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|Originally Published: Thursday, 14 October 1999||Author: Scott Nipp|
|Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles||Page: 1/1 - [Std View]|
Linux Games Contribute to Community
Games are a topic near and dear to my heart; however, most businesses see computer games as nothing more than a waste of time. This mentality is entirely appropriate when taken in the proper context. Entertainment software in general really has no place or function in the office. The companies that make these games, however, can and do make valuable contributions to the community in general. Loki Entertainment Software is one such company....
Loki (http://www.lokisoft.com) specializes in porting existing Windows-based entertainment titles to the Linux platform. This porting fills a great need in the Linux world to help bring Linux into the home user market. Linux has made great strides in improving its ease of use and installation. Many home computer owners have been able to install and work with Linux for things like web surfing, e-mail, playing some fairly basic games, and more. Most of these home users, however, still end up using some version of Windows for work and playing the big time commercial entertainment titles you find in the local computer stores. Loki is making strides to allow these users to enjoy there favorite games under Linux, and thus helping to free them from having to run Windows if they so choose.
The porting of these games has led Loki to invent solutions to problems encountered during the porting. Loki has released these solutions back to the Linux community under a public license, which allows other companies to benefit from Loki's work. These solutions include two different sets of libraries for playing full motion video and animation, a bug tracking system, and the latest is a GUI installer. Some of these solutions are tailored more specifically to games, such as the video and animation libraries, but others are much more general in purpose.
The GUI installer that Loki developed seems to be the most promising in terms of widespread use. One of the difficulties in running a Linux system is the installation of new software. The development of a GUI installer that has a public license means that other companies wanting to create or port Linux software can focus on the application itself without having to worry about how to get it installed. This should help to encourage development of software under Linux.
Software available on the Linux platform is growing rapidly. This growth includes all major types of applications from database servers such as Oracle, to productivity suites such as StarOffice, and even to the entertainment titles that many of us spend hours every week enjoying. This growth in applications for Linux will only continue as the Linux install base grows. Contributions to the programming community that encourage Linux software development only serve to help the Linux community as a whole, no matter where these contributions come from. Congratulations to the people over at Loki for bringing some high-quality, highly enjoyable products to Linux, and for supporting the Linux community through their efforts.
Scott Nipp is a Technical Analyst at Sprint Paranet. He spends his time there fighting the good fight, advocating Linux to his managers and customers.