Help Keep the Pressure on Sony- FSF

We asked you to email Sony CEO Howard Stringer during our last call to action
and Sony responded by shutting off his email address. Many of you then sent
emails to the next email address we posted, Nicole Seligman, Sony Executive VP and General Counsel. Your action was effective — it was an important part of the overall public pressure put on Sony to back off.

And back off they did. Sony ended up settling its lawsuit against George Hotz (aka geohot). Hotz has agreed to not use Sony devices in an ambiguous “unauthorized” fashion — in fact, he’s boycotting Sony anyway — and the accusations brought up in the case by Sony remain unproven.
 
While Hotz shouldn’t have to endure even this, which amounts to a gag order, Sony was stopped well short of what it was hoping to get. Hotz is now free to move on, but Sony is stuck with a fresh batch of bad publicity and no money or legal precedent to show for it.

You did a great job of letting Sony know how unacceptable their behavior has been. Here are excerpts from just some of the 300+ emails you’ve sent so far:

“I would like to let you know that I think your company’s behaviour
towards free software developers is atrocious and disgusting. I will
buy no further Sony products until you cease this action.”

“With the removal of OtherOS and now your attacks on the hacker trying to restore the functionality I paid for. I will be selling all my Sony equipment on ebay and will no longer be recommending any of your products to my friends and family.”

“You should be encouraging imaginative uses of the PS3. Each time someone in the free software community expands the PS3’s
capabilities, the machine becomes desirable for more people.”

We’re not out of the woods yet. Geohot is boycotting Sony over their behavior and we should too. Sony had alleged violations of the DMCA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other copyright laws agains Geohot for jailbreaking the PS3. Sony was granted a number of subpoenas to access information on anyone with even a remote curiosity about the jailbreak, including server logs of geohot’s personal website to the records of anyone who watched the video “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew”.

Another PS3 hacker, Alexander Egorenkov, or graf_chokolo, had his home raided by the police and is now being sued for €1 million. Just recently, representatives of Sony went to his home again and confiscated his equipment.

It’s bad enough that Sony has put restrictive measures against developers in the first place by making jailbreaking necessary. Sony should be encouraging the software development community around the PS3, instead of throwing its legal weight around.

Keep in mind that one of the goals of PS3 hackers is restoring the ability to install other operating systems, a functionality that Sony removed after it was promised to buyers. Some of these PS3 owners have joined a class-action lawsuit against Sony. Interestingly, this lawsuit alleges Sony violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by removing the OtherOS function — the same law Sony uses against hackers who enable OtherOS. The cases against these hackers are still fresh, but Sony’s war on hackers has been going on for a long time.

So, let’s keep the pressure on! Do you oppose Sony’s actions? Are you boycotting Sony? Let them know. Email Nicole Seligman, Executive VP and General Counsel at Sony (nicole.seligman@am.sony.com) — as always, please BCC or CC us on emails at info@defectivebydesign.org! Check out our anti-Sony stickers in the store while you’re at it.

From the FSF

Crossfire- Another Open Source MMORPG

For most hardcore gamers, Linux is a no go area for a seemingly lack of game titles. “Crossfire is a multiplayer graphical arcade and adventure game made for the X-Windows environment. It has certain flavours from other games, especially Gauntlet and Nethack/Moria. Any number of players can move around in their own window, finding and using items and battle monsters. They can choose to cooperate or compete in the same “world.”
To play the game, you’ll need a client with which you can connect to any of the available servers. Alternatively, you install the game on your own server which you can then add to the metaserver list so others can connect to yours.
Crossfire has Windows, Linux and OSX clients available for download, with the server also ported over to Windows.

