March 20, 2001, 5:06 PM —
It began simply enough. I was a little bit ahead on my deadlines, so I
took the opportunity to do a little "research." I visited several sites
I knew to be reservoirs of mission-critical Linux applications and decided to
sample one: a demo of a 3D game called Soldier of Fortune that I found at
Loki Games. Little did I know this was to be my first step on the Path
of the Thrice Doomed.
Installation was a snap. Following the long download (the demo is a 90 MB tarball wrapped in self-installing shell script), I typed
sh sof-demo-xf86.run from an xterm in my home directory. The install script verified the integrity of the compressed data, created an
sof-demo subdirectory, and placed the decompressed bits within it. I entered the directory and found a README, a few libraries, and the executable itself. The README hinted at a few problems I might encounter, but oh, my dweebs, it did not tell me of the tortuous path or the endless blind alleys that lay ahead!
My desktop machine is a 450 MHz AMD K-6 with 192 MB of RAM and a Voodoo3 3000
video card with 16 MB of video RAM to call its own. At the time, I was running
Helix GNOME and Sawmill on Red Hat 6.2, using the 3.6.6 release of X that came with
the distribution. Not a killer machine, by any means, but more than adequate
for my day-to-day tasks -- and most games.