Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dreamlinux Works 2.1 & XGL 2.0 - From Brazil with lots of love and eye candy -Updated

Updated September 20th, 2006:

I received the following email from the Dreamlinux team:

Dreamlinux Works Edition 2.1

We are disposing the version 2.1 Dreamlinux Works Edition.
This release correct some problems of the old version, as it
brings more modules to harware detection.
Automount, Internet Sharing, NTFS-3G, Powernow and others,
and a general actualization through Debian Testing repositories,
avoiding future errors or package breakings.

For more information visit:

Andre Felipe J Souza

Dreamlinux Project
Developer Team

I think the translation changed "distributing" to "disposing". From what I can tell, nothing in my review will change with this new release, except that the package should work better, add the NTFS support (which was something that was a nice to have), and improved hardware detection, so enjoy Dreamlinux and I know you will enjoy this package as much as I did. KLG

Sometimes you just got to go against the grain. I mean, we all do it: we follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. Look at Windows penetration rates if you doubt me. Is Windows so vastly superior that it demands/warrants 99% penetration of all PC users' desktops? (Before you ask, I am using 99% as that was a number mentioned to me by a CEO of a major Linux distribution this past week so lets just run with it, shall we?) Well, it is plagued by lockups, improper DLL files which hang the OS or worse give you the dreaded BSOD, costs a ton for anything and everything you wish to do, and people use security loopholes to take over your system without you ever knowing it. So I would have to answer no, it isn't that great of a system. Hence the success of Apple and limited success of Linux. People want their machines back.

While most Linux people seem to target Windows with its desktop ease and color, another branch seem to want their distro to mimic the more useable and graphically appealing Apple desktop, which is built on Unix and just plain sexy (can you call a distro sexy, well I just did). With all of the eye popping features, quick links on the dock bar, Jaguar is just a plain pleasure to run. Just ask my daughter who stole my Apple iBook years ago and still refuses to give it back.

Most people look at XFce as the desktop truly intended to get the Apple users excited about Linux. It also tries to minimize memory and free up resources, as you can read on the website from its creator Oliver Fourdan. As a desktop in its own native form, it is nice, but not really too sexy. I mean, the mouse is cool, but little furry creatures are becoming all too common in Linux.

Then I found a small review on a new package from Brazil called Dreamlinux. The pics included told me all I needed to know: XGL. A quick download of both the Works and XGL versions and I was quickly in business. Let's head to South America and see what is happening, shall we?


Download Here
Kernel - Kernel 2.6.14 Based on Kanotix Kernel
Desktop - XFce 4.3.91
FAQs -
Cost - FREE!!!
Special Features - Live installer, excellent icons/graphics, full media support including DVD, XGL Version for Nvidia

Nitty Gritty:
Installation ()

Dreamlinux comes in my favorite package: a Live CD with an installer function. When you boot up from the CD, you get to choose your monitor settings, which stay with you upon install, so make sure you choose wisely.

Well, once the Live CD boots up, which happens extremely fast, you are welcomed into a world of exciting graphics and loads of software. This Live CD is second to none in what it offers in flexibility, function and flare.

One quickly learns how XFce can really be done right and I can honestly say this is the closest look to Apple to date. The picture above is with Engage enabled, which gives you the zoom icon feel, and across the bottom you have quick access to Terminal, Disk Manager, Internet, PDF, Abiword, XMMS, MPlayer and Apt-get just to name the major hits. Everything you want is there. And more than that, everything works, including audio and Video. There was absolutely no additional steps to do in order to get mp3s or a dvd playing. Simply put, this little distro is a Dream and it Works. What a great name, in that it actually describes the user experience to a T.

So now the process of installation can vary, if you are trying XGL or the Works package, only in one step and that is a command line partition tool in Works versus a graphical and command line in XGL. Since my laptop doesn't have an NVidia card, I went with Works, so that is what you will see.

From the start button in the top left, one simply selects down from the 'System' option and select 'Dreamlinux Installer'. From there a nice dialog box appears and starts this extremely compact and easy to follow process.

The dialog really keeps you in line of where you are, and where you are going, with options to move backwards at any step. I think this is critical for newbies and experience users alike, because one always may change their mind.

The next step (which for some reason I lost my picture of, sorry) is to choose partioning type, which again in XGL you have graphical or command line and Works only command line, so since I am doing Works next shot is of the command line partitioing agent.

