Another Day Another Distro – Part 7 – Sabayon 1.1 Professional

So here we go again, another distro has made it to the front of the queue and this time it’s the relatively new release Sabayon 1.1 Professional. I tried out version 3.2 of the main distro a while back but it was only on a virtual machine and I wanted to give it a proper test drive. I had some trouble at first working out what the difference was supposed to be between the standard and professional editions but is seems that it’s just a slight focus on office and business apps in “professional”. I spent a couple of days with it as my main OS and here’s how I got on:

Installation:
I downloaded the 2.2gb DVD version of the distro and fired up the machine into the LiveCD mode which worked well. The initial boot menu had many options in addition to the usual “Run Live Version” allowing you to skip that if you like and just go direct to install, there was also an option called “Internet Kiosk Mode” which sounded interesting. I was greeted by an Nvidia splash screen during boot which indicated that my graphics card had been successfully detected. The live CD loaded up with the correct 1440×900 screen resolution for my monitor which was great, not many distributions do this with my card for some reason.

I decided to proceed with the install straight away and fired up the wizard. It took me through a large amount of options screens. I chose to keep my existing disk partitioning and use my 12gb drive for the system root, placing the home directory on the remaining 180gb(ish) as a separate partition. At this point I was warned by the installer that 12gb is not enough to install Sabayon for some reason. I threw caution to the wind and installed anyway, I couldn’t see how Sabayon was going to use more than 12gb with the home folder on a separate partition.

The first install didn’t go to plan and froze at about 67% for some reason. I left it a while wondering if it was just going slowly but it was definitely dead. I wondered if I should have taken more notice of the disk space warning and did a hard reboot. This time I just chose the install option from the menu rather than boot the Live CD again, it seemed pointless as all I wanted to do was install anyway. This loaded the desktop with the XFCE window manager which is obviously meant to save resources but the automatic login failed this time. I noticed that the login prompt had the user name “sabayonusersabayonuser” and a blank password so I shortened this to just “sabayonuser”, it then logged in and launched straight into the installer. This must be a little bug in the installer I think, it had obviously put the user name in twice by mistake but it didn’t take much to get around it with a little lateral thinking.

The second time around the installer worked fine with the same partitioning setup so I don’t think that was the problem the first time, it did give the same warning though. Anyway, it all installed fine and I was prompted to reboot. Incidentally when I did I checked the disk usage on my system drive and found that 3.6gb was still free. It obviously didn’t need more than 12gb to install but even so I have to say 8gb is a large footprint for a Linux distribution it seems to me. This is probably due to the amount of applications which come installed with the system I expect but I’ll get to that in the next section. IF you want a blow by blow account of the install check out the link to the Flickr slide show below.

INSTALLATION SLIDE SHOW

Configuration And Use:

I booted into the newly installed system immediately received an error from the sound server which you can see below:



It seemed as though there was an error which prevented my user account for accessing the sound device. I did a quick search in Google for the term “sabayon professional 1.1 sound server problem” and the top result was a thread in the Sabayon forums containing a fix. The fix basically involved editing a config file in the terminal which wasn’t a great challenge as I’ve done it many times. Not something a brand new Linux user would particularly relish I think. I modified the file, logged out and then back in, sound was now working and that was a great relief. It seems this is a known bug with the release and while it’s not a great problem to fix it does detract a little from the experience.

I was struck at first by the sheer amount of applications which come installed with this distro. Every menu seemed to go on for a mile and you would be hard pressed to find many things you need to add. It’s obviously designed to be a complete office system out of the box and it certainly would do well in that role. Being the picky bugger that I am though I still found a few things I wanted to add which were: Ktorrent, Pidgin, IcePodder, Compiz Fusion and KCheckgmail. Sabayon is based on Gentoo which sadly is not a distribution I’ve used (I plan to fix this) but I knew of it’s reputation, mainly for the need to compile everything you want to install. I’m not averse to this, I can compile stuff in the terminal it just wouldn’t be my method of choice for most things. Luckily Sabayon aims to make software management easier by offering tools such as Portato, the Gtk front end for the Gentoo software management tool Portage and it’s “emerge” function. This is a very powerful tool and I can see the advantages of it in some ways. It still compiles your software for you which can have performance benefits while removing some of the work by automating a lot of it. It basically compiles the software using guides or maps called overlays to simplify the process. There is a large repository of software available via this interface and it seems to install stuff pretty easily. I simply searched for the items I wanted with the text box and clicked the “emerge” button to install. The installations took a while to complete I must say but that’s largely due to the compilation overhead. I got Ktorrent, Kcheckgmail and Pidgin installed and they were also automatically added to the system menus. Pretty impressive.

