DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition was released on March 1st, 2009. The distro has experienced some significant changes recently and it really seemed to do it for me in the past so i thought I’d give it a try and see what it could offer me. The biggest changes to DreamLinux were to the 3.0 version of the Linux OS which featured a complete re-design and a totally independent architecture called Flexiboost, based on overlaid modules. The main things this feature does for users is it allows the co-existence of multiple separate window managers, currently Gnome and XFCE. Both of these working environments share all applications available on the system.
Built on Debian 5.0 “Lenny”, the 3.5 release has filled some details in for the redesigned DreamLinux distro focusing on portability with enhancements to wireless drivers, laptop, netbook, and pendrive installs. The XFCE desktop environment is included paired with Gnome available in the form of a module. The shiny new distro features the 126.96.36.199 Linux kernel, new icons and a new GTK+ theme. I was curious to see how DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition behaved after its complete re-design.
I downloaded the 695MB .ISO file which took me a little longer than I would have liked, buying on CD for $1.95 is recommended. I burned my .ISO to a CD and ran the distro as a live CD. Right away I noticed many different methods of installation for the DreamLinux distro. OEM install allows the installation onto an entire drive for users just running DreamLinux. Another option was the DL Install icon which installs onto a created partition. The Easy-Install icon on the desktop allowed for the quick addition of many applications that are not included out-of-the-box due to legal reasons. Some of the applications include Azureus, Opera, Picasa, Skype, Google-Earth, Wine, Google Desktop, SongBird, Google Gadgets, XMMS, Deluge, Xara LX, Kompozer, Adobe Acrobat, Midori, Mplayer, W32Codecs, and Firefox. This is also how you can install DVD Support by adding the Libdvdcss library.
I was quite satisfied with the desktop and icon dock at the bottom. The dock caught my attention due to more than a dozen beautifully crafted icons that brought instance access to the terminal, network browser, root file manager, PDF reader, Gthumb, Inkscape, Mixer, Rhythmbox, Totem, CD/DVD Burner, DCP- Control Panel, Synaptic, and Eject-Close. Most of the icons were brilliant but I did not like the Inkscape icon compared to the standard Inkscape icon or the internet icon used. Overall though, the dock functioned and performed well everything worked like a charm.
In addition to navigating via the dock at the bottom. The menu can be accessed by right clicking on the desktop and selecting from the categories available. Here I was able to find a full list of applications I enjoyed and the system controls for adjusting the system behavior.
DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition still has a few bumps and bruises that need attention depending on the hardware you’re using but I enjoyed a near flawless installation and initial use of the distro. I was also impressed with the Flexiboost architecture concept allowing the use of Gnome as a module. The application selection was very good although I missed OpenOffice 3.0 as the default, I enjoyed the multimedia apps installed. I’m excited to put the new wireless and netbook support to the test installing DreamLinux 3.5 on an older laptop.