emerge can't find 3.8.8 either. Actually portage seems to only see the already installed versions of linux-sabayon. Which makes sense I guess since this package isn't distributed via portage and entropy and portage only share the data to keep track of installed packages.
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>equery list -op linux-sabayon
* Searching for linux-sabayon ...
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.2-r13:3.2
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.3-r4:3.3
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.4-r6:3.4
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.5-r7:3.5
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.7.10:3.7
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.8.10:3.8
[I--] [??] sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.9.2:3.9
I also tried using emerge to install gentoo-sources-3.8.9 for which I had to use genkernel to build the actual kernel. Interestingly this didn't boot either. So I believe the problem is not the kernel itself, but some update in the genkernel configuration that's used to build it (and it's initrd).
What I did find out however was how to tell equo which version of a package to install. No need to specify any operator (<=>) like in portage, it's possible to just append the version to the package name:
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equo install -a linux-sabayon-3.8.10
(I guess sometimes stuff is so simple no one remembers to document it. Maybe someone could add a small comment in the manpage or the wiki.)
But the oldest 3.8 kernel in entropy is 3.8.10 which is not working too. So with knowing how to install a specific version, knowing that the version which worked is no longer available and that the oldest version available does not work either, I'll have to face the actual kernel-issue. But not in this thread.
Thanks to all who tried to help me.