SIDENOTE: I apologize for my lacklustre explanation of Portage and the “emerge” function, there are a great many people out who know a lot more about this than me. I read up a bit about it in Wikipedia and you should look at further sources if you wish to know more about it. I was basically concerned with installing the software I wanted and it did that pretty well so I didn’t worry about the internal workings too much.

When it came to installing IcePodder (my podcast aggregator of choice) I couldn’t find it in the repository so I went to the website and grabbed the source code. It comes with a shell script you just run to install the software and it’s pretty easy. I ran the script which installed the program for me but when I tried to run it I received a Python error. My reasonably limited Python programming knowledge suggested to me that it couldn’t find the appropriate wxGtk modules in my Python install to build the GUI. I fixed this by opening Portato again and installing wxPython from there. The program then ran perfectly and I created a desktop shortcut to the run command. This was a little involved I suppose but it didn’t take long to get around. You can of course use many of the popular Linux media players such as Amarok, Rhythmbox and Banshee to manage podcasts for you. I just find IcePodder to be a better and more reliable solution for me.

I tested out my music in Amarok which just worked as I expected it to and I was also able to play Xvid encoded videos fine with Kaffine and Mplayer. No problems there. I noticed that Innotech’s VirtualBox came installed with a prominent desktop shortcut so I gave that a little try. I haven’t used VirtualBox much sadly (another thing I need to fix) as I tend to use VMware Server on my machines mostly but it does the same job, allowing you to create virtual machines and install the OS of your choice natively. Handy when testing things out in different environments for programmers and packagers possibly. It’s very useful having a tool like this installed by default I must say and along with the inclusion of other things like Skype, it all adds to the feel that this is a competent business desktop. I connected an NTFS external disk to test out write support and this worked perfectly, the system must come with NTFS-3G by default, again probably handy in an office with those ubiquitous Windows machines, damn them!! 😉

Adobe Flash, Quicktime and Java plugins for Firefox were all present and correct with the install too so no hassle there. The glaring omission from the default install were 3D desktop effects, it seems strange to include the binary video drivers for Nvidia and ATi cards and then leave effects out. Maybe it was decided that this wasn’t appropriate for a business desktop I don’t know. Anyway, it was off to the Sabayon forums again to work out how to install this. I found a solution which again involved editing low level config files through the terminal but got the job done after a reboot of the X server. I soon had 3D graphics working just fine.

Conclusions:
Overall I quite enjoyed Sabayon 1.1 Professional. It’s a nice distro but seems to lack some of the polish novice users would expect from things like Ubuntu or Mandriva I think. I’m not sure I would recommend it to new Linux users based on my experience of it, I think there are still other easier to use distributions out there for Linux newbies to cut their teeth on. Having said that Sabayon has a lot going for it, the solid Gentoo base is obviously a plus and I quite liked the Portato interface to software installation. Little bugs like the sound server problem let the release down a little in my eyes but it’s certainly progressing well. It should be remembered that this is a relatively young distribution and it will continue to grow in strength as time goes on. This position is confirmed by a quick look at the Wikipedia entry for Sabayon which says the development of a new package management system called Entropy is currently under way:

From Wikipedia: “The Sabayon Linux developers are currently working on an infant project called “Entropy”, which will take a different approach to managing packages. Among the early highlights is a binary package installer utility/script “binmerge”, which shipped with the 3.3 miniEdition. binmerge sits atop Portage’s native “emerge” utility and uses Sabayon Linux’s pool of binary packages to install them.”

One major plus for this distribution I think was the ease with which I was able to locate help in fixing the few bugs I encountered via the community. The forums seem very active and the official wiki was also helpful. I don’t think it quite has the user base of Ubuntu yet but this may grow and a little diversity is good for us in the Linux community I think.

As an office solution I think this succeeds quite well, it offers an awful lot of tools out of the box which would be very useful in a small office location. I’d put it on a par with OpenSUSE from my personal experience. I’m not sure quite what the goal of this “professional” release is but I assume it’s to get a foothold with business users. I certainly think it’s a good release in itself but I can’t see how it will compete with giants like Red Hat and Novell in the corporate market. Mainly because of marketing and so on rather than any technical inferiority. I certainly wish it well and I will watch with interest.

