Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 368

I think there might be a segment of the market that would buy a Steam OS machine but would either be too intimidated by technology to buy a separate copy of Windows 10 to install or too cheap to spend the extra $120. There are probably also at least some people who want a free software operating system but will tolerate Steam, but I doubt there are many.

Comment Re:Really? Then what are the HDDs for? (Score 1) 368

Yeah, you pay a lot for convenience. And for example on the PS3 you have to subscribe to Sony's "Playstation Plus" service to get game software updates to run on a schedule. If you're not a subscriber - and I am not - then it informs you of a required update the next time you launch the game and you have to wait. That's a real pain, but I'm not willing to pay Sony $60 per year to solve a headache they created to get $60.

But again, my kids want multiplayer so it looks like the next purchase is going to fatten the pockets of some player. Dammit.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 368

I understand your point with respect to the Nvidia drivers. I use AMD GPUs on Linux, even though the performance is horrendous, because the open source radeon drivers are better than the open source nouveau drivers. But I can do that because I don't do seriously graphics intensive gaming or CUDA or anything similar. If I did, I would not accept the performance hit that my free software drivers involved.

In terms of gaming, I want the free software options to be the ones everyone plays. But I'm not looking at this for me - I don't game enough to care. I'm looking at this for the average console user. For them, I think Steam OS is somewhat attractive and the selection from Humble Bundle and is not. A free software option they ignore and a proprietary but not DRM-encumbered option they ignore are both trumped by DRM on a free software operating system that they might actually use.

Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 368

I think the rough handling and dirty environment can wreck the disks themselves. But the console is fine. I don't know anything with respect to PS2 longevity and brown outs and power spikes.

Now that I think about it, I think I got my Playstation 2 in 2003, over three years after the console launched. Maybe the first few production runs had lower quality.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 368

Good point. I should have been clearer: I consider using a free software operating system more important than using free software applications on top of it. So in my view, while Steam OS is not optimal I still consider it a huge step forward from gaming on Windows, OS X, iOS, or consoles. As you said, I don't count the FreeBSD base of the PS4 because Sony does not re-release the source code.

But yes, to me the ideal would be for the whole stack top to bottom to be free software, including the games themselves. On the rare occasions I play any games, I play free software stuff. But my sons (unlike their dad) are obsessed with the NFL and the only games with legal names and likenesses of their favorite players is the Madden NFL series. And for other games, the graphics of Starcraft 2, Call of Duty: (whatever), WWE Superstars, and the other games they like blow away the free software alternatives. Most puzzling of all, when I show them Nethack they just don't get at the beautiful @ and fancy d they start with. Go figure.

Comment Re:Really? Then what are the HDDs for? (Score 1) 368

We do have a Playstation 3, and I got into the habit of buying the games from the Sony web store. That way there's no possibility the disk loading times can slow game play and your kids don't tear the living room apart three times in two hours hunting for the next game disk they want to use.

You do pay higher prices for the games bought that way, though.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 368

Nice! I didn't realize setting up multi-seat for Linux was so straightforward. I've seen a demo of a single Fedora setup with some USB and Bluetooth gadgets so that six or eight people could use a GUI, keyboard, monitor and mouse at the same time for productivity and web browsing. But a two setup for gaming is pretty cool. I also appreciate kidtimer. I wrote a very primitive bash script on my kids' machines that just runs every three minutes by cron and powers the box off if it's between 9 PM and 6 AM.

Comment Re:Not Linux (Score 1) 368

The problem isn't fundamental to the Linux kernel, the problem is because the device drivers for Nvidia and AMD video cards on Linux are inferior to the ones on Windows, and the implementation of the OpenGL API on Linux isn't as efficient as the one on Windows, and game development companies put more effort into optimizing their games for Windows because most of their customers run Windows.

But the result is as you described, and that won't change soon.

Comment Re:Gran Turismo (Score 1) 368

I agree that picking a console on price is foolish, especially when so many good PC games are cheap or free.

