Monday, June 14, 2010

How to Become a Linux Gamer

There are several resources out there to assist you in being a Linux gamer. The WINE project is a great, free example of this as it allows you to run Windows programs (and games) on Linux. CodeWeavers CrossOver software also allows you to do the same but the difference is that theres a cost associated with this software. Today, though, we're going to introduce you to another option for being a Linux gamer the Linux-Gamers project.

The Linux Gamers project is very unique in that the entire project is encapsulated within the confines of a live distribution (aka distro). Version 0.95, its most recent offering, of the project provides you with 34 free and open source games that run natively in Linux. I downloaded the "Big ISO" which is the DVD offering but you can also download the "Lite ISO" (CD) as well as the "Lite USB" and the "Big USB." Your computer will have to be an i686 or better, have at least 512MB RAM and have a video card that supports 3D acceleration. If your computer is more than 6 years old, you might want to try out the "Lite ISO" as it contains games mostly suited for older computers. Some of this distro's great features are that it has support for high-end video cards and it provides open source drivers with 3D acceleration for many other video cards. Plus, most of the games have multi-player modes. There's no software to install and no editing of config files. You download the ISO file, burn the image to a DVD, pop it into your DVD drive, reboot your machine, and off you go. There is an MD5 file that you can check against to ensure that the ISO image you burned is identical to the original. The only other thing you might need to double-check is that the first boot option in your computer's BIOS is set to boot from your CD/DVD drive and not the hard drive. However, this normally isn't a concern since most recent systems have that as the default already. In case you have a problem running the live DVD or CD, those are the first things to check: the integrity of the download image (via the MD5 sum) and your BIOS boot order.

Upon reboot, you're greeted with a GRUB menu where the default option is to boot into the Linux-Gamers distribution (you also have an option to play Space Invaders!, although it's only a rudimentary version and only one level, but still). Next, you're given the option to select your keymap choice (based on what part of the world you are in). If you have an NVIDIA video card, as I do, you're next shown a message saying that the system found a recent video card but that there's no free drivers for it. Scroll down and you see a message to kernel developers and open source enthusiasts letting them know that the distro developers respect their point-of-view of how proprietary drivers are tainting the GPL v2 (under which the kernel is licensed). Next is a message regarding the license for your video card. Next is a super short message asking you if you really accept the installation of said closed source drivers. While it sounds like there are too many messages, I thought that the authors of this live distro did a really good job of informing all parties involved and you speed through them so it hardly feels inconvenient.

You boot into an operating system-like desktop with the games as icons on the menu bars. You're also greeted by an HTML file with "Important Info," "Release Highlights," and "Known Issues." You can hover over the icons to see the title of the game. Click on the icon to load the game. You can also load a game by right-clicking on the desktop as doing so provides all the games in list format. The Live DVD provides you with the Gran Paradiso (version 3.0.11) web browser, a free and open source browser from the non-profit Mozilla Foundation (makers of Firefox). Testing the browser I discovered that my network drivers worked right out of the box!

Aside from the games and the browser, the right-click menu provides a few tools. An xTerm terminal is provided for your geeky pleasure. You're also given the Wicd network config tool (version 1.6.0) in case you have the need to configure network settings -- I did not. You also have an AlsaMixer sound volume tool as part of the offering (v1.0.20). Lastly, you have the XChat IRC client (version 2.8.6) at your disposal in case you want to setup matches with friends or for a little pre-match smack chat.
The distro includes 34 of the most popular, fun, free and open source games that run natively in Linux. Most, if not all, of them can be found and installed from your regular distro's repositories once you are back in the friendly confines of your distro of choice. You can find a complete list of games and download links at Every single game played great -- a few even had cool soundtracks -- and while I was very familiar with many of the games, there were some I had never heard of. Naturally, I have a few favorites. Frets on Fire is a Rock Band/Guitar Hero-like offering where you use your keyboard to play the guitar -- the live gaming distro's authors claim that you can plug in a USB Wii Guitar and it will work right out-of-the-box, but I don't have one of those so I can't confirm that. SuperTuxKart is loads of fun and a great way to engage your little ones in some family racing. World of Padman is an extremely addicting, cartoony, multiplayer-only frag-fest (very colorful and kid-friendly). Urban Terror brings back sweet dreams (or are those nightmares?) of Counter-Strike days gone past. Secret Maryo Chronicles is very pretty and evokes nostalgic Nintendo memories. Foobilliard shows that good billiards games can be simple yet quite enjoyable. I could go on and on about the veritable bounty of games that the good folks from Linux-Gamers have provided us but I would rather suggest that you take it out for a spin yourself and find your own favorites amongst the wide variety of games offered.

