Sabayon Linux
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Well, I've finally succombed - Kubuntu/Ubuntu off, Sabayon on!

Why?

Simple, mucked about with my PC, messed up Kubuntu, tried reinstalling Gutsy of various flavours, found broken closed source applications, Sabayon just WORKS out the box!

Installing the LIBDVDREAD files so you can play DVDs is a doddle - type "sudo emerge libdvdcss" in a terminal and off you go.

Stick all the Windows codecs in /usr/lib/codecs. Type "sudo emerge win32codecs" in a terminal and it will download and install them for you. This method puts them in /usr/lib/win32 - personally I put them all in both locations - belt and braces!

Java works, Flash works, Realplayer works (after you download and install it - easy peasy), though you can play through the installed players (MPlayer and Mozilla-Mplayer add-on for Firefox are already installed).

And it's FAST - some of the 3D games crawl along in Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu), but fly along under Gentoo.

Oh yes! And you can chose either KDE or Gnome as the desktop.

One brief word of warning here!

I originally installed from a Linux Magazine DVD and that worked just fine. Wonderful. But being me, I just had to download the x86-64 version for my AMD64 chipped PC.

Everything seemed fine at first, but I then noticed certain things weren't working! Namely Google Earth wouldn't start, and one or two of the games on the desktop wouldn't start.

Trying to start them from the console showed the system couldn't find a certain openGL file. Googled the problem, tried some of the recommended fixes, no success!

Reinstalled the 32-bit x86 version again and everything's fine.

Conclusion: Until the rest of the software catches up and make available properly written 64-bit versions, stick with the old 32-bit version - that applies to all other versions of Linux too!

32-bit Linux is perfectly quick enough - unless you really really must have top end graphics packages when 64-bit MAY help. Let's face it, Vista is still 32-bit :-)

Hold it! Change of mind!

I've just downloaded the latest version of the 64-bit Sabayon. It's fantastic! Everything works a treat. If you have a 64-bit chip, then go for the 64-bit Sabayon!

Hold it again!!!!

Just been fiddling around with the latest Sabayon 3.5 x86-64 - very nice, very pretty, and most codecs etc are installed by default.

2 small problems though…..

  • can't get the microsoft codecs to play .wmv files
  • can't get my printer to work - HP Deskjet 6940 - it used to work OK, now it doesn't.

Have now gone back to Sabayon 3.4 x86 version - it just WORKS!

Well, apart from the Bluetooth bit! Bought a new phone with Bluetooth, and could I get it working!

Tried installing Kubuntu 8.10, and Bluetooth works just fine in Kubuntu. Torcs - my favourite car racing game - works just fine too, as does GL-117 flight simulator.

Have now swiched back to Kubuntu from Sabayon. That's not to say Sabayon isn't any good - it most assuredly is excellent, if you want all the media bits to just work out of the box. It's just that I could get Bluetooth working.

Update:
Just tried the latest v5.2 Sabayon - excellent! If you want a Linux box which just installs all those vital twiddly bits (like Flash, media codecs, DVD etc) then go for Sabayon. It can save you an absolute age. Only downside to my mind is updates are a bit slow as it downloads source and compiles on your pc.

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