In my review of Sabayon Linux 8, I praised Sabayon’s ability to combine spectacular beauty, breathtaking performance, bleeding-edge updates, competitive application selection, server-grade stability, and superb resource management. Sabayon provides an experience any experienced Linux user can fall in love with, and so far as I can tell there is still no Linux distribution that quite matches it in sheer awesomeness.
Sabayon performs even better than ever
Sabayon carries over the same amazing experience of Sabayon 8 to this release, and that experience continues in Sabayon 9 KDE. Just about everything is even zippier than ever, with application startup, task switching, memory management, and transition effects as deliciously graceful as ever. The biggest improvements to Sabayon, however, were in package management. Sabayon’s new package manager Rigo is a complete rehaul for their application installation interface, and is a leaps-and-bounds improvement over Sulfur.
Sulfur’s Successor: Rigo Application Browser
The python-based Sulfur package manager has been stagnating in Sabayon for quite some time, with mediocre performance and memory leaks all over the place. It was a sinking ship, so the Sabayon development team replaced Sulfur with a new package manager, dubbed the “Rigo Application Browser”, and Rigo has combined stellar performance, ease of use, functionality, and superior aesthetics into one truly amazing application.
The Rigo interface, which was inspired by Google “sports a very simple and clean design (Rigo means ‘row’, more or less): the whole interaction happens through a single widget: the search bar.” This makes Rigo one of the cleanest, easiest to use package managers currently available (even easier than the Ubuntu Software Center in my experience!), and “if you’re wondering about the speed, well, this is blazing fast. If you’re wondering what package managers are going to become on the Linux platform, that’s the 2012 answer to that question."
Rigo is the first Sabayon package manager that really felt part of Sabayon, the first truly amazing front-end for equo that provided the delicious Sabayon experience we've come to expect. Rigo is the single biggest improvement to Sabayon Linux, so big in fact that I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Ubuntu, Fedora, and even openSUSE incorporating similar designs for their package managers. with Rigo’s elegant simplicity, less really is more!
Sabayon KDE integration is Superb:
My biggest misgiving for KDE is that their “Netbook” workspace layout was buggy and limited on customization. I don’t know if it’s a last-minute upstream KDE 4.8.3 improvements, or a Sabayon integration fixes (probably a little bit of both!), but their netbook experience is far more stable and usable. Kudos to both the KDE and Sabayon teams for improving the KDE netbook experience!
Sabayon makes KDE beautiful!
Sabayon brings out the best of the KDE experience, and this is particularly visible in the KDE standard experience, where Sabayon beautifies KDE with a delectable theme reminiscent of the desert this distro gets its name from. Explore Sabayon and you’ll find theme customizations everywhere, including the bootloader, login screen, KDE loading animation, wallpaper, taskbar calendar, networking applet, and a myriad of custom tweaks. They’ve also changed the mouse click defaults from single-click to double-click to open, for those of us who found the 1-click default annoying (I know I did!)
Custom Application Set
Sabayon has a unique variety of default applications, the most prominent being:
- Clementine: “a multiplatform music player. It is inspired by Amarok 1.4, focusing on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing your music.”
- VLC Media Player: the most versatile and multi-platform media player.
- XBMC Media player: “an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media” This media player is seriously cool, it’s probably the coolest and most aesthetically-pleasing media player in existence!
- Chromium Browser: Sabayon is one of the only major Linux distributions I've seen that uses Google's open-source cousin as the the default browser.
- Yakuake Terminal: “a drop-down terminal emulator based on KDE Konsole technology”
- Marble Desktop Globe: “Marble is a Virtual Globe and World Atlas that you can use to learn more about Earth: You can pan and zoom around and you can look up places and roads. A mouse click on a place label will provide the respective Wikipedia article.
Most default applications for Sabayon 9 KDE are part of the KDE Software Compilation 4.8.3.
The otherwise-delicious Sabayon still has some burnt areas:
- While aesthetically pleasing overall, the theme is a bit blurry and badly contrasted
- LibreOffice freezes after typing the first character. Even after I deleted the configuration and restarted, the problem persists; to my knowledge there is no workaround.
- The Netbook workspace layout needs to work on application navigation (although this is more of an upstream issue, hopefully KDE will fix this in their next release).
- They desperately need better GRUB 2 configuration tools, and to fix the existing ones.
Update: There is a bug in the latest release so in order to install LibreOffice you can use following command:
sudo equo remove languagetool && sudo equo install dev-java/icedtea:6 languagetool && sudo eselect java-vm set system icedtea-6 && sudo reboot
Try Sabayon out for yourself!
Although Sabayon is a lot easier to use than it used to be a couple years ago, they are still a relatively advanced distribution, providing a balance between the powerful performance of Gentoo and the ease-of-use of Ubuntu. I wouldn't recommend Sabayon for a total newbie, but for more experienced Linux users it’s definitely one of the top, if not the best Linux distribution out there overall.