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Linux Containers: Article

"Linux Games Drive Linux Desktop Growth," Says LeBlanc

The selection of RSS as "Best Game" for the Linux Journal's Editor's Choice Awards is "harmful to the Linux desktop community,"

[An open letter to the Linux Journal from the Gaming Industry Editor of LinuxWorld Magazine]

Dear Linux Journal Editors,

This is not sour grapes from a competitor. Far from it, our publications serve different segments of the Linux audience and in general are more complementary than competition.

However, while at LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco I was disappointed to hear that when announcing your Editor's Choice Awards for 2004, here is what you have for the games category:

Game: Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

Our editors are all business and turned up their noses at selecting favorite games. These are the kind of people you want to hire to roll out your company desktop systems. But even though it might not look like Quake or Frozen Bubble when the boss walks by, there's a new hit game that Linux people are playing on the Net, and whether you want to call it blogging or social software, players are everywhere. It's like painting Dungeons and Dragons figures or collecting baseball cards, but with real people.

The glue tying it all together is a simple XML-based syndication format called RSS, which sites such as Technorati and software projects such as Planet are using to bring together Web content in new ways. Who's a blog king and who's a bozo? Pop in to Technorati to check the score.

Reuven points out that the all-in-one social network sites LinkedIn, Orkut and Ryze aren't particularly useful, but he says they're"all scratching the surface of something new and interesting." It gets really interesting when social networking info crosses site boundaries and anyone can crawl it. Game on!

I'm sure you folks thought you were being cute, I've met Don Marti and Doc Searls at multiple events and have always enjoyed talking to them. However, this selection is in fact harmful to the Linux desktop community.

Trying to get major game publishers take Linux gamers seriously is a difficult task, and when publications that much of the Linux community reads such as yours basically blow games off and give a game award to a non-game, you make the task far more arduous.

I mean, come on, what about Unreal Tournament 2004? What about the open source FreeCiv or Wesnoth? Heck, even picking Mahjongg or Solitaire (and I'm not knocking those, I probably play them more than the others) would have been healthier for our community than blowing off games like they just don't matter.

Games drive desktop growth, both in the number of users who move over, and for desktop technology in general.

I urge you to reconsider this policy when it comes time to look at your Editor's Choice Awards again in 2005. If you really don't want to look at games, then why have a category for them at all? If you wanted to give RSS an award, then create a suitable category for it. Don't hurt the desktop community just because your editorial staff apparently has no free time! (Tongue firmly in cheek, here.)


Dee-Ann LeBlanc
Gaming Industry Editor
LinuxWorld Magazine

More Stories By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Dee-Ann LeBlanc has been involved with Linux since 1994. She is the author of 12 books, 130 articles, and has more of both coming. She is a trainer, a course developer - including the official Red Hat online courseware at DigitalThink - a founding member of the AnswerSquad, and a consultant.

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