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The June 2020 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2020 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

In the June 2020 issue:

* Short Topix: Privacy Issues Emerge During Pandemic
* Finally! Blade Runner On PCLinuxOS!
* Inkscape Tutorial: Draw A Rope
* PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Hallvor
* Mind Your Step: Remembering Geocities
* ms_meme's Nook: Silence In The Forum
* USB4 Is Coming! USB4 Is Coming!
* Repo Review: Manuskript
* PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner: Grilled Skinny Fish With Strawberry-Poblano Relish
* And much more inside!

This month’s cover was designed by Meemaw.

Download the PDF (9.9 MB)
https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=2020-06.pdf

Download the EPUB Version (6.7 MB)
https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=202006epub.epub

Download the MOBI Version (8.2 MB)
https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=202006mobi.mobi

Visit the HTML Version
https://pclosmag.com/html/enter.html

PCLOS-Specific articles

  • Finally! Blade Runner On PCLinuxOS!

    The design of the Blade Runner game was extremely ambitious for the time. In contrast to many contemporary games, the game engine included pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D characters, but did not require the use of any 3D hardware accelerator. Designers David Leary and James Walls achieved this through self-developed technology using voxels (pixels with width, height and depth). Castle explains:

    "We had to invent a new technology for the characters. We went back to voxel technology and used it as a launch pad. What we are using are not voxels, but a kind of 'voxels plus'. We use voxels to make rotations, transformations and three-dimensional projections that create the character, but in fact we use a very fast polygon rendering engine to render the polygons on the screen. Because we do not need a voxel model that is so dense that every pixel is a voxel, we are able to achieve much higher frame rates with many more polygons on the screen and with many characters."

    "When we told Intel that we were making a 640x480 game, 65,000 colors that emulates true colors, with 16-bit Z-buffer and six-channel CD-quality audio, they said: You can't - the PCI bus doesn't support it.

    "So we feel good about ourselves, because we haven't mentioned the 750,000 polygons for the characters yet", Castle said, with a smirk.

    Graphically, the game resembles some games of the time, with pre-rendered 3D scenarios, and 3D characters, in this case, with the voxel-plus technique. It's something similar to franchises like Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil. However, in a totally different and exciting way, the scenarios have lighting, and even though they are pre-rendered images, they are animated: fans that roll (and the game has many), and the lights change, blink. There are NPCs walking and spinners in the skies. The rain constantly falls, and it makes puddles on the ground.

    [...]

    Speaking in 2015 about a possible re-release of the game via Steam or GOG.com, Louis Castle explained that the source code and assets were lost when Westwood moved its studio from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, making a relaunch or an HD remaster impossible. Even if the code were found, restoring almost a terabyte of assets, whether for new pre-rendered or 3D real-time scenarios, would cost tens of millions of dollars, making the relaunch as unlikely as a sequel. The Blade Runner partnership and Electronic Arts held the rights to the game for many years at this point.

    However, the game would finally arrive on GOG.com on December 17, 2019, following an agreement with Alcon Interactive Group and the website, using ScummVM: Several attempts have been made to reverse engineer the game's engine. As it is technically complex with voxel graphics for game actors, video backgrounds and random paths, the final project took eight years to complete. The new Blade Runner engine was added to the ScummVM game engine collection on October 13, 2016 and took another three years to be ready for public testing on June 16, 2019 and included in ScummVM version 2.1.0.

  • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Hallvor

    I had been curious to try it out for a long time before actually trying it. The first time was in 1998. I asked a friend to help me that I knew had some knowledge, but he just brushed me off and said it would be too difficult. An install required floppy disks and quite a bit of command line work. After scratching my head on my own for a little while, I gave up and didn't give it much thought before 2006, when I had problems with instability of my router. I installed Linux based firmware on it and noticed how much better it ran. This made me curious about GNU/Linux on the desktop, because my installation of Windows at the time needed reboots roughly every other day, and the install tended to slow down over time.

    The second thing that sparked my curiosity, and would make the transition easier, was that I was already running many types of GNU software on my Windows installation.

    I ordered a free CD of Ubuntu, and got it in the late summer of 2006. It was Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. It was underwhelming at first, and I bumped into many beginner's problems that I was unable to solve at the time. So I wiped the install in frustration and installed Windows. I don't know if anyone has tried to install Windows without an OEM, but hunting drivers online and setting everything up, took a whole day. That reminded me of how easy and flawless the installation of Ubuntu had been, so a few days later, after reading about the stuff that was causing me trouble the first time, I installed it again. I have been using variants of GNU/Linux ever since.

    What specific equipment do you currently use with PCLinuxOS?

    I am currently using a HP EliteBook 2570p with 6 GiB RAM and 240 GiB SSD. It is not the newest hardware, but it is very rugged and so blazing fast with PCLinuxOS and KDE Plasma that it would be silly upgrading it.

  • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase

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