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Sabayon Linux 4.2 KDE Review

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Browsers and Browser plugins for Web browsing, Sabayon comes pre-installed with Firefox 3.0.1 and Konqueror, the native file manager and Web browser for the K Desktop Environment. Using Firefox, you won’t have any problems viewing your favorite flash videos on YouTube, loading a Java applet, or viewing any number of other multimedia content you will encounter on the Web. Konqueror will handle flash alright, but requires some tweaking to load Java applets.

Security tools and Network Manager: A firewall application is not a magic bullet that will solve all security issues on a networked pc, but it plays a very important role. The Linux kernel has an enterprise-class firewall application built-in. That application, IPTables, is not the easiest to configure, but there are several graphical clients that makes working with IPTables less of a hassle for all user grades. Pardus, Fedora, and Mandriva, all have a graphical firewall client pre-installed. The last Sabayon version I reviewed prior to this release came with KMyfirewall pre-installed. Not so with Sabayon 4.2 KDE.

Not only is there no graphical firewall client, but the IPTables script is not even running, and you wont find any graphical firewall clients in the default repo.

OpenVPN and VPNC, the free client for Cisco’s VPN routing software, are installed. The Network Manager plugins for both applications are also installed. In essence, you could configure VPN connections from the Network Manager’s interface. Talking about Network Manager, Sabayon’s Network Manager applet appears to be custom designed. It the only Network Manager applet that gives you the option to set how many wireless networks to display. However, no matter how many I set it to, it only manages to display just two.

Network Manager Settings

Media and Hardware Detection: Except for the detection of some of my personal audio CDs, everything I wrote about media detection on Pardus 2009 applies here. You will be able to play encrypted DVD videos on Sabayon with either Dragon Player or VLC media player.

Hardware detection is where Sabayon falls short, at least when it came to detecting and auto-configuring my HP Deskjet F4280 printer, the same printer used to test printer configuration on all distros. Whereas Pardus had no problem detecting and auto-configuring, Sabayon could not. Even when I tried to manually set it up, that printer was not available in the list of HP printers in the printer database.

What’s special about Sabayon 4.2 KDE? One area where Sabayon outlines nearly every other distro is in range and quality of applications installed by default. Knoppix gives your nearly everything under the Sun, but Sabayon offers a reasonable set of applications without cluttering the menu with applications you will never use.

The installer is one of the best. If you choose to use Sabayon in Live CD/DVD mode, and then opt to install it on your PC’s hard drive, you still get the same full-featured installer.

What needs to improve? Plenty, and they are all centered around graphical management tools. Here’s a short list:

  • Sabayon needs more custom, graphical admin tools. Currently, many of the system-wide tasks can only be done from a shell terminal
  • IPTables should be started out of the box. There’s no good reason why it should not. In addition, there should be a graphical firewall client pre-installed.
  • LVM is the default disk partitioning scheme. That’s a good thing (I am a fan of LVM, can’t live without it.) Maintaining LVM from the command line is not that difficult, but a gui tool makes that task a whole lot easier. Mandriva, Fedora, and Debian all have a gui tool for LVM, and I see no reason why Sabayon should not have one. Perhaps there is one, but it is installed, and it is not in the default repo.
  • I’ll like to be able to set the system clock to sync to an NTP server without dropping to the command line. Even when I ran /etc/init.d/ntp-client from the command line, it failed to start. What gives?
  • Sabayon needs an application like Pardus’s Kaptan. An application designed to run on first boot to help users customize a freshly installed system.
  • This has been mentioned earlier in this review, but it is worth repeating here:
    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.
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10 Comments

  1. vonskippy says:

    Why do some reviewers refuse to include a link to the topic’s home page? Sure, google will show me the way, but why not just include it in the review?

    • finid says:

      “Refuse” is not the word. It’s more like neglected. Please note that every distro reviewed here is under one of the categories in the sidebar. But thank’s for pointing that out.

      • vonskippy says:

        Oops – I missed those. That’s why it’s handy to include the basic info in each review (links are cheap – don’t be afraid to use more).

  2. Brian says:

    Good call on the firewall , but Pardus could use a decent network setup of it’s own.They could both use improvements in their package managers – they are a far cry short of synaptic. K3B is under multimedia in my Sabayon 4.2 desktop. The only two real problems I’ve had with Sabayon were when sulfur replaced Spritz, but the update failed and I had to search for a command line fix. The other was changing my default user’s password with Kuser and Kuser wiping out the password. Again some searching and luck fixed the problem. Very nasty and needless little bugs, but the system runs like a top now.

  3. dude2 says:

    Typo: “What’s special about Pardus 2009?”

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