Weekly Newsletter – Issue 56

* News about Mint

Finally the Elyssa KDE CE edition beta 045 was released

Some news about Mint editions

* News about Linux

The number of computers sold with Linux preinstalled  raises sharply in the UK

A better ATI open driver to appear

Launchpad 2 released

The 2.6.27 merge window closes – we can look forward to almost every webcam working

Jack Keane game shipping for Linux

10 good habits that improve your UNIX® command line efficiency

I stumbled upon TuxSoftware.com which has a selection of Linux software delivered by the Linux Software Installer which is based on mintInstall. This may have been mentioned in the newsletter before but it can’t hurt mentioning it again

* News about IT

Microsoft’s plans for post-Windows OS revealed

Much of the sale of Windows Vista is really Windows XP 

Novell developers make their own Open Office – go-oo

2008 Best of Open Source Software Awards

British police shame 999 time wasters on YouTube

Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At US Border No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies

Thailand bans Grand Theft Auto IV – I think it should be totally banned – I can’t see why promoting steeling cars and killing the drivers  should be allowed even in a game – but that’s my personal view / Husse

Online threats materializing faster, study shows

FBI Warns of Storm Worm Virus

The hacking exploit Neosploit is “euthanized” – distributors citing support costs that didn’t justify the expense.

* Hardware news

New Version of IEEE 1394™ Standard Approved

A $10 high-resolution, lens-free microscope fits on a dime-size chip.

Foxconn sabotaging Linux – the BIOS in mother boards is crap for Linux
* Trivia and other links   

* More about Linux Mint

You find the Wallpaper of the Month in the Blog

Home page

Blog  The planet  Wiki   Forum

* Editors comment

As always – if you find something I’ve missed in the newsletter please tell me – you can post a comment here

Enjoy life

Husse

22 comments

  1. Husse, I don’t know why you feel the need to tell us your personal opinion on GTA4, that kinda stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the other strictly factual information.

    What made it worse though is the personal view you present is really disgusting. Please keep your right wing pro censorship views to yourself.

    Especially regarding things you clearly have no idea about, because if you knew anything about computer games you would know that GTA4 is critically acclaimed. Banning it is like saying we should ban the Godfather even though it is regarded the greatest movie ever made simply because it to centres around organised crime.

    If you object to this mini rant then I suggest you keep to purely factual matters in the future, or at least stick to commenting on Linux related matters.

  2. Agreeing with both comments above, I come to Linux Mint blog just to see news on Linux and Linux Mint, and personal comments like that are only upsetting to some people like myself who hate how far these “Blame video games for everything” situations are going. For myself, I personally play GTA for stress relief (Haven’t played 4 yet. Intend to), and while I agree it is a little over the top, there’s nothing wrong with that given it stays within the age group it was intended for. For one, there is a rating system that is MEANT to keep kids that aren’t a proper age from playing it, and there are also parents to regulate it (Or so I’m told. I hear these days they don’t do too much).

  3. Disagreeing with both comments, or all three comments, parents are always training and teaching their children, intentionally and unintentionally. When you play such games, you are saying to your child, that this is acceptable. Kids don’t see it as a cut-off time where suddenly one reaches a certain age where it’s suddenly okay to play these games. That’s hypocritical as you give them a double message – it’s okay for me to play, but you’re to young. Huh?

    “Where’s Dad, Mommy?” “Oh, he’s on the computer, but don’t you go in there, you hear me!”

    I for one breathed a sigh of relief at Husse’s comment. It’s his newsletter. It’s his right to speak.

  4. Well, to add to the comments of Husse’s comment, I think that it’s totally fine. I do agree that GTA4 (and the rest of them too) is a little over the top, and occasionally I find it entertaining to run around and do… stuff, however, I would agree that it would be better just to ban the game altogether. Plus, this is Husse’s newsletter, so he can post what he wants.