In previous articles I’ve closed by proposing imaginary slogans for each distribution and to be honest nothing really startling stands out to me with Sabayon so I think I’ll go with these:

“Sabayon: It’s making great strides but still has a little way to go”

“Sabayon: It’s a nice introduction for those scared by the prospect of Gentoo”

The Journey Continues:

Well that’s it for Sabayon for the time being, I will be back to check on it in the future though I’m sure. I’ve pretty much covered all the distributions I planned to when I set out on this tour. There is one notable exception in the shape of Fedora but as the release of Fedora 8 is imminent it seems pointless reviewing Fedora 7 now as I’d planned. I will head for simplyMEPIS next I think before moving on to Fedora 8 later in the week. Where I will go from there is anyones guess but I don’t think I’m quite ready to settle down again just yet so I’ll continue to explore, as always you are all more than welcome to join me if you like 🙂

Posted in Review
30 comments on “Another Day Another Distro – Part 7 – Sabayon 1.1 Professional
  1. Garrett says:

    I too found Sabayon a bit lacking. I’m really enjoying your series of tests though, I hope you keep it up.

    There are two distros that I have come across in my distro-hopping that I think really deserve your attention though:

    Arch Linux

    and

    Wolvix

    (I didn’t see them in your archives, sorry if you already covered it)

    I’ve been tirelessly searching for the perfect desktop and right now (though I’m currently testing Zenwalk and Wolvix) I think Arch is the best thing I’ve seen so far.

    It’s definately the fastest distro I’ve ever used. Pacman is much easier to get the hang of than slapt or portage. And it lets you put your system together like legos, kind of like Gentoo, but it uses binaries instead of compiling from source which makes it much less time-consuming and confusing.

    And, if you’re a KDE guy, (I’m not) the community built KDEMod for metapackage for Arch is THE best KDE implementation I have ever come across, by a long shot.

    My sentiments about Wolvix are similar, though Wolvix is a simpler thing to play with. It’s quite fast and the base install is very functional, but not bloated. Kinda like Zenwalk, with a little less emphasis on speed.

    Anywho, hope that helps and I would really like to get your take on Arch.

    -Garrett

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for the comment, glad you like the series. I will look into Arch, a few people have suggested it to me. It’s on my TODO list at the moment. I too am not a big KDE fan I prefer Gnome myself but each to their own.

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. b9anders says:

    I am curious as to your pc specs – I presume they are too good for speed to be an issue?

    I found the Sabayon setup and design interesting, but the speed killed it after a day for me. Simply the slowest and most bloated OS this 1.4gzh/512 MB RAM distro has ever run.

    I’ll be trying out Arch myself this week for the first time. From what I’ve read so far (and seeing as it is often compared to slackware), it sounds like you might want to print out the install guide beforehand this time though. 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    maybe Sabayon and other nerd linux distro’s could find the time to have a one-button, system update policylike the hated XP Vista,…

    ridiculous endless command line functions from the stone age when one is seeking a purely plug &play experience
    Little wonder Microsoft rules the world

  5. Sandström says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Garrett, Arch Linux is simply the best general-purpose distro so far. In fact, even my completely unexperienced mother found it easier to use than Ubuntu! It’s still lots more lightweight and customizable though, so I find it a clear winner

  6. Dan says:

    I am lucky to be on a powerful system yes so speed wasn’t an issue really. The specs are in my first article of the series. Here’s a link:

    http://adventuresinopensource.blogspot.com/2007/10/another-day-another-distribution-part-1.html

    I did find booting the system seemed to take a bit longer than most distributions but once it was up the speed was fine. I suspect on a slower system it would really crawl though. I think visuals and features are the goal rather than performance. I’m only guessing though.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I use ARCH at work alot. Its sad that the lead Dev is leaving, and I hope the project continues on in good faith.

    Dan, I beta tested for Sabayon alot last year, and im here to tell you that the Devs are extremely active with the comunity and definitely DO make regular changes to the distro completely based on user feedback. Their crazy fast release cycles are the way they are ~because~ of this, and because of Portage being what it is. The Distro is very large and comes preinstalled with a ton of apps again, because of Portage and the source compiles –very non-newb friendly. Its easier just to try to include everything up front so that the users just dont have to worry. Entropy is going to be revolutionary for Gentoo as its concept is to provide BOTH source and binary package management and include the ability to do binary updates. To me, this is the single most important improvement to that distro, as currently, the only way to do updates is via world emerges in Portage – a VERY time consuming and tedious process currently.

    Sabayon is finding its way. The Gentoo Founder, D. Robbins, has taken quite alot of interest in it, and the lead Dev, Fabio (lxnay), is one of the most enthusiastic and talented Linux Devs that Ive encountered. Hes also very young, so I think that bodes well for Sabayon, should he choose to continue on carrying the torch. Currently, the common thread of thought seems to be that Sabayon is a Gentoo centric Distro, designed to provide a much easier Gentoo experience. IE, Gentoo for dummies. However, I find this view to be entirely innacurate when viewed on the whole, because although Sabayon uses Gentoo’s package manager, it is a very different experience than that of Gentoo for the user, for while Sabayon is a click-n-go Distro, complete out of the box functionality, Gentoo is an entirely different matter. Also, the two communities are fractured and very different. Again, this is on the whole, and some users do function well in both the Gentoo and Sabayon roles. Given the fact that the Gentoo project is currently a disaster while Sabayon is humming along sweetly, this is the Distro that has nothing but a bright future ahead.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A more user friendly version of Arch linux exist and is also a liveCD/usb. It is called FaunOS. It too is a new distribution but for a very young project it is off to a good start.

    Since it is Arch if you find FaunOS forums lacking Arch forums should work since it follows really closely with Arch builds.

    Enjoy

  9. bob says:

    arch is neither user unfriendly nor is it related to KDE at all, as a matter of fact it is without DM/WM in the first place and you can build up your own system from the kernel upwards, so KDE is no reason not to use arch, i use arch64 with xfce myself, but they also have E17, fluxbox, gnome 2.20.1, etc. it would be a shame though to set it all up (which is easy if you know linux) and then erase it all with another distro-a-day thing though. i myself will probably end up with fedora8 which is just a tad more professional imho.

    S.

  10. Άρχοντας says:

    Dear Dan,

    I too enjoy a lot, your adventures in Linux despite the fact that I am exclusively a WinXP user with a tiny prior experience with Linux.

    Thoughts are popping into my head like “Should I try Linux again? Let’s see that distro in LiveCD, or the other one…” and the more I swim into this vast sea of penguins, the more I think I like it, even hold a little more knowledge day by day in my grasp.

    But there’s more. Your adventures encourage me to keep walking (as a nice whiskey tv spot suggests), and keep trying, keep reading, keep learning!

    One small note before I leave for tonight (a yummy pizza is waiting on the table for my mouth). I think I read that Mepis’ new version (7.0) comes out at November 24th or in the end of the month whatever. I saw your plans on reviewing SimplyMepis and I thought you might wanted to take this into consideration. 🙂

    Still I am eager to enjoy your (if you go for them) future reviews on SimplyMepis and Arch Linux (with the latter being considered as a difficult distro, as I understand).

    Have a pleasant evening and thank you very much for your encouraging and enjoyable adventures!

    -Arxontas

  11. Dan says:

    Thank you very much for your kind comments. I’m glad you liked the article and I will continue to try and improve the reviews. I’m glad you’re considering trying Linux more and more. It can be very daunting at first and I can remember feeling lost for a while when I first started with Linux 4 or 5 years ago. I ran back to Windows a few times but I kept coming back and trying again. Hopefully you will too 🙂

    I’m running simplyMEPIS 6.5 at the moment and I just realized that the new version is out very soon, thanks for the tip. There doesn’t seem much point in reviewing this now really. I’ll try getting a beta of the new version instead maybe or move on and come back after the new release. We’ll see.

    Enjoy the pizza 🙂

  12. Garrett says:

    @Bob

    “arch is neither user unfriendly nor is it related to KDE at all”

    I don’t think I said anything to the contrary did I? I just commented that KDEmod it the best version of KDE I have encountered… though honestly I despise that bloated mess. I prefer XFCE, Gnome, or E17. Gnome is actually pretty quick these days… I’m starting to wonder how much speed XFCE affords you anymore.

    As for user unfriendliness, that sure is an interesting subject. I found Pacman to be extremely friendly and very intuitive, but many users are scared of the terminal. I was up and running in just a few hours with Arch, just using their jumpstart guide, even though I know very little of the terminal myself, it was great.

