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John Carmack: Linux is not the right platform for video games

Posted on Thursday, February 07 2013 @ 12:54:54 CET by

While Valve's Gabe Newell is enthusiastic about the potential of Linux for video games, id Software's John Carmack counters this by saying that Linux does not have what it takes to be the right platform for video games. Carmack believes it makes more sense to create a special emulator for Linux rather than to port video games to Linux, which is used by just 1.21 percent of PC users. Full details at X-bit Labs.
“I do get tempted to port to Linux for technical reasons – I would like to use Valgrind again, and Nvidia has told me that some experimental GPU features I would like to use for R&D would be easier to prove out on Linux. […] However, I don’t think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today. […] The conventional wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market. Id Software tested the conventional wisdom twice, with Quake Arena and Quake Live. The conventional wisdom proved correct,” said John Carmack, the technical director of id Software, over at Reddit web-site.

“I truly do feel that emulation of some sort is a proper technical direction for gaming on Linux. It is obviously pragmatic in the range of possible support, but it should not have the technical stigma that it does. There really is not much of anything special that a native port does. […] Translating from D3D to OpenGL would involve more inefficiencies, but figuring out exactly what the difficulties are and making some form of “D3D interop” extension for OpenGL to smooth it out is a lot easier than making dozens of completely refactored, high performance native ports,” concluded John Carmack.



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