Linux

How much does Linux adoption depend on gaming?


Stephen J.V. Nichols at linux-watch.com has uncovered the truth about why you can't use Linux (or any variation) as your Xbox screen name. Turns out that it is not just another case of Microsoft beating down Linux, but part of a broader prohibition against trademarks of any kind, as well as a slew of other questionable words or formations that might get them into legal trouble. Nichols concludes by admitting that even a confirmed Linux aficionado can't do without his Xbox and that Linux isn't even on the radar as far as being a gaming platform.

TechRepublic blogger, IT manager, and gamer Ramon Padilla has also weighed in on the gaming gap between open source and Microsoft and has suggested that as long as serious gamers have to have different platforms at business and at home, Linux adoption will have a hard time getting off the ground.

It seems that everyone pretty much agrees that Linux most decidedly does not "rule" when it comes to gaming. Do you think this is an important issue or just a distraction from the serious arguments for Linux adoption? Do you have any Big Ideas about the opportunities for improvement? Predictions? Or do you just want to be left alone with your Xbox?

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

15 comments
L1nUx3r
L1nUx3r

Gaming can't be that far of as the Unreal boys realeased a linux install for Unreal Tournament, although I do not know if this is the case with the newer incarnations there of. So if they are able to do it then why not others. The main stumbling block is they all build there games around the latest Directx instead of building the needed parts into the game its self. this does save development time and money I would assume but it also makes them lazy, how can they come up with newer and more advanced engines if they rely on DX to do it for them. I think the DOS days made games programmers more imaginative in the programming, to over come dos limits with memory, I could be on a completely wrong tangent here so correct me if I am wrong Cheers

lastchip
lastchip

It is a major stumbling block for a large swath of the population. It doesn't affect me personally, as I have no interest in games, but for many, it makes Linux a non-starter. However, there is a real argument that games should be played on dedicated hardware; Playstation, Nintendo, or even Xbox - though why one would pay for a faulty design is beyond me! The Nintendo wii has of course taken many people by surprise, in that it has been adopted by a previously uninterested gaming client?le. To my mind, this represents the best of all worlds. If you want gaming, use the dedicated stuff; if you want a secure reliable computer; use Linux.

mgordon
mgordon

Microsoft Windows and Linux are not always, or even very often, in competition, in the sense that they are "rival" in economic terms. I have both and use them to achieve my purposes. Most of the time Linux achieves my purposes but occasionally MS Windows achieves my purposes. Quite often, either can achieve my purpose then it becomes a question of "do I buy Photoshop for $500 or download The Gimp for free?" I am not offended that a gamer chooses MS Windows. Gamers are consumers and Microsoft has rolled out the red carpet for consumers. Sometimes I consume, more often I create, and I can create a lot more at less cost using Linux.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Gamers are consumers and Microsoft has rolled out the red carpet for consumers. Sometimes I consume, more often I create, and I can create a lot more at less cost using Linux." That's one of the top three summaries of the subject that I've ever read, and in under 50 words.

flhtc
flhtc

I use Linux exclusively at home. Up until recently, I didn't play too many games. Well, I got the itch from one of my son's games to get started again. So, I bought a gaming system. The last system I played on was a Sega Genesis... It's been a long time!!! As far as running windows to play games goes, I got tired of shelling out bucks for each program I wanted to do a particular job, and reloading my system every few months. If you think about it... The money you save NOT buying non-gaming software alone, would purchase quite a few extra games. Start adding up your software purchases. Now take out the money you'd save by not having to purchase a rocket ship for a computer to run the games you bought. And the fact that you won't have to buy a new machine every few years to keep up with gaming technology. That would pay for a gaming system and games. One more thing... At least in my case, my TV screen is a whole lot bigger than my computer's monitor. Playing on the TV is a whole lot more fun, and the graphics are just as good. You can have your cake and eat it too. Really, either way your probably not saving money. Just diverting where you're spending it. But doing with separate systems you don't have to worry about one messing up the other. There's nothing like loading a game and having it crap out your computer. I support windows all day long. I get more than enough opportunity to sharpen my skills while getting paid. Just my 2?

flynn.tyler
flynn.tyler

Have you checked the resolution on your monitor vs TV? Maybe it's just me but even an HD TV is not even remotely close in resolution to a monitor. Even a cheesy 1280x1024 res on a monitor is better than HD TV.

mgordon
mgordon

The acronym "HDTV" says nothing about resolution; but "1080p" says a lot -- 1920 x 1080 pixels (or something like that). It is truly incredible. Your cheesy 1280x1024 monitor is NOT going to be better than 1080p. At any rate, some essays on this website have discussed the phenomenon of size versus resolution, and the fact is that most people vastly prefer size over resolution -- a huge, somewhat fuzzy representation of "Counterstrike" is more fun that a small, but razor sharp representation. That may be in part due to low resolution texture mapping making anything more than ordinary TV (480p) resolution irrelevant anyway. Related to this, but not yet discussed on this thread, will be the difficulty in supporting 1080p high-def monitors or televisions in Linux. Microsoft is pushing hard for a certification program that simply will not let video boards operate at full resolution unless the motherboard and operating system negotiate security keys. While it is certainly within the technical skill of volunteers to engineer key negotiation algorithms, the fact remains that Microsoft and Hollywood will have the final say (if they get their way) as to which keys are permitted to activate 1080p or even 720p high definition modes.