    I would very much like to know how you could consider Fedora over Arch though. Of the Ubuntu, SUSE, Mandriva, and Fedora group… Fedora seems to have been repeatedly been garnering the worst reviews from the community due to bugginess and a lack of simple ways to get support for mp3s, DVDs, etc.

    But it sure looks cool… I’ve been avoiding it since Fedora Core 3 though.

    Why would you prefer it?

    -Garrett

  13. Leon says:

    i bet youu already know that but you should fix it on the review, portage builds from source, meaning that tough most packages in gentoo are built from source its an automated procces made by portage (and you used portato with is just a gui no more)

    anyway, great review, you mentiond trying to install gentoo in the future, gentoo is actually a lot more complicated then probably anything (correct me if im wrong) to install, but its actually not so hard to use. after you spent tons of time to install/configure it to you needs..

    i like gentoo very much, i think that building from source is the wat linux should go, since it simbolizes the power of open source, making the build, better, faster, fitting best to your comp (there are setting in gentoo based that make gcc build everything to fit you proccessor, exlusivly, makes everything a lot faster)
    and to add the fact that portage have the biggest ammount of packages in it, and the packages are the most updated (most of them are availble in the latest version) (again correct me if im wrong)

    anyway as slack, gentoo is fitted for specific people, not the regular desktop user, but its nice and lets you learn a lot about linux.

    again you reviews are awsome, and some of them are hilarious! i enjoyed reading everything very much!

    p.s. garret or other arch users, i heard a lot of possitive things about arch, and you said its very fast, can you please tell me how fast compared to gentoo? what about package availability?
    ill porbably try it later on but i would love to hear these details before that.

  14. Garrett says:

    @leon

    It’s hard to say how fast it is in comparison to Gentoo because, as you know, Gentoo is really as fast as you make it. MY experience was that Arch was faster to boot and a little more responsive in general on my system. If you build Gentoo from the ground up (stage 1, right?), optimized, and run *box with minimalist apps, it can be extremely fast… but that can take a few days to do, whereas Arch only takes a few hours.

    Arch is basically the same, except you don’t have to compile a kernel, or anything else, if you don’t want to (this is key, because you CAN compile anything from source if you want, and Pacman does so very fast).

    Pacman is much simpler than portage (to me anyways) and much faster. Mainly due to the fact that you’ll mostly be installing binaries… something that Gentoo desperately needs (and may have soon). It also doesn’t seem nearly as easy to smoke your system by making a dumb move (one of the reasons I left Gentoo a couple years ago… I did an emerge world update and it hosed my system completely).

    And while Gentoo’s man pages are plentiful indeed, I don’t think they are very easy to read. Arch’s design is based largely on KISS (keep it simple stupid), and it shows in everything from the wiki to design.

    So, Gentoo may still be preferred for speed-demons and geek-gods, but as was mentioned, Gentoo seems a controversial place to be lately which is a big dissuasion for me. Arch is the accessible distro for the rest of us who want to get the most out of our system.

    Hope that helps… Arch rocks ;).

    -Garrett

  15. Anonymous says:

    Arch is the fastest OS i have ever used. But the big problem with Arch is the fact that you need constant updating of the system to be able to install packages. I have used Arch for some months and then stopped for 2-3 months for various reasons.
    But the point is that after 3 months of no updates the first system update completely screwed my system. I realize that its unusual not to update for such a long time, but then again if i’d be using gentoo i could selectively upgrade parts of the system, recompile the packages in a manner that things will not brake.
    For me the best thing in gentoo is that you can decide what packages you want and more importantly you decide which versions you want.

  16. Anonymous says:

    hey i liked your serise also, and i have sabayon 3.4 installed on my computer at home dual boot with vista, anyway i have to agree as much as i like sabayon, it has quite a few bugs, i’m waiting for future versions to fix those bugs, and sabayon does about everything i like defaulted, my pc isnt that slow booting sabayon with 2gigs of ram, most of the time i’m only using about 15 – 30% of my ram. and nice article

  17. Anonymous says:

    For anonymous at 09:23, pleading for an easy update tool:

    Mandriva includes an “auto-magical” Update tool, Mandriva Online. It’s BETTER than Windows. (The RPM is called “mdkonline”, the current version is 2.23.1-1mdv2008.0.

