Did Linux become a gaming platform a long time ago?

In today's open source roundup: Has Linux always been a viable gaming platform? Plus: The Witcher 3 may be coming to Linux, and the best Linux distro for parents coming from Windows 7?

Linux has recently gotten a lot more attention as a platform for games, and this has caused a lot of joy among Linux gamers. But are we celebrating something that already happened a long time ago? Network World thinks that Linux became a gaming platform years ago and that talk of "the year of Linux gaming" is unnecessary.

According to Network World:

The true measure of any great gaming platform is not the number of games available. Nor is it the need to have the same games as other competing platforms (the Playstation 4 doesn't need Mario games to be considered successful). And it really isn't even about how many total games are sold, though that certainly helps.

The measure of a great gaming platform is if people want to use it to play games on... rather than another platform. At least on occasion.

Once I figured that out, it became clear. Linux is a solid gaming platform. It has been for a long, long time.

More at Network World
Linux gaming
Image credit: Linuxaria

While I can sympathize with the author's irritation about grand declarations about Linux gaming (or the year of the Linux desktop, etc), I can't help but feel that he's being a bit of a Negative Ned in this article. Yes, there have been games available for Linux for quite a long time, but nothing like what we're seeing now.

I think perhaps it's the difference between being a minor, sleepy gaming backwater and a major, bustling metropolis of game development. In years past Linux was clearly not where the gaming development action was happening. It was always Windows, Windows, Windows (and to a much lesser degree OS X). Now things have turned around considerably and there has been an explosion of game developer attention to Linux.

I think that's definitely worth celebrating, and yes even a few grand declarations are in order. And why the heck not? Linux gamers were treated as second-class citizens for many years, but now those days are over forever. So we should pause for a moment and bask in the warm glow of Linux finally coming of age as a major platform for games. We deserve it and Linux itself deserves it.

Rumor: Witcher 3 coming to Linux

GamingOnLinux speculates that The Witcher 3 may be headed to Linux.

According to GamingOnLinux:

A redditor emailed in to highlight a post they made on reddit after going to SDCC where they spoke to the developers of The Witcher. The developers confirmed to them a Linux version of The Witcher 3 exists.

Take this with a grain of salt of course, as nothing is confirmed until the developers announce it themselves. Although if you remember a big splash image of The Witcher 3 coming to SteamOS did end up on Steam recently, and was quickly taken down.

More at GamingOnLinux

These kinds of rumors are always quite tantalizing, but also very frustrating. Is it coming to Linux or not? We'd all like to know, but unfortunately we seem to be stuck in limbo for a while until the developers decide to come forward with a definitive answer. Still, wouldn't it be great if The Witcher 3 did make it to Linux? It looks like a great game and I'm sure many Linux gamers are salivating at the very thought of playing it.

Incidentally, if you listen closely while watching the trailer, you will hear the voice of Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) at around 1:11 (the guy sitting on the throne). I didn't realize he was in the game until I heard his voice, but IGN confirmed it back in August of last year.

Best Linux distro for parents?

Reddit has an interesting thread that explores the best Linux distributions for parents that are coming from a Windows 7 system.

According to Reddit:

Parents managed to completely slow down their windows 7, they're asking me for a reinstall, but I'm thinking of switching to linux. I need something that's really secure, reliable and you don't need any terminal knowledge to operate and update.

Any suggestions?

More at Reddit

The responses by Redditors seem to vary from making various distro suggestions to noting that perhaps a Chromebook might be a better option. Personally, I'd try them on Linux Mint and see what happens. Chromebooks are very popular and dominate Amazon's laptop bestseller list. One of them could work well, but why thrust them into Google's ecosystem if it's not necessary? They might adjust to Linux Mint or another distribution without a problem, so I'd start there and see what happens.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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