Posted by: duskfire | February 13, 2016

The software I usually install

Before I spend the rest of the year talking about games I enjoy on Linux, I wanted to discuss the non-entertainment applications that I almost always install on whatever laptop becomes my primary machine. When I’m using Linux every day, the distribution I prefer is Linux Mint. That has been the case for many years now. It is based mostly on Ubuntu, with a few home-grown changes, which means it effectively has support from two distributions (Mint and Ubuntu), and has Debian as a base which means the “app store” is one of the biggest in the Linux community. This repository is the central location to get nearly all the programs you use every day, as well as many (or most) games that you would want to play.

I also strongly prefer to use the KDE desktop. I have tried most of the others, and can deal with each of them, but I got my start with Linux via Mandrake Linux, using KDE 3, and have loved it ever since.


I don’t do a lot of programming, but I always make sure to install the following:

KDevelop  — I haven’t written any KDE software yet, but if I want to, this is where I’d work from.

Qt Creator  ––  another IDE

Code::Blocks  — Over the last few years I found I really like the way C::B is laid out and helps you write C and C++.

Idle3  — to help me when I want to work with Python.

I haven’t really settled on a version control system yet, because I haven’t done enough programming to really know my preference.


Abiword  – for a lighter word processor

Calligra Suite  – this is the KDE-based alternative to Libre Office.



Calibre  – an ebook reader and format converter

Hydrogen  – a drum machine I like to fiddle with

lmms – Linux Multimedia studio

Inkscape – a vector graphics drawing program

Krita (part of the Calligra Suite) – a drawing, sketching, and painting program

Karbon – another vector graphics drawing program, also part of Calligra

Posted by: duskfire | February 7, 2016

Getting (re) started

I have been slowly installing a number of games and software onto my laptop now that I re-installed Linux (Mint 17.3 KDE). Of course, PlayonLinux was first, along with Crossover Linux. There are really only 2 games right now that I was hoping to get running again – Star Wars: The Old Republic and Path of Exile. It turns out that Path of Exile seems to run pretty much the same as it does on Windows 10, with some very minor graphics bugs (nothing that affects gameplay).[2/13/16 – The “graphics bugs” were due to not using the proprietary flgrx graphics driver. They have gone away once I installed it in place of the open-source one]

My laptop uses an AMD Radeon card, and Path of Exile tends to really heat it up – both on Windows AND Linux. But it runs quite well and I anticipate many hours of play while I endeavor to finally get a character to the final Act. I had stopped playing a year ago because, while PoE is an excellent game, it really expects you to know where to put your skill points. I got stuck in Act 3 (before there was an Act 4) with a sub-optimal build and just stopped playing because I kept dying in a cathedral area and wasn’t sure how to get past the one boss there.

Path of Exile runs fine so far

Path of Exile runs fine so far

There are also many DOS games I enjoy which run perfectly using the DBGL Dosbox launcher, and I have a number of GOG classics that install easily via PlayOnLinux.

As I mentioned last week, I do plan to look at the latest versions of games intended for Linux such as some cross-platform FPS titles, MegaGlest, and others. I also will probably install another distro on my older Gateway to review.

Posted by: duskfire | January 31, 2016

Coming back to the blog

Yeah, it has been well over a year since I last had anything to say here. That was because I have been using Windows 10 for quite awhile, and wasn’t really testing any distributions on my older laptop.  There are still a few new games that wouldn’t run on Linux and I switched over because my wife was playing them, Trove being the main one. I was also playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, and although I knew some people were running it on Linux I didn’t want to take a chance that I would not be able to.

Falling out of the habit of blogging is pretty easy – getting back into doing it is not so simple. The final item that really provided the push was a comment yesterday on an old article of mine, saying that a game I reviewed 5 years ago, MegaGlest, has a new release. MegaGlest is a cross-platform real-time strategy game.

I decided to install the Windows version and take a look at what it is like lately. That will be one of my next posts (in a few days). In addition, I am at a good point right now to re-install Linux on my primary laptop and use it exclusively. I am on a hiatus from all the games that don’t work on it, and I do miss using it. I intend to install Linux Mint 17.3 KDE edition, since that has always been my favorite distribution.

It has been several years since I looked at the best games in all genres that run on Linux, so MegaGlest will be only the first of many that I will take another look at, to see how they have improved.

There have been a few changes in the Linux distribution community since I last reviewed some – quite a few more distributions no longer offer a 32-bit edition, and until I dual-boot my main laptop that means the first few distro reviews I do will have to be on my older machine. I have been updating the list I maintain of distributions that I would like to review, and will discuss them soon.

