November 12, 2007

They Really Do Exist

My all time favorite M&M's commercial is the one where the Red and Yellow M&M meet Santa. Upon seeing each other, Santa and the M&M's exclaim: "They really do exist!", before promptly fainting. I LOL in real life every time I see it.

Today, as a gamer, I had the same sort of moment when I came across a story on about Fedora Core 8's Game Spin, which just so happens to be the gaming-based operating system I was talking about in my last post. Following it further, I discovered that there were plenty of gaming-related Linux distributions. As the title of this post says, they really do exist!

Unfortunately, my elation was quickly dashed as I realized these were not truly gaming-based operating systems. They were simply Linux distributions with a bunch of freeware games tossed in. The kind of freeware/shareware games that my dad used to buy me when I was ten. Sure, some of them are a bit more polished than the old classics of my youth, but most of them are not and seem to be included in the packages simply to increase the total count they can advertise.

This is not the sort of operating system package I had envisioned when I first heard about the Fedora 8 "re-spin" idea. Nor, is it even really anything special. Anyone with a Linux install could just as easily build this package of games for their system free of charge.

Even with my hopes dashed, I did find some glimmer of hope. A very important part of newer Linux distributions, automated package managers (sort of like Windows Update for Linux), has crossed over to provide updates for many of the included games. This fairly simple idea, central management of all your games updates, could and should be the centerpiece of a gaming-based operating system.

Also, free games are never a bad idea and it makes complete sense for any interested Linux-gamer to probably operate off this Fedora 8 spin off. While it didn't turn out to be what was expected, it is still a start. A baby needs to crawl before it can walk.