But if your kid wants to play Gran Turismo, or Super Smash Bros., or Madden NFL 16, then you need to get a console and no PC gaming system is an acceptable substitute.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 368

Sorry I don't have mod points today.

I'd say the kids' social considerations come first (if the whole reason he wants the console is to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 9492 with his buddy Jim, and Jim has an Xbox One, then that's the console), and game choices comes second. Graphics and such come third.

I tried to talk my kids into a Steam Machine, but their friends are all on Playstation 4 or Xbox One or both, they don't know anyone that plays Team Fortress 2, or DOTA 2, or Counter Strike. The game they want most is Madden NFL 16, which is not on Steam and nothing like it is on Steam (except maybe Blood Bowl 2, but that's Windows-only anyway). So if I make them follow my FSF-aligned beliefs, I'm just going to alienate them from me and from the ideas of the FSF. So I'm going to put on my hypocrite pants and get a console in a few weeks.

Then it becomes a question of whether I hate patent-wielding, FUD-spreading, monopoly tactics, proprietary operating system Microsoft more than I hate insecure customer data, insecure company servers, kings of DRM and bad rootkit DRM Sony. I think I dislike Microsoft more, despite all of their recent open source software and attached patent grants. Yay Playstation.

Comment Re:Wait, Google and Apple don't do this? (Score 1) 168

If kids get accustomed to using Java, or Linux, or Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, Node.js, Lisp, Scheme, Rust, D, FreeBSD, Haiko OS, GNU Hurd, then no corporation is locked in to profit from it. How much money does Red Hat get from most Linux users? None. How much money does Oracle get from most Java users (much to their dismay)? None.

It sounds like we're close to the same age. I used Vax VMS in college, too. But all of my classmates outside the computer science department had to take at least one course on Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. Look where the world is now. And I can make Linux dance to my tune at the house, my kids have seen me use it since they were in diapers, and my oldest is twelve and he still prefers Windows because that's what he gets at school.

Comment Re:Wait, Google and Apple don't do this? (Score 1) 168

Speaking for myself, I am every bit as angry that Apple and Google are doing this as I am that Microsoft does it.

You want to teach kids to code using mods? Awesome. Minetest and Terasology are both wonderful. Knock yourself out. Or build something with Voxel.js

Otherwise, any involvement of a proprietary software product in education - whether that product is an operating system (iOS, OS X, Windows 10) or application (Office, Google's apps on Android), or cloud service (iCloud, Office365, Google Docs, Google Search, Bing Search) - is automatically an unfair advantage for the company that provided its product to educators. They're getting the hearts and minds of the next generation of computer users, and it works!. My own kids use Windows PCs and iPads at schools, and love them, and weird old dad is the strange graybeard playing with his Linux devices. My Linux desktop surfs the web just fine and even handles Netflix (with the proprietary Chrome browser), but it can't run Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 or Madden NFL 16 so the kids want their Windows PC and their Xbox (or Playstation). And I can't force F/OSS on them because they'll just resent it and run that much faster away from it when they're on their own.

Comment Re:So to summarize... (Score 1) 109

I find it a little funny that you say you are not a socialist "because I didn't emote my way to a conclusion and, instead, reached my conclusions because of reason and logic". I think the idea of socialism as based on emotions is a grave mis-representation of the original ideas. So apparently we have two mainstream terms used in politics and economics that have drifted far in the public consciousness from their original meanings.

I'm a big fan of the original ideas in socialism from Marx. But from what I've read so far it seems that Marx and later Trotsky had the insight to view runaway bureaucracy as a grave danger to a socialist society - yet still didn't grasp how incredibly difficult that problem is to solve properly. As far as I can tell, no practical solution has been devised. Laissez-faire capitalism trends towards an unequal distribution of power because the people with the most wealth influence government to accumulate power. Socialism trends towards an unequal distribution of power because they people in charge of planning the economy and managing the distribution of production influence government to accumulate power. Two different faces on the same crowd of demons.

But that's a digression. Do you have any websites or mailing lists or other means of connecting with people of similar views? I spend too much time surfing the web instead of working as it is, but you definitely have my interest.

"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first." -- Arthur Miller