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A Windows style Fix to a WINE Problem

Author: Jacob Barkdull
The problem with emulating Windows -- or since "WINE Is Not an Emulator" I should say: the problem with developing a "Windows Compatibility Layer" -- is you end up having the same problems Windows has. If WINE is compatible with anything, it seems to be mostly with Windows flaws. :)

If you remember "Microsoft Windows XP" you may be aware of Windows little problem of keeping too many "temporary" files for too long (I don't know if this is still a problem with Vista and 7.) These files can be Internet files (web cache, history, downloaded files, and Internet Explorers apparent backups of these files) or ".bak" files, etc. All of these files over a year or two of usage can make up a total size anywhere between 3 to 15 gigabytes. That's a lot of hard drive space used simply for files that are supposed to be temporary.

And you may have guessed it by now, but yes, WINE has the same problem. If you use WINE regularly, view the properties of the directory "~/.wine" that is "/home//.wine", you'll probably be surprised at the directory's size (1.3 gigabytes here, and I never use WINE.)

In "~/.wine" you'll find a sub-directory at "~/.wine/drive_c/users//Temp" to be the main source of the "~/.wine" directory's size. This is because it is where programs running under WINE store their "temporary" files. To gain some hard drive space, you may, of course, simply delete the "Temp" directory, but you may lose passwords and configurations you may have stored in some of the programs you have been running under WINE. This is why it may be wiser to use a program such as "Disk Cleaner" under WINE to delete only the unnecessary files.

This way has the potential to mess up your GNU+Linux operating system if done wrong, though. Because by default WINE has permission to delete any files owned by the user you're logged in as -- to be more specific: every file you have permission to read, modify, and delete, so does WINE. If you let "Disk Cleaner" scan for files to delete on your GNU+Linux FileSystem, "Disk Cleaner" may begin deleting files that it thinks are Windows "temporary" files that are actually your personal files.

The situation becomes fatal if you are running "Disk Cleaner" under WINE as "root", because in this case "Disk Cleaner" now has permission to read, modify, and delete any file on the system, even important system files (such as kernel images, Debian packages, logs, configuration files, etc.) Never run programs under WINE as "root", running certain other programs under WINE as "root" can be fatal to your GNU+Linux system.

If you're going to do it the "Disk Cleaner" way, don't scan your GNU+Linux FileSystem. You can remove WINE's access to your GNU+Linux FileSystem by opening "Wine Configuration" (press ALT+F2, type "winecfg" without quotes, and hit enter), go to the "Drives" tab and remove the "/" and "/home" "Drives" and any other "Drives" you're uncomfortable with WINE having access to.

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Icewind Dale with Crossover Games

This video is a overview of Character creation in Icewind Dale using CodeWeavers CrossOver Games in Linux Mint 9 the game also plays extremely well in other Linux distributions and Mac OS X with CXGames 9.0

Running with Crossover Games by CodeWeavers.

Putty for Mac
Putty for Mac

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wine 1.2-rc3 Released

The Wine development release 1.2-rc3 is now available.
Whats new in this release:
  • Many translation updates.
  • A lot of bug fixes.
The source is available now. Binary packages are in the process of being built, and will appear soon at their respective download locations.

