The mighty curse of the linux

11/29/2010 2:24:15 PM

By RetroRalph

I wish Linux was better. Don't get me wrong, compared to Windows 7 it isn't that far behind in most areas, and beats it in some. But until Linux is a lot better than Windows why will people move to it?

I do like the concept of Linux and for a free project it has done very well for itself up till this point. I think if they lured some quality win32 developers over to it they would improve the lacking areas substantially. As a developer myself there are just too many flaws in the way Linux operates to make it easy for me to write programs for it.

For a start you must ask yourself, what is Linux? It isn't an operating system as we know it today, that is left up to the various distributions or "Distros" to sort out. Linux people say "The package managers make that software installation problem non existent". That is true for rarely updated open source software that has a compatible software license with the distro. But not true for 90% of applications/games you can use on Windows today.

A large segment of the Linux community I feel are the tech orientated hackers/programmers/system admins with not as many "normal" users. There seems to be this good feeling when someone takes some old source code and makes it work on "their" distro. "Look guys I got doom 1 playing on Puppy" - "wow you are 3r33t". Not that I judge such behaviour that badly, but when it comes to actually moving Linux forward most techie type people in that community couldn't give two flops.

The migration away from Ubuntu (the most popular Linux Distro) by the tech community is a sign of what will happen when anything in Linux becomes successful. Just like when Nirvana became "popular" and the grunge addicts moved to another underground band. The Linux community seems filled with people purely interested in being different. The more obscure the version of Linux they run the more powerful they feel.

I've spent most of the time since v0.911 release cleaning up the codebase so that it works nicely with GCC which is the main C++ compiler on Linux. Initially GCC told me there were about 1000 warnings in my code that MSVC was fine with. Most of the warnings were irrelevant but there were 2 or 3 which helped me spot some bugs, so it was worth it. I've also moved to using UTF-8 internally so that updating to C++0x will be easier when that is released.

I started work on the Linux only aspects of RetroCopy yesterday, and progress has been good, I will likely have it running tomorrow or the next day. Unlike most Linux software I statically link every library that is unusual into RetroCopy. What does this mean? Well it should mean provided you have ALSA+OPENGL on your Linux distribution, RetroCopy will work out of the box. I can hear all the Linux people that love typing ./configure ,tweaking/compiling source code and ensuring the correct version of libraries exist are going "Noooooo too easyyyyy".

5 responses to The mighty curse of the linux

panzeroceania wrote:

11/30/2010 9:57:20 PM

I use Arch Linux because it has a rolling release so all my software is completely up to day and isn't tweaked at all to fit with the distro, it is the straight code from the developer. It doesn't use any beta software but simply the most up to date stable release of everything.

I also like using OSS for my sound because I feel it is more powerful than ALSA but to each their own.

RetroRalph wrote:

12/1/2010 2:07:56 AM

I was told "OSS is dead" and "ALSA has won" ? Either way, if OSS/ALSA support is loaded dynamically it won't present a problem. The windows sound core is only about 150 lines long and ALSA looks about the same. You can't have both OSS and ALSA running simultaneously can you?

panzeroceania wrote:

12/4/2010 4:06:57 AM

OSS is far from dead. What you are referring to is when OSS 3 came out they didn't have a completely open liscense. the BSDs never stopped using them IIRC but they were taken out of the linux kernel. OSS4 has since come out and is more open again and very nice.

The only things ALSA has going for it is that most people use it because it's good for legacy, and it works on more hardware but OSS4 is better when used.

See this blog for more info.

some information may be outdated but I find his blog to be informative.

RetroRalph wrote:

12/4/2010 6:29:19 AM

I have no real experience with sound on Linux, but the developers I spoke to about it said that sound on Linux is in a sorry state atm. Considering these devs were Linux lovers, for them to state such a thing really puts it in context. Until I write the cores for it though I won't know how good/bad any of them are.

RetroCopy no longer demands much from the audio backend as it has its own mixer, resampler, etc. Just provide a stable way to supply sound samples with as low latency as possible and it is happy.

panzeroceania wrote:

12/4/2010 7:40:40 AM

yeah the state of sound in linux is still pretty bad, OSS4 helps but it doesn't have great hardware support.

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