Tag Archives: linux

A review of Minetest

Minetest gameplay in Ubuntu

Minetest gameplay in Ubuntu, shown with the madblocks mod.

Minetest is a game which is in the style of Infiniminer or Minecraft. It is a sandbox game, you can explore the vast land (limited to +-31000 blocks), mine, craft and make fortresses if you want. It is also free/open source software and can be downloaded for free as well.

There are two versions at this time, the stable 0.3 version and the current-in-development 0.4 version. There are some differences in the 0.3 and 0.4 versions, and in my opinion the 0.4 version is more fun to play. There are only two drawbacks in the 0.4 version, and that is:

  • No enemies, but there are three in the stable 0.3 version.
  • Apples (these give you life in minetest, but you do not hunger in minetest) are quite rare compared to 0.3.

However, there has been some major improvements if you compare the stable 0.3 version and the developmental 0.4 version. The improvements include:

  • Sound is added
  • Better graphics
  • Easier to make and include mods

So, if you would like a more Minecraft-like experience with e.g. with redstone or ores, you can download some mods and (in Ubuntu 12.04, and Minetest 0.4) put them in the “/mods/minetest/” folder if it exists. Otherwise you would have to make the folders within your Minetest folder. I know that my friend, which I visited a few days ago was quite thrilled when he saw that the game had developed as much as it had from version 0.3 to 0.4. And he is a (what I would call a die-hard) Minecraft-gamer, so it is probably the best result you can get.

I have had quite fun with this game, and I hope you will enjoy it too.

An alternative to Windows or Mac

Yes, you have guessed it right. I am going to talk about a distribution of Gnu/Linux, or Linux. *

Linux Mint is an easy operating system, in the matter of user-friendliness. You do not need to think whether you would need to install X or Y, you can run the operating system right after installation. Of course, if you want to install a package, you can easily do that through the software manager. There you can browse multiple programs, called “packages”, such as games, web browsers and image editors to name a few.

It is completely without fee (if you download the .iso package), and the only thing that you would need would be either a CD/DVD disc or usb stick that can hold the size of the .iso file. It should work directly out-of-the-box, but if you would need some extra packages (that could not be included due to legal reasons) just install them easily through the software manager.

Remember, if you install this on your computer, all your files on your hard drive will be removed. This is true, if you install it onto the whole hard drive. So remember to make a backup of your hard drive if something would go wrong or if you would regret installing it.

* There is a controversy about the naming of the operating system, since the kernel is called Linux and the user-land/packages on top of the kernel is made of GNU‘s tools.

Android – a smartphone amongs others?

There are a lot of smartphones out there and each one of them fulfills a different need. Android is, in my opinion, an unique operating system when it comes to them used in mobile devices. What makes this so unique then? Is it the diversity of apps that you can download? No, not in my opinion. It is that it is free/open source software. Unfortunately, there are vendors that distribute proprietary programs among the Android os itself.

But there are some hope for those of us who want a completly free Android system. FSFE has launched a project called “Free your Android” and the aim is just to take away the proprietary software from your Android device. There are two different Android based projects, CyanogenMod that is not fully “Free as in freedom” and Replicant OS that is fully free as in freedom. Accordingly to fsfe, CyanogenMod is also the most popular aftermarket distro of Android.

So, in my opinion, you should choose Replicant OS if you can. The major drawback with it, is that the supported devices are slim.

Another thing that is worrying when it comes to free software in Android is the source of all apps. In Android market you are bound to have an account at Google if you want to download apps, and the source does not tell you if the software is free or not. Neither does it tell you which license the software is bound to. But there is good news here, too.

F-Droid is a repository containing only FOSS software for your Android device. You can browse through the apps and choose between different versions of the programs.

So, if you would like a completely free Android, there is hope!