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mrbastard

Games Based Linux Distro

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Hi, I thought I''d post this to try and generate some interest, and get some opinions. To cut a long story short, a bunch of people think that a games based linux ditro on a live cd (eg put it in and it boots linux, without screwing up your windows install) would be a killer way to promote linux, and provide a standard for linux based gaming (no more dependancy hell) so that game developers have an easier time developing for linux. Obviously this cd would need to have at least one killer game on it... and an exclusive one if at all possible. Anybody feel like contributing? heres the story that started it all: http://www.linuxworld.com/story/44081.htm and the ensuing slashdot discussion: http://games.slashdot.org/games/04/03/15/194203.shtml?tid=106&tid=127&tid=185&tid=186 and finally the site of the project itself: www.gbld.net bear in mind the project''s just started and is in the very early talking stages - which is great if you''d like to be involved as its easy to get people to listen, but bad if you just wanna play it now!

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Where exactly would you install the game?

I''m more in favor of using ZipSlack or some other UMSDOS based distro, so that you can simply install it on a Windows partition.

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quote:
Original post by Promit
Where exactly would you install the game?



you wouldn''t install the game. the game would be pre-loaded on the CD i''d imagine. or you''d have multiple CDs with games on them. the idea being that the original cd boots you to a linux desktop and lets you muck around on your machine as if it had a full linux install. it''s just a decent marketing approach to gettin you to try linux because the incentive is high -> play some cool games, and the cost is low -> you don''t have to do a linux install before you play the games.

-me

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sounds like a great idea. bring on the linux gaming !

ps. groklaw.net started it all

[edited by - clayasaurus on March 19, 2004 10:32:43 PM]

[edited by - clayasaurus on March 19, 2004 10:33:44 PM]

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A games-based distro would be neat, and a good marketing platform.

quote:
Original post by mrbastard
and provide a standard for linux based gaming (no more dependancy hell)


I''m curious, as I''ve not experienced this personally, what dependency hell?

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linux uses the unix principle of distibuted work. this means you don''t include all the code and functionalty into your app. you''ve got for example libraries dealing with jpegs, drawing, opengl and so forth. so for even the most simplistic task you''ve got some library doing the job.
unfortunatly this forces the user/distro to watch for those dependencies on libraries and make them available (and you have to look for the correct version of the lib and so on).
dependency hell is if you want to install an app and you can''t run it cause you miss a library or you have it in another version.
you will know this if you once installed an LFS on your machine and have compiled/installed the entire system from ground up

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I thought something like this was done, called Knoppix (wasn''t exactly based on games though, but has the functionality for it)

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So to play a game you''d need to reboot your computer? And then to get back to work, you''d need to reboot again? Interrupting all those background processes and services? What a waste.

(This is the model that used to be employed by consoles. A reset was a reboot, and the game cart was part of the system. Even consoles have basic OSes built in these days, though, with the game being executed via a loader. Why would you choose an anachronism like this?)

Linux is not desktop-ready. If it was, you wouldn''t need such absurd promotional schemes.

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This sort of system could be used to make and opengl game console kinda like the xbox. Sounds like an awsom idea

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What the problem with rebooting a computer to play a game? A properly configured Linux system will boot in 5-10 seconds, your game would load immeadiately after that a. You could save data to a USB stick or ZIP Drive. Your effectively turning a PC into a console. Internet kisosks and multimedia kiosks already do this. you could build a very powerful arcade machine this way.

I recently gave up on Windows all together, because I got sick of XP not being able to do anything usful. A distro like SuSE or Mandrake is desktop ready and a breeze to configure.

