid I’m only human and I never claim to be anything special. I always put in things like the following:

    “Don’t take my word for it, you might have a totally different opinion so why not try Dream Linux yourself and let me know what you think? You can download it here.”

    That’s in the summary, I’m trying to encourage people to experiment but I’m not going to lie if I have find something I don’t like. I always try to be fair and constructive. I’m just giving a personal journey and unlike a lot of reviews I make no bones about that. It’s right up front.

    Thank you for your opinion and I accept your point. I always say to people “try this stuff out for yourself” as everyone has different preferences and requirements. I think that’s good :)

  22. mark says:

    i am one of those few mac users that finds dream linux a complete farce. however, i am very cozy with the new mandriva release.

  23. Marcos says:

    Good Review. I really appreciate your tone.

    I have already tried Dream Linux and i would say that its appeal are the simple/pretty interface, remastering DVD (this is amazing. I can build my own distro with this), and it is a nice Debian LiveCD. It is very good as a live CD and the XFCE takes just a little RAM. It runs amazing on my eeePC.

    I could add that DreamLinux don’t have too much users here (I’m at Brazil), and this 3.0 version don’t even have a Portuguese CD on their site.

    Brazil particular distro is sure to be Kurumin. It have been almost the same as Linux for a lot of people here.

    Kurumin is going to a new version named KuruminNG. It is now moving from the Debian base to a Ubuntu Base and it is going beta these days. I just don’t think it will have an English language version so you can review it.

  24. Dan says:

    Thanks for the information, I’m really surprised they don’t have a Portuguese language version of DL 3.0 since it’s Brazilian. Seems strange, I couldn’t imagine Mandriva not having good French language support for example.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi dan,
    I’m one of the two developers of Dreamlinux, working on our free time on its development. I’d like to say that I really appreciated your review and overall I considered it a fair and positive review of the distro, based on the features you had the time to explore. A deeper journey into DL would reveal some other nice things but this would maybe increase so much your review to a point that it could become boring to the reader.
    I won’t comment most of the opinions expressed by some readers here because they are, after all, opinions and everyone has the right to express freely their opinions.
    What I’d like to clarify is that this 3rd version of Dreamlinux was made from scratch in about five months. So surely it has some problems in several areas and so many rooms to improve in the next version. Formerly we were using Morphix base module and bulding the main module ourselves. Although I like Morphix its model proved restrictive to several improvements we were doing and we didn’t have control of some key features like hardware detection, configurations and the likes. So we decided to start again, from scratch, counting solely on Debian to build upon. And DL is not only a nice face to Debian. We developed a new foundation, named Flexiboost, upon which we build everything. Regarding why we don’t have a localized Brazilian DL 3 (we had up to the version 2.2), being ourselves Brazilians, is exactly due to the comment that Brazilian guy made: nobody pays any attention to us in Brazil, even DL being, for a long time, the best Brazilian distro ranked in Distrowatch, if Distrowatch can be deemed as a reference. On the other hand, we have a very good, vibrant and increasing international community. Besides, we don’t think it’s that difficult for most users localize DL to their own language.
    And we’re not aiming DL to Mac Users at all! That interface was a matter of choice, since Linux is all about freedom and all about choices. We had to decide among some traditional Unix intefaces, Windows and Mac look. There were many Distros trying to mimic Windows look at that time. We decided to go to the other side of the force. Why Mac look? Why not? If we find another interface that appeals to us, we have no commitment to that Mac look. We can change it anytime.
    And we’re not trying to compete with Ubuntu or any other distro. We are only trying to have some fun and improve our overall Linux knowledge.
    Cheers,
    nelsongs

  26. John says:

    I appreciate the review. I like you got the same big icons after doing the update. I only got this though after chosing to get the Debian updates. I do not like how the botton 1/3 of the screen does not show the icons like if I mount my iPod it only shows the top of the iPod and then I have to drag this up to see the full thing. I do not like how the bar at the bottom is hidden by the screen so if you want to launch some thing else from this you have to minimize the window you are working on. I played around with it a bit but think that I will be going back to Mandriva as my OS of choice.

  27. Dan says:

    Thank you for the comment nelsongs, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this as I know it’s a long article. Firstly, thank you and your fellow developers for all the hard work that went into developing this distro, I tried to make that point in the article. I know it’s easy for me to criticise while I don’t have my own distro or anything to prove I could do better. I am aware of that but I just try to call things as I see them in a fair way and I also try to own up to my own mistakes and shortcomings where appropriate.

