Archive for December, 2006

The Free Ryzom Campaign

Friday, December 15th, 2006

You may know of the Saga of Ryzom MMORPG. If not, feel free to read our Saga of Ryzom review, and our preview of its expansion, Ryzom Ring. Alas, it didn’t end up doing too well in the marketplace, and so now Nevrax (the developer) is going into receivership, with one of the assets to be liquidated being Ryzom. As such, Ryzom is at serious risk of being shut down for ever.

This is where the Free Ryzom Campaign steps in. The Free Ryzom Campaign aims to raise enough in donations to purchase the rights to the game, and release it as Free software (note the capital F – if you don’t get the distinction, read the linked document) under the GPL, whilst maintaining a central server (which would be subscription-based) for people to use. Of course, in order to be able to do this, they need you. As I write this, €144,478 has been pledged, and their current goal is €200,000.

This isn’t the first time that a group of people have raised money to get some software open sourced. Blender is a 3D modeling tool that started off life as a shareware application. After a few years, the authors went bankrupt, and €100,000 was raised in order to get it released under the GPL. Now it is actively maintained, has greatly improved, and has a community around it who have created works such as the impressive Elephants Dream.

Hopefully The Free Ryzom Campaign will win the bid to get the rights to Ryzom, and it will become improved as has Blender. Either way, it will certainly be an interesting project to watch in the years to come.

Synergy is great

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

No, I’ve not suddenly started a marketing course, I’m referring to the application called Synergy. The concept is simple, yet so very useful – it lets you share a single keyboard and mouse pair between two networked PCs (note: I consider Macs and various other systems to be Personal Computers – I don’t mean “x86 machine running Windows” here), without requiring the use of any specialist hardware like a KVM. Essentially, it makes the two machines appear to be just one machine with two displays; to give the keyboard and mouse to the other PC, you just move the pointer offscreen in the direction of the other PC’s screen, and as if by magic it moves on to there.

I’m currently using Synergy to play GalCiv 2 on my laptop (booted into Windows), using my desktop’s (booted into Linux, as always) keyboard and mouse, with the audio output from my laptop connected up to my desktop’s sound card’s input. Fun times. Now to see what other games play nicely with Synergy…

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