The Best PC Game Platform Ever (GNU/Linux)

As an avid GNU/Linux user and IT Professional, I have personally observed how versatile this magnificent Operating System can be.

GNU/Linux drives a multitude of different hardware ranging from embedded devices, to various types of networking devices, to small computer systems, to servers, to supercomputers, and beyond.

GNU/Linux truly is a Universal Operating System, not only because it can be installed on just about any type of hardware, but also because of the freedom(in license) it offers to use, modify, and redistribute it to humans everywhere.

So, today while having a "trip and bump my head" moment, I thought of an idea that would make it possible to deliver more games to more users than ever.

Here's the idea: All PC Games should first be built to work with the GNU/Linux Universal Operating System. Then, since it is relatively easy, the game would simply have an installer that would install GNU/Linux on the host platform and to enable the gamer to be played on the host. An example of this "GNU/Linux installed as a program" system is already being used in Ubuntu, it's called wubi (Windows-based Ubuntu Installer). The wubi enables users to install GNU/Linux as a program into the Windows OS.

Since GNU/Linux is Universal, this could open up the game to just about any platform because the user would simply use the game installer to install GNU/Linux along with the game to their system.

Running games in this fashion would put an end to the need for PC game makers having to port their games to different host Operating Systems because all games would be built to work in the GNU/Linux Universal Operating System.

Using this type of system would revolutionize the PC gaming industry, and broaden the market for the game because it could run on many different types platforms. Increasing the availability of the games would equate to increased sales of the games. It's sort of like the example of RAMBUS RAM vs. SDRAM. Since SDRAM was a more open standard than RAMBUS, more hardware mfgrs were able to make SDRAM and so it became cheaper and more widely used to the point that it snuffed out RAMBUS alltogether. Another example would be Henry Ford's mentality of making cars more affordable and selling many more cars than when they were only available to the rich.

This method of making games would also help to protect gaming systems from becoming obsolete, which would be beneficial for both the gamer and the game maker.

Imagine the possibilities that can become reality if games weren't tied to one specific Operating System and instead were run from the GNU/Linux Universal Operating System.

So perhaps GNU/Linux should be renamed to (GNU)niversal Linux Operating System.

Go Freedom!! Go GNU/Linux!!

Also shared the idea with:
Mark Shuttleworth
Dell Ideastorm here


  1. "Imagine the possibilities that can become reality if games weren't tied to one specific Operating System and instead were run from the GNU/Linux Universal Operating System."

    So how is it not tied to one OS - you've just suggested tying it to Linux/GNU and then forcing everyone to install a WUBI style version of Linux on their computer just to be able to run the game.

    While this could be a way to force everyone into choosing Linux/GNU as their OS of choice - I mean why install an OS inside an OS just to run games. So then you've succeeded in forcing everyone to choose Linux.

    Wow, you've come up with a plan to:
    a) cause the downfall of MS and Mac,
    b) remove the need for people to choose their
    c) and you've done it in a way that is very
    similar to how MS grew to dominate, but
    you've done it without the monetary return.

  2. Thanks Anonymous..

    I think you misunderstood my plan, around about the part where you explain it is taking away choice in Operating Systems.

    What I am advocating is GNU / Linux as a philosophy for standards, not so much as being the unitary OS available for your computer. If you don't think I believe in choice, you definitely have taken me wrong. I believe in choice very much. The quest for choice is what brought me to GNU/Linux to begin with.

    What I sincerely don't believe in though, is for companies to abuse their positions in the market to force the competition out. And in the case of at least one, this is done with total disregard for the advancement of technology whatsoever. Imagine being in the position to have something FORCED on you, just because the person forcing it has more money than you. This is just not the right way to do things when dealing with science and technology anyways.

    I would hope that you agree that competition is very good for the End User, and that's why we shouldn't be having any rouge companies out there trouncing on us (the end users).

    So when I speak of GNU / Linux as the ultimate gaming platform, what I mean is that games should all be made to work on a standardized software platform. This standard software platform should not be able to be controlled by any particular company. This way there's no bias to make it work better with one OS than with another.

    The standard platform would be used as the guideline for all game makers to write their games for, and then each OS could use its own application to receive the standard gaming platform. So this way you could use whatever OS or platform you want to play any game you want because they would all be coded to a work with a standardized, open platform. I believe this would maximize the benefits of work that is done on a given game, because then it could be ran on any platform that has decent enough hardware to run it. GNU/Linux as the Universal Operating System fits this purpose, which is why it's ported to so many different types of devices already.

    No where do I dictate that everyone should have to use the entire GNU / Linux as their Operating System. Instead, I think people should be OK to use whatever platform they desire. What I'm looking for is an OPEN framework for which all software(free and proprietary) can work with all Operating Systems. Again, GNU/Linux as the Universal Operating System fits this purpose.

    I like to think of it and compare it in terms of computer hardware standards. For instance, we have a new eSATA standard coming out soon that will enable people to achieve 6GBs data transfer rates to storage devices. This is awesome, and it's open to all players. Since eSATA is a standard, any company is allowed to make devices that Interface with eSATA. This is because the standard is not particularly owned by one company(that would be knuckling everyone else). This way, competition is allowed to happen(anyone can come and make devices for the standard), and then we(the end user) get the most benefit. This is the power of standards.

    I simply think software should work the same way - in terms of being coded to a specified standard, and that standard being open to everyone everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everyone should give away their software. What I'm saying is that software should be built to a standard that is open so that everyone(every OS) can use it.

    I really like talking about this stuff, so please, feel free to drop me a line anytime. Also, thanks for commenting here.

    Go GNU / Linux!!
    Shannon VanWagner

  3. See openlina. Different idea Linux running in a virtual machine on windows. It would mean giving up 10 percent when using windows compared to a User running Linux.

