Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


KVM VGA-Passthrough

ArchLinux user nbhs's post on his KVM VGA passtrhough set up is probably the best single resource on the topic that I've seen recently. I won't replicated it here, so here's a link:


Valve Announcements


New Valve announcement.
Yep, it's SteamBox:

But what's interesting is that it's not just a console made by Valve. They say they've got other manufactures ready to make their own machines running SteamOS. Not to mention that they clarified that SteamOS is meant to be run on any PC hardware, not just especially made hardware. Finally:

Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot?

I'm so glad they get it.

So, to sum up the last two announcements: "We made a Linux distro, we are making hardware companies support Linux, and we are selling Linux boxes"


Gabe Newell at LinuxCon


Virtualization: Gaming on Xen

I've been doing a little reading on virtualization and came across Xen and IOMMU (VT-d) which allows PCI passthrough. Here's a good resource on setting up a Xen hypervisor with a couple guests.

Here's an impressive example of such a set up in action:

Very cool. If I had beefy enough hardware for it, I would definitely set it up like this.


Kerbal Space Program (Steam) is 33% off this weekend

Kerbal Space Progam is on sale on Steam this weekend!

Normal price: $22.99, this weekend: $15.40

Still in development, but if you like space games and/or causing massive explosions, what's there already is challenging, a lot of fun, and often gorgeous. Bonus: 64-bit version available for Linux.


How to Install and Play League of Legends on Ubuntu

These instructions should work for other versions of Ubuntu, as well as Ubuntu-based distros such as Mint.

1. Install p7zip. It's needed for PlayOnLinux.

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

2. Install the latest version of PlayOnLinux.

Caution: At the time of writing, the version of PlayOnLinux in the Ubuntu repos is out of date. If you have that version, don't worry. Follow these installation instructions and your PlayOnLinux will be upgraded.

In Ubuntu 12.10, installation or updating is this easy:

Setup key with:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E0F72778C4676186

To setup the repository and install playonlinx:

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install playonlinux

If you are using some other distro, just visit the PlayOnLinux download website and follow the instructions for your distro.

2. Run PlayOnLinux, click Install, and enable Testing (by clicking the Include: Testing checkbox next to the search field).


Screenshot from 2013-02-25 12:19:56

Start typing "League of Legends" in the search field. League Of Legends should appear in the list. Select it and click Install in the bottom right.

There might be a few message boxes that let you know that the program you are about to install is in testing, just say Ok to everything.

3. Select the "Download the program" option


4. PlayOnLinux will download the LoL installer and run it. It'll take a while to download. Go through the install wizard and make sure to install LoL in the default location, and at the end, DO NOT have the "Launch League of Legends" checkbox ticked.


5. Run LoL! A couple tips:

  • The default server was EU West for me. Make sure to change the server to yours, or you won't be able to log on.
  • I recommend playing a custom game alone before playing a real game with others players. This will give you a chance to fiddle with the Video options and get them right.

I tested this with a ThinkPad X230 with an Intel HD Graphics 4000, and League of Legends worked well (about 30 fps) in full-screened mode and most graphics options turned to the lower end. Very playable. I also tested it with a ThinkPad X200 but found the fps too low to play well. Gl hf!


Steam for Linux Sale

It's Tux...and things.

Valve is holding a Steam for Linux Celebration Sale! 50-80% off on all Linux games, till 21 Feb, 10 AM PST. Lots of games on that list. Not only that, but it's easier than ever to install Steam on Ubuntu, because Steam is now available in the Ubuntu repos! You can even install it from the Ubuntu Software Center. No scary terminal emulator to scare away new users.

I know what will attract many people to at least install Steam on Linux once is this little fella. That's right.  You get an in-game penguin item in Team Fortress 2 if you play it on Linux before the end of the month. It sounds silly, but TF2 players are silly people, and I know this will drive many of them to install Ubuntu just to get whatever this is.


I'm glad Valve is pushing Steam for Linux aggressively. I think targeting Ubuntu is a smart choice as well. However, if they are successful (and I hope they are), this means many, many new and possibly computer illiterate users coming from Windows. I hope the community can accommodate them with patience.

Ubuntu Linux is a great desktop OS. One of the communities that hasn't adopted it is gamers. I'm glad Valve is reaching out to them. If you're one and you haven't given it a whirl, maybe it's time to install Ubuntu & Steam and consider reformatting your Windows partition.

I promise you everything will go better than expected:




How to Play Cave Story + on Linux Steam


If you redeem the Cave Story + code from the HumbleBundle on Steam, you won't get the Linux version.

Here's what you do:

  1. Download and install the game from the HumbleBundle website
  2. Add the game as a short-cut on Steam via the "Add a non-steam game" option
  3. Then delete the short-cut, the game will appear as a downloadable Linux game on Steam as a part of your Linux library.
  4. But, if you download it, and try to play it, it just says "executable missing":
  5. So: merge the folder you installed which is in /opt, assuming that's where you installed it, with ~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps/common/Cave Story+/

There, you can now play Cave Story + on Steam.

EDIT: With the small limitation that achievements won't work.


Humble THQ Bundle Clarification

So Humble Bundle is offering a bunch of THQ games. People are mad because they think this signifies a departure from HB's standards of DRM-free and cross-platform offerings. Well, chill out:

From arstechnica:

"John Graham assured users the company will "never stop creating Humble Indie Bundles... and the other bundle types we've successfully launched this year. But we’re also eager to see if our pay-what-you-want plus charity model meshes with critically acclaimed AAA content as well."

Graham said the new THQ bundle did not represent a permanent departure from the company's indie roots, and that the company may even release a third indie bundle this year. "This year has also been a year of many experiments for us that fall outside the traditional Humble Indie Bundle framework," Graham told us. "We’re very excited to be able to offer the gaming community a massive sale with blockbuster content and raise money for charity at the same time. We will of course continue to support indies content as a core of our business."

Regarding the lack of Mac and Linux ports this time around, Graham said plainly that, "in the case of this promotion, it would not have been possible for us to deliver this blockbuster content via other means." But Graham also promised the Humble Bundle "will not cease in our quest to bring awesome content to Mac and Linux and Android," and pointed out that the Humble eBook Bundle contained the first digital publication of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel Signal to Noise."

The bottom line is that it doesn't change anything about how HB does things, and it means more money for both HB and charity.


Steam for Linux Beta

I was invited to in the second round of Linux for Steam beta. It works well on my ThinkPad X200 running Ubuntu 12.04 with Unity, but not flawlessly.

When I get some more free time I will play with it more.