Spotlight on Linux: Supergamer Supreme 2.5
Supergamer is, as you might guess, a Linux distribution whose main focus is on gaming. It's based on a lighter distributions, features a light desktop, and is chock-full of games and demos. It began life in the Spring of 2006 and was received with great enthusiasm. As time went by and with a few similar entries coming into the field, one doesn't hear the name Supergamer as much anymore. But this is tragedy.
In 2006 it was a novel idea. Provide a live DVD with little other than lots and lots of games. It offered a macabre hard rock persona and was based on a very popular distribution. It was a sensation. Later releases reflected a change from a PCLinuxOS-base to a VectorLinux-base. This was done for stability and higher performance as well as in response to user requests and the desire to become distro independent. Another update was released in 2008 after the 2007 changeover which featured a few application updates.
Very quietly, a new update was released just recently; again offering a few application and kernel updates. The look is basically the same as well as the configuration and software included. The codebase seems to have changed very little and some might consider important ingredients to be somewhat outdated. In addition, Supergamer is distributed as an eight gigabyte image that requires dual layer media and a burner that supports that capability. That last part isn't much of a concern these days as most newer DVD burners have that support, but dual layer media isn't as readily available and when found is usually a bit more expensive. These are the disadvantages.
The advantages are much more fun. The main advantage is games, games, and even more games. Supergamer ships with lots of games already installed and ready to go. No fighting 3D acceleration drivers, no digging up old howtos to get some games to work, and no visiting numerous websites looking for demos of popular commercial games. In other words, convenience is the key word. One can either install the system or not, which may be an advantage especially with shared, public, or family computers.
Under the hood Linux 126.96.36.199, Xorg X Server 6.9.0, and GCC 3.4.6 are used. These are some of the components many may find a bit outdated. Other important components are from the same era as well. VLC has received an update and the kernel was rebuilt with lots of wireless support. Proprietary drivers were updated as well. Soldier of Fortune has been removed because it no longer works on modern systems. Firefox has been updated to 4.0b8 and many games have been updated to recent versions, but virtually everything else underneath is considerably older. This didn't seem to present a problem in operation here other than accessing ext4 partitions, but it might with newer machines.
Xfce is the desktop provided and several handy applications are found in the regular menu. Most games are launched by icons in a lower panel. This configuration is one of Supergamer's better ideas. Again, the theme is essentially the same as the previous release - dragons, rivers of lava and fire, and dark smoky skies. Some of the many games are:
» Quake Wars
» Doom 3
» Unreal Tournament
» Quake 4
» Savage 2
» Postal 2
» Enemy Territory
» Penumbra Black Plague
» Urban Terror
» True Combat
» America’s Army
» Drop Team
» Frets On Fire
All in all, one will have to weigh the pros and cons and decide if Supergamer can fulfill any of their needs. But for those on the pro side, a whole world of gaming is theirs for the taking. For those without dual-layer support or media can purchase professionally crafted media from participating dealers in a variety of configurations. The included README provides instructions for USB Flashdrives. Supergamer provides user forums for discussion and help. So, go get Supergamer, after all, you deserve some fun in your life.
Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.
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