Bugs fixed in 1.2-rc3:
4523 Can't copy from Firefox 1.5 and paste into OpenOffice 2 under Wine [dogfood]
6594 Call of Duty install fails - can't eject first CD
6642 BabasChess v3.6 crashes quite randomly
6654 NFS Carbon cant run
7098 msi doesn't publish/install some assemblies into GAC
7807 3dmark03 crashes:denormal float operand in 32-bit code (0x0042504a)
7973 Default font unreadable
8095 PQ Teaching toy crashes
9114 MSI Uninstallers leave empty directory behind after removal
9657 Adobe Framemaker 8 setup requires setting Window version to Vista even if XP and 2000 should also work
10147 Word Viewer 2003 - Tab behavior differs from Windows
10287 unable to install nero 8
10934 Nikon Camera Control Pro thinks trial is up immediately
11207 Problem running iRO 3.0 (recruiting application)
11267 Adobe/Macromedia Flash MX Pro 2004 can't create .fla file
11367 Flysis: Launcher resolution dropdown box lists no options.
11560 Sigmaplot 10 demo refuses to start; license manager problem?
11719 Intuit QuickBooks Simple Start 2008 install fails
11924 BabasChess crashes halfway
12020 Unimplemented function d3dx9_36.dll.D3DXAssembleShader
12066 Jade Empire character models are invisible
12218 word viewer 2003 - required / difference columns do not countain data
12234 EdwinXP 1.61 trial installer z-order problem
12487 FutureTax runs but postscript is invalid
12574 Using WinAMP's media Library causes crash
12696 nsis script with a gradient background window => install window not displayed
12880 Sony Ericsson software fails to install.
13516 Dynamic HTML Editor 4.2 Demo installs, crashes on startup
13895 printer setup dialog has a useless Apply button
13924 Mod4win crashes when trying to start the mixer
14284 winhelp: bad/missing support for imagemaps
14286 winhelp: window size/position changed whenever link or navigation button is clicked
14312 mdi workspace not drawn correctly when restoring child windows in winefile
14910 Errors creating PDF files using WINEPS printer using CUPS form PAF.
14957 FL Studio fails to minimize
15069 Apps won't minimize and extra caption bar shows
15094 Wine won't install FAA Safelog
15126 Pro evolution soccer 2008 demo crashes
15156 Unable to change from Direct3D to OpenGL output in WinUAE
15287 Silent Hunter IV: game crashs while loading ingame grafics (tutorial, mission, museum, etc.)
15372 palm hotsync: minimize button disappears
15433 Failure to load mp3 in popup file browser in Audiosurf.
15480 Saving files in Word/Excel 2000 creates useless .lnk files
15522 Firefox crashes on's Move Media Player page with latest git and 1.1.5
15818 winecfg should fit on a 640x480 display
15981 Rhapsody 3 and 4 crash at end of autoupdate install
16088 Quartus II 80sp1: Opening About window crashes application
16158 Condor: Wine System Tray
16282 Quartus II 80sp1: Compiling project crashes application
16298 Finale Notepad 2009: Clicking on splash screen causes X error
16356 16 bit file dialog file filter not working
16418 Keyword corral crashes (LsaLookupNames2 returns ERROR_NONE_MAPPED)
16475 dragging the winamp window is slow
16729 font smoothing doesn't work
16753 unimplemented function ntoskrnl.exe.KeGetCurrentThread
16820 VCarvePro v4.6 Trial crashes on save
17026 Prince of persia warrior within: everything is upside down during gameplay
17067 Stud_PE crashes on Tools -> Plugins
17175 Crash running Quicken 2008
17242 Regedit: Exported key names containing backslashes are not escaped
17454 Toad's tool 64 doesn't work, needs msvcrt.dll.___lc_handle_func
17484 Leisure Suit Larry 7 refuses to run with Win98 settings
17603 winecfg crashes on encountering unknown (incorrect) dll overrides
17684 ABBYY FineReader 8.0 Professional PL: Fails to start
17705 Audiosurf: crashes at startup
17773 AutoCAD Mechanical 2005 PL: Fails to install
17800 Silent hunter 4 crashes while loading mission
18025 .NET 2.0 Regasm.exe typelib exporter needs ICreateTypeInfo2::SetCustData
18026 TopPlan 2009 crashes while opening a map
18348 Wine Crash in Baldurs Gate I when more than 1 character in team
18542 Slingplayer 2.0 unhandled exception
