Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sabayon 6 Roundup - Fluxbox and XBMC

Having looked at the two main editions of Gnome x86 and KDE x64 I've come to the conclusion, that the best way to use Sabayon 6 on the desktop is... to log into Fluxbox. When talking about the installer I briefly mentioned that it launches in a Fluxbox environment if you choose install directly from the boot menu, which it falls back into if things go wrong, and believe me they do.

Both editions have it as a great light weight alternative. The menu is customized enough to allow access to several applications including Konsole, no dead entries. It's a good start and if you want to use it full time you can add the rest later.
I found going into Fluxbox on the KDE spin gave me the responsiveness that I had been looking for, and you can still have all your preferred applications just a click or a run command away.

Sabayon 6 KDE with Gwenview open in Fluxbox
If you read my previous article you could think KDE in Sabayon is a dog. Don't get me wrong, it isn't, and it seemed to feel a little faster and Plasma more stable as I continued using it, but it just isn't quite there when compared to KDE editions of Debian or Slackware based derivatives. Plus I felt the software included lacking and terribly mediocre. It makes you question the size of the image when not even an Ftp client is installed. XBMC is the one application that makes up for it.

So I think for me personally, installing the KDE edition and then running Chromium, VLC and Clementine from Fluxbox is the preferred option. It's also enough to launch the media center if you want to use it mainly for that and just on the side sometimes a bit of browsing or as a back up PC, instead of going for the full on option with XBMC only install. Not to forget it can be run from DVD if you prefer that and only reboot your machine once a year. Or perhaps Sabayon SpinBase could be put to good use here to build a stripped down image.

Media center in full screen
On the GNOME spin the media center did not start, not even from the boot menu, but comments on another site suggested running “sudo liveinst-update-quick” updates packages in memory before install and is supposed to fix this problem. Alternatively, doing a full update after install would fix it. Then there's the oddity that apparently for others it worked in the GNOME edition but not in KDE. Just try and choose which one works for you. Still, it feels sloppy, and that the team did not think it necesary to make a respin available does not inspire confidence either.

When I set out to test Sabayon I had only planned to do a quick overview of the GNOME edition. I ended up downloading the KDE 4 spin and came to the point where I am seriously considering building a media server with it. That's how intriguing this distribution is. It's not perfect, but it's seriously fun to explore and play with.

Part 1: Sabayon 6 GNOME

Part 2: Sabayon 6 KDE


  1. I've run Sabayon exclusively for over a year. Gnome 2.whatever, Gnome 3 (briefly), and now with the XFCE Desktop and I love it. X might break occasionally so it may not be for the new user, but if you're looking for a serious replacement for the hellishly long compile times in Gentoo Sabayon may be for you.

  2. I have Sabayon Linux KDE Edition on my media centre. It uses XBMC as the front-end and TVheadend as the back-end for DVB-T (terrestrial live digital broadcast TV). XBMC also allows me to watch and listen to media on the hard disk, and to view Internet TV. I only had to resort to using Portage (the source package manager) to install TVheadend and LIRC, and to rebuild the kernel, but everything else is managed using Entropy (the binary package manager).

  3. Thanks for the tips. Sabayon seems like a distribution that grows on you, or at least me, you have to give it some time.

  4. I am using the e17 version of sabayon 6. I know that it is on his first steps and it is unstable (even the sabayon site say that), but it is a nice desktop to look. You could get a high grade of customization and yet do not use a lot of ressources.
    Sabayon (at least the e17 version) it is not for a newbie on GNU/Linux, but if you use a little of time you get a nice distro. I get better perfomance with sabayon than with ubuntu. Debian squeeze with lxde or xfce are other history
    I have installed that version on two pc and a vmware virtual machine and the install never failed (you said that there are a lot of fails).
    I have been using sabayon for a few days (maybe a week) because i have to many problems with my previus kde distro, sound specific problems (intel hda chip). It was on the sabayon forum that i get the CORRECT answer (yea, even in the alsa mailist have the WRONG answer).
    After that i installed sabayon, reported a bug and the reply come in less than 10 hours. You should talk about the community support given by the members of the distro. That is a plus, at least in my case.


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