Posted by: Diabolic Preacher | December 23, 2007

Sabayon Linux: mini review

I tested the live version of sabayon linux 3.4f mini edition (CD) 64bit on my dell inspiron 1501 with AMD Turion tl-56 dual core. Key components are sata hard disk, ati onboard graphics accelerator, broadcom ethernet and wifi and other untested parts :p

This being a mini review will assume a little background knowledge from the reader about linux unfriendly hardware and basic usual issues. Note that only the live edition was tested and results may vary with the version that you install on disk. May.
Main intention is to see how much of your hardware work out of the box without messin with configuration files. Well begun is half done and done so very well

I got 3d (using xgl) on ati workin. During boot up the live cd presents a gui 3d acceleration toggle menu before starting kde. It not only is the first distro which has helped ati graphics gain some of my respect back but it also is an answer to those who complain linux is all about command line and configuration text files.

The other piece of hardware that i waited so long to get workin was the broadcom wifi. Notorious for being unsupportive towards linux, drivers available were difficult to configure, forget about out-of-the-box functionality. I’d that good luck only once for one night when i recompiled the vector linux kernel with the extra modules package. The fantastic thing was that even the opendns nameservers were configured automatically. I wonder if i redundantly set the default gateway using the route command.

continuing on with things that worked, both music and videos played smoothly. Kubuntu gutsy gibbon 64 bit plays videos like a slideshow on kaffeine, does not play on smplayer, because of invalid video output device specified and plays smoothly in gwenview, but only in original resolution which usually is 320×240 and its tucked to one corner of the screen.

Coming to the negative part of the review. Although it has many attractive advantages to make me shift to another distro again, there are few key things that are missing on this distro n some which are specially available on kubuntu.
There is very few well known apps available on the k menu of the live cd. This is not so on the dvd edition whose contents i checked from distrowatch.
The Fn key combinations are not functional on my dell and its inconvenient to adjust the volume or brightness quickly and so on.
No firefox or gimp. 😦 One other bad experience was that the live cd always fails to shut down the system completely. The gui splash screen would show up once the system starts the shutdown procedure, but it seems to just stick there forever. Bad shutdowns are bad for the system especially if you are not sure if all ur mounted disks are synced properly. Didn’t check ntfs read-write capability as i don’t have any ntfs drives (duh!).

Dunno what else the expert reviewers test but i needed to check basic stuff that i’d need or want to use on a regular basis. Didn’t check how many programmin languages and development toolkits were available but i wouldn’t expect any on the mini edition. Makes me think its time to get the full dvd version but 4.7 gb download on a 30kbps line is really toooo long. 😦
Sabayon’s got a nice dark black n red theme that i likes and with its ease of use n all makes it hard to believe that it is a gentoo derivative. This is the first time i’m using anything related to gentoo and it was good.
Gentoo documentation is supposed to be the most extensive and exhaustive reference resource for even general linux (issues) knowledge.

What other aspect of this mini distro do i evaluate…and how? 🙂

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