As a user of the Linux operating system, specifically the Fedora and Puppy distributions, I can attest to the fact that many flavors (distros) suit all of the needs of Desktop users. I won’t pretend that using Linux is no different than MS Windows because it is. However, highly automated distros such as Fedora, Suse, Debian, Puppy, and Ubuntu are sometimes easier to use than Windows. Probably, the biggest disadvantage to Linux is that there are still a few issues with hardware compatibility. For example, some of the very economical printers, particularly all-in-ones, are only partially supported or not at all under Linux. The same goes for very low-priced digital cameras and of course most dial-up users will not be able to get a win modem to operate for internet service. For most people this isn’t an issue as they favor a cable or wireless connection anyway.
In addition to a large number of software programs for the home and small business user that comes bundled with the distribution, Linux also has games. They are not the action packed and/or violent games often available for heavy gamers on Windows, but they are very entertaining. The good news is that even more games are available for free download from the distribution’s repository, a storehouse of software available for a specific distro and version of Linux.
Some Linux distros even offer a wide variety of educational games referred to as “edutainment” to help students of all ages with various subjects they’re studying in school (source). So, what are some of the games available in Linux?
Answering that question requires knowing the specific distro in use as choice of games depend on choice of distro. The games I introduce here are available in the Fedora distribution. I currently use Fedora 8 (Werewolf) and Puppy Linux, but the games I’ll mention are in Fedora. Puppy Linux being a very small and lightweight flavor of the operating system, doesn’t offer much for games without getting them from the repository.
The game 4-in-a-row is like an automated “connect-4” that really challenges the user who plays against the computer. When the game starts, a ball either in the default colors of red or blue appears. Whether blue or red, it’s the ball that signifies the user who begins the game by moving it to a square that represents a flat version similar to the connect-4 board. The other player, the computer then makes a move by moving a ball of a different color (red or blue) to a square. If a red ball appears first then the computer is playing with blue. Whoever connects 4 of the same color in a row first is the winner. This game is extremely difficult to play and requires perfect concentration as the computer makes no mistakes.
Among the other games that can be played are sudoku, chess, freecell solitaire, and 5-or-more. Those wishing to give these games a try will be happy to know that installation of Fedora isn’t required. Disks known as “live CD’s” are available for many of the latest Fedora distros. On Amazon you’ll find a variety of Linux distros on CD and DVD starting at $0.99. The CD is placed in the DVD unit and the computer is rebooted. There may be the need to change the boot order temporarily or in the setup in order to see the option to run Fedora Linux on-the-fly (without installation). This is a way of trying this great and totally free operating system without jeopardizing your Windows installation.