Introduction by Jarred

A few months back, I wrote an article looking at battery life on a couple of laptops using several different OSes. Windows XP, Vista, and 7 were the main focus, but I decided to test battery life on Linux running Ubuntu as well. Naturally, the Linux community wasn't happy to see their OS place last in the battery life results. One of the readers actually took the time to offer his help in getting a Linux OS configured "properly", and we started work.

Eventually, we abandoned the follow-up article as I had other pressing matters to get to and troubleshooting Linux from half a continent away is difficult (plus we started with the NV52, and ATI support under Linux is still lacking), but I offered Christopher the chance to write a couple pilot Linux articles for our site. He had shown a much better knowledge of Linux and I figured getting someone passionate about the OS was our best bet. (I'll let Christopher tell you what he does for his "real job" if he so desires.)

As a side note, with Anand's call for more writers, this sort of passion for any technology is what we like to see. Show us you know what you're talking about and you care about the technology, and there's a good chance we can use your skills.

With that out of the way, here's Christopher's first Linux article where he provides a concrete look at something few have ever attempted: Windows Gaming on Linux.

Over the past few years, there has been a common question on the Linux vs. Windows desktop front: does the Linux desktop have the ability to play various major release games, and if so what is the performance difference between the two? Linux is commonly overlooked as a viable gaming platform in most communities. Our intention today is to shed some light on what does and does not work inside Linux, as well as give solid performance data for those looking for another option in the gaming world. Each OS has areas where it shows superiority over the other, but for the sake of staying true to the purpose of this article we will only be focusing on the game performance/functionality differences.

Unfortunately there are very few game releases that support running inside Linux natively. To combat this issue there are a few Linux projects that will allow Linux users to run Windows applications - note that we did not say "emulate Windows". We have selected three Linux projects in order to complete our initial round of testing. Our open source project selection "Wine" is a free, easily downloadable project that is created to support both Windows games and applications. The second selection, "Cedega", is a closed source implementation of Wine focused on gaming. The final selection is Crossover Games which like Cedega is a closed source implementation of Wine allowing for enhanced usability and gameplay over Wine.

Some are probably asking at this point, what is Wine? The Wine project was started in 1993 to allow Windows applications to be run under Linux. Wine takes the Windows API (Application Programming Interface) and implements it in the Linux user space. Since Wine is running in user space and is not a part of the Linux Kernel, it relies on the wineserver daemon to provide your basic Windows kernel functionality as well as other various tasks of X integration.

As a quick recap, there are two basic goals we want to complete in this article. First we want to compare performance and functionality of games between Linux and Windows. Second, we will look at the performance and functionality differences of Wine/Cedega/Crossover Games.

Wine Projects: Which Vintage?
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  • ficarra1002 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Most people don't use Linux because it's free. They get it because its better. You may think its too much work, but that's you.
  • stoggy - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Yea those linux gui server utils are great they make it really easy. then its worth the trouble.

    why did you even read the article if its not worth the bother?

    why do i use linux for a desktop? Because windows cant do what linux can do, period. Even worse is when Windows makes me do what linux does for me.
  • zerobug - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link

    Very good move from Anand, hiring a Linux expert for a better coverage on what's going on in the OSS arena. I welcome this initiative. The present article was a good choice and I'll be checking often for what's following. Good luck and a happy new year to the team and all their readers.
  • ReviveR - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link

    Comparison is quite unfair, but Linux doesn't actually have to win Windows to become a gaming platform.

    Just today I connected my N900 to TV and played some Star Control 2. It worked really well as cheap console replacement.

    It probably also has more processing power (CPU & GPU) than Nintendo DS or PSP. You can connect it to PC, use some bluetooth based controller like Wiimote etc. I think that when Maemo starts gaining some speed it could be a very nice Linux based gaming platform also.

    If you think how successful Wii has been and then consider that something like N900 can handle bigger resolutions than Wii, offer all the development advantages of Linux etc... The tech is there, all it would need is users realising the possibilities.
  • minime - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see more real-life server test (incl. Linux [based] solutions). Something like "Which software stack/solution is able to serve the most users (while being practical meaning, incl. security)" (use-case: webserver, database, java, etc.).

    Then the other way around, keywords: AMD, Intel, PCI-E SSD vs. SATA SSD, GPGPU, etc.
  • ChristopherRice - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link

    In the future, I'd like to do some server articles for sure.
  • minime - Sunday, January 3, 2010 - link

    Cool, thanks! I do believe this is something a lot of readers would like to see and would differentiate from the ordinary IT-blog/news-sauce
  • jediknight - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link

    I'd be interested in seeing what performance would be like using a VM. Or Is performance so poor as to not even be worth attempting?
  • FluffyTapeworm - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    It would be interesting to see how well running windows + games under vmplayer, virtualbox, etc stacks up. I assume it's likely to be less efficient, but it might still be useful for many older games.
  • vol7ron - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    This article didn't really introduce anything new. All it says is that some people have found a way to manipulate Linux using Wine/etc to play some games.

    That sounds no better than someone issuing a keygen to use an application. Of course, the legalities are better, but you get the point: to only be able to play SOME games at a considerable performance impact does not make this option enticing if you already have Windows.

    All it says is: if you're a Linux user and you want nice gameplay, we recommend you dual boot, as always, because the games you probably really want to play, won't be worth the effort.

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