If your business needs to create graphics, music, video, or websites, you could either purchase the individual software for each purpose and then install each title on the necessary machines, or you could try Dream Studio. This operating system based on Ubuntu 12.04 is the brainchild of Dick MacInnis.

Dream Studio includes the following applications:

  • Cinelerra: Non-linear video editing, comparable to leading solutions like Apple’s Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, and Adobe Premiere
  • Ardour: Professional digital audio workstation, comparable to Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg’s Cubase/Nuendo, Apple’s Logic, and Sonar
  • Blender (with Oceansim patch): A free 3D graphics application, similar to 3DS Max and Maya
  • Inkscape: Vector graphics editor with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Xara X
  • Scribus: Professional page layout, akin to Quark Xpress, Adobe Indesign, and Microsoft Publisher
  • Darktable: A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers similar to Adobe Lighroom
  • GIMP: Raster graphics editor with features similar to Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro
  • Kompozer: Complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing similar to Adobe Dreamweaver and Apple iWeb
  • Bombono: DVD authoring program

Dream Studio also includes:

  • Drum machines like Hydrogen
  • Close to 100 software synthesizers
  • An audio mastering suite (JAMin)
  • Standard software for day to day work, such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and more

Unlike other studio-like iterations of Ubuntu, Dream Studio strives to also deliver a stunningly beautiful package. Even applications like Cinelerra and Ardour include customized themes to make them better integrate with the Unity interface. The end result is a seamless, striking full-featured platform that will have you focused on creating and taking your business to new levels.

A warning

Dream Studio uses the Ubuntu Unity desktop, which is different than anything you’ve ever used (unless you’ve used Unity). In this case, however, different is definitely better. Unity is incredibly efficient and is the first desktop interface that doesn’t get in your way of working — you simply work efficiently and effortlessly. Blending Unity with a media studio winds up with a near-perfect amalgamation of power, beauty, and efficiency.

So when you fire up Dream Studio, don’t turn away simply because the interface is something you have never experienced. Work with it for a day, and I bet you will find the desktop very empowering.

Getting and installing Dream Studio

Dream Studio isn’t a set of applications you install on top of a pre-existing desktop — it is an entire platform. Here are the steps for getting Dreamstudio on your machine.

  1. Download the ISO image (warning: the image is over 2 GB).
  2. Burn the ISO image onto a disk with a tool like Brasero or Nero.
  3. Boot the target machine with the newly created disk in the drive.
  4. Once the live CD has booted, double-click the Install Dream Studio button (Figure A) and answer the simple questions for installation.
  5. Reboot when prompted.

Figure A

The Live CD is running and ready to install. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Try Dream Studio without installing it

You can try Dream Studio without installing it. Once the live CD has booted, you can use all of the applications and see how it functions. Using Dream Studio in this manner will not make any changes to your hard drive. You are running this from RAM and CD/DVD, so it will function much more slowly than it will when installed.

  1. When you reach the disk partitioning section, use the defaults unless you know what you are doing.
  2. Once installed, you are ready to start using the included applications.
  3. If you click the Dash button (the Ubuntu logo in the top left corner), the Dash will appear where you can open applications, files, and more.
  4. Click the Application Lens (button to the  immediate right of the Home button at the bottom of the Dash) to filter the Dash to only display applications (Figure B).

Figure B

Some of the pre-installed applications for Dream Studio. (Click the image to enlarge.)