Posted by: duskfire | October 26, 2014

Gaming on Linux 2014 – Part Three

One of the games I tried out for awhile recently is called Minetest. It’s very similar to the well known Minecraft, but of course has a lot fewer players. It is at this point primarily a game engine, with more fleshed out games existing as mods to the base install. The main mod I’ve found is called “carbone”. There is a “wasteland/survival” style mod as well, but I lost interest in that mod after a short while. Minetest has a wiki, and forums.

Although the community seems small, there are some interesting areas and several decent public servers. I looked into the one hosted by Linux It’s a huge world, with lots of buildings. I am not really sure how to communicate within the game, and I didn’t really see anyone else to talk to while I visited. But as an alternative to Minecraft I think it has some potential. If Java bothers you, Minetest is not just open source, it’s written in C++. It’s also free, so if the price of Minecraft was the thing holding you back, here you go.

Minetest can be found in the Debian, Mint, or Ubuntu repositories. There are two primary choices – Creative mode, and Enable Damage. In creative mode, you seem to be given a lot of tools and items to play with, in a 9 page inventory that is in addition to the main inventory.

morning of a new day

morning of a new day

One fork of Minetest already exists, although it seems mainly for Fedora and similar distributions. Called Voxelands, it’s intended as a self-contained game rather than just an engine onto which others add their mods. I haven’t had much chance to look at it, but I plan to check it out when I test out Fedora’s next edition (21),  which probably will not be until next year.


I have also gotten Diablo 3 to run (mostly) via the excellent PlayonLinux program. I was having a few difficulties with it until I changed the video options so that it runs in a window. After that, I’ve been able to run it for hours at a time. There is still the very occasional crash, but prior to this, it would freeze up almost any time I kept it running more than 45 minutes.

deciding on which bounty to take

Which bounty should I take?

The old game Civilization 2 plays easily under Wine, with no need for Crossover or PlayOnLinux. When it starts up, the screen is black, but just click anywhere once and the first choice will appear, and the game plays fine after that. I also have Civ 3 and 5 on Steam (and Civ 5 has a Linux version on Steam now), but each version has its own charm.

Beginning of a game as English

Beginning of a game as the English

If you are a fan of Dwarf Fortress, not only does it have a Linux port, but the creators of the so-called Lazy Newb Pack have a version native to Linux as well. There’s usually a short delay between the release of a new Dwarf Fortress version and the LNP for Linux.

There are several other Linux games in the repositories that I am likely to look at soon. OpenTTD, Simutrans, MegaGlest, 0 A.D, 7 Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries, these are fairly old but might still be worth playing.


Posted by: duskfire | August 30, 2014

Gaming on Linux 2014 – Part Two

I’ve been slacking off, sorry!



I figure I should put up a quick post to get back into the habit. I’ve been running Mint 17 (KDE edition) on my main laptop as soon as it was released. I haven’t had any serious issues so far. There’s occasional loss of my wireless connection, but that seems to be a kernel problem, and either jumping to the latest kernel or waiting a while and attempting to reconnect have solved the problem every time.

For some reason, the 13.1.2 version of Crossover Linux will not install due to unknown dependencies missing. It was fine on Mint 16. Thanks to PlayOnLinux, this hasn’t been a terrible problem, but I should get back to figuring out how to install it soon.

I used this article  to install the most recent version of PlayonLinux (4.2.4) from their PPA. The exact commands might not work if you’re reading this months after August 2014.

At the moment, I have the following games installed and running fine:

Diablo 2, Banished, Baldur’s Gate, Master of Orion 1 and 2, Torchlight, and Darklands.

I had a few other old games too, but uninstalled them because I wasn’t playing them very much. I can tell you that nearly every game from has an install script in PlayOnLinux and they work fine. I also recently put Steam for Linux back on the laptop, to play Crusader Kings or Civilization V when I get around to re-installing them.

There are native games in the repositories that I either haven’t tried at all yet (e.g. 7 Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries) or haven’t checked out in several years. I’ll have to create a schedule so I have a good list of games to blog about.

I also have been playing a lot of Nethack (pretty much just the Nethack4 variant), and some Angband and Sil (an Angband variant).

What all of this means is, that from a practical point of view, I can already play so many great games that I enjoy, that it really does not bother me that there are other newer games that don’t run well on Linux yet. Nobody has the time to play everything, after all.

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