Sabayon is a Gentoo Linux-based, multi-purpose distribution. Previous releases of Sabayon came in one huge DVD iso image with the option to install your favorite desktop. However, the latest release is available in iso images distinguished by desktop environments. For example, we have Sabayon 4.x KDE, Sabayon 4.x Gnome, etc. This review is based on Sabayon 4.2 KDE. A future review will focus on Sabayon 4.2 Gnome.
Now, come with me, let’s see what Sabayon 4.2 KDE has to offer.
Installation: Sabayon features a beautiful graphical installer that offers more install options than is available on any other distro. You could choose to install any number of systems – desktop, core (server), and even to a UMPC (netbooks, etc). In terms of the install options, no other distro makes it this easy. If you are a power user and are more comfortable performing a text-based installation, there is an option for you, too.
The installer has support for LVM, RAID, and disk encryption. LVM is the default disk partitioning scheme, and, aside from the logical volume for swap, the installer only creates one other logical volume. If you opt to create additional logical volumes beyond what Sabayon creates, there is a tutorial here to help you along. Ext4 is the default filesystem, with GRUB as the boot loader.
Desktop: Sabayon desktop features a very beautiful desktop background. This is the quality of desktop background PCLinuxOS should aim for. The menu, using the kick-off style, is very well organized. You will find the applications you need where you expect them to be. Everything written about the menu on Pardus 2009 (also a KDE-based distro) applies here.
Default Installed Applications:
- OpenOffice.org 3.1.0
- Mozilla Firefox 3.5.1
- Dragon Player
- VLC media player
- XBMC media center
- Qt Linguist
- Qt Assistant
- Qt Designer
- Konqueror (of course)
- Kopete, the multi-protocol IM client
- Sweeper, a system cleaner
- KTorrent, a BitTorrent client
In terms of applications installed by default, no other distro reviewed and listed on this site matches Sabayon in the range and quality of applications installed. There is something for all user levels – noob- to guru-level. That said, some very useful application installed by default on previous versions are missing in this release. For example, VirtualBox, the virtualization software, installed by default in previous versions, is nowhere to be found. It is available in the repo, but what is the point of removing it from this release. Also removed from the default installation are Lacie LightScribe Labeler 4L, and LightScribe Simple Labeler. These are very useful tools that should never have been removed.
This is a KDE version, but where is K3b or any other CD/DVD burner? It (K3b) is in the repo, but why was it not installed? Even after installing it, using Sulfur, there was no entry for it in the menu, and I could not find it in my path.
Software Management: Sulfur is the new name of Sabayon’s package manager’s graphical frontend. It was formerly known as Spritz. I find it not as intuitive to use as other graphical package managers. Synaptic, the graphical package manager used on apt-based (that is Debian based) or apt-ified distros is better. Even the graphical frontend to Pisi, the package manager used on Pardus, is more intuitive to use. Sulfur is definitely still a work in progress.
Administration: Sabayon uses the traditional UNIX root account for access to performing system-wide admin tasks. There are graphical tools for performing many of these tasks, but for some, you will need to use a shell terminal. This is an area where Sabayon trails Mandriva, which has just about some of the best graphical management tools available on any desktop distro.
Almost all of the graphical management tools on Sabayon 4.2 KDE are actually KDE-specific tools. You will find these tools in the system Control Center.