“Sabayon, you’re cut.” And now I am a KDE convert.

I had to remove Sabayon from my system. Sorry, I just had to.
It lasted until sometime in November, but eventually it was driving me nuts and I just could not take it any more.
Whilst it was not the worst Linux I ever used (I would probably pick it over Ubuntu with a unity desktop). I found I spent more time trying to configure it than using it.
Well, sometimes you have to suffer and then good things happen. On my workshop computer I installed Mageia 3. Given that the workshop computer is really old I was impressed by how fast it ran, considering it was using KDE.

I installed Kubuntu, and as per my install of Mageia on my workshop computer, I was very surprised at how it had matured, become usable and was quick to load.

The thing that drove me mad with Sabayon was the installers for packages Rigo and Entropy. There were too many manual things to remember to do. Trying to find a package in that lot was irritating. I hate it when something is stripped of all functionality in the name of being light weight and fewer buttons etc, but made it more difficult and less functional (sort of like Gnome 3 and Unity).
The final straw was when an update came through and screwed up my system. I did not pay attention to the type of update clicked OK and then it went and installed a Kernel update.
This then broke all sorts of things that were previously working. I still had not got some programs to work and I seemed to be going round in circles. I wrote previously about how I screwed up my system; well this time it was Sabayon. As I was trying to do something I needed a distro that would allow me to do that and not spend all my time trying to fix things – I need something that was better (for me).

If it looks bad, then it is probably worse

I was not planning on spending hours to fix this, but now I had no choice. I loaded a live version of Sabayon; it seemed that I could not see the Sabayon partitions. I loaded a live version of Mint and I could see the partition but could not do anything with it.

I downloaded System Rescue CD. I could see the partition but I could not mount it. This is where I really screwed things up. I tried to use fsck and some other utilities; I was getting nowhere. I discovered that some of these changes are only seen after a reboot.
The next time I rebooted I got a message that looked like it was a blank hard drive. Now Windows was not recognized!

I did some research and as a last ditch attempt I tried Testdisk. I ran the utility and it too was announcing that some super blocks did not match. I did a scan; it did not find all my drives. I chose the option to do a deep scan and left it running overnight. The next day I could see dozens of drives listed I went through and found the ones that had my data on them and lo and behold I was able to make back ups of my Sabayon data and Windows data and extract them into a backup.

I followed the screen prompts, which were not very descriptive, but now I had my data so I was not too concerned. When I rebooted, Testdisk had fixed my Windows boot partition. I still could not boot Sabayon but at this point I was going to reinstall Sabayon.

If you have a similar issue to what I have described I highly recommend this utility. I was really sceptical that testdisk would work, but it really did and allowed me to recover my data. Testdisk is available for Linux and Windows If I have an issue or asked to fix an issue with a hard drive, I will reach for testdisk.

Backup you must, before new distro you install…important lessons you will learn

So after using Sabayon for a while I found most of the programs I wanted, but also found that some were quite old versions. I thought ‘no big deal’, I will update Linux Mint on my other partition to Mint 15. The fact that Mint 15 is only supported for 9 months instead of 12 is not a big deal because I thought I will use Sabayon 70-80% of the time and that will cover me until I install the next Mint version. If anything is an issue in Sabayon I will just boot into Mint.

This is where I made a big stupid mistake. I underestimated the install required for Linux Mint 15. In the past, installing Mint was great but they have changed things slightly and it seems more convoluted.

The install of Mint would not let me rewrite over the old Mint version on my hard drive. I was stuck, I chose to delete the Linux Mint partitions. As I did that, I noticed the labels for my other partitions Sda9 and Sda10 changing and I thought they belonged to Sabayon. I thought ‘this is not good’ but everything is backed up. I have only been using this for a week, so no big deal I will just reinstall the whole thing. Easy.

But then I was thinking about what I had done over the past week of Sabayon use and then remembered all those passwords that I had been changing through my password manager, (this is the downside of password managers – complex passwords and I have no idea what they are). I did not back them up as I had not finished changing them all). A cold shiver came over me when I realized that it is probably not going to be able to boot because it will be looking in the wrong location on the hard drive.

Long story short, I restarted and tried to boot into Sabayon. Nope, it did not boot. I tried grub rescue, typed in some text, got to the next screen, and then an error message complained about super blocks and other things.

At this point I thought I would just work to recover my passwords it is still not the end of the world.

However I gave it just one more try (which was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back) and I put in System Rescue disk, pressed some buttons and then then when I tried to boot – nothing. An error message that my hard drive was not installed or something like that.
OOPS! I had just borked my computer!

Sabayon first thoughts

A few weeks after backing up my main desktop, I started looking around to find another distro to take the place of Korora Linux.

When I had Korora on my computer I was tri-booting between Windows 7, Korora and Linux Mint 14. The Korora installation was an LVM style installation (setting this up was the source of my main issues I had with Korora).

One of the presenters on the MintCast podcast was always talking about Sabayon and how good it was. I have never used a Gentoo based distro and after giving a Fedora-based distro a chance last year I thought I should give Sabayon a try. Then when my Linux Format magazine turned up, Sabayon was the featured distro on the disk and it was not the Gnome version (Bonus!).

I installed it right into the same LVM area as used by Korora and kept my Linux Mint partition untouched. This went very smoothly – it found the LVM partition easily.

I have to say first impressions were good. The CUPS and the printer driver installed easily (and it actually tells me my ink levels). It seemed to recognize my dual monitor setup immediately and all I had to do was un-mirror the screens.

I went looking to install my base applications – Skype, Thuderbird, Google Chrome, Redbook, password manager etc. I used it for about a week. All was good until I realized that Sabayon (and perhaps Gentoo) is not really as mainstream as I was used to.

There was no direct install package available on the Codeweavers website for Sabayon or Gentoo. I tried to follow the instructions for the generic install and it just was not happening. I bypassed this and continued to look for other software. There is a lot of software available and the thing I noticed most was I started to dislike Rigo. At first it seemed like a good fast package manager, but I realized as I started to look for something like “editor”, that I could not order my search or define the fields where it should look. To make matters worse I could not figure out what order that they were in because it was not alphabetical.

It is touted as the equivalent of a Google search but it is not. It is too minimalistic. It could be better by adding a few features. I have added Entropy as an alternative. I tend to look there first however I have found that depending on how I put the search term in it will sometimes not find items either. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about Sabayon.