Linux and Microsoft

Windows 8.1 is still being supported, and they say will be until  January 9th, 2018. Windows 7 has, according to their site, been cut off though. A terrible decision, in my opinion, given the huge success of that OS. A lot of people have jumped ship because of Windows 10, and I don’t blame them.

Linux has a bit over 3% of the market share, according to Wiki’s graphs. Linux has been gaining ground for many years, while interest in various Windows iterations is dropping. Fewer people are using Windows as time goes by.

I use Linux (PeppermintOS 7, built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS) more than ever now; it’s my primary OS and I rarely go near Windows. Thanks to privacy and glaring security concerns, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe using Windows anymore, despite having used and loved them since Windows 3.1 at primary school. Linux has opened my eyes to a new way, ‘though it wasn’t an easy journey.

I don’t like the way Microsoft conducts their business and I don’t think they care about the customers at all, only money. I find them deceptive, manipulative, and underhanded.

Linux, however, is open source; it’s all about sharing, creativity, and freedom. There’s even a Hannah Montana distribution; ridiculous? Sure, but wonderful that someone was able to create that and freely share it. At least if you don’t like a developer of your chosen distribution, you can jump to another; it’s not like you’re short of options.

That said, I am, or at least was a gamer. I still dabble. I’d need Windows for gaming. Linux does support games, and I do have Steam on it, but the graphical performance in many games seems terrible or lackluster in comparison, at least in my experience.

I have a feeling I’ll eventually just let go of the many Windows-only games on my Steam account and stick with Linux indefinitely. I barely game anymore anyway.

With Linux gradually gaining ground and Windows steadfastly losing it, that leaves Linux an opportunity to really step up. I think it needs some serious work in both gaming performance and a more approachable UI for those uninterested in the command line interface (Terminal) before it’ll have a shot at some day besting Windows.

I’m all for choice though, so if Microsoft is offering what you want, that’s fine. There’s a lot of Linux fans that generally make it all really personal against users of Windows and probably Mac too, but that’s not where I’m coming from here — not at all.

My issue is with Microsoft.

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Console or Stick with the PC?

Note: some of the following is based on my opinion.

Oh PC, how I love you so, even if you are sometimes a pain in the arse. With the release of Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and the new, updated consoles from Sony and Microsoft, I’m prompted to make a change, but I’m having a hard time deciding!

I’m currently using a PC I built myself, with Windows 8.1 operating system, an ASUS 760 OC graphics card, 8GB RAM, an i5 4690K processor on an ASUS Z97-K motherboard, various HDDs and a SATA III SSD, all housed in a Zalmon Z11 and powered by a Corsair 750TXV2.

I have an XBOX 360 still at my dad’s house, which I will eventually get back, but whether I’ll keep it or sell it is another matter, one that potentially depends on my purchase. I like that now-dated console; it plays some fantastic games, but the graphics don’t always hold up so well to today’s standards.

As mentioned, there’s Fallout 4, and although I’m bitter about the state of it, I still want it, because I love Fallout and RPGs in general. Another thing that’s important to me is that my best friend is on the XBOX One as well, and I know he wants me to get it.

The i5 4690K is a solid processor that likely won’t get old for quite some time, but my ASUS 760 OC is showing its age now with some newer games like Fallout 4. Although I don’t game on anything higher than 1080p (ASUS MX239H) so it’s not like I have some great need for something as absurd as a Titan X best left for high-end 4K gaming, although I admittedly stared at its Amazon page for a while. £829 for a graphics card? No thank you.

I am the sort of gamer who cares about fps, but I also about graphics. I’m not huge on graphics, but fps is a big thing for me; it nips at my OCD when I see invariable fps and anything at or lower than 30. I’m trying to get my head around 30fps because of the potential purchase of the XBOX One or PS4, but it stills gets to me.

As of right now, the XBOX One, on Amazon, is £276.99 without any games and with a 500GB HDD, which is plenty enough for me, I think. I consider it a very good price for such a new console. The price of a decent PC upgrade (probably an ASUS 970 OC) is £267.76. Sony’s Playstation 4 comes in at £261.99 with a 500GB HDD and also no games. The prices are all around the same area.

The current downside with buying the consoles at a good price, is that I would have to buy either one of them online (Amazon) which means if something goes wrong, I have the hassle of posting them back and trusting it all works out—I’d much rather dealing with expensive returns in the shops.

I can’t help but to think a version of the GTX 970 by nVidia would quickly become outdated, whereas the consoles would continue to, not necessarily be improved, but the games would be better-designed to take advantage of its hardware. At approximately £400, the 980 models don’t appeal to me a great deal. I like PhysX whe I can use it, and I’d feel disabled by the AMD cards as many good games seem to favor nVidia.

Fallout 4 has some nasty freezes (as seen here) on the XBOX One, particularly when traveling between certain locations, but these freezes are either non-existent or barely noticeable on the Playstation 4. Microsoft’s new console also has some nasty fps drops that can reach the low 20s. The PC version of Fallout 4, however, is definitely not without issues, such as crashes and similar fps drops.

The bonus of the PC, where Fallout 4 is concerned, is obviously the better performance and ability to raise the graphical settings. I’m not entirely sure what I can expect from an ASUS 760 OC on Fallout 4; I’m happy to sacrifice some settings to keep the 60fps going as often as possible.

If you’re wondering why I don’t just OC the heck out of my current hardware: I generally don’t OC my graphics cards or CPUs anymore as I don’t feel the need and I don’t want the extra heat.

The PC Master Race is probably squirming as I type these words because the very idea of going from PC to console is scrub-like behaviour, as the almighty kids would probably say. There are good points to each side of the fence, though.

As an adult with big-boy problems, I also have to consider the boring things I have to spend my money on, such as food and bills. I’m going to be moving soon which will likely suck a lot of money up.

As much as I’d like to dip into my savings and build something that would give any gamer bloke a woody, there are more important things to consider. If I get a console, it may last a lot longer than if I followed the graphics card lineup of the next few years, and that matters.

This decision is driving me crazy! What would you do?

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Humble Bundle Incorporates Questionable Business Practice

I’m a bit annoyed with Humble Bundle’s latest endeavor. They’re charging $12 on a monthly subscription for completely random games. They state on their website “a highly curated bundle of our favorite games at one fixed price. Includes everything from recent hits to hidden gems to timeless classics – every month.”

Note the last two categories, which they state are “hidden gems” and “timeless classics”; scrub away the persuasive language and this clearly translates to “ancient games and budget indie games most people probably won’t know or care about.”

They state the games are “suitable” for Windows and “sometimes more!” so, pray tell, what good is that for people without Windows, those who prefer to game on Linux, or even people who, for whatever reason, use Mac for games? Incidentally, what good are Linux or Mac games to Windows users who, for the most part, aren’t going to bother with other operating systems?

What happens if I already have the games? This is a likely issue when you follow a service like Humble Bundle which frequently recycle the same games—after all, there’s only so many games out there that actually grab people’s attention.

I consider this a middle finger up at gamers. It’s clearly driven by greed and it’s a disgusting practice that I thought was non-existent in Humble Bundle. Oh, but it’s OK because some money goes to charities!

5%.

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