Sabayon Linux: Great Until You Update Something

Before I begin, let me say that I hold no ill will for Sabayon Linux.  In fact, it is near the top of the list of my favorite Linux distributions and the second most user-friendly distro I’ve ever used (the first being Ubuntu).  Sabayon has an excellent feature set, plenty of pre-installed software, and it works out of the box!  It is such a great distro that I have installed it four times despite its failing at the hands of the same problem each time.

I currently use Sabayon on my Desktop machine, but I used to also have it on my laptop.  I use it as my quick and easy computer if there is some task which I don’t really know how to do because Sabayon has most of the software needed to do anything on it by default (as opposed to the minimalistic arch linux on the laptop).  It works great, with a single exception: updating can be a risky procedure.

Most of the time, it’s fine to update.  Sabayon, which is based on Gentoo, even has a great binary package manager, entropy.  However, there are certain times when updating is surprisingly un-user-friendly.  If you update your kernel version, you need to manually get all the drivers for it.  Not being aware of this caused me to experience an unfortunate crash several times.  Most recently, I allowed the package manager to update one of my configuration files (I hadn’t made any changes to the file, so I figured there was no problem).  Bad Idea.  The next time I booted up the computer, ther X server would not work.  This means I’m stuck on the command line, which isn’t much of a short term problem, but I’d eventually like my GUIs back.

After spending some time trying to get stuff back to normal, I just decided I should switch distros.  Now I have to pick.  I’m looking at Ubuntu as my first choice right now, but I didn’t like the newest release (which is why I started using Sabayon on that computer in the first place).  Maybe I’ll like it better after having had a break.  My other options are Gentoo and arch, so Ubuntu is the way to go if I want it to be easy.  I’ll keep you posted on what happens with the Desktop.

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