What I set up was a simple partition of 3.8 GB and a swap of 500 MB to match my RAM as well.

The next step in the process sets up your swap drive

Followed by the partition choser and format you wish to use. The standard mix of Ext, ReiserFS and XFS are included, so you can use whatever you feel is best for you. I generally go with the default people offer in the install process as most newbies also won't know which to use here.

After you select this, the information is moved from the Live CD over to the newly created and formatted partition. For my VMWare install and my install on the laptop, both took a little over 5 minutes to move the 1.7 GB of data, but kept me informed along the way in a nice little graphic window. I try not to interupt anything during this process, but I was able to continue to use other aspects of the Live CD while the install was happening, such as the web browser. There is a nice little web site built into the Live CD when you launch the browser that gives you enough help if you run into a small problem.

Once the data is moved over, the next step is to setup your computer hostname. MyBox is the default, but you can choose whatever your heart desires as long as it doesn't conflict with network naming conventions.

Note that the steps along the process are still counting at 4 of 7, but now that we have installed on the harddrive, there is no reason to go back to chosing what partition or partition type, so the back option has been removed.

Once we name our machine, we have to name ourselves and secure the PC from attacks. First up is our Root password. Once again, please do not just simply try and skip this step as this is the corner stone of Linux/Unix security. Here Dreamlinux requires at least 5 characters which I feel is good but would rather see 7, not a big deal but a bit longer would make the system just that much more secure.

Next we get to chose our user name and password, again with the same rules as the Root password. Almost done, just one more step to go!!!! I can't wait to see this thing for real.

Our final step is to chose where we wish our Boot Loader to be installed, or to set up a boot disk. I always set this to MBR (Master Boot Record). I can say that this does find your windows partitions but not any other ones that I had installed.

And that is it my folks. About 10 minutes in and I have a new little sext distro from South America that I just can't wait to take on a test run and see if the Dream is really Working.

Let's find out how well this thing purs, shall we???

Starting (

Once the first boot happens, you start in a desktop second to none in way of look and function. Just like the Live CD you start out with Engage disabled, but following the quick tutorial found in the Forum, you can enable Engage from the settings and do a quick Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and restart your desktop and wallah!!!! This is by far the sexiest desktop on the market, period, IMHO. The only thing that comes close would be PCLinuxOS with their KDE and translucent windows, but this is a dream come true (no pun intended). I simply love the efficienct desktop of Apple, but hate their costs and lack of community that Linux has. (I know Apple people will debate that with me, but bring it on) Now I have it in Linux and honestly I think a little better in some aspects. Plus Blue is my favorite color, so no one can go wrong with me on this stunning backdrop.

A quick run around the options and one is just simply caught off guard on how this little compact Live CD has everything one will need: Office, media, CD-DVD Burning, PDF, Picasa, and I could go on and on. Now, my wireless didn't work (of course, only Freespire has managed to pull that off) so I did the NDISWRAPPER I am so used to and got that up and running in a snap. Now in two weeks of trying I haven't been able to get ATI graphic mode of 1280x800 functional and then this opens up the one weakness of Dreamlinux: unless you speak Portugese your support is limited. Well, to be honest, pretty much empty minus about 45-75 posts and those are pretty simple ones. Yes the developers do answer you, but not much exists by the way of a Wiki or knowledge base in English at this time. But what does come with worked so well I didn't really notice too much. I also used Google to translate a couple of questions from Portugese to English which worked pretty well.

On the tool bar, there is a settings icon which opens up to a window that allows you to tweak most of the XFce settings, but not all. I was a bit disapointed that I wasn't able to set my PC time here, just adjust Orage settings of placement of the clock and font. So a little more hunting and I was able to discover in the Home Icon a Utilities folder full of goodies. Here is where you really set up the PC, not the settings icon, which also is the same as the settings drop down from the start Cloud (top left of screen). I guess this is a bit confusing but again I think that what the general user would want is in the settings, however I would rename Utilities to more of System Configuration, or something to that affect. A Desktop Icon would also be nice, so that people can get there easier than accidentally finding this. This also goes for the Sound icon, which one would think would adjust sound volumes and it sort of does, but really the best place to do that is also in the Utilities or in the media application itself, by the way is just amazing to me.

