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DreamStudio is a creative software suite containing all the tools needed to create stunning graphics, captivating videos, inspiring music, and professional websites. Whether you’re a beginner, hobbyist, or student, or a professional multimedia content creator, DreamStudio has everything necessary to bring your vision to life. Some of the included and pre-configured applications include Lightworks (a powerful non-linear video editor), Ardour (a professional digital audio workstation), GIMP (a photo and video retouching and digital painting tool), Blender (a 3D graphics application), Inkscape (a vector graphics editor), Synfig Studio (a vector-based 2D animation software), and many others.
*Debian based systems only. Minimum system requirements: 2GB RAM, 64-bit Intel processor. Recommended system requirements: 4GB RAM, 64-bit quad core Intel processor.
DreamStudio is a complete software studio, including everything you need to create, edit, publish, share, and view and playback multimedia content, whether you’re a graphic artist, musician, video director, or hobbyist who just likes making things.
Our software and hardware are made for everyone from beginners and students to professional content creators, with a strong focus on Free and open source software (FOSS), open formats, and software and data portability.
FOSS stands for Free and Open Source Software. “Free” in this context means “free as in libre” as opposed to “free as in beer”, and “open souce” means that anyone is free to view and edit the source code to an application or computer program. FOSS, then, is software for which the source code is available, and which is licensed such that anyone who has a copy of the application can access the source code and is free to do whatever they want with it.
Thus, FOSS software is contrasted with “proprietary” software, wherein the user of such software is not free to modify or share the software they purchased, or worse yet (in many cases), the users are encouraged to simply rent access to the software rather than ever having a full copy of the software at all (see “SAAS – software as a service”, like Adobe Creative Cloud or Microsoft Office 365).
Using FOSS is VERY important to us, and we think it should be for just about everyone, as doing so lifts the artificial barriers software vendors attempt to place to force you to use and remain subscribed to their services. This is known as vendor lock-in, and it happens when iPhone users are forced to use iTunes to buy media for their device, when Adobe forces creators to keep their subscription up to date to access their working projects, and when Windows users are unable to move their OS installation to another machine without re-activating with a new product key.
Yes, proprietary software and vendor lock-in goes all the way down to the operating system level, which is why we avoid it at all costs.
DreamStudio is for creators. Sometimes the only tools available for a job are proprietary software, so we do include such software (LightWorks is a good example) as it allows creators to create without having to feel restricted by our philosophical leanings.
Wherever possible we use FOSS in DreamStudio (our OS is based on Ubuntu GNU/Linux, which is completely FOSS), though we are pragmatists who use proprietary software when it’s clearly the best tool for the job. We are, however, always looking for suitable alternatives to proprietary software and will keep our users in the loop when replacement software becomes feasible.
Open formats are file formats which have clearly defined and documented structure, and which can be edited by users with any software tool, as opposed to formats which can only be opened in one specific application or software from a single vendor. Think of it like this: if I write a book in a text editor and save it as a .TXT file, I can share it with anyone, and anyone I share it with can edit it, regardless of whether they have the same software as me. If, however, I write that book in Word and save as .DOCX, that file can only be opened in Word (or another program that licenses the format from Microsoft) , because it’s saved in a proprietary format. In the case of a Word document, so many third party apps and services have licensed the format from Microsoft that it may seem like an open format, but with any proprietary format, if the software vendor changes the specification, revokes a license from a partner, or makes any other decision about that format, you as the user would find yourself with no option but to lose access to your projects or pay for an upgrade.
We like to create things, so the possibility of a software company having the final say in our ability to create or modify our creations, is and will remain a deal breaker. This is why we always use open formats as defined above for all projects created in DreamStudio. In the case of proprietary software, we make sure that we and our users will always be able to open a copy of the last working version of their software should they need to migrate, and we always make sure that software we recommend stores project assets in standard, open, formats, so that even if we have to recreate a project from the bare assets, there’s nothing stopping us from doing so.
Adobe and Apple users often cite the tight integration of workflow, and interchange between different programs in their respective ecosystems, as the biggest advantages to using those systems. This despite the fact that now they’re now even further locked in, as switching to open formats and learning new software are both now barriers to freedom from single vendors. That’s why we aim DreamStudio directly at beginners and students, as the best time to learn about the dangers of vendor lock-in is before you’re a victim of it, and also why we take the time to show users how to achieve the same smooth workflow and tightly integrated asset management systems they would find in a proprietary solution, even if some parts of their system depend on proprietary software or formats. A Photoshop user, for instance, can export transparent PNG images for each layer of their project, in order to make those layers accessible and editable in their favourite video editor or animation program. We have all sorts of tricks like this that are just good practice and safeguard us users in ways we’ve yet to imagine :-).
Software portability is just what it sounds like and more. It means that you can take a copy of your software from one machine to another or even from one OS to another without issue. Windows isn’t portable at all because it only runs on the computer it was installed on. macOS is only partly portable because it can be copied from one machine to another, but only if they’re both Apple computers (even though an Apple “Mac” is technically just a “PC” with a glowing fruit on it :-)). Adobe software is only partly portable because it runs on Windows and macOS, but not on Linux, and so on.
You bet. DreamStudio will run on any 64-bit Intel or AMD PC (Apple, Dell, Acer, etc.) because it’s based on Ubuntu GNU/Linux, and the creative software we’ve included for doing the actual work of making, editing, organizing, publishing, sharing, and viewing multimedia content (Inkscape, GIMP, Blender, Lightworks, LMMS, Ardour, Chrome, VLC, etc.) is all carefully chosen for it’s portability as well, so that you don’t even need to be running a full DreamStudio system to work on your projects, and you can always take your projects with you to a friend’s studio, even if they use Windows or macOS.
If you’re familiar with GNU/Linux, you’ve probably used an ISO installer to try out or install your favourite distribution. You’re probably then also wondering why our distribution doesn’t have one.
Simply, DreamStudio includes too many great apps and assets, and as such it doesn’t fit on an ISO. It’s all free to modify though, so if you or someone you know wants to make an ISO live installer of DreamStudio, please be our guests! Just don’t call it DreamStudio as we, frankly, aren’t terribly interested in answering support requests for something we didn’t make or deliver ;-)!
The instructions on how to install DreamStudio are included with the distribution, though as you’ll notice, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. Yes, it seems like a piece of cake to folks who’ve installed operating systems before, but for the average user it is dangerous (you have to wipe out at least a portion of one of your disks) and perhaps a bit confusing (there’s no GUI). For these reasons we can’t recommend installing DreamStudio yourself unless you’re really, really sure you know what you’re doing, in which case we wash our hands of your endeavour and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
For anyone who doesn’t feel like taking the risk of losing any data, just let us do the work, and buy a copy of DreamStudio Mercury :-)!
Ok, so you really want to try out DreamStudio and you’re sure that you either know what you’re doing or you’re not going to give us a bad review if you break your system – here’s how to install DreamStudio yourself: