Thanks, it’s time to push Sabayon farther

I want to take take a few moments from my deserved Christmas break to say thanks to all the donors who have contributed to our last fundraiser. After 1.5 years, we’ve been able to hit our €5000 goal. This is a big, I mean really big, achievement for such a small (I am not sure now) but awesome distro like ours.

We’ve always wanted to bring Gentoo to everyone, make this awesome distro available on laptops, servers and of course, desktops without the need to compile, without the need of a compiler! It turns out that we’re getting there.

So, the biggest part of the “getting there” strategy was to implement a proper binary package manager and starting to automate the distro development, maintenance and release process.
Even though Entropy is in continuous development mode, we’ve got to the point that it’s reliable enough. Now, we must push Sabayon even farther.

Let me keep the development ideas I had for a separate blog post and tell you here what’s been done, what we’re going to do and what we still need in 2013.

First things first, last year we bought a new and shiny build server, which is kindly hosted by the University of Trento, Italy, featuring a Rack 2U dual Octa Opteron 6128, 48GB RAM and, earlier last year,
2x240GB Samsung 830 SSDs. In order to save (a lot of) money, I built the server myself and I spent something like 2500€ (including the SSDs). Take into consideration that prices for hardware in the EU are much higher than in the US.

Now we’re left with something like 3000€ or more and we’re planning to do another round of infra upgrades, save some money for hardware replacement in case of failures, buy t-shirts and DVDs to give out at local events, etc.

So far, the whole Sabayon infrastructure is spread across 3 Italian universities and TOP-IX (see at the bottom of for more details) and consists of four Rack 1U servers and one Rack 2U.
Whenever there’s a problem, I jump on a car and fix issues myself (like PSU, RAM, HDD/SSD failures) or kindly delegate the task to friends living closer than me.

As you can imagine, it’s easy to suck 200-300€ whenever there’s a problem and while we have failover plans (to EC2), these come with a cost as well.
As you may have already realized, free software does not really come for free, especially for those who are actually maintaining it. Automation and scaling out across multiple people (individuals involved in the development of this distro) are the key, and in particular the former, because it reduces the “human error” impact on the whole workflow.

As I mentioned above, I will prepare a separate blog post about what I mean with “automation”. For now, enjoy your Christmas holidays, the NYE celebrations and why not, some gaming with Steam on Sabayon.


About lxnay

the creator of Sabayon Linux, Entropy Package Manager {Eit, Equo, Rigo}, Molecule release media buildsystem, Matter Portage buildbot/tinderbox and only God knows what else...

8 responses to “Thanks, it’s time to push Sabayon farther

  1. Take a look at the offerings from the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University ( . You may get free hosting there and maintenance is included.

  2. Mihai Sorin Dobrescu


    As the most of the people use the forums to complain about things they encounter or ask how to solve some problems they have, forgetting usually to say anything when the things are nice, I take the opportunity to thank you all for this great distro, the great time you spend on it, for us to enjoy a wonderful experience with Sabayon.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  3. Martux

    Hi! Just my two cent: To push Sabayon farther, speak to spread it more, you really need to take attention to all the massive installer problems out there. I am a long time Gentoo user (+12 years now) and *very* attracted to Sabayon. But and that is a really huge, fat, big but: every time I try to install Sabayon from different daily or official ISOs onto different machines, I get sooner or later into troubles with the installer or the installation works and the boot screen just stays black, or the ISO’s bootscreen stays black… You get the idea. I would have Sabayon installed on at least 5 machines already, if there haven’t been such issues. IT’s like russian roulette. Anyways, I will always check back from time to time and try again, as Sabayon is truly my first choice (because I can administer it just like Gentoo). Keep up the work!

    • Martux,
      the thing is, as far as I know, Fedora rewrite Anaconda (c.f. ) and there seems to be some issues from the Sabayon developers’ point of view with it.
      So the task would be to either fork the old Anaconda, adapt the new one or write an own one.
      I am not tough enough to do it. Are you?

      • Martux

        Andre, I didn’t mean any offense. I know it’s a small team and all. But for me it’s really like over the last year I tried several times to give Sabayon a go, and it almost never succeeded because of this “black screen of death”. Whew, that’s such a pity, as Sabayon is truly amazing from a Gentooist point of view. Of course I will still be checking it regularly. Take care!

  4. Martux, I didn’t read it as offense.
    I’m puzzled, that a Gentoo user respects Sabayon. I thought, those guys like to compile everything … 😀

    • Martux

      We do 😉 But I cannot sell that to any of my friends/relatives and on the other hand don’t want to “remote-administer” too many machines… On the other hand, Sabayon is so close to Gentoo, that it’s really fun to maintain, if ever something goes wrong…

      • Hm, I know, what you mean. My wife is using Ubuntu Precise and I let here, since she wants to learn how to “administer” it … but never upgrades the system *sighs*
        My brother is happy with it, too. Okay, he uses Windows most the times – basically to play all the time -.-” But hey, he has Linux on the other partitions of all of his machines 🙂

        I choosed Sabayon Linux for me, because I wanted to learn more about how Linux works. But Gentoo alienated me with its “compile everything”. So I choosed “Gentoo light”. I enjoy to know, that I can create a Gentoo distri out of it when I like.
        And most supporters on run Arch Linux (in case they don’t use Ubuntu), so this sounded to “mainstream” to me 😀
        I am very happy about Sabayon. But I am too slow to help developing, so I contribute rather on supporting and/or translating 🙂

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