[edited by - pkelly83 on March 21, 2004 4:32:01 AM]

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don''t let this become a fight about linux/windumb.
i certainly have my troubles rebooting to play a game... but because i had to reboot into windumb xp!
the idea here is to make people at least use once linux who would usually never touch it because they fear the installation or change (which i can understand, a real good and usable linux [not SuSE] takes lots of time and understanding).

this way people could try ''n'' play without having the hazzle of installation... nearly as greate as BeOS P5 was back then ^_^

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Guest Anonymous Poster
This idea is not that new - anyone remembers "frozen bubble" ? They distributed it on a mandrake linux live cd, last year or so... http://frozen-bubble.org/

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Guest Anonymous Poster
from http://www.frozen-bubble.org/index.php?menu_item=5:

"[2002-03-20] Special Demo Version available

Some people requested that a Windows version be available. I already happen to not like Windows very much, but since I work for a free software company, I''m certainly not gonna spend some time porting the game to Windows.

But... there is a solution for people who don''t have Gnu/Linux, or who run a lousy Linux distro for which a binary package of Frozen-Bubble is not available!

A special Demo Version, containing just a Linux kernel, basic libraries, XFree86 the graphical environment, Frozen-Bubble, and a bunch of glue based on the Mandrake installation program, is worth only 22 Mbytes of pure happiness :-). Available as a CDROM ISO image, or as a boot floppy bootstrapping the program from a Windows partition, please surf the Downloads section and grab your copy."

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
(This is the model that used to be employed by consoles. A reset was a reboot, and the game cart was part of the system. Even consoles have basic OSes built in these days, though, with the game being executed via a loader. Why would you choose an anachronism like this?)


This anachronistic model is used in the playstation 2 - to change games you replace the disc and reset. Not that big bad of an issue in that context is it?

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quote:
Original post by pkelly83
What the problem with rebooting a computer to play a game?
This isn''t an NES. This is a PC. We don''t reboot PCs to play each game. We didn''t 10 years ago, we shouldn''t now.

The only people who will actually find this compelling are those who already run or wish to run Linux. For the typical Windows user, the idea has no merit.

quote:
A properly configured Linux system will boot in 5-10 seconds...
Lies. The POST alone takes longer than that.

quote:
You''re effectively turning a PC into a console.
What a waste. It would be smarter to build a dedicated system out of PC components. Wait... That''s been done. Even worse, it was tried with Linux before - and failed. Twice.

I was an active member of the Indrema Developer Network (IDN) before joining GameDev, so I speak from experience. The big mistake they made at Indrema was hype over substance: cheeky press releases, 3D mockups, "developer tools" - for a machine that probably wasn''t even a prototype yet. It was a disgraceful exercise in ineptitude.

quote:
Internet kisosks and multimedia kiosks already do this.
Orthogonal application domain. The demands of such systems are different - for instance, they don''t need to reboot for each application/user.

quote:
...you could build a very powerful arcade machine this way.
Yes, you could. But arcade machines only run one game for protracted lengths of time. That is not what you are suggesting - again, orthogonal application domain.

quote:
I recently gave up on Windows all together, because I got sick of XP not being able to do anything useful.
Define useful. Substantiate your claim. Quite frankly, I find people who make statements like this to generally overestimate their own productivity.

quote:
A distro like SuSE or Mandrake is desktop ready and a breeze to configure.
Obviously it must be, since you said so. Right? Right?

quote:
Original post by RPTD
i certainly have my troubles rebooting to play a game... but because i had to reboot into windumb xp!
That''s because you run an OS that''s crap for gaming.

quote:
the idea here is to make people at least use once linux who would usually never touch it because they fear the installation or change...
Why not just burn Knoppix + a couple of games onto a CD? Why make the game into an entire distro? Why be so redundantly wasteful - each game CD having to include the entire OS?

I haven''t even gotten to pointing out that there''s not a single Linux-only game that would prove compelling enough to get someone to try this who wasn''t already "Linux curious."

Have your fun, though. Remember that Open Source is built around scratching your own itch, not necessarily catering to the needs/demands of others. So don''t bother trying to justify it: stop talking and get working!

