The DistRogue

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Five reasons to love Sabayon

You've probably heard the constant hype about Sabayon Linux, maybe that it's a perfect distro, or maybe even rumors that it's going to knock PCLinuxOS and Ubuntu off the top spots on DistroWatch. (Surprise! PCLinuxOS has the #1 spot, after the release of version 2007.) Odds are, though, you don't really know what the fuss is about. Here are the main reasons why people love Sabayon:
-Speed. Sabayon is a derivative of Gentoo Linux, which compiles itself from source. This gives it immense speed, and tunes it perfectly to your system. The difference? Gentoo installs itself over a period of days; Sabayon takes a matter of minutes.
-Packaging. Gentoo uses the Portage packaging system, which compiles everything from source. While Sabayon uses Portage too, an alternate packager called Entropy is under development that uses compiled binaries to install packages much faster than Portage.
-Up-to-date-ness. Another trait of Sabayon is that it tends to be more bleeding-edge than other distros. A lot of the software is straight out of the nightly builds, and not very well-tested. This means, however, that Sabayon is full of features that have yet to debut to the rest of the Linux world.
-Hardware detection. Seriously. Sabayon has world-class hardware detection. One reviewer claimed that it has a 90% chance of detecting everything on your computer out of the box.
-3D effects. Sabayon was one of the first distros to include on-board Beryl effects, if not the first (Mandriva uses Compiz, with Beryl installable later). But in addition, it has closed-source NVidia/ATI drivers, along with proprietary (and open-source) detection scripts and acceleration controls.
There you have it. A really fast, bleeding edge distro with great hardware detection and 3D controls. Sabayon Linux is worth a look if you're undecided on what to pick. It comes in full and "Mini" editions- the former is DVD-sized, while the latter fits on a CD-R.
From PCLinuxOS,
The DistRogue.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well considering that it comes with closed source Nvidia drivers, it failed to work on my system which has an nvidia 7300LE PCI Express card. This chipset is supposedly supported as I got it working in Mepis OK.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Sabayon is going to offer precompiled binaries, doesn't that defeat the purpose of it being Gentoo based, using Portage, and compiling everything from source? Seems to me that would just make it another binary distro. Also, how does it deal with ATI cards & Beryl? As of now, ATI still has not added the composite extension or committed to doing so and we're stuck using XGL.

12:40 AM  
Blogger DJ Gentoo said...

A) Nope. The packages are optimized as they would be on Gentoo. Think of it as an extension of the base system (which is optimized as well).
B) Sabayon uses AIGLX, and has ever since Beryl was included.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Plato said...

Nice, however I am going to stick with the best distro out there - Debian, which is as conservative or as bleeding edge as you like.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Cioran said...

From what I can see, Sabayon's akin to Ubuntu in that it's based on a modified snapshot of the Gentoo Unstable repository taken several months before.

Does Sabayon maintain its own binary repositories and update packages against security vulnerabilities, or do updates have to be taken from the Gentoo repos?

2:42 PM  
Blogger DJ Gentoo said...

Updates are taken from the Gentoo repositories, and I'm guessing the Entropy binaries will just be recompiled versions of those.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Heikki Naski said...

"-Speed. Sabayon is a derivative of Gentoo Linux, which compiles itself from source. This gives it immense speed, and tunes it perfectly to your system."

I understood that Gentoo's speed edge comes from the fact that the packages are compiled on the user's computer. Sabayon is a binary install so the binaries are compiled on other computer than the
user's (therefore they are not tailored for the user's system).

Packages installed with Portage naturally are optimized for the user's system architecture and user can reinstall even the base system with Portage to make it optimized(wonder if anyone has done that)

In addition, at least according to some BSD manuals, compiling software on a computer doesn't yield a significant increase in speed(although one can use optimization if her choice and leave out/add some compiling options with Gentoo's USE flags).

I have Gentoo on an old computer and it's quite fast but I think that is mostly due to the minimalism of the install.

And my first install of Gentoo tooks about 15-20 hours during two days, and the second install took 8 hours(most of the time I didn't have to give any attention to it). Of course that was the base system without proper fonts etc. and it's way slower than Sabayon's but still Gentoo install doesn't take weeks.

I installed Sabayon 3.0 last year and I liked it but it's not meant for 256MB RAM-machines.

Portage=power & joy for power users.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Cioran said...

DJ Gentoo said...

Updates are taken from the Gentoo repositories, and I'm guessing the Entropy binaries will just be recompiled versions of those.

In your experience (and compared to rolling distros like Arch or Fedora), doesn't that have consequences for stability, given that Sabayon draws mainly on masked packages?

4:50 PM  
Blogger DJ Gentoo said...

Probably not. Since the Entropy repository is essentially a binary mirror of Gentoo's Ebuilds, it would be as stable as if you were to use Portage.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous cioran said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous cioran said...

But insofar as Entropy "tracks" Unstable, aren't breakages a near certainty?

I'm just curious as to your own experiences: despite its "bleeding edge" reputation I'd trust Fedora as a server OS in the same way that I wouldn't trust Debian Sid; would you trust Sabayon with your valuable data?

5:20 PM  
Blogger DJ Gentoo said...

You have a point. I deleted your above comment because it was a duplicate.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried various distros on my laptop. Sabayon is the first one where I didn't need any manual config. to get 3d from my ATI x700 chip. I'm more of a linux noob by the way... since the mid 90s(on various PCs, not this laptop) I always got bored after spending several weeks getting my hardware to do something. But now I've got a running system to play with :)

12:13 AM  

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