Is Linux really an alternative on the Desktop?

I just read this article over at PCWorld. Sadly, I have to agree with everything in it. Linux as a Desktop OS is fantastic, if you know how to configure it, and if you can live without all the good content which is available for Windows or Mac OS X. Those are two huge “if”s, though. I personally use Linux for much of my daily work, and basically for everything that’s related to programming in any way. However, I have to go back to Windows much too often to play games, listen to music, watch movies, etc. Sure, I can run most of the programs in Wine, but it just doesn’t feel right.

For Linux to become a good Desktop OS, it would definitely need some love from the big software companies. As an example, a little while ago, there were rumors about Steam coming to Linux. Things like that would really help Linux adoption. Unfortunately, it’s too hard for software developers to support Linux. Sure, the program can probably run on every distribution out there, but the method of installing applications can be completely different from one distribution to another, and this is hell for a developer. After all, if it’s hard to install applications no normal desktop user will choose Linux, and the fewer users Linux has, the less meaningful it is for software companies to develop applications for it.

Free software advocates might not think this is a bad thing. After all, a common way of thinking in the Linux world is that software is supposed to be free, and that the Linux world shouldn’t be polluted by closed, proprietary, software. This is a good philosophy, but the facts cannot be ignored. Many good software products are written by large companies, and these companies want to earn money from it.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind running a couple of proprietary applications in Linux, if that let me do everything I want. I don’t hate Windows; I actually think it’s perfectly OK. However, Linux improves my productivity with its outstanding scripting abilities. unmatched by anything I have seen for Windows. If I could get just one OS which fulfills all my needs I would be happy. Unfortunately, I don’t think Linux will be that OS anytime soon…

Is Android secure?

There’s been a lot of talk lately in swedish media about the security of smart phones. This news report (in swedish) by the swedish public service TV station SVT shows how easy it is to hack into your iPhone and do all kinds of weird stuff, such as recording audio using the phone’s microphone or sending an SMS.

Following that report the well known swedish Android site Swedroid published an interview (also in swedish) about the security of Android. This post is written in response to that interview.
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Gran Turismo 5 delay

Bah, I just saw this blog post about the delay of Gran Turismo 5. I know, by now this is old news, but it’s too bad; I was really looking forward to picking this game up in November, so I could play during the cold and dark swedish winter. Let’s just hope it launches before christmas at least…

Cataclysm Cinematic Intro

Ok, Blizzard has always delivered top-notch cinematics, but this one for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is friggin insane:

Linux on the BeagleBoard, Part 1 – Introduction

This entry is part of 1 in the series Linux on the BeagleBoard

Running Linux on the BeagleBoard is fairly simple. There are tons of images floating around with all kinds of Linux installations. However, if you are like me, you will at some point want to know how it all works, and build your own system from scratch. Doing so might seem hard to begin with, but it’s actually quite simple.

In this article series I will try to guide you through all the steps you need to take to get a basic Linux system up and running on the BeagleBoard. I will start by explaining how to build your toolchain, then move on to building the Linux kernel itself, and finally demonstrate how to build a filesystem containing applications which run on top of that Linux kernel.

To follow this series, you need to have some basic understanding of Linux and how to use the shell. You do not, however, have to be some kind of Linux guru!

World of Warcraft 4.0.1 – One big monster!

So, yesterday the preparation patch for Cataclysm, with version number 4.0.1, was deployed in Europe. I had a feeling it would be big, considering the amount of changes made for Cataclysm; however, almost 6 gigabytes of data makes for one beastly patch! It took me approximately 2 hours just to download the data, and then it took another 2 hours to install it. Ok, my gaming rig is by no means bleeding edge, but still, 2 hours is a long time to wait for a patch to apply. On top of that, after installing that first patch I was greeted by another download; luckily, this time I could use the streaming launcher to download just enough of the game content to let me play.

