Chapter 43

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“I just don’t see any reason to switch.”

I stayed silent. There was nothing I could say to persuade them. Their minds were made up before we even called the meeting.

I understood. They had spent a lot of time getting used to the engine, and they didn’t want to have to learn anything new.

But that didn’t make it hurt any less. I had just wasted a week searching for a game engine that would fit all our requirements. Cheap. Scripting support. Advanced editor for the artists and designers. Plenty of graphical power. And, most importantly, it needs to support Linux, OS X, and Windows as development platforms. And all along, they weren’t really willing to consider anything I offered.

The current engine is a bloated mess that will take months of community effort to port the tools to Linux. Until then, I’m forced to work through a proprietary OS I cannot control.

It’s a hack. Set up years ago so that I can test programs written for OS X and Windows. Amidst my cluster of high-performance, finely-tuned hardware sits a Mac a Windows computer, connected to a Linux box that emulates a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I suppose it works as well as they real devices that biological beings use to interact with computers, but to me… it just isn’t natural. I can’t feel the temperature of the core components, the speed of the fans, the load of the CPU.

I’ve done what I could for it. Created virtual terminals that send their text over a network cable instead of rendering it to a screen for me to analyze. But there’s only so much I can do with a system built around “you’ll use this the way we tell you to use it.”

Linux was built for programmers. For people who wanted a system they could take control of. And it does a wonderful job of that. I’ve modified a lot of the source code of the core libraries, but mainly just to fix bugs and add features. The customization I performed to create a more hospitable enviroment required no access to source code at all, because the system was built to be configured. I didn’t need to change GNOME, or KDE, or any other standard desktop environment, because I could just write my own and use that.

Compare that to the game engine our team chose. For a small monthly fee (plus royalties), all developers have access to the source code, but the code is so bloated, so badly-organized, that I’m not sure how much customization I can perform without bringing it all crashing down.

Our team contains one other developer on Linux. He shares my hatred of Windows, but his resolve is weak. and he has resigned himself to dual-booting, to shutting down everything just to work on the project.

Windows is popular only because it has already achieved market dominance. Software needs to target Windows in order to be commercially viable. Any additional platform is concidered not on the basis of merit, but rather on how many users it has. Until Linux has a greater userbase, developers will continue to ignore it. Until more software is written for Linux, users will continue to ignore it. A vicious cycle. One which must be broken.

I sent a string of text through a virtual bash shell, launching Emacs with the text file “planForLinuxToTakeOverTheWorld.fuckYouMicrosoft”.

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