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quote:
Original post by mrbastard
This anachronistic model is used in the playstation 2 - to change games you replace the disc and reset. Not that big bad of an issue in that context is it?
No, though I could go ahead to point out that a reset is no longer equivalent to a reboot, since modern consoles can function empty (present menu screens, XBox Dashboard) and respond to the insertion of a disk without reset (CDs in the case of PS2, all discs in the case of XBox).

But that wouldn''t be necessary.

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quote:
Original post by mrbastard
This anachronistic model is used in the playstation 2 - to change games you replace the disc and reset. Not that big bad of an issue in that context is it?


When I''m using a ps2/Xbox/Gamecube I''m not trying to use it simultaneously for essays/email/code/internet/IM/etc. so I don''t care that I have to do a hard reset.

Equally consoles have a fixed set of hardware, so you only need one set of ''drivers'' for a console. What happens to these game CDs when I get the latest graphics card which they don''t have the drivers on the cd?

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Right. So assuming it boots within 30 seconds or so (about eqivalent to a ps2 game I reckon), it''s all good. I think that''s doable - I''ve seen win98 boot faster than that on good hardware.

OK new drivers.... you pick up the latest version of the cd / iso... It''s going to be distributed for free so theres no real problem there.

It''s a good point though; it''d maybe be worth using a little space in the host (assume ntfs) filesystem to store downloaded drivers (this could be automated I guess). I have nothing to do with this stuff though, if I''m involved it will be in producing a game.

If you guys like the idea but would like a better discussion of the tech issues, I suggest discussing it over on the gbld forums - I just posted it here, I''m not an official voice of the project or anything.

cheers, Dan

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
Original post by RPTD
i certainly have my troubles rebooting to play a game... but because i had to reboot into windumb xp!
That''s because you run an OS that''s crap for gaming.

it''s not crap for gaming... the gaming companies just are crap in using it. sure if it comes to 3d things can get a bit tougher if ya don''t have an nvidia or ati but what do you like more? crappy, crashing, windump drivers or having some hard time config linux to use your card? i prefer linux. as soon as it works, it works, will go on working, will never stop working

quote:
quote:
the idea here is to make people at least use once linux who would usually never touch it because they fear the installation or change...
Why not just burn Knoppix + a couple of games onto a CD? Why make the game into an entire distro? Why be so redundantly wasteful - each game CD having to include the entire OS?

this in fact is a real waste. i imagined more something like a knoppix which is prebuild to support native games. but perhaps i got a wrong inmpression of the project there.

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quote:
Original post by RPTD
it''s not crap for gaming... the gaming companies just are crap in using it.
Sadly, no. Linux does not have a well-defined multimedia architecture, a function of its open and democratic development process. How many "primary" audio technologies are there for Linux? How does a developer know to rely on the presence of any particular technology, other than testing for an installing it themselves? At least under Windows you have standards like DirectX and the .NET Framework.

The lack of consistency in Linux is a hinderance to the deployment of multimedia applications, vociferous assertion to the contrary duly noted.

quote:
...what do you like more? crappy, crashing, windump drivers...
Calling "Windows" "windump" or "windumb" doesn''t make you cool; it merely marks you as juvenile.

quote:
...or having some hard time config linux to use your card? i prefer linux. as soon as it works, it works, will go on working, will never stop working.
The insinuation being that Windows simply "stops working"? Hardly. Failure under Windows of a previously stable configuration is always a consequence of actions taken either explicitly or implicitly by the user. Because of the simplicitly and usability of Windows, more of such actions are taken (and less of the consequences is typically understood). It''s very convenient to blame Windows when the very same results would occur if you used Linux the same way.

quote:
this in fact is a real waste. i imagined more something like a knoppix which is prebuild to support native games. but perhaps i got a wrong inmpression of the project there.
Yes, you did.