  5. I’ve been away from home a couple of days so I have not commented the comments earlier
    First off – I should have posted my personal view as a a comment, not in the newsletter itself. I apologize for not keeping it strictly factual, if I run across something like this in the future I’ll add it as a comment.
    I am not right wing as suggested above – such comments are quite unnecessary. I am not pro censorship – on the contrary. But with the freedom of expression comes a responsibility which unfortunately is, I’d say blatantly, forgotten
    We all want people (not least our kids) to behave nicely, but what do “we” feed “us”? Abuse and murder fills (the news and the) popular culture – a kid is said to have seen several thousand murders before he/she becomes and adult. Computer games are much about shooting and killing – but mostly I’d say it’s like when kids (mostly boys) play games in the “real” world
    However a game that gives bonus points if you steal a car and then kill the driver simply should not exist. In earlier versions (don’t know if it’s still there) you were granted bonus points if you you hit elderly ladies with your car also really disgusting.
    This is why I made the remark
    And I think we can’t just ignore these games – there are much worse that GTA unfortunately
    Sorry for the long rant

  6. Husse, I totally disagree with you, but I applaud you got admitting that it was a mistake to put your personal views in the news letter and because of that I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt with my next point…

    The fact you state GTA gives you bonus points for killing people (which it doesn’t and which it never has) shows to me what I originally suspected, which is frankly you have no concept of what happens in a GTA game besides what sensationalist headlines have told you, most of which are factually incorrect.

    Normally I would consider you really ignorant for doing this, but like I say I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. If you have been mislead into thinking the game is worse than it is then I’m gunna throw you a bone and forgive you.

    Just be aware of the following fact.

    GTA4 is a critically acclaimed computer game, deemed a masterpiece by just about every place that has reviewed it, from the gaming sites right through to the broadsheet newspapers. This should set alarm bells ringing in your head because if you are calling to ban something that the world considers a masterpiece then can you not see that maybe you have gotten the complete wrong idea about this game?

    When you hear statements like it’s a masterpiece and you say it should still banned I can only assume that you think being a masterpiece refers to how realistic the murders are or something like that, but that’s not the case at all.

    One of the many reasons it is regarded a masterpiece is it has an engaging story with a protagonist you really care about and characters you look forward to seeing. The writing of the story in this game is as good as you will find in any feature film, some are saying it has the best writing ever to feature in a game. Yes it takes place in the violent world of organised crime but then so do many of the films regarded as the greatest movies ever made like the Godfather.

    Secondly, the GTA franchise is renowned for the really clever way it comments on society. The game operates on many levels and is full of subtext. It is made by intelligent people and is best enjoyed by intelligent people.

    To give an example the game is full of cyber cafes were you can go online and view all these fake websites. You could spend hours and hours just immersing yourself in all these hundreds of websites which poke fun and comment on all aspects of modern internet life. The satire on these websites is easily as good as you would find anywhere else. Like I say GTA is renowned for its social commentary.

    You can perhaps argue that violent video games have more of an effect on people than violent movies, but simply calling for GTA to be banned fails to appreciate the artistry that has gone into GTA4. To put it into context, GTA4 scored perfect marks in many reviews and in many of those publications it was the first game to do so since Nintendo’s Ocarina of Time game that came out 10 years earlier to mass critical praise. When I say this game is regarded as a masterpiece this isnt just the opinion of a few gaming sites either, this is the view of pretty much everyone who isnt prone to right wing sensationalism. The New York Times wrote an article for example praising it for how it recreated a version of New York that was so immersive and full of biting satire.

    I hope you now realise that of all the violent games to be critical of GTA is not one of them. If there was some mindless trash out there where you just killed people and that was it’s only reason to exist then people would perhaps be more willing to listen to you, but when you are slamming something people regard highly they are going to consider you an old fool who knows nothing about computer games.

    Speaking of which, there is a common consensus amongst gamers that video games are experiencing the same problems as rock and roll music or movies experienced when they first become prominent. Which is to say that the older generative see it as a threat that will corrupt the youth.