Be a true soccer fan- Get the Vuvuzela experience right in your home

It’s taken the world by storm. It is the fastest selling football souvenir on the African continent. Blown collectively, it sounds like a swarm of flies. A traditional South African way of supporting  teams. You guessed right, I am talking about the Vuvuzela. The noisy horn that has become a trademark of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
In case you enjoy soccer and you’d love to have a feel of what being at the stadium in South Africa is like, now can in the comfort of your home. Simply head over to Vuvuzela Time UK and enter your web address without the preceding http:// and hit go. Now as you browse your favorite site, you’d be enjoying the now famous sound of thousands of Vuvuzelas blowing in the background. 
In case you’d want to have the real thing at hand, it is readily available on Amazon. Try it and show your support for your team, get the feel of being on the stadium and enjoy the traditional African way of supporting a football (or soccer) team. Go try the above tool or get a Vuvuzela for a full World Cup experience.

Tux Games – Your online store for Linux games

Gaming can sometimes be a make or break affair for most people that would like to give Linux a try. There are lots of free, world class games that run natively and via WINE on Linux. However, there are times when you just cannot get the game you want, even though you are willing to pay for it. 
Well if you are such person, then Tux Games should be of interest to you. Tux Games is an online store that features a wide assortment of games for the Linux platform. Some of the games available are X3: Reunion, Majesty Gold, Prey, Creatures- Internet Edition among others. They have all the gaming genres covered: action, strategy, role playing, FPS, arcade, sports, puzzle and more (some of the genres are yet to be filled with games though).
What caught my interest about Tux Games is how they seek to promote game developers who want to sell their wares. The terms under which they would list your game looks fair to me and thus I recommend it to any developer who has an interest in selling their game.
All in all, Tux Games is a nice idea and concept in my opinion that is worth considering. Developers (ie those who want to sell their games) get to make some money while you also get to play the games that are not otherwise available for free out there. Looks like a win- win situation to me. What do you think?
Edit: In case you are wondering, this is not an affiliate promotion. I am not an affiliate whatsoever of Tux Games. This post is based solely on the premise that you may find some games there useful for your playing pleasure. One caveat though, the site does not look nice, honestly speaking. The developers could do with some refinements of the color scheme and overall design.

PlayDeb – An easy way to install games on Ubuntu.

PlayDeb is another project from the original creators of GetDeb that makes the installation of games on the Ubuntu OS a breeze. All you have to do is hop onto the site, click on the games tab on the main menu and select the game you want for installation. It’s as simple as that.
They have a massive directory of games that fit into all genres: action, FPS, simulators, puzzle, strategy, dungeon, music, RPG and more. The games are currently available for both Ubuntu Jaunty and Karmic. 
Installing games from PlayDeb can be done simply by following the steps outlined in this guide on the site. If you ever wanted a game to play on Ubuntu but did not know where to find it or an easy way to install it, then PlayDep is your answer. Get there and take a look around, you are likely to find something to play. Enjoy!

Danger from the Deep- An open source sub simulator game.

Ever wanted to get the feel of what it’s like to be in a sub? Better put, a German sub during WW2? Danger from the deep is your best bet.
Danger from the Deep (known as dangerdeep or DftD) is a free (as in free speech), Open Source World War II german submarine simulator. The program and source code is available under the GPL license and most of the artwork/data is released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution/NonCommercial/Non-Derivative works).”
With DftD, you get to travel back in time to the WW2 to experience a German sub and how it works thanks the to the games advanced simulation. It is multiplatform and is partly based on the open graphics library OpenGL thus should reasonable easy to port.
It is available for download for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

AssaultCube – An awesome FPS game for Linux.