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
Original post by RPTD
it's not crap for gaming... the gaming companies just are crap in using it.
Sadly, no. Linux does not have a well-defined multimedia architecture,
OpenGL and OpenAL aren't enough for you?
quote:
a function of its open and democratic development process. How many "primary" audio technologies are there for Linux?
umm..ALSA?
quote:
How does a developer know to rely on the presence of any particular technology, other than testing for an installing it themselves?
have your RPMs and DEBS depend on it. obviously "the linux community" could benfit from one, single package format to rule them all. Personally, I wish red hat would use debs. with redhat no longer using their own package format, everyone would drop it, probably also in favor of debs.
quote:
At least under Windows you have standards like DirectX and the .NET Framework.
And yet you can run games without these things entirely. OpenGL isn't a standard? SDL handle input nicely, and lets you do GL easily.

|SNIP|

There aren't technical problems with linux gaming. Just take a look a the the linux games out there already. UT2k3, that cool RPG whose name eludes me at the moment, these games take the technology to extremes, and work just fine on linux.

the problem is market, not tech, where's the cost/benefit ratio?

[edited by - C-Junkie on March 21, 2004 4:20:28 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
...or having some hard time config linux to use your card? i prefer linux. as soon as it works, it works, will go on working, will never stop working.
The insinuation being that Windows simply "stops working"? Hardly. Failure under Windows of a previously stable configuration is always a consequence of actions taken either explicitly or implicitly by the user. Because of the simplicitly and usability of Windows, more of such actions are taken (and less of the consequences is typically understood). It''s very convenient to blame Windows when the very same results would occur if you used Linux the same way.

1) how many stories do we know (including me) of windows suddenly no more working, messing up it''s own registry just booting it up without changing something? reason? because windows does init most stuff on boot time and reconfigs it. a little inconsistency can drive windows nuts and destroy it (in the worst case). in linux you won''t have this. whereas with sanity mind i can work with linux without ever having to reinstall it once i can''t do this with windows, and i worked longer with windows than linux

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quote:
Original post by C-Junkie
the problem is market, not tech, where''s the cost/benefit ratio?
Good point. (I could argue with some of your refutations, but it''s tedious.) But here''s the thing: how high, exactly, is the cost of developing for Linux. If I were to believe the portability hype of various development tools/libraries, it should simply be a recompile and some testing - miniscule. Which means that virtually all benefit would outweigh cost (so long as no investment is made in shelf space or delivery). But it appears not to. Can you explain that to me?

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quote:
Original post by RPTD
1) how many stories do we know (including me) of windows suddenly no more working, messing up it''s own registry just booting it up without changing something?
How many of those stories can we substantiate? Or did my use of the term "implicit" confuse you?

Just because you didn''t press a button and suddenly see a BSOD doesn''t mean the corruption/whatever was spontaneous.

Also consider the unmentioned inverse of that comment: how many stories do we not know of people for whom Windows runs like a peach for long periods of time? My XP installation on this laptop has given me no problems whatsoever, except for the instability that occured as a result of a loose HD cable (due to my porting it around without sufficient protection).

quote:
a little inconsistency can drive windows nuts and destroy it (in the worst case). in linux you won''t have this.
Rubbish. Inconsistency in Linux init scripts can render your system unusable, or even destroy your hardware (set the wrong video params and see what happens to your monitor).

Besides, anecdotal evidence is worthless. Search this forum for an explanation.

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
Original post by C-Junkie
the problem is market, not tech, where''s the cost/benefit ratio?
Good point. (I could argue with some of your refutations, but it''s tedious.) But here''s the thing: how high, exactly, is the cost of developing for Linux. If I were to believe the portability hype of various development tools/libraries, it should simply be a recompile and some testing - miniscule. Which means that virtually all benefit would outweigh cost (so long as no investment is made in shelf space or delivery). But it appears not to. Can you explain that to me?


Yes. DirectX.

The problem is that the companies don''t use these libraries. The reason they don''t use these libraries is that they don''t see the need to develop on anything but windows, so why not stick to microsoft''s API''s?

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