I didn’t mention Sabayon during the recent installfest for one simple reason: there’s no way I’d ever, personally, end up using a Gentoo-based distro as my primary desktop. That’s because I am unfamiliar with the Portage package management system Gentoo uses and the constant compiling of code you’re required to do to get things to work.
Sabayon, though, is a Gentoo-based distro that has its own, much more traditional, package management system (“Entropy”) which works well and doesn’t require a whole heap of command-line jujitsu to achieve anything: packages are supplied in compiled format, more like a ‘traditional distro’ would do. What’s more: it’s a rolling release (so nothing is ever seriously out-of-date and you don’t ever need to do a ‘jump upgrade’ from one release to another: simply keep on applying application updates as they arrive and you will gently move from one release point to another over time), rather like Linux Mint Debian Edition: it’s a nice feature that means you don’t have to feel out-of-date waiting for the next ‘big bang’ date in a distro’s release cycle.
For me, the major problem with Sabayon is that, like nearly everything else, it has switched to using Gnome 3 (though, of course, KDE, XFCE, Enlightenment and other desktop environments are available should you prefer). That again ruled it out of the installfest, since not using Gnome 3 was one of that little project’s key goals. But by way of a nod to the installfest’s methodology anyway, I’ll mention in passing that:
- Guake is pre-installed
- Exaile is pre-installed
- Shotwell is pre-installed
- Gimp is at version 2.8 (the latest)
- Chromium is pre-installed …indeed, there’s no Firefox (or Opera) at all, to start with, which is pretty unusual for the distros I’ve ever worked with (but a good choice, I think!)
- LibreOffice is at version 3.5.3, which is very recent
- Flash is installed by default (that’s a good thing, I think!)
- Stellarium, Handbrake, Easytag, RubyRipper, Inkscape, VirtualBox, MuseScore… all are not present by default but can be installed from the Rigo Application Browser (or via equo, the equivalent command-line package manager).
…which is pretty darn’d excellent as far as I’m concerned. Audio files still open in the Movie Player by default, though …which bright spark amongst the Gnome developers ever thought that was a good idea?! But at least all my movies played correctly, first time of asking.
Anyway… the long and the short of it is that Sabayon looks quite a classy distro and is definitely right up there in the “this is convenient” stakes.
Having only really dabbled with it in the past day or so, I’m not qualified to comment on it further …but I did feel that it could do with the ability to run Oracle 11gR2:
It wasn’t the cleanest installation I’ve ever pulled off! It will take me a couple of days, at least, to make the necessary changes to Gladstone to incorporate all the fiddly little workarounds I had to do before the OUI was able to finish without drama. But they’re on their way.
One interesting feature of the Oracle installation: the OUI couldn’t even detect the existence of the dba and oinstall groups on the system (that is, the “failed pre-requisites” screen listed these as two groups that needed to be created, even though they had been). I’ve never seen user/group detection fail on a distro before (but then, I’ve never used a Gentoo-based distro before, either!) Some of these non-mainstream distros really do feel like a foreign land, that’s all I’m saying!!