Based upon the Cube engine, AssaultCube is a fast paced, first-person shooter, (partially) open source, cross platform game. Formerly called ActionCube, this game can be played both online with hundreds of other players from around the world or in a single player mode against computer controlled bots.
There are two different teams in AssaultCube, called the Cubers Liberations Army (CLA) and the Rabid Viper Special Forces (RVSF), with 12 different game levels excluding the single player mode. The game delivers a realistic environment while being very gracious on system resources.
Testing it on a 512MB RAM and 2GHz  Intel Celeron processor Ubuntu powered box, it run great both in the single player mode and online.
AssaultCube retains a movement bug from the original Cube engine that allows players to utilize straferunning to move at a faster speed. This was left intentionally unfixed by the developers because it was considered an enjoyable feature of Cube, similar to bunny hopping in Quake.
Another rather unrealistic feature of the game is the potential for using the recoil of the weapons (which pushes one backwards) to reach and perform moves that were previously impossible. This was also included intentionally, allowing players to achieve faster movement and jump higher. This feature was inherited from Cube, though it was absent in the original release of AssaultCube.
AssaultCube’s weapons are all fictional and fill the basic niches of a modern first-person shooter: the assault rifle, sub-machine gun, sniper rifle, pistol, knife, and shotgun.
The installation file is an incredible 40MB and is available for download for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. For Linux users, just extract the downloaded file and navigate to the directory where you’ve put it, then issue the assaultcube.sh command.
Posted by Sinaisix

Microsoft Patent Application – An attempt at shaming obese gamers.

Logging on…

“Our records show that you are an overweight high-school educated 36-year old male in Akron, Ohio with below-average IQ, part-time employment at a Wal-Mart with an annual take-home of $16k who is a single Baptist Republican.”

Creating avatar… done.

“Congratulations! Explore our virtual world with your new avatar — an overweight, high-school educated 36-year old male with below-average IQ.”

Your avatar will spawn in: Virtual Akron Ohio
You start with the following items: Bible, Pat Robertson DVD, “Going Rogue” by Sarah Palin
You start with: 0 gold
You earn: 7 gold per hour
For doing the following task: Checking groceries at the Virtual Akron Wal-Mart.

That is a post in a thread on Slashdot about a new Microsoft Patent application that could be very unpleasant, especially for those with obese medical conditions. It seeks to create the avatar of a gamer based on the medical record of that person. So like the guy said in the thread, if you are fat or obese (no offense meant please), you could have a gaming avatar that is similar to you physically, making everyone know that  yes you indeed are obese in real life.
The Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic as it’s referred to, is aimed at obese people. According to the patent application, “An undesirable body weight could be reflected in an overweight or underweight appearance for the avatar. Only requisite health levels are allowed to compete in a certain competition level.”
Linking one’s gaming avatar to one’s physique, explains Microsoft, will produce healthy and virtuous behaviors in individuals (and we all believe Google is Skynet?!!!)
I am not a gamer, but I know people play games in order to sometimes escape this brick and mortar world and for brief periods pretend to be who they are not. But if now they actually are going to be chased to the virtual world and shamed, then I think Microsoft seriously deserves the Skynet title.

Scorched 3D- Real time strategy game for Linux.

Based on Scorched Earth, the DOS game which was once crowned the “Mother of all games,” Scorched 3D is an open source, turn based, artillery game that is available free of charge for all platforms. It is a simple real-time strategy game in which players can counter each others’ weapons with other creative accessories, shields and tactics. Learn skills in timing, aiming and judgment, move around on the landscape, or even out-smart your opponent economically.
Scorched 3D is really easy to play. All you need to do is just point the turret, adjust power and trajectory, select your weapon of choice and shoot. It’s that easy but also highly addictive. Learn the basic controls using the tutorial mode, or set up your own game by customizing dozens of economy and environmental conditions to your liking, or simply play online immediately at one of the various public servers.
You can play alone or with up to 24 players at a time, mixing computer players with humans on both randomly generated 3D landscapes and user designed maps. Scorched3D comes bundled with Apocalypse mod, which offers enhanced levels of weaponry and additional user designed maps and also offers an active online community of players making models, maps and mods for the game.
Scorched 3D also comes with a system that allows you to win medals displayed in the Scorched 3D forum. However, you would need to be a registered member of the forum and should have given your player ID through the user control panel. You gain medals by defeating as many opponents as possible without getting killed yourself. The game is available for download for Windows, Linux and Mac. Go on and add some fun to your busy schedule. But beware- this game is highly addictive.