Sabayon 10 Review
Sabayon 10 is the second stop on my distro hopping tour. Sabayon is based on Gentoo, a ridiculously configurable source-based distribution. The developers focus on providing a stable, fast, and versatile distribution with the best “out of the box” experience available. The software in Sabayon is described as “bleeding edge”, and according to the official wiki, it seems that most of the software comes directly from Gentoo’s testing branch. The last time I used Sabayon, it was version 4, and I was trying to use it on my netbook. I used it for a few days, then a problem with Xorg forced me to switch to something else. Now I’m ready to try again, and I expect things to go a lot smoother this time.
Some key features in version 10 include GNOME 3.4.2, KDE 4.9.1, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 3.6, and version 3.5.4 of the Linux kernel with BFQ" enabled. Version 10 also ships with the Mesa 9 stack, Infinality Freetype patches, and Rigo, a new graphical frontend to Entropy that replaces Sulfur. For this review, I will be using my Dell Latitude D520 and the Xfce ISO file. After writing the ISO file to a spare flash drive with
dd, I rebooted the D520 and the boot menu loaded successfully. The menu had several options, including entries for starting the Live system in graphical mode or text mode, booting directly to graphical or text installation, and even booting from the first hard disk. Unfortunately, my camera wouldn’t cooperate, so I don’t have any pictures of the menu to post.
The desktop features a nice blue and grey theme with two panels and only 5 icons. In addition to the usual Home and Trash icons, there’s an icon for launching the installer and two more pointing to the Chat and Donate sections of their website. The top panel and the window borders were partially transparent, an indication that desktop compositing was enabled. By desktop compositing, I mean Xfce’s own built-in compositor. The window, GTK, and icon themes were well integrated, and the simple background was unobtrusive and easy to look at. Overall, I found the desktop to be elegant and easy to navigate with no surprises.
Besides Clipman, nm-applet, and Xfce Power Manager, the desktop was devoid of running applications. In the main applications menu, I found up-to-date versions of Midori, Pidgin, Gnote, Transmission, XChat, Gnome PPP, Shotwell, The GIMP, Exaile, and Totem, along with the usual Xfce configuration tools and a few system utilities. In addition to the applications, I found that Adobe Flash and several codecs were already pre-installed. I didn’t get a chance to test DVD playback, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that worked too. Like many other Live distributions, Sabayon is geared towards getting the user up and running quickly with day-to-day tasks, even if they don’t have a hard drive.
At first, my wireless card didn’t seem to work, but running
sudo modprobe b43 in a terminal solved that problem and I was able to connect to my router. Aside from that, the wireless, suspend, battery status, and screen brightness buttons all worked, and the touchpad was fully supported. 3D acceleration and sound were also supported, and I could even suspend to RAM (enter sleep mode) from the Live environment. Satisfied, I backed up everything on the D520 and got ready for the installation process.
For this installation, I chose to install Sabayon alongside LMDE. That way I could switch back to LMDE if Sabayon ever became unstable and vice versa. Sabayon uses a customized version of the Anaconda" title="" installer from Fedora, so there really isn’t much to write about here. I put together a screenshot gallery for the curious.