Monthly Archives: February 2018

Making Linux Suck

Yesterday on Slashdot, the question was asked, “Could Linux ever be made to become fully compatible with all Windows and Mac software”. The short answer to this question is, this work is already being done. The Wine Project has spent a couple of decades trying to add a Windows compatibility layer to Linux with varying degrees of success. Of course this was not really what the person asking the question really wants. What they want is Windows to be integrated into Linux in the same way Linux has been integrated into Windows via Windows Subsystem for Linux. This can also be done, all it would take is for Microsoft to step up and provide the environment and for the Linux community to provide the hooks into Linux to provide the environment with direct access to the hardware.

From my prospective, this is a bad idea. for a couple of different reasons. First and foremost, Microsoft would have to do all the work, but there is no money in it, Linux users are notoriously cheap, most will not want to pay for a Windows license and those that are, have already done so and are dual booting or using virtual machines. The Linux community stands to loose even more. If there is a Linux Subsystem for Windows, suddenly there is no reason to develop Linux specific software. Second, Linux already has its own set of problems, by introducing a Windows environment into Linux, we would also be introducing all of Windows issues into Linux.

The question I asked was, why would someone want this. I mean to me, use the correct tool for the job is the answer. If you use some piece of software that only runs under Windows, then you should use Windows. The answer I got was, wanting to use Windows software does not mean they want to use Windows, well actually, it kinda does. One of the people who supported this idea stated, “Because it could be another form of Windows that’s not recording everything I do, installing applications without permission, deleting files without permission, etc.”. Okay, I get that, but the solution to this problem is not to break Linux, the solution to this problem is to force Microsoft to make better software.

I guess my thing here is, I use Linux and I deal with the problems that go along with that choice, I do so willingly. Those who choose to use Windows need to deal with the issues that go along with that choice as well. There are already solutions for this problem, Wine runs most of the small time Windows software and a good chunk of the big time stuff. If Wine does not work for you, there is VMWare or Virtualbox and finally there is good old fashioned dual booting. Linux Subsystem for Windows is a solution looking for a problem and it is a bad idea.

Steve Jackson Games Stakeholder Report

Every year Steve Jackson Games issues a stakeholders report explaining how the previous year went and setting priories for the next year, it is an interesting read.

The interesting thing for me was the classification of the Dungeon Fantasy Boxed Set as a failure due to cost over run and missing deadlines. This is sad but not surprising, I put in $250 for the project, they delivered a really great product and I wish my game group was more inclined to play this than they are. The fact is though, while DFRPG is a good idea in theory, the reality is, this type of gaming is better suited to D&D and anyone who seriously plays murder hobo games is going to play D&D. The scope of this project was just too big for the number of people who are really interested in it. Unfortunately, I can see the same thing happening with The Fantasy Trip.

Tales Retold

Back in the 80’s I was running one of the Judges Guild modules (I wish I remembered which one), there was this one awful player who was playing a halfling fighter, he became so annoying the other players ganged up on him and threw him into a fountain with a water weird. After that it became a running gag that anytime there was a pool or a fountain in the dungeon, there was a water weird along with dead halfling fighter floating in the water, this has happened at least a dozen times in the last 3 decades. Recently in my current D&D game, I have been running modules written by M.T. Black, when I got to Wizard in a Bottle, specifically room four, I spewed my coffee out my nose and when I ran it, none of my players believed I was running it as written. There is something to be said for collective consciousness.

Oh if you want a short, easy to run, fun adventure, Wizard in a Bottle is a good choice, in fact M.T. Black is a very good adventure designer and I would recommend anything he has written, so far he has never failed to amuse.

KoL Skills

This is a list of skills for Kingdom of Loathing characters that I think are the must have skills. All of these skills will make your runs faster and easier. If you do all Hardcore runs, getting 300 karma per run it will take 16 runs to get all of these skills. There are other skills obviously that deserve to be on this list, but I purposely limited the list to class skills and I wanted to get a nice balance of the best skills across all the classes.

Lunging Thrust-Smack (SC)
Amphibian Sympathy (TT)
Pastamastery (P)
Advanced Saucecrafting (S)
The Ode to Booze (AT)
Advanced Cocktailcrafting (DB)

Double-Fisted Skull Smashing (SC)
Tao of the Terrapin (TT)
Transcendental Noodlecraft (P)
The Way of Sauce (S)
Fat Leon’s Phat Loot Lyric (AT)
Ambidextrous Funkslinging (DB)

Pulverize (SC)
Hero of the Half-Shell (TT)
Springy Fusilli (P)
Saucemaven (S)
The Moxious Madrigal (AT)
Superhuman Cocktailcrafting (DB)

Rage of the Reindeer (SC)
Wisdom of the Elder Tortoises (TT)
Leash of Linguini (P)
Saucestorm (S)
The Magical Mojomuscular Melody (AT)
Mad Looting Skillz (DB)

Odd assortment of subjects

I have been following the forum threads about The Fantasy Trip on Steve Jackson’s web site. One of the things that amuses me to no end is there is a group of about 5 people who are proposing changes to the system. If even a quarter of these changes were implemented, The Fantasy Trip would essentially be the 1st edition of GURPS. When I point this out, the response is generally not good. I really don’t want Steve Jackson to rewrite GURPS, what I want him to do is give us The Fantasy Trip 2nd Edition he would have done in 1985.

Since I did the bug out bag, a couple of people asked me where I would bug out to. My first response to that is, if I were going to bug out, I would never tell anyone the truth about where I was going. So I am not going to name a specific place, but I will provide criteria. First it would be a large city, someplace where no one sticks out and a new person on the block would go unnoticed. Second, I would probably not go as far as you would think. Moving across country is expensive, even if all you are taking a backpack, having said that, I would leave whatever state I was living in. Third, I would choose someplace with a high transient population, somewhere with a lot of tourists or an industry full of seasonal workers. Fourth, it would have to be somewhere with some decent economic prospects, Detroit, for instance is a big city, but finding a job and a place to live is impossible. Lastly, it would be somewhere I have never been before and someplace where I have no friends or family, the last thing you need when you are bugging out is to run into someone who will recognize you and post it all over FaceBook.

Someone asked me why I would suggest a Chromebook to someone who was interested in Linux. The reason is simple, most people who want to learn Linux really don’t want to learn Linux, what they want is the benefits of running Linux without having to deal with learning Linux. The answer to that problem is a Chromebook, they are cheap, easy to learn and fast, what else could one want from a computer.