I mean they all worked. Period. No issue. Nothing. Damn. Never had that before, even from Commercial distros such as Xandros and Linspire. There you have to download a couple of things to enable licenses and features. So technically I would have to say that these folks don't either care about these silly license fees associated with media such as MP3 or DVD, or did something behind the scenes. Either way, the dream has come true in that I have a media laptop on install for the first time ever. Way to go Dream Team!!!!!

I did sync up my iPod and read the files, but since most of my music is actually DRM protected I wasn't able to do much. It did get sync'd and I was able to read directories which I love as well. Another plus and more to why there are 4 Pennies for this distro on Starting.

The Apt-get icon pulls you into Synaptic screen which has an decent repository but one can always add more.

So I can honestly say that other than getting my ATI card to properly work, which honestly is so trivial to me in that I have settled many times for 1024x780 graphics that I just don't notice, this package is probably the nicest distro to come along in a very long time. The only package I can say worked this well for me out of the box was PCLinuxOS and Ubuntu, but neither wow'd me like this one does. I can flat out say that I have little doubt that if you are an Apple fan or love XFce desktop and you give this a run, you will enjoy what you see and probably never look back.

So then why no 5 Pennie on this? Well, I will never get over having to set up wireless and video everytime. Yes I am used to it, but like I said, in order to get 5 Pennies, the packages has to do everything out of the box with no extra time by me in order to fix anything.

I do wish that they would get the XGL fuctional for ATI, then 5 Pennies would have been in the bag. And that leads us to the Extras department where again, Dreamlinux shines, with one exception: no support.

Bonus Stuff ()

What else can one person need in a package: Media, CD-DVD Burning, iPod support, XGL for those with Nvidia, Office and so much more??? Well, how about support? NTFS Read/Write? Wireless in a box? This package is by far one of the sexiest and efficient I have played with to date, but lack of support is just hard to overcome. Now, if you speak Portugese you are perfectly happy. But to make this in the English speaking world, or in European markets who have English as a solid second language, or even with German, French and Spanish support mechanisms would be required. I know as a group just starting out that this is on their roadmap, so when they get to the next level watch out everyone because I think this will be moving several average packages now situated on the top of out of there in a blink of an eye.

One thing we need to mention that is really exciting with Dreamlinux is MKDistro. This easy to follow program will allow anyone to build their own distro from the ground up. Think of it as a GUI based Gentoo, but with more options and flexibility and no requirement for a PhD in CS from MIT.

If this is something you are into, I would suggest giving this a run, but just know that when I messed with it, it is what happened: I messed with it. Nothing worked after I started then stopped. I think I chose the option to replace my current distro, which was Dreamlinux, with a new one that I quit, so did it. I love the concept and I think that this really will be a set apart feature and has awesome potential to get these guys on the map.

Overall ()

I am honestly pleased to give this package a 4 Pennie review, simply in the fact that I love the look, the functionality and the way they went about getting what any newbie would want into an easy to use Live CD, quick installer, XGL funtionality package seperate from the Works. I mean the more I played with this package the more I became a fan. What started out as curiosity really started turning to a WOW, these guys have it, or almost.

I have no doubt the more people get involved in this community, the more there are English and other speaking experts in the distro itself, that this distro will become a top 25 distro easy, if not higher. Why not there yet? I really don't know why. It is an exciting little package that works on almost every front. It might be the Morphix dilema of people wanting a more integrated system rather than a modular one. I actually like the Morphix model and think that it is more efficient and keeps away from one package hogging memory from another, making the system more efficient and therefore faster. I am sure a guru out there can explain that better than I can, so I will just keep it to my humble opinion that this is a dream and dreams really can come true.

So give it a shot, download the package and run it live, take the plunge on a test box or VMWare, and see for yourself and be the first on your block with this awesome distro. I am a huge fan and will be watching this grow while keeping this on one of my paritions any time I just want to see Linux the way that it should be.

Thank you for reading my review. You know, if you like what you see (or even if you hate it) you can either send me a note at Also, please feel free to click away at our adds. I don't plan on becoming the next Bill Gates by doing this, but this does help offset the costs of doing this and helps keep my wonderful wife off my back as to why I do this. If you hate me, click more so that I can do something else =)

As always, good luck in your personal Linux knowledge search and best wishes!!!!Remember, if you could be so kind to check out our links along the side of our page in order to support our efforts, we always appreciate a click or two. If you hated this, click a lot, then I can try something else out like bowling =)


KnoLinuxGuy (Kevin)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Thanks for such a perfect submit and the evaluation, I'm completely impressed! Maintain stuff like this coming.