Yesterday I ordered a new Laptop and today my Samsung NP300E7A-A02NL turned up. I wasn’t originally planning to blog the entire set-up process, but I did have a few initial thoughts and thought I might as well jot them down while I wait for the backup of my old laptop to finish.

First Impressions

It’s surprisingly light. With a 17.3 inch screen this is very much a desktop replacement and not a machine that I expect to be lugging around so I was a little surprised at how light it was when I pulled it out of the box (compared to my Dell Inspiron, which also has a 17.3 inch screen).

The laptop comes with Windows 7 pre-installed and – this time around – I am planning to keep a Windows partition. This is entirely because of the limitations of the Belgian online tax returns service, but that’s a rant for another time. One thing that did impress me when I initially booted into Windows – and I don’t know if this is a Microsoft or a Samsung thing – is that it promptly asked me if I wanted to partition my disk. It’s a nice touch, even if I did launch the Disk Management application (type Disk Management in the search box in the Start Menu) to delete the newly created D: drive and create a nice big chunk of free space.

I am less enthusiastic about the keyboard. The keyboard and the number pad are the chiclet (separated keys) style and the keys don’t travel as well as I am used to. As someone whose typing stye normally involves battering the keyboard into sbubmission, the lack of travel felt a litle uncomfortable. It’s early days yet, but this keyboard is going to take some getting used to.

Installing Sabayon

So in goes the previously prepared USB stick, reboot, press F2 to access the BIOS, and I’m in the Sabayon 8 live environment. It’s a painless process but I do like the reassurance of being able to check everything works before I hit the install button. And since I am typing this from part of the post from within the live environment, I think it’s time to start the install.

And we’re in.

I am increasingly impressed with the Anaconda installer. It recognised that there was unused space on the hard drive (I knew it was worth deleting the D: drive I created under Windows) so I was able to just accept the defaults, hit go and take the dog for a walk.

I did encounter one problem though. Once the install was complete, booting into Sabayon failed with the following message:

Block device /dev/mapper/vg_barbarella-lv_root is not a valid root device
Could not find the root device in .

This, it appears, is a problem with the bootloader install and is easily fixed by putting the USB stick back in the laptop and reinstalling the bootloader.

Sabayon 8

One of the things with using a rolling release distro is that you don’t realise quite how far your setup has diverged from the default until you come to do a fresh install on all new hardware. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that the default repository is now sabayon-weekly.

This repository was launched a year ago and is updated only once a week. What you lose in getting everything right now with this repository, you will gain in stability – that’s the theory anyway. I’ve left this set-up as it is for now but may go back to the main (all shiny, all the time) repository at some point in the future.

The Sabayon team also appears to have dropped Firefox from their default install in favour of Chromium. So I have installed Firefox and applied the Sabayon Chrome theme. Maybe it’s just me, but I do find the default Chromium theme to be quite an ugly affair.

I’m also a big fan of the Gnome desktop environment. I do like the direction the Gnome team are taking with Gnome 3, so once my preferred packages were installed, I untweaked all of the Sabayon tweaks and put the clock back in the centre of the system bar, because that’s where it belongs.

And finally

All of my data and all of my settings are currently sitting on an external hard drive. And now I am going to restore them. I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, I shall hit the Publish button on this post and then open a whisky while the restore completes.