A bright red star at open horizon
Sabayon is the new name for earlier RR4 distribution. It is based on Gentoo and modified according to the needs of users. It comes in two version; one full DVD version and another in single CD mini-edition. Recently they have also launched a Business Edition for Sabayon.
This is what the project has to say on its website "Get rid of Microsoft Windows. Install the Sabayon Linux Operating System and unleash the full potential of your Computer. Sabayon Linux features the most advanced Industry Open Source technologies: no hassles."
You can visit the project homepage read about it more and see some more screenshots.
This is one distro that has been occupying one partion on my personal workstation. Its a dual core 3.4 GHz intel processor, with 4 Gig RAM and 512 MB Nvidia 7950 graphics card. I have a dual 19" wide screen monitors which support 1440x900@75Hz.
Sabayon gives you a lot of options for booting. The default option is full fledged live CD environment. Sabayon has supported accelerated graphics even in live CD environment for a long time (with the help of proprietary drivers). When you boot in the live CD user is given an option to select the acceleration package to be used; namely AIGLX or XGL or no acceleration. This is one unique configuration that is not available with other distributions.
The live CD could not start my Xserver at desired resolution of 1440x900, instead it was just able to have 1024x768 even with required nvidia drivers loaded. I think it has to do something with the accelerated graphics. But any way the resolution was enough for installing my system.
When you log in to live environment, you see a really nice blend of red and black. This makes sabayon a lot different from standard blue style, found in other distros. On the desktop you see nvidia driver configuration icon. Also there are lots of games ready to be tested.
The installation icon is placed on the desktop. Sabayon uses a modified version of Anaconda (well known redhat installer) for installation. The installation is lengthy but complete with all configuration. Installer detects your wireless network card and allows you to configure it during the installation.
Anaconda ask for language, keyboard and allows you to configure partitions. It asks which desktop environment you want to have; namely gnome, kde or fluxbox. KDE is the default desktop and fluxbox if for users who have power restrained systems.
Installer then asks for different group of applications that you want to install. There are lot of games to be installed and played on linux, and sabayon proves this point very well. For the blogger who says that linux is not ready for gaming, i say "go check Sabayon".
The installation process is lengthy, processor intensive and time consuming. For my machine it took approximately one hour to finish. For a system that is more that 2 years old, it can very well take four or more hours.
The theme adopted by sabayon is different at the best. I feel that the theme aspect is half cooked in sabayon. If doesn't feel like one continuous theme. At some places the theme puts extra strain on eyes. If you try to run any GTK based applications the menu entries are completely unreadable. The console starts with prompt color light green with white background, a color combination that is hard to differentiate.
Being a DVD based installation there is a really huge set of applications. Sabayon uses Portage as application manager. Thus the applications installed are really fast and optimized to the tastes for the user. There is a front-end for Portage with the name protato which helps in finding and installing applications.
Google Earth, Google Picasa, skype and virtual box are some of the applications installed by default in sabayon that you will not find in an other distribution.
Qt, bean shell and glade are installed by default for application development. With all other unique applications, I was expecting eclipse to be installed by default but I think I was expecting too much.
For games all the standard gnome and kde games are installed by default. And along with that there are a lot of 3D games to try out; Danger from the deep, Savage, Nezuiz, sauerbraten, Second life, Battle for Wesnoth and many more.
A lot of applications are also installed for graphics; DjVu, gimp, picasa, digikam, fspot, kooka etc. Same goes with interenet applications; azureus, google earth, filezilla, wireshark, amule, firefox, thunderbird, skype, NX, wlan manager. Coming to multimedia application you see the same trend; mplayer, real player, kaffeine, dvd::rip, elisa, lightscribe labeler, tvtime and so on. Open Office 2.2. is installed for office productivity suite.
I wanted to see a specialized control center for sabayon to make it more user friendly, but it was missing. Except that, I think i was very much impressed by what sabayon has to offer to a new user.
Sabayon is the only distribution to include the new compiz fusion 3D accelration manager to provide great eye candy to the user. Compiz fans have a reason to rejoice, compiz now works with xinerama.
Configuration options for compiz, are enourmous, there are lots of plug ins to add extra effect. Its just plain fun game to configure and use different effects.
Sabayon comes pre-loaded with all the required codecs. I was able to view DVD, listen mp3 files, watch windows media files.
Sabayon is one distribution that can give all major distributions a run for their money and it is almost there as well. The power of open source can not be felt with binary distribution packages, the real power comes with custom compilation, and an environment that provides an easy way to do the same. Sabayon is the kind of environment that one should be looking at if s/he wants to harness the true power.
Hope that sabayon mantains its right track and iron out the rough corners so that we can rely on a really briliant star.