Posted by: linuxmoose | June 11, 2011

Review of Sabayon 5.5 Xfce

Sabayon, despite being in the top ten on Distrowatch, isn’t as publicized as other popular distributions. Xfce is my desktop of choice, so I thought that I would review the Xfce version of Sabayon 5.5, the newest edition.

I tested Sabayon in Virtualbox with 1 gigabyte of RAM. It booted from the iso image in 3 minutes 33.2 seconds. This seemed slow to me, but I really have no comparison. I think Ubuntu booted from cd this slowly, but I really don’t have any evidence on this. Anyway, it was slow. Once I reached the Xfce desktop I was dismayed to discover that there is no theming of Xfce, nor GTK. Checking the apearance section of the control panel I discovered that there is indeed nothing other then the default Xfce and GTK themes included. I don’t really understand this as the Gnome and KDE editions are quite heavily themed with very dark colors. Perhaps this is because the Gnome and KDE version are the main ones. Regardless, I found it irritating and it kind of put me off of the distribution from the start. The wallpaper selection is good, if you can find it. The wallpapers are all stored in /usr/share/backgrounds/.

The live envirnment was quite speedy, which was a good thing. The software selection is as follows:

Web Browser: Midori 0.3.2
No E-Mail cient
No media player
No music manager
Ristresso Image Viewer
Entropy Store

Plus a bunch of Xfce stuff. I was quite disappointed with the software selection. I have zero idea why a music manager was neglected, although it is excusable as lightweight music managers are rare. A media player’s absence, however, is pretty much inexcusable. There are plenty of candidates: Vlc, Mplayer, Totem, Xfmedia, Parole, and Whaawmp are ones that I can think of off the top of my head, there are probably many more that I don’t know of. Sill, one of those should have been suitable. There is also no e-mail client, although I didn’t mind that as I always end up uninstalling and E-Mail clients preincluded.

The package manager is the Entropy Store. It was slow, and the basic mode doesn’t provide all of the normal options found in a package manager. Switching it to advanced mode provided more options, and I don’t really see why it is not the default. Package selection is all right, but nothing like Debian’s. Still it should be suitable for most users.

The installation was easy to use, and I am fairly certain that Sabayon utilizes the Anaconda installer that is employed in Fedora. The install was quick, taking only 11 minutes and 38 seconds.

Rebooting into the newly installed system I noticed that it took quite a long time. Thinking that it may have been the first boot slowing things down I rebooted again and actually timed it. It took three minutes, which is slower then Windows 7 on a two year old laptop. Wondering what was taking so long I switched into verbose boot mode and noted that it actually looked good, which was a surprise. However I could find nothing that could be causing the abnormally slow boot.

One positive thing about Sabayon 5.5 Xfce was that there was only one crash. The crash was in XArchiver when I tried to open a .tar.gz file in order to attempt to make Xfce look a little better. This may very well be XArchiver’s fault though and I hope that the next version of Sabayon includes Squeeze or File Roller instead.

All in all I did not like Sabayon 5.5 Xfce. The interface was ugly and the boot times and application selection was pathetic. Entropy was slow and confusing. Admittedly I did not spend all that much time with Sabayon, but I did not enjoy the time I spent with it. The best part was the speed once it was installed but it wasn’t exceptionally fast either. I hope that Sabayon’s Gnome, Lxde and KDE editions are better because I was very disappointed by the Xfce version.



  1. I understand that Xfce is your desktop of choice, but you should really try the KDE or GNOME editions; for now, those are the main, well-supported editions. The Xfce and other editions are marked “EXPERIMENTAL” on purpose; they aren’t going to get the same level of support or stability until version 6.0 of Sabayon. What I’m saying is, although you had a bad experience, try to keep an open mind regarding Sabayon, because the Xfce edition is really not meant for wide release.

    • I’ll give the Gnome edition a try sometime then. I was not aware that the others are experimental, although that does make sense. Thanks for your advice.

  2. The boot time can be adjusted to a much better speed, there is a command passed at boot in grub, doslowusb, this is there to allow booting from thumbdrives and such, why it is included after install as well I have no clue.

    As to the rest, I think you hit it pretty much spot on with that as well.

    • Ah, that would explain it. Thanks for the tip and the compliment. I also like your username, wish I’d thought of that.

  3. That sounds pretty much like when I tried out 5.4, only then if I remember correctly the only app included was Firefox. Pathetic is the right word, but at least now we know thanks to one commenter that this edition is experimental.

    • Hopefully it improves. I really want to like Sabayon, especially since the other primary Gentoo based distribution for me to try is Calculate, which won’t install for some reason. I’m going to try the Gnome edition of Sabayon, perhaps I’ll do a review of that one as well.

  4. I’m pretty impressed with Sabayon 6 KDE and GNOME. Have you tried either?

    • I have not tried either, but I intend to.

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