Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Going Triple with Ubuntu, Fedora and Sabayon

I needed to relax a bit today. My dad’s surgery went well yesterday, but – together with the workload at my job- I felt drained. It was time to play. Over the last few days I dowloaded three Linux distro’s, all DVD images: Ubuntu Edgy Eft, Fedora Core 6 and Sabayon. With a 40 Gb spare disk to play with it was time to install them all, on the same drive.

Ubuntu went fast and smooth. The DVD was installed in less than 30 minutes. With Ubuntu it’s an all or nothing approach, but since it is strictly desktop that makes sense. Fedora allows you some what more choice through the anaconda installer. I decided on the desktop option with both the KDE and Gnome desktops. The speed was a real improvement. The install was finished in somewhat more than 30 minutes, way faster than my experience with previous versions of Fedora.

Sabayon is a Gentoo-based distribution. The live DVD is a beauty, a showcase of what Linux is capable of in terms of eye candy. The two demo games, Quake IV and Cold War, demonstrate the strength as a gaming platform. The DVD has multiple boot options and is filled to the brim. Booting is slow and so is the install process. It took a full two hours, which is long compared to the other two, but decent compared to the 7 Gb footprint. Multiple desktop options (five if I counted correctly) with KDE/AIXGL and Gnome/XGL configured out of the box. Kuroo is available as a graphical front-end to Portage, which is okay for me since I never used Portage before. Installing new software isn’t complicated that way, but the process isn’t fast. Downloading and installing 4 small apps took over five minutes, where I know Ubuntu takes far less time. But, that being said, Sabayon beats both Ubuntu and Fedora in terms of speed. Applications fire up very fast and the spit and polish is breath taking. I like the Human theme of Ubuntu, but it looks bland and dull compared to the default Sabayon desktop. Of course, the desktop is always customizable, but to see it out of the box is just great.

The intention was to have a triple boot system. But I fouled up a bit. I didn’t set the bootsectors up properly for Ubuntu and Fedora, which means I can not boot into them now. Stupid, of course, but it gives me a excuse to continue playing. I will continue to work with Ubuntu for my day-to-day use. I do think Ubuntu made the right choices for creating a balanced desktop and having the Debian repositories at hand gives me access to tons and tons of more software. Way more than Fedora or Sabayon. Fedora has improved in terms of repositories, but it still has a cluttered menustructure. What’s the use of a default menu with submenu’s for each OpenOffice.org part? (something like Office-> Text editing -> OpenOffice.org Writer). There is a logic behind it, but when you see it all over the menu, with items scattered around, it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Fedora is more geeky than Ubuntu, but so is Sabayon. Sabayon’s suffers from one other problem: overkill. There are so many apps installed that the KDE menu is way too full. It’s somewhat better in Gnome. Despite that -at the end of the day- Sabayon stands as highly recommended.

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