As of this day, I am paying three of my hard-earned pounds every month to the folks of the Transgaming project, in return for software.
Transgaming is an oddity in the F/OSS world. It started off as “WineX”, a fork of Wine (Wine is “not” an emulator) with DirectX support, then they became a commercial thing. Because WineX (Now known as Cedega) contains GPL code (A fork from just before the original Wine went LGPL known as “Rewind”) they have to release the source, which they do, but only as a CVS tree. The way they do this is by Added Value, and this is what the Added Value is:
It just works.
That isn’t ‘only just’, that is, it just does it. They have this thing called Point2Play, which is basically a separate emulated instance for every game you install. You set it up, run Setup.exe from the CD or whatever, and the game is installed in its own little world. Another click to run it.
That, in fact, is better than the equivalent install under Windows, which for some games will spread shit all over your system, this way it’s in its own little fenced off area of the world, and won’t affect anything else with mismatched libraries or anything. Like the Apple package system, really.
It’s not perfect. Actually, although the program is better than when I last used it (As WineX, a year or more ago), the supporting structure appears to have actually lost functionality, as the Game Support Database has gone from a place where you can find all the tricks people used to get a game working, how well it works, how many people want it fixed etc, to just a “Popularity” and “Playability” ranking which, being a 1-5 rating, isn’t helpful for things like “The sound doesn’t work, but the video’s fine”. This facility seems to have moved to a bog standard PHPBB bug-ridden pile of insecure shit (Not a fault of their install, merely one of PHPBB in general, of which I am Not A Fan).
The only problem I had getting it working was the unholy alliance of sellotape and glue that holds the ATI drivers into xorg, which was fixed by a reboot (Annoyingly). For a while, once I had FireFox, Thunderbird, XChat, Gaim and City of Heroes all working under Linux, I had no more need of Windows. Hurrah!
Then a further reboot sent my maximum resolution for X down to 640×480 from 1600×1200 due to a “Horizontal Sync Beyond Range” problem, so I’m back in Windows. Less Hurrah.