    I’m glad you thought I was fair and I didn’t realise you guys started from scratch with DL 3.0 so I can see it’s come a long way. I thought it was an iteration of previous releases. As for the interface it’s not my personal preference as I said but that doesn’t make it bad. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say and it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things. I’m certainly glad you didn’t try to copy Windows.

    It’s a shame you guys aren’t getting more recognition in your home country but perhaps an expanding international user ship will be good for you in the long run. I tried to read up on Flexiboost in a few places but didn’t find anything technical or anything that explained to me how it actually worked. I wish I’d had more time to dig into it, as you say a couple of days is not long with a distro but I will be back to look again in future and I wish you and your colleagues every success.

    It’s a big sacrifice giving up time and money for a project like this. I try to keep that in mind. Thanks for getting in touch :)

  28. Marshall says:

    hi,
    I first started using Dreamlinux because it was better than other distro’s like Ubuntu. Everyone always say Ubuntu this or that. I tried Ubuntu and everytime a new release, i’d install it and delete it again. I tested alot of distro’s myself and DreamLinux got me using linux on a daily basic. I think the next version will be right on track, because the Dreamlinux team know what their doing!!!

  29. Dan says:

    That’s great Marshall I’m really glad DL got you using Linux. As I keep saying I didn’t find it suited me but everyone is different and I’m glad it works for you. It’s all Linux ;)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dan.

    I have a friendly challenge for you kind sir.

    Getting Citadel and Apache 2 t0 run together, functioning correctly on DreamLinux 3.5 when it comes out & post the screen shots of all the setup steps ect.

    Mine ain’t working at all. I hope you’ll try it

    Sincerely

    Steve Williams
    http://stevesapparel.com/Contact

  31. Dan says:

    Interesting challenge thanks but I’m not sure when I’ll get time to look into it. I know a bit about Apache but Citadel I don’t really know. I’ll do my best for you though I promise ;)

  32. Anonymous says:

    The grammar and technique of this review hurt me. While it may be futile to complain about a blog on the internet, the use of language is considerably worse than most of the papers I read back in my high school English class.

  33. Thomas says:

    Thank you for a good review.I tend to distro hop and I think dream linux might bring that to an end.

    One big advantage of dream linux is that multimedia plays out of the box.One of the problems that I had with ubuntu,sidux,puppy linux,mint was that even after installing the codecs,the movie picture clarity was nowhere was good as it is in windows.Wolvix and dream linux was able to do that.But wolvix did not detect my modem.
    As for dream linux not being based on ubunutu,I think that is a plus.Ubuntu is slower than dream linux.I gave up on mint because of the same reason.Mint is faster than ubuntu but slower than dream linux.
    Looks are subjective.
    As for the underappreciation in Brazi,they dont know what they are missing.The developers have a wide international audience.I for one am from India thousands of km from you.

  34. Dan says:

    Thanks for the comment Thomas. I haven’t noticed speed differences with Ubuntu and DL but perhaps that’s due to hardware. The video quality point is interesting I’ll have to look at that, I’m glad you like Dream Linux :)

  35. Marcos says:

    Dan,
    The new release of the Kurumin distro, the really most popular Brazilian distro is out. It is named Kurumin NG 8.06 and is now Kubuntu based (it used to be a debian based distro).

    The site is in Portuguese but the distro installs in English too. It would be great if you did a review of it.

    http://www.gdhpress.com.br/kurumin-ng/

  36. Dan says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add it to my list, it’s pretty full right now but I’ll get to it as soon as I can :)

  37. PC, Music, & Movie Geek says:

    I’ve been using Ubuntu for the past 2 years, and have had trouble getting the Avant toolbar to work on some older PCs. Dream-Linux looks great and acts like Ubuntu-a good thing. The Easy Installer is a great idea and much appreciated. Wine also comes as part of the Easy Installer. It even got the GRUB boot loader install correct. I dual boot with XP on most PCs. It runs fast. Dream-Linux is my new favorite distro. Jim.