As for the patch itself, it’s good to see that it is finally here. I have had access to the Cataclysm Beta for a month or two by now, so most of the changes introduced in 4.0.1 are not new to me. Nevertheless, they improve the gameplay in many ways. I haven’t really had time to experiment with talent builds and raiding yet, but it seems like the gameplay on level 80 is a bit screwed up. I’m just waiting for Cataclysm to be released. Until then, playing WoW just won’t be as fun as it should be.

Another Tuesday, another gaming night…

As the title implies, tonight was gaming night. Recently, every Tuesday evening has been dedicated to playing board games with my friends, and I hope this continues since I really enjoy it.

The game tonight was Shogun: a game set in Japan during the Sengoku period. Each player plays a daimyo, a territorial lord striving to become shogun. To accomplish this, the players compete to expand their territory and build buildings which provide extra points during the scoring rounds.

The game is played over eight seasons: two years of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The first three of these seasons play out exactly the same: randomize action order, plan actions and bid for playing order, and then perform your planned actions. All players execute their actions more or less simultaneously, so the gameplay feels very dynamic. What one player chooses to do affects the decisions for every other player.

The winter, however, is not played in the same way as the other three seasons. During winter, you must make sure to feed your population, or they will revolt. After dealing with possible revolts, scoring takes place. This is the time when you should have expanded and built buildings. Every province you control, and every building you have built, gives one point. There are also special scoring rules for building the most buildings of the same kind (castles, temples and theatres) in one region. Since the game only consists of two scoring rounds, it is important to maximize your scoring potential especially for these rounds. Having the greatest kingdom doesn’t help much if you have it at the wrong time.

An interesting feature in this game is how combats are resolved. For every combat, you take the involved armies and throw them all in a tower, constructed so that some armies pass through it and some get stuck inside it. The winner of the combat is simply the player who sees the most armies pass through the tower. The armies that get stuck inside the tower stay there for later combats, which makes it a bit more interesting; you simply have to take into account how many armies are inside the tower before performing an attack on a province.

All in all, I liked the game, but since this was the first time we played it, it’s a bit too early to say if it’s good or not. Hopefully we’ll play it some other time so I can give my judgement. Stay tuned!

God I hate cheese…

So, yesterday I played a couple of SC2 ladder games. I obviously didn’t bring my “A game” because I won 2 games and lost 7! This would be all good if it wasn’t for the fact that almost every game I lost was due to some cheese tactics. It really pisses me off when I lose to someone who is not obviously more skilled than I am, and using cheesy tactics is not the same as being skilled.

For example, I lost two TvT games against people who built two barracks and a bunker just outside my base. How hard is that to do? I mean, had I spotted it earlier I would have won for sure because they obviously didn’t have any other strategy to fall back on. Such players sicken me, and it sickens me even more that such tactics actually work! I will never fall so low as to start using them myself, though, because I don’t think it would help me learn how to be a better player. Besides that, I doubt it would work in the higher leagues on the ladder.

Of course, if I were a better player I would be able to handle cheese tactics, but when playing in gold league it’s really difficult to deal with. It for sure didn’t help that I played like shit either. :(

Starcraft 2: New TvZ strategy

I am by no means a gosu Starcraft 2 player (I play in the top segment of gold league), but I watch almost every episode of Day[9]‘s daily webcasts, and a couple of days ago he presented a really interesting TvZ strategy by Drewbie. I usually go for reapers and then MMM against Zerg but have been struggling with mutalisks lately so this strategy, which is built mainly around Thors, feels very appealing to me.

I tried it in a couple of games against a computer opponent and after I got the opening and transition smoothed out it started to work rather well. Unfortunately, in all the games, the computer focused mainly on roaches, so I didn’t get a chance to try it out against mutalisks. However, since the build worked even against roaches I feel confident that it will solve my mutalisk problem.

I’ll try to do some laddering soon to try it out for real.

Paid Android apps in Sweden

Yay! Finally Google managed to bring paid apps to the swedish Android Market. I honestly don’t know what took them so long, but it’s good that it’s here, so that I can start earning some money from my apps.

Time to get busy! :)