    If you go back far enough you will find examples of older people being terrified of the effects of the newly invented printed press because they believed it would corrupt all future generations. Clearly that never happened, and clearly rock and roll has not made society degenerate into anarchy either, so chances are video games wont have any bad effects either.

    What the statistics tell us is the average age of the gamer is about 35 years of age. Most of the sensationalist media out there try to make out that these violent games are aimed at corrupting kids, but fact is the vast majority of people who spend money on computer games are adults buying them for themselves. As the average age of gamer is 35 years old I guess we only need to wait another 10 or 15 years at most before all the law markers and journalists are themselves game players and then we will find all these anti-gaming views will be all but gone.

    The current law makers seem to think that violent movies are OK for adults to watch, and that heavy metal doesnt turn you into a satan worshipper, so all we need is for the people in charge to get over their fear of gaming and everything will be good.

    Husse once again I applaud you for seeing the news blog isnt the correct place to put your personal views, you are a bigger man than most (you just need to learn more about video games!)

  7. Here’s my personal opinion (purely personal):

    – Thailand is probably my favorite country (gorgeous food, great location, very nice people, beautiful culture, fantastic language..etc).

    – Thailand has a different culture. What I think is right for Ireland (or France) isn’t necessarily right over there, and I wouldn’t allow myself to judge their decision.

    – GTA is among my favorite games. I haven’t played GTA4 yet but the previous titles simply amazed me. More than a game this franchise is making history.. the level of details and attention, the depth of it.. it’s mind-boggling.

    – My favorite period of history is the end of the Roman republic. Among the things I really like about it is that honesty that people had towards their own human nature, how violence and most of what is truly human (and taboo nowadays) was observed as is and accepted as such.

    – As mentioned, some of the best games/movies/stories of our times involve strong violence. I personally enjoy violence in movies and in games (my two picks of the moment are Urban Terror (where as a terrorist I basically kill cops and plant boms) and Europa Universalis Rome (where as Rome I slowly crush everything that moves around on the map)). As far as TV goes I just finished watching Battlestar Galactica (where people kill aliens and vice-versa) and Dexter (where the main character is a serial killer)… as you can see violence is part of my life, it just is channeled and packaged within entertainment so I don’t have to use violence or to suffer violence.. I can just get to observe it. Now, we can criticize that and point the finger at our own bestiality, or we can accept the fact that we’re human and that as humans our relation to violence is actually “natural” (it’s our nature to be violent and it defines us).

    – When it comes to my kids? The same way I don’t like to suffer or to inflict violence but I like to observe it.. I want the same for them. I make sure they don’t suffer from it or inflict it on others, but I definitely don’t go around showing them the World as it isn’t.. they can see it as it is and the sooner they accept it the better they’ll fit in it. Violence is indeed part of the landscape.

    Guys, you’ve started a really interesting debate 🙂 I came here to see about Mint and here we are talking philosophy 🙂

  8. Indeed this is getting interesting
    I admit that I have not even installed the game and that I have only learned about GTA4 from media. However earlier versions have been played by my computer frenzy stepson and I have had it reviewed and described by him when we discussed different computer games (we’ve talked a lot about everything in computers) He found it not so pleasant to get points for hitting elderly ladies (like his mother, my wife) with his car in this game.
    I don’t want censorship but I don’t want violence promoted either. It’s when it’s a more or less familiar environment I really disagree. I’ve watched Battlestar Galactica with interest and made an attempt to play Europa Universalis and I don’t disagree with it.
    Trying to make this an age question is wrong I think, although I’m past 60 I’m still young at heart but I may (just may) have gained some wisdom over the years – that’s the benefit of age
    Oh – if the game is beautiful is besides the question….
    And I don’t have much patience to play games any more – age perhaps

  9. Husse, under no circumstances does GTA reward you for killing elderly ladies. In fact the only people you are “rewarded” after killing are other criminals in the parts of the story where you are instructed by another member of the organisation to kill someone (all within the context of a story about organised crime). