The New and the Old
Since this column was first launched, Linux has increased its hoard of commercial games manyfold (not that we cover commercial games here), and the free offerings are sprouting and growing all over the hills and under the hills, some to rather large and sophisticated packages, and all of them expanding the code base across the board. Serious folk often write off games as fluff; after all, computers are serious machines for serious work—work, work, never shirk. Let's be honest, though; games drive the hardware industry, particularly in graphics cards, sound cards and processors. I feel games will help encourage vendors to release their hardware specifications and drivers for Linux—a necessity for a gaming environment, especially more multimedia support. Serious people can moan all they want about how Linux is a server OS for serious applications and how gamers should buzz off, but we know world domination comes through games and multimedia.
Speaking of games and multimedia, for the last couple of months we've been looking at emulating old Arcade and C64 games on Linux, and during that time, there's been a bit of development going on. On the commercial front, we've come a long way since the days of Doom, Quake, and the first Loki mega-port, Civilization: Call to Power. Nowadays, Quake III is the order of the day, and rest assured, it's available for Linux (and runs fine on the Crusoe chips). Loki is about to unleash several new ports, such as Alpha Centauri (the sequel to Civilization, as one might infer), Heroes of Might and Magic III, Heretic II, SimCity 3000 and Soldier of Fortune. The Linux gaming scene can also welcome two relatively new entrants to its niche: MP Entertainment, who delivered the comic-book-quality animated adventure Hopkins FBI (which I really intend to review one of these days) and BlackHoleSun Software, which first appeared with the simple game Krilo and is following up with a new project called C4 that looks to be on DVD, if we ever resolve the whole DVD-on-Linux crisis.
Now, even though many of us aren't in love with proprietary software, these games have a benefit in that they draw teenage dollars and interest: dollars to give developers an incentive to support Linux with hardware drivers, and interest to get future hackers into Linux, where we can all benefit from their brain power in years to come. Teenage brains have flexible neurons, probably a necessity for learning a complicated OS. With hardware support and fleets of new hackers, Linux will be loved and supported for years to come. We'll have the whole world running free software. Even though those kids spent their money on video games, we can be playing free offerings like those described here.
We all love antique anything, although if we were part of the neo-conformist, 1950-was-a-good-year martini crowd, we might choose the word “vintage”. Whether it's the ravers going on about the 808/909 vintage sounds, the antiquity Goths scouring antique (er, junk) shops for Victorian trinkets, the nouveau-riche wine tasters, the I-want-to-look-like-everyone-else-on-campus recycled clothing fanatics, the whole retro movement which never goes away yet changes its targets of imitation and afflicts hordes of different troupes simultaneously, or even the weirdo computer types who search out old software and insist on running 30-year-old editors and operating systems—well, you get the point. There's a deep human drive to go backward and worship the old rather than pushing forward to find new frontiers. Here is a game to satisfy both worshippers of everything aged and those who like new ideas.
XInvaders 3D (see Figure 1) from Don Llopis is Space Invaders with a twist, a warp, a new dimension. Yes, that's it, a new dimension: when the aliens come at you, they come at you. If you were a fan of the original, you'll be amused to no end by this one. The game is fairly new, so it's not perfect; for example, the graphics don't scale automatically to the size of the window, and there isn't music yet (I suspect a MOD soundtrack just might be on the way). Other than that, it's an awesome take on a classic design. Just wait for the filled vector graphs, texture maps, real-time ray tracing. See www.fiu.edu/~dllopi01/xinv3d.htm.
Another antique to take a look at is Circus Linux! by Bill Kendrick of New Breed Software. Bill is an interesting fellow who has developed a ton of games for Linux including BoboBot, Defendguin, Gem Drop, ICBM3D & ICBM3D/2, Mad Bomber, 3D Pong, VidSlide and X-Bomber, so I suppose we'll be hearing his name a lot. Circus Linux! is his latest, a Linux remake of the classic (?) Atari 2600 game Circus Atari. You launch circus clowns from a teeter-totter, pop colorful balloons and catch the poor flying fellows, lest they be ill-affected by gravity. Check out http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/circus-linux/ for clowns, balloons and so much more.
a print of King Tut himself or do you have exciting Egyptian graphics, especially Tut, spiders, flies, and other beasts?]
Tutanchamun is a very boring game—just kidding! Actually, Tutankhamen was one of my favorite games on the old Atari. The Atari's chip set is notoriously difficult to emulate, but fortunately we're spared the effort. David Kastrup brought Tutanchamun to Linux. There's an added bonus: David never actually played the original, so what we have is a new interpretation rather than a direct port, a game where the idea was passed from one person to another and morphed into something new, similar to the way urban legends are thought to form. This one is really cute, with the rough, low-resolution graphics and simple game play that fire up the imagination. The Tutankhamen meme mutates and lives! You can get it from metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/games/arcade/tutanchamun-0.1.1.tar.gz.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide