Archive for August, 2010

Steam for Linux?

Now I know Valve has denied having a Linux version of their game platform (Steam) in the works, but a lot of bloggers are skeptical, and with good reason. On Steam’s website there’s a job offer. They’re looking for a Lead Software Engineer, and amongst the responsibilities listed, I spotted:

Manage the operation of large clusters of machines running both Windows and Linux in a highly available system.

and

Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.

You can’t argue with that folks. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.

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Help! The Linux Users! They’ve Got Me!

It’s been a little while. Before I continue with the post, I will make note of some key changes that this blog has gone through. First of all, I’ve changed the theme. Yeah, no sh*t. I also re-categorized all the posts and cleaned them up a little. I will also be introducing some guest bloggers (if I can find any) and permanent authors/contributors.

Right.

On to the post. As the title vaguely suggests, I’ve switched to Linux (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid), but not against my will. I have been using it full time since May 25th, and I can honestly say I’m  in love. I haven’t booted to Windows for weeks! The first thing that struck me was that I didn’t have to sign (or rather check) a contract in order to use the computer. Of course I had to check the regular one that states I can’t change the font and re-upload it as my own. Which leads me to my other point; I can change the font! I can do whatever the hell I please with my computer! I can change any element I don’t like, unlike Windows, where I would pay $200.00 for an OS, and then decide whether I like it or not (and still not really be able to change it).

I also really like the fact that most everything is integrated (and if it’s not, you can integrate it). Rhythmbox (note the Billy Joel obsession), Pidgin and Thunderbird (among others) can be almost fully integrated with Gnome (or KDE, or Xfce, or whatever else strikes your fancy). It is unbelievable useful. I can have everything open on other desktops and still get the useful information on my panel. If I don’t want a certain app to show up there, I can uninstall the indicator, or just comment out the code (depending on the circumstances). Another thing I like is that I can have a bazillion windows open at the same time without having a huge performance impact. Of course, there is a slight one, but I digress.

Probably the best thing about Ubuntu (and Linux in general) is the people. If I want help with Windows, I have to go through customer service, which means being on hold for 2 1/2 hours to speak to Victor in an undisclosed location (India) who will tell me to clear my cache and reboot. With Ubuntu, you log on to the forums and ask for help. The best part is that you actually get help (or a link to a similar thread). The people aren’t condescending assholes either! Just normal, decent people!

There are a few things I don’t really like though. The first is compiling software from it’s source-code. It’s such a pain ins the ass! I haven’t even managed to do it once yet (mainly because I haven’t really tried. I’ll get around to it; Rigs of Rods can wait). Another thing is that your have to enable proprietary drivers manually. This doesn’t seem like a big problem, but it is if your wireless card needs one, as you need and Internet connection to download one. I was running all over the house (with a laptop that has about 73 seconds of battery life) trying to find an Ethernet jack. I also can’t turn my track-pad on without freezing Gnome.

All in all, I have to say, this is the best thing I’ve ever done with my computer. I can’t really remove Windows (I can’t part with Halo and Half-Life), but I usually pretend I don’t see the Vista GRUB entries. Just try it out! It’s no walk in the park, but if you’re witty enough, you should be able to get it to work.

Have fun!

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