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Interview Page Two
6. FS: I have been an admirer of the direction that Loki took in the Linux game area, as I prefer native applications to emulations. Can you describe the thought process behind the big decision not to cut corners and to strike out on your own in support of native applications?
SL: Loki always took the viewpoint that it was better to implement game subsystems natively rather than using emulation layers which could add significant overhead. It turns out that aside from major subsystems such as audio and video, calls to emulation layers don't end up adding very much overhead since the bulk of the work a game does involves its game logic and rendering, and not system interfaces. However, implementing the subsystems from the ground up as native code gives the developers opportunities to take advantage of patterns in the way the game accesses the system services to make them as fast as possible and often result in a game that is more stable on Linux than on Windows.
7. FS: How do you feel about projects such as Wine and WineX? Do you feel that they are a discredit to Linux because they “windowize” the experience, or do you think they help broaden the appeal of Linux to Windows users, for example?
SL: They are a great boon to people who, for one reason or another, must have certain Windows applications on their Linux box. On the other hand, I dual boot, and have no problem actually running Windows to run a Windows game.
In the long run, companies that care about supporting Linux are more likely to develop ports of their applications if they don't run on emulation layers. For companies that don't care, well, it doesn't matter at all, and it's nice to be able to run their applications on Linux if that is what you want to do.
8. FS: It seems that while the server side of Linux looks strong, the desktop side of Linux is struggling, what with Corel Linux being all but gone and Red Hat stating they are pretty much giving up on the desktop. Can you give us an idea of the current state of the Linux market and maybe let us know which direction you would like to see it move?
SL: The Linux desktop is caught in the classic chicken and egg problem. Which come first, the applications or the customers? I think overall, the Linux desktop is making great strides in making Linux a comfortable place for end users to compute, and that will only improve as time goes by. Whether or not this will translate into Linux as a desktop market force remains to be seen. It really is more up to corporate policy than anything else. If large organizations decide to switch over to Linux on the desktop, then more organizations will do it, and there will suddenly be real customers for large scale desktop applications.
9. FS: What are your impressions of Mandrake’s new “Gaming Edition”? Is it a good first step in targeting gamers, or do you feel there are better ways to approach that market segment?
SL: It's too bad that the one of the most popular games to come out on Linux is one that is emulated, but I hear good things about the distribution.