by playing it safe.
Well, that's not entirely true, but I've gone back, reinstalled Sabayon 8 from scratch. The minimal install (if you followed the saga) was too much of a mess, and while I might well have got it all working just so eventually, right now there's been more than enough re-installing going on.
The new install seems quicker than the old one, and the evidence is in lower utilisation of CPU when resting (around2-9%) suggesting something was happening out of sight (that wasn't revealed by the system monitor) and slowing the whole machine. So all my data has gone back on, FF & Thunderbird are restored and most of my app preferences are back again. I've also removed all the games I won't ever play to keep updates smaller (and because they are too weak to bother with).
It doesn't have that snappy crispness that Pear has, but sharp fonts are very welcome. Pear was very impressive though, and I'd certainly recommend it to those who like the Apple way of working but would like to try Linux. If it was just a little more windows-like I'd have VERY seriously considered keeping it, even with the reduced software availability.
Tonight there will be a software update. Not sure I want to expose my newly re-built box to it yet!