  38. Dan says:

    That’s great news Jim I’m glad it works well for you. Like I said it’s not a bad distro it just wasn’t the right fit for me. I’m glad it is for you :)

  39. 42 says:

    I guess the reason I like it so much is because with the same amount of effects running DL runs 5x faster than Ubuntu (and 7x than Mint) and I have just 256mb RAM so any amount of speed boost is welcome.
    Of course you are right, the system itself needs a lot of polishing, like it cant read NTFS partitions of HDD’s connected AFTER install (which means I can still use the liveCD to read/write to it), but I am mostly learning still so I enjoy such challenges but for a completely new user it might cause some trouble.
    I guess the target audience would be one who needs speed, good looks, some challenges and some more speed…

    (For me DL (Gnome) with cube and fire effects and such running is still faster than a clean Xubuntu setup)

  40. Dan says:

    Wow it makes that much of a speed difference? That’s interesting. I tested it on pretty powerful machine as you can see. I suppose I didn’t see a speed difference for that reason. It’s good to know it performs well on a lower spec though, I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks

  41. PC, Music, & Movie Geek says:

    Dan, I’m back using Ubuntu 8.041. I found the Synaptic respositories were not as complete as Ubuntu and could not find a lot of my favorite apps. But overall was impressed with DreamLinux. Maybe the next release will get me to try it again.

  42. Dan says:

    Yes I was a little worried about the depth of the repositories with DL. It’s hard to maintain that sort of thing for a small distro though and I can understand that. I’m not sure if you could just add Debian or Ubuntu repos to your sources and use them, it might break things. Could be worth a go

  43. BobP says:

    I want a distro that has current Firefox, Pidgin, office stuff (including PDF reader) an easy way to get to my several other Windows boxes. DL does it and pyNeighborhood works great. System runs fast. Mint was not easy to stay connected to the other boxes through shut downs and start ups.

  44. BobP says:

    Ver 3.5 RC4 on old IBM 500hz

  45. Dan says:

    Good news glad it works well for you BobP there’s a distro for everyone I always think :)

  46. richs-lxh says:

    Hi Dan, nice review. I’m the admin of Dreamlinux Forum as well as forming part of the dev team. I thought that adding your personal views to the review was brave, instead of being too neutral. I would just like to add to what has already been posted by nelsongs.

    Dreamlinux is a souped up Debian, not just a pretty face. The Flexiboost technology basically means we can create “modules” and add them, such as an entire Desktop environment which has been modified and themed with links to Dreamlinux specific applications/scripts.

    For example, the very simple base is Debian “Lenny”. On top of that we have the custom kernel, Gnome, Xfce modules which install the modified desktop seperately in its own directory, which means you can add and remove complete environments as you please. You want Kde4? create a standalone module and theme it and mod it. Then stick it in the directory with your Gnome and Xfce modules. When you boot the live CD you can choose which ever Desktop, and also the Desktop which will be installed.

    For the next Dreamlinux 3.5 we rae going back to Xfce as the default, as we still want to prvide a single iso with everything included, not dvd isos, or having to remove applications to make space for a desktop.

    The Gnome module can be added if wished by way of a simple script which will fetch it, and install it over the Xfce module. Hey presto! you now have Dreamlinux Gnome ;)

    Anybody who has built a distro from the ground up will automatically see what has been added/changed, whereas less experienced users will onl see a “Pretty Debian”. There are also neslongs custom installer scripts. “New Installer On The Way”.

    One click will offer, Live Pendrive, Persistent Pendrive, Eeepc, External USB, Harddrive install, OEM for manufacturers.

    All hand-coded and all on ONE window. Click how you want to install, where, add uname and password, and click install. That’s it.

    Next up are the Remaster scripts. Customize your live CD, then use the Liveremaster to create an iso of your own personal Dreamlinux. It makes distro devs of us all Lol!
    There is also work on an EasyRemaster, which will make a custom Live cd from your “installed” Dreamlinux. This means you will be able to create your “own” custom Dreamlinux, with literally any Desktop, apps, themes, you name it. I predict a swarm of people jumping on DL just for that app. Yeah I know that there are respins and remastersys, but they just can’t come close to doing what the EasyRemaster will perform. EasyRemaster enables everybody to create a distro derivative or personalised distro.

    Ok, sorry for the long post, thanks for the review, I will be expecting good words from you when DL 3.5 is released.

    Cheers

    richs-lxh

  47. Dan says:

    @richs-lxh Thanks very much for all the details. As I’ve said many times I can’t imagine how much work it is to make a distro and maintain it, I’ve never done it so I only bring personal opinions from and end user perspective. I always try to make that clear.

    It’s been a long time since I looked at DL and wrote this, I amazed and thankful people still read it :) I look forward to 3.5 to see what changes have been made, good luck with it.

  48. Danilo Oliveira says:

    Dreamlinux is the only distro that had convinced me to leave Ubuntu
    That’s all.[2]

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