After installation - it's getting much better!
The GRUB menu is simple.
After a few moments, the distro reached the login screen.
And we were in.
Now, it was time to see if the post-install experience could wash away the scars of the installation process.
First, the network was now fully functional - and it remembered my settings from the live CD session. This was good. I wonder what would have happened if I left the network unconfigured prior to the install - but this is an exercise you will have to make.
Multimedia support - Fantastic!
If there's one thing Dreamlinux does not lack, it's the phenomenal support for all sorts of media files and formats. You will be able to instantly enjoy video, music, flash - you name it - right out of the box. You will also be able to work with media files - split, join and tag them - and also record sound and video. Dreamlinux has it all.
To demonstrate these awesome capabilities, I threw a bunch of files into a folder and started abusing them. There was an .flv file downloaded from Youtube, featuring my favorite piece - Crockett's Theme, a Peter Gabriel's Shock The Monkey .mp3 file, and a home-made video aptly named "I'm a moron.avi" - encoded in a dubious Windows format using a Canon camera.
Downloaded Flash (flv) support
Totem launched and played the Miami Vice video clip without any hitch.
MP3 playback support
Next, Peter Gabriel sang a merry tune:
Windows media support
Likewise, the home-made video played without any problems. In most distros, I usually had to download either VLC or MPlayer to get this masterpiece working.
EasyTAG - tagging media files
Dreamlinux also comes with a handy media management utility called EasyTAG, which allows you to edit the meta data in audio and video files, allowing you to catalog them as you see fit.
HJSplit - splitting / joining media files
If this is not enough, you can also split and join files. HJSplit does this for you. I have used this application quite often, but have never seen it included in a Linux distro by default; that is, until Dreamlinux.
And there are many other applications waiting for you, including Avidemux video editor, Brasero burning software, Sound Converter, Sound Juicer, Sound Recorder, and others. Simply fantastic!
Windows users will definitely like this feature. It's one of the one-click options in the Control Panel. Unfortunately, despite the promised functionality, the menu won't get the Samba sharing working for you.
You will have to manually add a Samba user, edit the smb.conf configuration file and restart the Samba processes to get the sharing to work.
If you want to learn more about sharing of folders (and other network resources), please see these three articles / tutorials for more details:
I promised to test this feature, and here we are. Let's see if we can get some of those popular applications installed on our machine without any problems - or the use of the command line.
Indeed, it works as promised. It will download applications in the background and configure them for you. Let's see several examples:
Here's the Acrobat Reader:
Most importantly, it will integrate into the browser, allowing you to view PDF files inside the browser.
Here's the installation of extra codecs - you may not see anything major happening on your screen, but it happens and it works.
Here's Firefox 3.1:
Firefox will replace Iceweasel as the default browser, including the launch icon in the dock. You will not lose your profile, though.
All in all, Easy Install is a very nice idea. It's similar to the Add/Remove feature in Ubuntu. For now, it's a little limited in its choice, but you have the super-easy, super-friendly Synaptic and apt-get to compensate for that.
Synaptic Package Manager
What needs to be said here? It's simply great - probably the best package manager available for any operating system. If Easy Install does not satisfy you, you'll find anything you need in Synaptic - or by running sudo apt-get install on the command line.
You can easily visually entertain yourself, by changing the colors of the folder icons in the file manager. Normally you get:
But after some tweaking, you get:
Dreamlinux starts off modestly, drops low and then vaults high, emerging as a winner. This is not a bad way of leaving a solid, lasting impression, provided you can take the risk. Most users will not have the stamina to endure the horrors of the installation and wait for the post-installation paradise.
This is the complete opposite of Sabayon, which begins with the absolute perfect live CD session and then somewhat disappoints with the package management.
Dreamlinux has the potential of being a superb distro. It just requires some polishing. For one thing, automatic network configuration, for Tux's sake! Then, make those fonts readable by people above the age of 16. The installation? Make is something Ubuntu-like, it should not be too hard.
And then, you'll have a serious contender that wins with its looks and multimedia support. For now, you're probably better off using PCLinuxOS or Linux Mint if you can't stomach the live CD and partitioning woes. If you can endure these issues, then you'll truly enjoy the distro once it's installed on your machine.
Indeed, the post-installation experience is a quantum leap away from the previous stages. It's fast, smooth and beautiful. Xfce is light, the OSX-like theme is sexy. The multimedia support is phenomenal and should win over every single Windows user in a blink.
Given the fact that this is a young distro, plus the tested version was only the Release Candidate, I foresee a great future ahead. Dreamlinux is going to be a superb operating system, it just has to rough some of those beginners' edges.