    It shows an icon on the main panel of my desktop (KDE under Emerald, I’m sure that it’s somewhere in Gnome and Ice and XFCE too). At startup, the icon is a “pending check” symbol, because the actual update checking process is delayed by a couple of minutes. (You can disable autostart if you want or force an immediate check, via the right-click menu.)

    After about 2 minutes, it goes out to either an MDK Server or my specific “Update” media (I don’t know which). It changes the icon to either a green checkmark (everything’s up to date) or a red exclamation point (new updates were found and could/should be installed).

    Click the red exclamation point and it pops up a password verification window, if you pass the verification then it shows the new Update RPMS. You can confirm or uncheck the RPMs on an individual basis, if you want. (It comes up with all RPMs pre-checked as default.)

    This is BETTER than the Windows shield-thingy: Windoze only gets the “critical” updates, and IIRC doesn’t even give you an opportunity to pick/choose the individual offerings. Mandriva-Online and urpmi also runs way faster, of course.
    – – – – –

    Because my computer is ultra-heavy, including nearly all optional softwares and kitchen sinks, I see new RPM Updates being made available almost every day. And of course, that’s the BIGGEST difference from Windoze: You apply the Updates incrementally as they become made available, without having to run with security holes and bugs until a monthly “patch Tuesday” occurs.

    The Windoze tool is a lot LESS pretty, a lot less effective, and a lot less comfortable to use. Mandriva doesn’t just “TIE” this Windoze feature– it beats it, and by a big margin. :))

  18. Anonymous says:

    Overall I quite enjoyed Sabayon 1.1 Professional.>>>>
    This sentence tells a lot. Just substitute Sabayon with whatever you like. With such an attitude it is not surprising that Linux distro’s do not find any reasonable part in desktop market. this type of review is bullshit.

  19. Dan says:

    Most of the major Linux distros I can think of auto update these days. Ubuntu certainly does, Debian does, Mandrake does as mentioned before, SuSE, Fedora they all do it along with many others. Some people like to have complete control over what updates are installed and prefer things like Slackware and Gentoo for those reasons, for the complete control. That’s cool it’s just a different approach. I like the automatic updates myself and I’m happy to let a package manager deal with it.

    It’s actually better than the Windows update system in most distros I think. There is certainly no lack of automatic updates in the Linux world if you want them 🙂

  20. Anonymous says:

    “I was greeted by an Nvidia splash screen during boot which indicated that my graphics card had been successfully detected. The live CD loaded up with the correct 1440×900 screen resolution for my monitor which was great, not many distributions do this with my card for some reason.”

    -An Nvidia splash screen doesn’t just mean your card was successfully detected. It also means that the correct proprietary Nvidia drivers were successfully loaded onto your machine. This enables 3d acceleration. Could you name the distros you ran in live mode in which you were greeted with the Nvidia splash screen and correctly detected the 1440×900 resolution of your monitor at the same time?

    “but I knew of it’s reputation, mainly for the need to compile everything you want to install. “

    -Binary packages also exist in Gentoo, the ones you don’t need to compile for a long time.

    “It basically compiles the software using guides or maps called overlays to simplify the process.”

    -Overlays as guides or maps? Gentoo uses ebuilds. Overlays are repositories from which you get software.

    “The glaring omission from the default install were 3D desktop effects, it seems strange to include the binary video drivers for Nvidia and ATi cards and then leave effects out. Maybe it was decided that this wasn’t appropriate for a business desktop I don’t know.”

    It’s not really strange to include proprietary Nvidia drivers and leave out Compiz-Fusion. It is still way better if you have the Nvidia drivers especially if you work with graphics. Try using your desktop with just the “nv” driver. The omission is mainly a response to community request not to include Compiz-Fusion with the Professional Edition. If you wanted the whiz bang Compiz-Fusion with all its bells and whistles, try the Sabayon Standard Edition. It should work on your desktop even on live mode.

    “I found a solution which again involved editing low level config files through the terminal but got the job done after a reboot of the X server. I soon had 3D graphics working just fine.”

    – You don’t have to do this if you tried the Standard Edition.

    “I did find booting the system seemed to take a bit longer than most distributions but once it was up the speed was fine. I suspect on a slower system it would really crawl though. I think visuals and features are the goal rather than performance. I’m only guessing though.”

