Ohai there Fuduntu, it’s been awhile since we’ve had one of these, hasn’t it? Much like last time good things come for those who wait!
This time around, and with Steam officially out of beta, I come bearing news that will let many of you better enjoy the stream of games coming down Valve’s chute. If you don’t follow us on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter (shame on you), you probably don’t know that our MESA drivers have been updated to version 9.0.2. “Tell us… oh callipygian guru of the Tux Gaming scene, why is a MESA update of such relevance that it deserves a blog of its own?” Well my flattering uninformed friends, our mostly benevolent overlord Fewt has once again stepped in to help us slackers get our game on and patched the MESA backend to allow for S3 texture compression out of the box. Stay with me here, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
You see, S3TC (or DXTn/DXTC) has been a standard for 3D accelerated graphics since the days of OpenGL 1.3 (or DirectX 6, for you Windows fiends) and in so being it became the norm for 90% of all 3D video games, with its fixed-rate data compression coupled with the single memory access this TC algorithm is ideal for rendering the graphics at the Hardware level thus streamlining the process, which in turn results in a much better performance.
It was this particular algorithm that was disabled by default in the Open Source drivers that most GNU/Linux distributions ship with, much like it was in Fuduntu. The good news is that if you’ve kept your system up-to-date you’re already running this version of MESA and you can now play a lot of 3D games without the need for proprietary drivers (It’s RMS’s wet dream). Tasteless FOSS joke notwithstanding, this update makes gaming on Fuduntu even less of a hassle, which with Steam constantly pumping out new games for Linux, there is barely any need for those 2-3 hour long forays into the terminal just to get a game running.
Don’t believe me? Here’s Trine 2 running with the FOSS drivers:
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“But that’s a native game. I still won’t be able to play WINE without the prop drivers!” – Well my skeptic friend, you are wrong! And to you I say feh… as in Fehllout 3 (ok… that was terrible):
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What’s your excuse now?
But that’s not all, the Intel XOrg driver has also been updated to better reflect this update to MESA, meaning if you have an Ivy Bridge CPU the integrated Intel graphics adapter should now outperform many of the discrete graphics adapters out there. Intel GMA users not on Ivy Bridge will also see some performance increase, just not as much. Speaking of discrete graphics drivers, if you have one of those discrete NVidia graphics adapters you’ll be pleased to know that with Nouveau’s 1.0.6 update you now have 3D acceleration without the need for proprietary drivers.
As always, this was Pedro Mateus aka M4t3us aka Unaccounted4 fighting the urge for another tasteless FOSS joke at Mr. Stallman’s expense with a high dose of FOSS enabled gaming.
P.S.: Happy Birthday Richard, I may not agree or even stand by those FOSS convictions as much as you do, but none of this would be possible without you. Thank you.
(Original posted on Fuduntu Blog ad written by Andrew Wyatt)