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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  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I meant the 64-b version of Ubuntu will not install on my RAID0. And even if it did, does Ubuntu support SLI?
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    What raid controller are you using? And yes nvidia supports sli in linux.
  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    The motherboard controller, not sure what it is. Gigabyte EP45T UD3LR.

    Do I need to download and install anything in Ubuntu to enable SLI? Like NVidia driver for Ubuntu?
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    Using the on-board fake raid controller?
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    Tell you what, send me an email and I can get you in information your looking for.
  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I tried to look up your email but failed. How do u send an email to a member?

    ANyway, you are correct. Using the on board Intel raid controller.

    I can't install XP without the Intel driver on a floppy too. Is there a similar trick for Ubuntu?

    My email is veskovasilev @ yahoo or gmail
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I know your using ubuntu, however arch has an awesome wiki on this. I'm sure some other ubuntu users can grab your specific wiki on installing over fake raid. However below is the link for archlinux fake raid. To be honest you should use software raid rather then fake raid. Although for this article I did use fakeraid to stay true to the setup.">
  • ravaneli - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I looked at that and got really scared. If I have to assign a probability to me doing all of this right, it would be below 5%.

    This is what I don't like in Linux. It is still quite user unfriendly. If you just browse the web and don't need anything other that the programs (good list) it comes with, then it is fine. But any kind if adjustment to a different purpose is a nightmare if you are not a programmer.

    Anyway, I thank you sincerely for your help! I will be building a new machine soon, and will use SSD instead of RAID0 for speed, and I will make the dual boot there.
  • stmok - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    At least the author is a fellow Arch Linux user! ;)

    As for the feedback around here, its the same thing over and over again. (As with other tech websites).

    (1) Most open source devs don't care for mainstream consumers. The software they wrote is made for their needs...They're happy to share it with everyone, and allow modifications/improvements using a community model.

    So trying to threaten them with comments like "Linux will never attain Windows marketshare" is pretty much an empty one. They'll just ignore you.

    (2) ...Nor do they care for desktop marketshare. Why would they care if its not their business to begin with? Apple and Microsoft are businesses; desktop marketshare means a lot to them. Its their core and they build services/apps around it.

    (3) Its "desktop" distro developers like Canonical (Ubuntu), etc that care about the mainstream user's needs. The overall goal of such organizations is to eventually use Linux as a platform for commercial applications sold via online store. (I'm not sure that would work well, as this approach has failed in the past).

    (4) Using ONE distro (like Ubuntu) is NOT representative of ALL Linux. To really appreciate Linux; you'd have to delve into distros like Debian, Arch, Gentoo, Sidux, etc. The reason being, no one distro is made EXACTLY the same.


    Arch Linux is a rolling release distro: You get regular updates instead of specific distro version releases. Its main advantage is that changes are gradual over time.

    Ubuntu is a point release distro: Its fixed at releasing specific versions of applications. Changes here, are encountered as distinct "bump ups". You'll often end up formating/installing a new release than upgrading because new versions of components can cause weird issues.

    (5) Linux will never be for the mainstream user, so get it out of your heads...And it shouldn't bother. That's not its strength.

    Linux's real strength is in servers (infrastructure), super computers (clusters), purpose specific systems/workstations, embedded devices, and enthusiasts who prefer what Linux offers and are willing to go through the learning curve.

    If you're just a computer user who's doesn't want to endure any learning curve and just want to use a computer; don't bother with Linux. Its best if you shift responsibility to a third party like Microsoft or Apple by paying for their solutions.

    Linux brings responsibility to the user. Some folks make not like that, so it really won't work for them.

    As for games? Buy a console. :)
  • haplo602 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Amen to that ... finaly a comment worth reading ...

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