DreamLinux 5 Review
DreamLinux is a distribution that is based on Debian “Wheezy” and using the latest desktop version of XFCE 4.8 on a Linux 3.1 Kernel.
DreamLinux has just released this latest version after a long absence and we will see if it can make up for lost time.
When you’ve created a bootable LiveDVD of DreamLinux, you are greated by a Mac OS X style desktop with which most of the software packages you have installed are there for you on the kicker bar by default, or you can, still use the menu on the top left side of the screen and access the program you want from there.
Installation of DreamLinux was not painful at all, but would have preferred if there was a bit more customizing done of the final install then later changing some of the options. Something like configuring your timezone, or Internet connection would’ve been better during installation than post-installation, I will discuss some of these issues a bit later. If you would like to see the install screens, please click here.
The desktop is nice and clean and the icons in your kicker bar give you a somewhat good idea of what the program is about. Unlike OS X, DreamLinux does not provide you the name of the program when you hover over the icon making it somewhat of a guessing game in trying to figure out which program you are trying to access if you’ve never done so before.
It does have some of the same functionality that you can find in OS X’s finder, when clicking on an icon to launch Chromium, when minimized, you get a white dot indicating that the program is open and is minimized. To reopen, it was just as simple as clicking on it and it would restore the window. It does have it’s little quirks though as some programs don’t behave properly like TextMaker would have another icon instead of using the same one. Removing applications is quite simple to do by simply right clicking on it and unchecking keep in dock.
DreamLinux does not use the typical software which we find in a majority of distributions. We do not have Mozilla programs installed for Email and Web Browsing, nor do we have Libre/Open Office as our office suite. Chromium is our default browser and for email, well, DreamLinux lets you down in this department as there is no default email application but clicking on the stamp icon brings you to Gmail, which is disappointing.
Softmaker office suite comes with a word processing program in TextMaker, a spreadsheet software in PlanMaker and presentation software (Powerpoint) in Presentations. The version that is included is SoftMaker 2008 which is free for to use but it is outdated. An alternative in LibreOffice would’ve been more appreciated than outdated software.
There is quite a variety of software installed as part of DreamLinux such as The GIMP, Inkscape, Fox-It reader for PDFs and so on.
DreamLinux somewhat missed the ball on this release, and I will probably get some flack from users reading this review but I would’ve expected a lot more from a distribution that was on an eighteen month “hiatus” and came back with a bang, but really came back with a whimper.
As mentioned above, one issue I found odd is the difficulty with just changing date and time and it would cause the kicker to crash. Why is that? I have no idea, and it is reproduceable every time. When you get the right time and go through the long list of timezones to find the one you’re in, it would crash, causing more grief than anything else.
Another issue is the fact that it is 32 bit only whereas Debian, Ubuntu and other mainstream distributions there are both 32 and 64 bit versions available to install.
Some of the software choices are questionable to say the least. SoftMaker 2008 is an outdated program and it should not have been included and been replaced with LibreOffice. I won’t complain about Chromium being there but not having an email application is a bit strange and don’t know why there wasn’t one included.