Fabio is the Sabayon Linux project leader and a Gentoo developer. He is also a member of the engineering team at lightstreamer.com.
Hello Fabio! Before we start, could you please tell us a few things about
you? Who you are, what do you do in your life and how is the weather over
there ? :)
I am the founder and leader of Sabayon Linux. But also a Computer Scientist and Software Engineer with strong background on Linux environments. Last but not least, proud member of the engineering team at lightstreamer.com, from where i take the money for my own living. All my life orbits around Computer Science, I enjoy what I do till the point that I feel like a kid playing with toys in the garden all day long. That is some kind of passion I've always had since I was 5 or 6. Learning through breaking was my motto!
I was totally surprised by the fact that you were born in 1985. How can
someone your age create such a popular distro? Is it true that you started
working on RR4 when you were 18? And why did you choose Gentoo?
I guess it's been because I loved to create something that people found exciting, extreme and crazy. I started making clones of Gentoo LiveCDs supporting more and more features, such as the Reiser4 filesystem (RR4 means Rescue Resier 4), and Compiz stack later on. That's what Linux enthusiasts were looking for! I just gave them what they wanted, working out of the box. Yeah, I was 18, and I feel the same excitement now that I'm almost 26 (sigh!). I chose Gentoo because it is like a toy you can build and break (and fix) your own. No other distro gives you such level of freedom.
Would you say that you are the Sabayon Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL) like Pat Volkerding? So what is Sabayon? Democracy or Meritocracy?
Yeah, I am BDFL. Because I also think that on software projects, leadership is vital. It gives you a direction, a vision, a path. Like it or not, sometimes software engineering is about taking the right choice, there is no space for uncertainty. Patrick Volkerding has been one of the first people who were able to inspire me, and funny that after ten years, I have him on my Facebook. Why are you asking me about Democracy OR Meritocracy? They can both coexist. But as I said, democracy in a Linux distro for me means letting users express what they need, listening to them, take the right decisions and keep the happy at the same time.
Which was the greatest challenge you faced during these years? Equo and Entropy maybe?
If I would have to make a list, yeah, Entropy (but even Sabayon itself?) would be at the top. 150.000 lines of code all written with my own hands. And it's never done. But also porting the Anaconda Installer to Sabayon was epic. In any case, Sabayon is full of helper tools I wrote during the years, and they are for sure a key part of the success. How can one man manage to deliver a production-quality distro? Many people don't see it, they think a distro is only about packing packages together, that's very sad.
This month Sabayon is included on our magazine DVD. Could you quote the major reasons you would recommend Linuxinside readers to install it and give it a try?
Sabayon is extreme. It has always the latest and greatest software, no need to reinstall on every new version, because we're a rollingdistro. At the same time, Sabayon is rock solid, the perfect fit for the average Joe using web browsers all day, the extreme Linux gamer (we have a gazillion of games), your accountant and the bleeding edge developer living inside you.
Sabayon is known for its beautiful artwork and the looks. Does this have to do with the fact that Italy is a fashion-leading country? Would you say that pretty is a feature?
Pretty is always a feature. Look at our text-based package manager client: equo, it's designed around colors to make it easy for user to filter out different levels of information (informational, warnings, errors). Combining Italian style with British quality is a perfect win: Ian Whyman is our artwork hero in Sabayon.
What's your opinion about projects like Unity and Gnome 3? Are you ready for the migration from Gnome 2.32 to Gnome 3?
We have GNOME3 in our main repositories since July. Sabayon 7 is going to be shipped with it, so, yeah, we're ready to make the jump and make sure it won't be so dramatic for users. For example, our default GNOME3 look will feature some standard desktop features, like the old and lovely window manager minimize, maximize and close buttons (GNOME3 has only the latter), and several other refinements that everybody will appreciate.
Is there anything you don't like about Linux?
The fact that people think that Linux = free. Unfortunately, even a distro like Sabayon requires money to keep going. Little money of course, but you know how the actual world-wide economy is.
What can we expect to see in future releases of Sabayon? Any future plans or
Sabayon 7 will kick ass. It will be full of new big/small features. We always prefer to keep a bit of secrecy around new features until the release date. Just keep downloading new Sabayon releases once they're out!
Anything you might like to add?
We're looking for donations to keep the project going. Please visit: http://sabayon.org/donate to know more and to DONATE!
Fabio thanks in advance for your time and keep up the good work!
Thanks to you! My pleasure.
*Η μετάφραση της συνέντευξης του Fabio θα γίνει τις επόμενες ημέρες.