Monday, 17 December 2012

THQ looking into Linux ports

I’ve previously mentioned The Humble Indie Bundle before on this blog.  A collection of cross platform, independent games are made available for a brief period and a part of the money goes to charity.  Recently, to my horror, they released the Humble THQ Bundle.  THQ are far from being an independent developer, releasing games on PS3, xbox 360 and PC, probably their most notable recent products has been the sandbox game series Saints Row.

I thought that this was the owners of the Humble Bundle falling away from their independent roots and starting to chase after more money from the bigger companies, especially given that this bundle was advertised as “Windows only” and the majority of the games that I checked out on the Wine website listed their performance as “Garbage” so this meant that the deal was truly aimed at the windows user.

However, following some recent news by THQ I have a renewed sense of optimism.  The company were pleased with the sales over the limited period, but even better were the number of requests on their forum and Twitter to offer a Linux port in keeping with the tradition of the Humble Indie Bundle.

In a recent interview with Polygon, THQ president Jason Rubin stated "The message I took away from a large number of tweets and comments around the THQ Humble Bundle sale is that there are vibrant communities of gamers using other operating systems besides the dominant ones, and a company like THQ should not overlook them," 

"Complicating the analysis (in a positive way), gamers have tweeted inventive ideas to me, such as letting the community help in the porting to bring down costs," Rubin said. "THQ is committed to look at anything that makes sense."

"I'm sure we will have more to announced shortly," Rubin added.

We shall look forward to hearing the announcement, whilst this will not get much praise from the freedom lovers, a lot of Linux users still keep a Windows partition purely for gaming purposes.  This is certainly a step in the right direction for gamers on Linux.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Updated: MP3 files in Debian

A lot of new users move from Ubuntu to another Debian based distro to limit the ammount of change they experience. But often can be a bit daunted by the challenges that Ubuntu made easy for them. One such is music files in MP3 format.

Whilst I personally use Ogg Vorbis and would encourage all others to, I am realistic that a lot of people still want to use their MP3 files and even build up their collection.

*If you are unsure what the term "as root" means then simply add sudo before each command that requires root privileges, you will be required to enter your password as sudo is a powerful tool*

Playing MP3 files

For playing MP3 files, the quickest method is to download VLC player. This is available from the software repositories from the majority of distros. This can be installed very easily:

1. Open the terminal

2. As root type: apt-get install vlc

This now gives you a player.

Ripping CDs to MP3 format

Should you want to rip your CDs to MP3 format then we still have another few steps to take.

1. Open the terminal

2. As root type: apt-get install sound-juicer

This gives a program that will rip the music from a CD and save it onto the computer. We can load it up from the main menu (usually listed under the multimedia or sound and video), called Audio CD Extractor.

If we open this up and click on edit and preferences we should be greeted by a window as shown below:

Down near the bottom of the window we should see Output Format, this by default is set to CD Qua;ity, Lossy (.ogg type). At this point if we click on this it will not give us the option of MP3. We still have a few more things to do.

The package we need is not available in the Debian repos due to Debian's commitment to free software. But we can add this. We need to go back to our terminal.

3. As root type: nano /etc/apt/sources.list (if you are met with the message unknown command nano, then you can retype the command replacing nano with gedit)

4. Decide what repos you would like to add:

Stable: deb stable main non-free
Testing: deb testing main non-free
Unstable: deb sid main non-free

Add only one of the above choices, just type the part in bold to the end of document.

5. Exit the file by pressing Ctrl + X, it will then ask you if you wish to save press y and then hit return twice.

This will add the repos to our system, but we also need to have the keyring before the repos will work.

6. Download the Debian Multimedia keyring from here.

7. Navigate to the directory and, as root, type: dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring*.deb

8. as root, type: apt-get update

9. as root, type: apt-get install gstreamer0.10-lame gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly

That's it.

To check it has worked open up Audio CD Extractor again, click on edit and preferences. This time when we click on Output Format, MP3 should be an option.

Enjoy your music.