Fair Well Gentoo…

I get the feeling I am bit late to the party. It looks like the Gentoo exodus probably began sometime after Daniel Robbins stepped down as chief architect and things slowly began to crumble. I stuck it out over the years hoping that things would get better and the distro would return to its glory days. My Gentoo boxes slowly started getting less and less attention due to fears that an upgrade might break something.

Gentoo Logo

In its prime Gentoo’s portage system was awesome: it picked up sprawling webs of dependencies and cleaned up after itself like a champ. And the packages were optimized for my hardware; I know I squeezed every last drop of compute power out of those machines. I experienced XEyes as it was meant to be run. Need to upgrade KDE? just emerge it and take a walk trip. Want to upgrade KDE and use your processor for something else? No problem, just configure distcc and distribute your build across your cluster. Ahh, those were the days.

Today when I use the portage system I am guaranteed to find packages that block my upgrade. Then I’m off to forums to find out what went wrong. Block. Block. Curse. Block. Now granted, I generally unmask many packages so I’ve strayed from the safe and stable path, but those are rarely the source of the blocks. I guess these days I just want to use my computer without having to tinker every step of the way.

Gentoo’s community is great. The forums are very helpful and the website is packed with tons of well-formatted, easy-to-follow HOWTOs and docs. I sometimes even refer to Gentoo’s HOWTOs when trying to get things to work in another distro. I have always walked away impressed by Gentoo’s ability to provide quality documentation, great consistency, and damn good branding.

Gentoo was the first distro I loved enough to buy supporting paraphernalia. One Gentoo t-shirt worn with geek pride to let the world know they had another choice. These days I do really enjoy Ubuntu. I may even love using it, but I don’t think I’m ready to wear an Ubuntu-emblazoned t-shirt yet.

So after much backing up, at 1:27am EST I pulled the plug on my last Gentoo box. So long Gentoo…


DGXPO 2008: Game Developers’ Conference in the Triangle

The Triangle has a big presence in the game development industry. According to Wake County we have over 30 video game companies in the area. That count includes the three big developers of game engines: Epic (Unreal Engine), Vicious Cycle (Vicious Engine), and Emergent Game Technologies (Gamebryo). You have heavy-weights in the area of serious games and simulations like Virtual Heroes. So, why not a game conference?

The Digital Game Expo (DGXPO) is a local game development conference hosted by Wake Tech. This is not a massive industry conference with a convention center filled with vendors and game dev shops passing out tsatskes. One of DGXPO’s goals is to give aspiring developers and developers from other industries a peek into the game industry.

Registration for the expo just opened this week over at http://www.dgxpo.com . It doesn’t look like the sessions are posted yet, but there is a list of speakers.

Student Work

The conference is hosted by Wake Tech and their game development and simulation program. This gives Wake Tech’s students a chance to show off their handiwork. Last year, students from Wake Tech (and I believe a couple other schools) had a room setup with playable demos of games they had worked on for a variety of platforms. Of course right next to all their class projects, the local Virtual Heroes had a popular demo of America’s Army running complete with realistic training rifle.


Last year I briefly spoke with Robert Rice from Neogence Studios about his new MMO Immortal Destiny. He couldn’t go into too much detail at that time, but his take on the role of social dynamics and AI sounded like it will be a refreshing twist on the state of MMOs. This year he is going to be a speaker at the Expo. I’m looking forward to his session and any sneak peeks we might get.

I intend to register again this year and see what others in the area are up to.