Sabayon 9 is the latest edition of Sabayon, a multi-purpose distribution based on Gentoo Linux. It is a rolling distribution, which means that existing users do not have to reinstall to get the latest edition. The simple act of installing updates and upgrading the kernel gives those users the latest and greatest edition.
The Sabayon projects supports all the popular and some not-so-popular desktop environments, but only the KDE, GNOME 3 and Xfce editions, besides the Core (SpinBase), ServerBase (Core optimized for servers), and CoreCDX (Fluxbox) editions, were made available for download in this release.
This article is a review of the KDE edition, using a 32-bit ISO installation image. When first booting the system, one of the first things I noticed was that the boot with music option, which was the default, has been removed. Good riddance, I say, because I have always found that to be annoying.
For those new to Sabayon, the installer is a slightly modified version of Anaconda, the Fedora system installer, one of the most feature-rich graphical installation programs that we have. The boot recovery feature, shown in this image, makes it easy to recover the system boot loader of an existing Sabayon installation.
This screen shot, taken from the hostname configuration step of the installation process, shows one of the few modifications made by the Sabayon development team – the Enable Firewall option, which is on by default.
This one shows the installer’s disk partitioning options. In the edition of Anaconda that shipped with Fedora 17, this step has the option to disable LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, which is the default disk partitioning scheme (on both Sabayon and Fedora). That option, obviously, is not available in Sabayon’s edition of Anaconda, and there is no indication that it will be any time soon.
This image shows the default partitions created by the installer. As stated earlier, and as shown here, LVM is the default disk partitioning. To install Sabayon on non-LVM partitions, you will have to partition the target disk manually. Not a difficult task, but you will need a fundamental understanding of disk partitioning in Linux to do it.
The (KDE) desktop, the subject of this review, is powered by KDE 4.8.3. That was the version at the time Sabayon was released. Existing installations should have been upgraded to KDE 4.8.4 by this time. As with most KDE desktops, the default menu is the Kickoff style.
The KDE Plasma Netbook interface is that aspect of almost every KDE-powered desktop that I have used or reviewed that has been ignored or forgotten by both users and developers. Nobody seems to care about it any more, even though it has a very sleek interface. I think its stock took a nose dive after netbooks, the type of computers it was designed for, went out of style. Ok, maybe not completely, but they are not as popular as they once were. Maybe tablet computers played a role in that.
As a new Sabayon user, your first task would be to create folders in your home directory. Those are folders that virtually all other distributions, including those that do not use KDE, come with out of the box. I do not see any sense in not creating those folders before pushing out a new release, but every distribution has its own idiosyncrasy. And that is one that Sabayon shares with Chakra, a KDE-only distribution forked from Arch Linux.
The other task you will have to take care of, is to modify the window titlebar to show the minimize button, because it is missing on every application window in this edition of Sabayon KDE. The screen shot below show the default titlebar buttons. Notice that only the maximize and close buttons are on the titlebar, with a huge gap separating them. How to customize KDE’s window titlebar buttons shows how to get all buttons on the titlebar. You can see a screen shot of a window application with a complete titlebar button at the last page of this review.