Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not Just a Tasty Dessert!

I haven't had much time to try Linux distros the last few years, contenting myself with running Windows as an OS while trying as much as possible to use open source and/or free apps like OpenOffice and Audiograbber and MediaMonkey. But I picked up a copy of LinuxWorld last week with a copy of the latest version of the Sabayon distribution on a DVD and decided to see just how easy it really is. The Sabayon developers are specifically going for ease of use and out-of-the-box functionality and let me say that I think they've succeeded admirably.

I popped the disk in my old hand-built PC that I used to use for audio and photo editing. It's about 5 years old and I hadn't used it for anything much in quite a few months. It's running on an old 1.33 GHz AMD chip with half a gig of RAM and two IDE hard drives totaling about 140GB of space. It also has a first generation Sound Blaster Audigy soundcard.

The CD is a Live distribution, so I was able to boot into Sabayon without overwriting Windows. It came up with no problems, even though I've got a USB KVM switch sharing the 19" LCD and the USB keyboard and mouse with my current photo-editing PC. As all seemed well and as I'd already cleared off anything I wanted to save, I hit the icon to install to the hard drive. I answered a few easy questions, let it choose how to partition the drives, and then let it do its thing. It did take a little while to install, but much less time than Windows XP and with many fewer questions. The first reboot from the hard drive was also a little slow but subsequent boots have been pretty fast.

Let me say that I am amazed at the hardware recognition. It recognized my soundcard and the USB mouse and kybd and everything else I've tried. The only issue I've run into so far is that it doesn't want to let me increase the screensize beyond 1152x864 but I'm sure I can find a way to resolve that.

Sabayon comes with a pretty comprehensive set of apps - I really haven't had a chance to try much yet but I'll keep you posted with how well this goes.



At 11:25 AM, Blogger justisengard said...

Had not heard of Sabayon before. I have used and been impressed with Ubuntu in the same fashion as you mention here. It just recognized just about everything.
Soo, you about to dumb Windows completely?

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

Probably not - I pretty much use open source or otherwise free stuff for everything other than the OS itself as it is. Just tried playing a DVD with Kaffeine on the Linux box and was told it was encrypted and that I'd have to install libdvdcss - well, of COURSE it's fucking encrypted as every commercial DVD in the world is. While basics (web surfing, email, playing an audio CD) have worked pretty seamlessly, there are still way too many annoyances like the above for me to go cold turkey.


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