Those who reguarly read this blog know that I’m not a gamer. Well into my sixth decade, my strong suit includes games that involve letters etched on wooden tiles, and my hand-eye coordination is limited to waving arm movements to accompany a full-throated, “Get off my lawn!”
Regardless, I do recognize the contributions that games make to the digital performance of hardware, and the subsequent technological advances to hardware. It’s a lot like the technological advances and developments in auto racing finding themselves worthy by automotive engineers to be included in passenger cars somewhere down the line.
So back in August when Gabe Newell said that Valve was going to bring Left 4 Dead 2 — which to me sounds like a final score: Left 4 Dead 2, Left advances (but never mind) — to Linux and called Windows 8 “a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space,” I would say that he would know.
According to a blog item by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes back in the summer, Kinglsey-Hughes writes that “Newell believes that the roadblock keeping gamers away from adopting Linux as their operating system of choice is a lack of games for the platform, so his company plans to bring a selection of titles — including the popular Left 4 Dead 2 — in an attempt to lure gamers to the free and open source platform.”
OK, I’m with you there, Gabe.
Fast forward to today: PC Gamer has a story about Steam — another gaming software company with a monosyllabic name — bringing Team Fortress 2 to Linux.
Is it me, or are we seeing a trend here?
When I wrote my last blog item, I didn’t expect the kind of overwhelming response that I got, for which I am truly grateful. I also want to make sure that credit is given where credit is due: James Eriksen — merelyjim — of Fort Worth, Texas, wrote the original blog post and posted the same in the CrunchBang Talk forum, and I picked up the proverbial ball and ran with it. Thanks, James.
Also, just so you know I also walk the walk of the talk I talk, I had donated some money to a few FOSS projects that are near and dear to my heart. The amount, though stretching a budget that had a small surplus, is not that significant and I’m not aiming to have the spotlight shine on me. But I am proud to admit that I practice what I preach.
So when Ubuntu/Canonical earlier this month asked for a handout, I cut out the middleman and gave directly to Debian instead. You can do the same by going to the Software in the Public Interest site, where there are a whole host of worthy projects that require funding.
Also, to my distro of choice — CrunchBang — I gave a bit. Philip Newborough does an outstanding job and the team of forum denizens answering a tsunami of questions on a daily basis is a textbook case of how FOSS projects should work.
Beth Lynn Eicher’s Africa project got a donation as well — and to those who are still thinking about giving, she could use some help. She’s overseeing a project to get Edubuntu-based machines to schools in Ghana, and she may have to cut her trip short if more funds are not forthcoming.
From the time my daughter was in kindergarten, she was raised on Tux Paint, and for years we used that program. I would even credit the development of her current artistic talent to her use of the program. It was long past time I made a donation to New Breed Software and my apologies to Bill Kendrick and his crew for taking so long while they produced over the last decade some of the greatest educational software on the planet.
The Free Software Foundation has been getting $10 a month from me since 2006. I don’t always agree with the direction the FSF is taking and I find their leadership lacking in many ways, but I do believe in their principles. I also joined the Open Source Initiative when they opened the organization up for membership several months ago, and clearly I don’t see a conflict in belonging to both organizations.
Windows 8 will be unleashed, Kraken-like, on an awaiting public on Oct. 26, which is this Friday. For US$79.99 — let’s just round that up to US$80 — one can get the latest version of the Windows operating system which, by many reports, is not ideal yet not as bad a some of the other products Redmond has forced upon the public in the past.
A CrunchBang user with the handle merelyjim posted this thread on the CrunchBang forum under the title, “No thanks. I got Linux” where he thinks that this $80 can be better spent elsewhere — like on your current distro or your favorite FOSS program.
I urge you to read the full text on the link or read merelyjim’s original blog item, but I’ll let merelyjim drive here:
“It’s hard to express what Linux has done for me. I’ve learned more with Linux than I ever did with Windows. I’ve been part of dynamic communities that have engaged in passionate arguments, clever discussions, and crazy flame wars. Like family, you take the crazy (um… that would be me) with the funny. Instead of just allowing me to ‘try and make things work’ on my own, there were those who tried to nudge me along the right path, even when I didn’t want to see it. I have undying gratitude for those who were willing to share their time and experience with me, even though I never knew them in real life.
“So, on October 26th, 2012, instead of giving Microsoft $79.99 for Windows 8 upgrade, I’m going to donate the same amount to the Linux-distro I use the most.
“I invite you to join me in doing this.
“I don’t really care which distro; we’re all family. If you’d prefer, donate to a specific Open Source project, instead. As long as you give something that lets Paypal, Amazon, of Flattr know that something’s going on that day. If you can’t give monetarily, at least spread the word.
“I want the Linux community to show Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle that we matter, we care for each other, and there are a lot more of us than they think. If you contribute, I hope you’ll e-mail or tweet whomever manufactured your machines so they’ll know you use their hardware running a Linux kernel.”
Amen to that, merelyjim.
There are a wide variety of projects you can donate to in the FOSS realm. Start with your distro of choice. Use a particular FOSS program often and find it useful? Most programs have donation links. There are even some projects that are not software related that deserve special mention: REGLUE, formerly the HeliOS Project, provides Linux-based computers to underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area; Partimus puts Linux-based computers in schools in the San Francisco Bay Area; and one project that I find important is Beth Lynn Eicher’s effort to bring Edubuntu-based computers to schools in Ghana.
For those who do not have money to donate — been there, done that — you can always donate time, which in many cases can be more valuable than currency. If you program, there are places where you can pitch in on distros and FOSS programs across the board. Don’t program? Don’t worry — many projects have needs beyond the 0′s and 1′s that include things like documentation (for the writers out there), design (for the artists), translation (for the multilingual) . . . the list goes on. If you have a special skill set, programming or non-programming, there’s something for you to do.
Got some ideas on where to donate? Post them in the comments.