  4. the problem I see mainly with this. Is that advocating freedom by having people install a non-free game is not really the best option. I am not saying that everything in the game need to be Free Software. Because there is art and music mixed in there with story line and all that. But at least the Engine and underlying code should be Free. It is hard to spread Freedom when your are advocating for it to be easier to install non-free software on top of a Free Software operating system. We should be Encouraging people to use and support Free Software Games. In this way we can put pressure on the Gaming industry to Free more of their code and perhaps get to a point where we have games that are easy to install in Gnu/Linux while at the same time being Free.

  5. "Then, since it is relatively easy, the game would simply have an installer that would install GNU/Linux on the host platform and to enable the gamer to be played on the host"

    This statement makes me wonder why I should need to install another Operating system on my Operating system to run a game. It's kinda' like early versions of Windows jokes - "What's the only Operating System that needs another Operating system to Run?"

    By advocating that every should be made to run on Linux first, and then have the installer install GNU/Linux on the host system, why not just cut out the middle man and make it your host OS. What would the point of having the other OS?

    I see you point, but with regards to comparing hardware(or in this case firmware) to software like games I think is erroneous. Hardware specs and firmware are there to allow an OS to know how to communicate with the hardware. The game idea that you're proposing is similar, but it begins to take on the role of an OS. The game needs to know how to talk to the OS in order to run properly.

    Unless you have a better suggestion, a standard set of libraries that all OSes must have in order to run games. But even then the people who write those libraries are going to have to know how to interact with the host OS. You're simply adding a layer of abstraction that may or may not add functionality.

  6. "I am not saying that everything in the game need to be Free Software. Because there is art and music mixed in there with story line and all that. But at least the Engine and underlying code should be Free."

    So original work by artists and musicians should be paid for, but not by coders? Everything thing should be in some utopian society where people code because they want to, not because they're getting anything in return for it. How are you supposed to pay for the art, music and writing? Through the goodwill of random companies? Through charging for support.

    I have used some open source and free software over the past decade or so, and can say that for reliability and customer support I have to go with a company that cares about what I think, because if they don't they lose my business. Open source does have some good points, it's a place for programmers to cut their teeth and work out some new ideas, but after that in my experience they drop the ball. Customer support is next to non-existent, it breaks on new releases of something random, and too often it forks like a bunch of bunnies in a field of clover.

  7. Wow. I'm pro linux and all but some times people come up with the dumbest ideas and blog posts. Forcing people to use linux to develop games on is such a thing that Microsoft would do and to a point does today. So where is the choice that is so important to you.

    On top of that linux has unreliable video and sound support so how is a game going to look all that great when you can't get that video card driver to work right or your sound just kind of shits out on you right when you start that game up.

    No OS is the perfect choice for developing games for and nobody should be forced to develop on one specific platform or another. Linux has its place and people make games for them but it should not be forced on anyone

  8. @sean - First of all, you say your "pro linux and all", well you'll have to excuse me, but I'm not so convinced by that statement.

    Also, I'm not suggesting that people be "forced" to do anything. What I'm suggesting is that games and other good software be developed in such a way that the software can work on ANY platform, that it be UNRESTRICTED. This way you could play the game wherever you want, whether it be on your MAC/Linux/Console/Win-mach or even your cell phone (yes there are companies that are making 3d graphics chips for cell phones).

    These days, because of all the technology that is already available, when any company develops games and/or software that can only be used on a single platform, they are doing all the billions of users that may use the software a total injustice because they are RESTRICTING the technology merely for more profit.

    So in other words, companies that try to restrict anyone to a particular platform are doing it ONLY for their own benefit and their own GREED, not because they want to give the end-user the best product.

    So we, as the end-users, need to demand that companies make software and games that are interoperable, this will make the software more useful for US(and all of humanity) in the end. Also, we will get the best product out of the deal because the playing field will be level and there will be more healthy competition.

    As for your comments about the video and audio in Linux, it actually sounds like you haven't used Linux all that much. NVIDIA and ATI both make Linux drivers now, and more companies will follow. Also, there are changes being made in the kernel right now that are going to improve video for non-accelerated graphics even more. Linux works beautifully for playing games (even better than other OSes in some scenarios) if the games are made to work with it. Take a peek over at this blog entry that has videos of Linux gameplay: Also, if Linux wasn't the best for graphics and multimedia, than why did the people who made Shrek the movie use Linux to make the movie?

    As for the "perfect choice" in OSes for building and distributing games, I say it should be Linux because Linux is the only Operating System that legally allows you to actually build a whole NEW framework for any software and rebrand it as a new Operating System. So it wouldn't actually be a "Linux OS", it would be a "standard" and "open" and superfluous and Totally Awesome, GAMING PLATFORM that would merely be Linux-based. Think Android, or Cisco, or others.

    I don't choose Linux because it IS the best for all applications of technology everywhere. I choose Linux because it is the Universal Operating System and it CAN BE the best for any application of technology both now and far into the future! Linux represents the will of humanity to be enabled with technology - this is a company that will never close. Now wouldn't you like to have that kind of effort be the base of great games?

    Won't you join me in doing away with the Tax, and with getting the best product that we deserve, and in NOT REINVENTING THE WHEEL for greed?

    Eyes looking forward, free yourself. Be an enabler of humans with technology. Use GNU/linux.

    Shannon VanWagner

  9. We already have a universal gaming platform. It's called JAVA.

  10. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  11. Personally I think your onto something, would benefit the gaming industry to do so too... would open up gaming to a wider audience. The ppl disagreeing with you are just being doofuses and reading too far into what your saying... Standardizing games is a great idea... Cause Wine and all these other programs while good obviously cannot perfectly mimic Windows, hence the compatibility issues. So everyone, but him a dang break... he makes a point here


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