Truely a linux dream
So today I downloaded the latest edition of DreamLinux. The last time I played with DreamLinux was around 8 months back and was really disappointed as it failed even to boot on my machine.
DreamLinux 2.2 Multimedia edition was released on 29th June (same day iPhone was released) . And if you are interested its currently ranked at #17 at DistroWatch.
DreamLinux comes as a live CD with installation option. The live CD booted straight to XFCE desktop with 1024x764 @ 75Hz. It was not the optimal 1440x800 @ 75 that my monitor supported, but it is fair enough to get you started.
So coming on the installation part. There is a really nice installation help available as default page in firefox. So if you are not sure about something, open firefox and see the help.
The Installation application, in my opinion, best in the bread, It shows you a couple of options, namely "Root Password" "Username/Password" "Root Partition" "Grub Location" on a single screen. Even Ubuntu is having seven screens for installation and a lot of time is wasted in screen transitions. I filled in the desired details and the started the installation process. I did not time it, but it approximately took 10 minutes to do the complete installation. This is the fastest installation on my system.
XFCE is a really good option of desktops on diet, its fast and elegant yet functional. The only problem is that it does not a have a samba viewer and the way i see it XFCE developers are not interested in adding that support. Now on the home network I simply can't live without samba. My file server and proxy server are on windows :(. So inspite to my liking XFCE, I was not able to use any XFCE targeted distribution on my workstation. And to solve my worries Lin Neighborhood was installed by default.
I have a nvidia graphics card and need the proprietary drivers in order to make my dual monitor work. And for compiling nvidia graphics drivers from source you need to have build tools and kernel headers. And in the recent times many distributions have sacrificed these two packages from default installation. But Dream Linux, even being a multimedia edition, provided both by default, and thus I did not had any problem with driver installation.
One of the major factor in Linux adoption is "Control Center" concept. Ubuntu does not have it and Mandriva and open SUSE have the best in the breed. And seriously I was not expecting a control center form DreamLinux, it is an over expectation seeing the current trend of distributions. But I was amazed seeing on in DreamLinux. And the DCP Control Center is not one haphazardly put it is well thought over panel.
Now a days trend seems to eye-candy stuff – compiz / beryl and I was please to see them in DreamLinux. It has a special settings dialog where you can enable/disable the eye candy stuff.
Coming to multimedia stuff I was happily surprised by seeing lot of applications: gxine, xmms, MPlayer, dvd:rip, audacity, jack control, kino, grip, easy tag etc. One of the major criticizm for Linux is iPod; people say that they don't want to switch to Linux because they wont be able to manage there iPod. But hey, look at DreamLinux it comes with gtkpod pre-installed.
For office applications Open Office is installed by default. Though I was unhappy to see an older version 2.0 instead of the latest 2.2. Anyway 2.0 is still pretty good. For internet Firefox, Thunderbird, aMSN and Bittornado are installed by default. Flash player and PDF viewer are also installed by default for better web surfing experiece.
For CD/DVD burning Brasero is installed. Package management is handled by apt with a really nice front end in form of synaptic. So if you are not satisfied with the applications then just grab new applications from the web.
This is the distribution that gave me a WOW effect, if i remember correctly the last time I had this WOW effect was with PCLinuxOS 0.93a big daddy. The icon theme is really great. DreamLinux tries to mimic mac and it does it really well.
There are some minor glitches in the distribution, but overall DreamLinux is a really good distribution. I have burnt 10 CDs to distribute to friends and recommend to to grab your own iso from the site and enjoy linux. :)