    – You’re right, you’re just guessing. You can run Sabayon even on a 1.86GHz processor with only 256MB of RAM if you tried enough to know the distro you’re reviewing.

  21. Dan says:

    Thanks for those answers, I don’t claim to be an authority on Linux or anything else, you can see that in the tone of all me articles. I know many other people know much more than I do about the technical aspects and I often say this. Nevertheless I am giving my personal opinion and thats all.

    As for your question “Could you name the distros you ran in live mode in which you were greeted with the Nvidia splash screen and correctly detected the 1440×900 resolution of your monitor at the same time?” You seem to be implying that I’m lying for some reason. Mandriva One 2008 ran with the Nvidia drivers at the correct resolution and even gave me the choice of which 3D desktop to use right from the live CD!!! I was playing with the Compiz Fusion effects while the system installed. It was very impressive.

    You are right that this is the “Professional” version and different from the “standard” version which may have enabled effects and so on in the normal install. I know that and I thought I’d so in the article but maybe I forgot. I did say that it’s suited to an office environment which is obviously the aim. This is the newest release of Sabayon at the moment and I wanted to test it out, when the next version of the “standard” edition comes out I will test that too. At the moment I have a lot of distributions to get through that’s all. I’m sorry if this upsets you in some way.

  22. Anonymous says:

    “You seem to be implying that I’m lying for some reason. Mandriva One 2008 ran with the Nvidia drivers at the correct resolution and even gave me the choice of which 3D desktop to use right from the live CD!!! I was playing with the Compiz Fusion effects while the system installed. It was very impressive.”

    You’re not lying. The point is, there would not be “many” in which “The live CD loaded up with the correct 1440×900 screen resolution for my monitor which was great,” and “I was greeted by an Nvidia splash screen during boot ..” Sabayon would be one of the “few” which does those mentioned above.

    Sabayon has been (for a long time now – there wasn’t even a Professional Edition then) doing what impressed you in the Mandriva 2008.0 release. In fact, Sabayon (then RR4 & RR64) was one of the first distributions (second only to Kororaa – a difference of 1 day) to feature XGL in a live mode.

    At any rate, you seem like a cool guy and you’re just doing your honest-to-goodness take on your “Adventures in Open Source”

  23. Dan says:

    That’s what I originally said in the article “Not many distros do this” that’s what I meant, that statement implies that Sabayon is one of the “few” that does do this because not many do. Maybe it wasn’t a clear enough statement but “not” is the operative word in that sentence.

    It seems we are both saying the same thing and somehow disagreeing about it. Anyway, thanks for your comments, you are right and I like to hear what people think. Like I said, I’m not an authority and if I get something wrong (which I often do) then by all means tell me so. Thanks again, take care 🙂

  24. Aniruddha says:

    I really would appreciate it if you took the time to install Gentoo (takes about 2 hours on a modern desktop). To get you started here’s the official installation manual:
    http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/index.xml

    Or here you find an non-offical manual containing lots of background info:
    http://ted.kosan.googlepages.com/ls1_installing_gentoo_linux_v1.54.pdf

  25. Dan says:

    Thank you for the links I will take a look. I’ve moved on from Sabayon now but I will try Gentoo in the future and report back 🙂

  26. Aniruddha says:

    Great! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. See the about page on my website: http://www.theopensourceactivist.com/index.php/about/ .
    One tip; whatever you do, don’t use the (graphical) installer it’s only meant for people who have manually installed Gentoo a few times. Just follow the handbook and you should be fine.

    Currently I am working on a quick install (stage 4) + binary solution (through portage binhost). For more info:
    http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-610904-highlight-.html

  27. Dan says:

    Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 I’m not sure exactly when I will get around to Gentoo with so many other things on my list but I will certainly let you know when I do.

  28. Arijit says:

    Hi Dan,

    I love your blog very much and I’ve been following your adventures since PART-I. I would like to read about few distros – Vector Linux, Arch Linux, Pardus Linux.

    And You’ve missed Fedora 8 till date, can we expect it near future?

    Thanks for your insightful writings.

    Arijit, from India

  29. Dan says:

    Thank you Arijit I’m glad you like the articles 🙂 I am actually looking at Fedora 8 right now. It will be the next article. It wasn’t out when I started and since it only came out on Thursday I had to wait for it a bit. Thanks also for the suggestions I will do my best to try out those distros and get back to you soon.

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