Posted on Sunday 8th of April 2007 at 12:40 in Linux

Review of Dreamlinux 2.2 Media Edition (sort of)

An odd distro that no one ever seems to discuss which looks good (at face value). Something which claims to be a "media edition" is surely worth my time while I continue my quest to find the most usable Linux distro of 2007. Unfortunately things didn't go to plan...

It's an odd one this. No clear community behind it and no one has mentioned it to me while looking for distros to review - which is odd. Because there are so many distros people will normally pass word on if they find a good one that they think others should be using - yet I've heard nothing about this one. So I thought I'd download it and throw it into a VMWare session and give it the normal review run-through.

First impressions make it look like PCLinuxOS and OSX's lovechild

With the above statement in mind it's worth considering that I love PCLOS but I never got on well with OSX, so already I find the interface conflicting. Anyway, let me put up a screenshot of the desktop:

dreamlinux desktop

At the top left is the menu of applications. Top right is an integrated media player and at the bottom is an OSX-style applications list. So it's fair to say that it looks good and has the right feel for a "media edition" of anything. Unfortunately there are problems with this (both aesthetically and otherwise).

Well, I just don't get it. I'm not sure if I'm being slightly "special" but have a look at the below screenshot:

dreamlinux menu

Is it just me or is there no indication what is maximise/minimise/close on that menu? This wouldn't be an issue if this information was revlealed on hover but it wasn't. Positioning the mouse above each sphere gave no hint of what action would be taken if it was pressed. I expect the close to be on the far-right but this certainly isn't good UI design (UI = User Interface).

osx style dreamlinux

Sure it looks nice but it's nothing you can't achieve elsewhere and personally I dislike the whole fisheye/OSX menu effect - the normal one given on KDE distros.

Why is there no normal review structure here?
It's worth mentioning that the normal review cannot take place because DreamLinux couldn't be installed in the VMWare environment (something I find rather disturbing considering it is the most simple of environments). VMWare has one (virtual) hard drive that the installer can use entirely. However upon attempting installation I receive no hard drive options to install the distro onto:

dreamlinux installer

As you can (hopefully) see in the screenshot, the hard drive option menu is pulled down to reveal nothing at all. An empty list. I tried to write in "hda" but it doesn't accept manual declarations - relying solely on it's ability to detect your setup - which it failed to do for something as simple as VMWare. Not a good start.

So unfortunately I can't use DreamLinux - something that looks nice and offers full media support because it just won't install in VMWare

I'm sure it's a very good distro; placed at #21 on the Distrowatch page hit ranking. So it's not overly popular but it does measure on the grand scale of things so I find it surprising that it won't work in VMWare. So this couldn't be a real review but hopefully I can give it a real go sometime soon (maybe if this issue gets fixed?). For now I can't recommend it because it's not shown me anything beyond a LiveCD.

What a shame. I really do need a notebook that I can install review-distros on - this much is becoming increasingly apparent.


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