Thoughts on Sabayon Gnome 5.3

Posted in Sabayon by jwilliams on August 25, 2010

After having a horrible experience with certain distribution  (maybe the version number didn’t help much) I was desperate to install anything else, so it was either Ubuntu 9.04, which I remember left me quite pleased plus it is still maintained and it should have got better with age, or Sabayon 5.3 Gnome. I was going to install PCLinuxOS 2010 Gnome Zenmini but Fed…. the distro I was using couldn’t even burn a cd properly.  I gave the buring process a second chance with Ubuntu 9.04 but this time the drive wouldn’t even get recognized. So I opted for Sabayon with unetbootin, which luckily it worked.

I have never tried Sabayon before but I have heard about it, I had the impression that it was a heavy 3D gaming distro, which never really interested me because I could just download those games under another distro anyway. I had a livecd of an older version I got from a linux magazine I bought randomly, it actually had Sabayon on one side of a dvd and linux mint on the other but never tried it.

I was relieved to see the usb drive booted correctly greeting me with a working gnome desktop. At one point of the installation an exception occurred, I couldn’t believe it, I tried reseting the installation process, being a developer and knowing how bugs may occur I tried doing things differently trying to avoid it, then I realized I was the bug, I didn’t check the box that makes the installer format the ext4 partition I was targeting, it was almost 4 am in the morning. It installed flawlessly.

This is the default gnome desktop when installed:

As you can see the default desktop presented has some interesting ideas, it has 2 different volume sliders, I couldn’t find a use for that, I think I understand why it can give me more control over my volume but I think one slider over the main channel is enough. It has an applet on the bottom right showing every mounted drive, that’s comfortable indeed if you open drives constantly, but I prefer just using the Places menu. It groups the lockscreen and show desktop applet on the bottom left hand side, not bad but not to my liking really since I prefer show desktop to be on the right corner and I don’t tend to leave lock screen on my desktop although this time I was tempted to leave it in the left corner. It had an applet that inhibits the laptop from sleeping, it’s a simple on/off button that can stop the laptop from sleeping under any circumstance, I ended up removing that and just configuring my laptop to never sleep by itself, nice idea still. It has an update applet which notifies about new updates, it works pretty good, the notifications can be turned off as well. Also included a brightness control but I end up using the fn keys in my laptop anyway. Workspace switcher to the right, I think that’s a good position for it but I never use that switcher.

This is how it looks after my personal tweakings:

To finish talking about the looks, I want to say it is the most elegant linux distro I have ever used. The theme “ClearlooksSL” is a nice blend between black, blue, green and orange, they didn’t fear mixing colors. Maybe I’m not too keen on the black scroll bars but they don’t look bad really. I ended up changing the emerald windows theme after a while because the transparency on the borders was making it difficult to click them. But what I really like about the looks of Sabayon is how slick it looks, they reduced that over inflated look gnome tends to have probably by reducing the pixels per inch so the panels and menus look thiner, this automatically makes it look more spacious.

All my hardware was detected and working, the nvidia driver was included as well as all the common multimedia codecs, flashplugin, java jre, java plugin for browsers,  “Open in Terminal” option in nautilus, wine, right resolution, rar extraction, I don’t know what else I can ask for.

I had to do a huge update that involved almost 1000 packages and that took quite a while, but I could appreciate how the gui package manager “Sulfur” works. It makes you accept to licences on the go and has a nice color formatting. It works well enough as a frontend to equo.

Equo is the package manager, it works similar to others like apt-get or yum, “equo install firefox” . I like the color formatted output it gives, it’s very informative but straight to the point. I like that if I try to install a package without having root privileges, instead of just telling me that I suck it displays information about the package.

I’m not very impressed with packages available though, some of the applications I installed were lagging behind the most recent versions I used in other distros. I guess I can compile the newest version though, Sabayon is rooted on Gentoo after all.

I think this is going to be my main distro for a long time.

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4 Responses

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  1. openbytes said, on August 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    You beat me to it…!

    I was testing this for a while longer before submitting my own article. I agree with your points raised on Sabayon. Ive found it a great distro and has taken its place on a new machine which I recently purchased.

    Ive been having a few issues with 64bit ver of Flash, but this will be resolved shortly.

    Nice feature!

    Kind regards


    • merma said, on August 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      I would love to read about your experience with Sabayon too

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