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My Gen-2-Sabayon Experiment

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 0:37
by DontPanic
I occasionally see posts asking about instructions for turning a Gentoo installation into a Sabayon installation. It is usually explained to the OP that there's more to Sabayon than just adding packages.

But, as an experiment, I got curious to see how close I could get to Sabayon starting with Gentoo. In case anyone else is curious, I thought I'd post some observations from my experiment.

I've ended up with a very robust and usable Gentoo installation that has some merits of it's own compared to my Sabayon-Linux installations. But, as expected, there are several areas where I fell short of matching my Sabayon installations.

Of course the most obvious difference is that this process is way, way more involved than the CD or DVD installation. For those reading this post who have never done a Gentoo installation, this is one of the key differences between Sabayon-Linux and Gentoo. Building up a Gentoo platform can be fun in the same way building something yourself is satisfying. But there is a considerable process before you have a system you can start using for all the things you want a computer to do.

Visually, it is very hard to match the look and feel of Sabayon. One of Sabayon's appeals is that it just looks good. The Sabayon developers have tweaked and fine-tuned the interface (especially KDE, and I assume Gnome) to have a distinctive look and feel that I wasn't able to match with the simple installation of a theme.

I was able to get accelerated graphics and compiz-fusion going, but it loses a lot of it's visual appeal when run in a default desktop as opposed to the Sabayon-tuned desktop.

Of course, you lose much of the Sabayon 'works-out-of-the-box' aspect by building up from a Gentoo installation. However, if you want to go the 'Gentoo' route, it was a much more satisfying 'Gentoo' experience to build all my basic components in one big build session than to individually identify all the components I needed (cups, alsa, mozilla, Xorg, etc, etc...). And I'm not sure if I'm just better at Gentoo now, but most of the components seemed to work without as much of the fuss I encountered the last time I built a Gentoo installation. By leaning on the Sabayon developer's identification of the package list, it just seemed to go smoother.

Since I'm working with a Desktop computer environment that has standard ethernet networking, I can't say I really tested the robustness of my method with laptops ,wireless, or countless other goodies that Sabayon builds in but I don't utilize.

I used a Sabayon-Linux 3.4 miniCD installation as by basis for what I was trying to get the Gentoo installation to look like. Then I used the following general steps for my experiment:
(1) Build and stabilize a basic Gentoo installation.
(2) Add the Sabayon Overlay (This was tricky, because it is not one of the default layman overlays).
(3) Add Sabayon Sources and build a Sabayon kernel.
(4) Build a set of portage configuration files based on the existing Sabayon-Linux 3.4 miniCD installation.
(5) Build a package list from the existing Sabayon-Linux installation, and use a bash script to install that package list on the Gentoo installation.
(6) Fix all the broken stuff, and off you go.

Actually, there weren't many new things broken that I hadn't already broken at some point on one of my Sabayon-Linux installations. So I knew how to fix most of the problems pretty quickly.

If anyone is interested, I can post more details. But half the fun of doing it the Gentoo way is figuring it out for yourself anyways.

Re: My Gen-2-Sabayon Experiment

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:25
by dukdukgoos
I would be interested in more details. Sounds like an interesting experiment.

Re: My Gen-2-Sabayon Experiment

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 18:19
by DontPanic
I took a good deal of notes with an eye toward making this concept into a "HowTo". But I realized that if I made this into a "HowTo", most people would end up clobbering their computer trying to follow the instructions.

Anyhow, I put my notes up on my server if you're interested.

Re: My Gen-2-Sabayon Experiment

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 15:54
by jorma
Thx for documenting this interesting experiment, might try the same with my new Gentooo install.