flhtc
flhtc

Ok, the graphics are "almost" as good. But when you compare 1080i at 42" vs. 1600x1200 at 19 or 20". Personally I think that double the size and wide screen format is worth the roughly 30% loss in resolution. I'm sure the ratings for resolution from TV to monitor differs, but it's close enough. I'm not a hard core gamer. The whole point of the post was related to getting the biggest bang for your buck, weighed against getting the best of both worlds. In my case the TV, game system, and computer cost about 10-15% more than building a super gaming computer, but is more cost efficient in the long run, and I get a lot more use all of it. To show you how much of a hard core gamer I'm not. I started playing computer games in '72, playing "Lunar Lander" on my high school's teletype hooked up to the local colleges main frame. Talk about bad graphics.

awf
awf

Nearly every app I run is open source, or at least freeware. The only exceptions are Nero and games. Lots of games. Lack of ease in playing those + my unwillingness to resort to a dual-boot "solution" are my main reasons for not going over to Linux.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

There are native games and the fact that Cedega (and Blizzard to some extent) support WoW in Linux means that you can have your cake and eat it too.

aaron.andrews1
aaron.andrews1

My PC does a lot of things for me. I do some basic things like, browse the Internet, e-mail, and general communications with the world in general. I also do some more non-basic things like test simulations, telnet terminal, remote administration of my network lab, train on various IT topics with LAN simulations and so on. I could use Linux for all of these things. However, The most important thing (to me) I do on my PC is play games. In fact I would be considered more of a hard core gamer since I build my own systems with gameing in mind. I figure, if it can handle the latest PC games it can handle pretty much anything. So, I have tried many times to adopt Linux as a main system but have always eventually scrubbed it for this very reason. I can't play my games. Having a high end PC, that Linux can't take full advantage of, and then buying a console makes no sense. What is the point of dual booting or having a second computer when my Windows box does everything I need my PC to do. The inability for Linux to natively play modern games without using a hit or miss emulator or vitualization keeps Linux off of my main home system. If I did not play games I would likely be running Linux. However, games act as a challenge to my technical skills. It is how I keep up to speed on the always changing PC technology. My job is IT and games keep me interested in understanding the new technology and standards in PCs. Linux does not push the technological envelope in this regard as I have never heard anybody say I am going to build a hyper fast high end system so I can run Linux on it. Although in a business sense this doesn't really matter, but for my personal use Linux misses the bill on the simple fact I can't play my games. I suppose the moral of the story is if Linux were to become the mainstream OS of choice and everybody played their games on consoles instead of the PC, the hardware industry would fall flat on it's face. Until Linux can push hardware inovation it will remain bottom tier with the likes of a Cyrix CPU.

open.suse
open.suse

Two words - Cedega and openSUSE. I stopped using Windows about 7 years ago because of how much I can learn about coding drivers and software to run with Linux. The best way to understand technology is to dig deep enough into it to be able to write drivers for a certain piece of hardware for Linux support. It all starts with a 5 volt electrical impulse regardless of what it's plugged into. To limit yourself to how a single operating system controls the frequency of a 5 volt impulse is only learning one side of a multi-faceted device.

mgordon
mgordon

I have no memory of when I last played a game on a computer or a console. That's not to say I don't like games, I just don't have time for it and I wonder how anyone has time for it. I work all day, go home and help the kids with homework. Back when I didn't have kids with homework games did indeed provide nearly all of the incentive for more powerful computers. Now, digital photography provides upgrade incentive and is very demanding on a system. Linux-hosted applications handle digital photography just fine and what I do not spend on extremely expensive software (Photoshop, in other words) I can instead spend on camera and lenses. Stitching 10 or more 10-megapixel images into a panorama takes a lot of memory and processing power, and when it is complete, you HAVE SOMETHING, which is not the case with a game. I do find simulators to be simultaneously relaxing and challenging -- MS Railroad simulator or flight simulators for example.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm what's starting to be called a "casual gamer". I don't play anything that requires an Internet connection or takes over ten minutes to win a round or lose. I play mostly games from PopCap, GameHouse, etc. As far a digital photography, I probably take thirty pictures a year and my computer is just a place to store the .JPGs. Your "HAVE SOMETHING" is my waste of drive space. Simulators? Too much like work. Different strokes...

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

...Linux will continue to be used by those of us who view their computer as more than a blinky toy. IOW, productive members of society.

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