18575 FlashFXP installer quits: "Cannot register "C:\Program Files\FlashFXP\IEFlash.dll"
18654 Wine uses native gdiplus with Adobe Lightroom 2.3 demo by default
18723 LUAU 2.2.1 setup causes a page fault
18876 Lightroom 2.3 flipped logos
18908 Editing name in File Open dialog causes Powerpoint to hang
18942 UT2004: freeze loading a match
18973 Duplicate license entries in multiple wine programs
19000 Stronghold 2: Error at installing 1.4 game patch
19013 Oxford English Dictionary 2: freezes on startup with fatal error
19075 Problem with MCataloguer
19172 Powerpoint 2003 viewer's installs file in wrong location (appinstall)
19255 SlingPlayer 2's remote doesn't draw
19357 Crash when changing resolution in Telltale games
19440 Word Viewer 2003 - Tab button does not work
19502 Visual Studio 2005 SP1 install seems to fail
19524 War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition: game hangs on starting any scenario
19597 Sony Ericsson PC Suite 5 fails to download a required component
19642 Arx Fatalis : page fault on read access while loading
19793 Office 2007 Word has problems rotating .EMF files
19811 Visual C 2005 redistributable installers create many empty directories in WinSXS
19861 Wine should warn when ulimit -n needs raising
19947 Desktop windo fullscreen directx application focus problem
20007 Winamp 5 won't start
20059 Office 2007 SP1/SP2 looks for *.cab in C:\Windows\Installer\ instead of C:\MSOCache\
20226 builtin xcopy.exe crashes with page fault when source directory does not exist.
20279 winemenubuilder confuses Windows and Unix code pages leading to 100% CPU usage
20307 Call of Duty 4 v1.7 frame rate issue
20541 No MIDI in to Piano Teacher v3.0
20680 winecfg: no Wave Out Devices under ALSA Drivers (M-Audio Delta)
20744 Mordor - the depths of Dejenol installer puts window into background
20935 HoMM5: Hammers of Fate: game dvd not found
20939 Keyboard focus lost after switching to another app and back
21124 Text cursor and some of mouse cursors are not solid in Word 2003
21156 Add torrents in webUI with ĀµTorrent >= 2.0 doesn't work
21511 wsmanhttpconfig.exe tool from Windows Management Framework Core (PowerShell 2.0) needs msvcrt.dll._scwprintf
21930 Free Ghost installer crashes during project building in console
22143 Lemmings game clone (Lemmix): problems running under Wine.
22346 Palm Pilot: hotsync.exe could not load 'USER.DLL' required by 'COMUT16', error=2
22470 Excel 2003 cannot launch
22532 Lemmix (Lemmings Clones) can't be played because of black screen
22610 Ragnarok Online client echoes some sounds
22656 Serif Webplus X2 trial crashes in windowscodecs
22695 Avira AntiVir doesn't install - missing msvcr90.dll._snwprintf_s
22702 Cyberboard maps, markers and units display as all black.
22816 QIP 2010 (Infium): text cursor doesn't move properly
22843 Paste of text from Word 2003 into Powerpoint 2003 stopped working
22863 Win64 compile broken on FreeBSD
22876 HTML-Kit's small icons have a white background
22888 Damaged icons in QIP
22909 Drawn text overlapps after the second character.
22911 Fonts are garbled when running apps inside a vnc4server session
22914 TheWord: cursor does not display/function correctly
22927 The Bat! v4.2.36.4 didn't show the titlebar caption in KDEs taskbar
22928 IE8 for Vista's "missing updates" message is cut off
22946 WinOmega v6.30.51 shows Icons with dark/black background instead of transparency
22988 Vectorworks 2010: Drawing area doesn't show objects
22989 Adobe FrameMaker 8 installer aborts with compressed file extraction error
23003 Compile/link error on Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS release 4 (Nahant Update 8)
23007 GetSaveFileName incorrectly returns non-zero when Escape is pressed after a "replace this file" dialog
23010 Fonts corrupted in Civ4-based games when subpixel rendering is enabled
23021 Spider black suits fail to display
23029 closing window of IE 6 closes Lotus Notes 6.5.5
23044 Program 'convert.exe' shows menus in a strange way
23049 Shareaza crash while starting
23056 BitComet 1.21: Fails to start
23107 Unimplemented call _snprintf_s in CSPro 4.0

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