Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spending a little time with Sabayon

Sabayon has quietly started to emerge - to use a term that Gentoo Linux uses as the name of its system packaging update utility - as one of the more solid "rolling release" systems.  The term "rolling release" in Linux software refers to the ability to continually (or occasionally) perform software upgrades, without having to install a new release.

Over the past year or so, Sabayon has really refined this technique.  They get the absolute newest software from Gentoo Linux, and their primary developer, Fabio Erculiani, also participates in Gentoo Linux development, so he has a good understanding of how Gentoo Linux works, its advantages, and also some of its shortcomings.  He has created Sabayon Linux as a convenient way to either update from the actual Gentoo Linux source code, or to update using already compiled and tested code, that he packages in the form of weekly updates.

I have found his approach to work very well.  The only thing I'd like to see work better are the mirror sites.  Only one of them performs well for me, and it's not always available to me.  Fortunately, it is available to me today, and so I am taking the opportunity to upgrade my Sabayon system and work with it for a while.

So far, that has been proceeding quite nicely, and in fact, a rather large upgrade just finished.  I am going to refresh the package cache, see if any other new packages have arrived, then check out the resulting system.


xzcallaway said...

Sounds interesting. Is Sabayon compatible with the packages on

Brian Masinick said...

No, not directly. Sabayon uses a packaging format that is directly common with Gentoo Linux, and also similar to Slackware and Arch Linux, based on the tar.gz format, but usually with the .tgz format.

Using the "alien" utility, you may be able to convert packages and get them to work, but as the name implies, produces software with .deb format, which is the Debian package format. The alien utility can convert between the three common packaging formats, the Red Hat .rpm format, the Debian .deb format, and the Slackware .tgz format, but changing packaging formats alone is not a guarantee that the software will actually work.

If you are interested, though, experiment, try it and find out what works and what does not work.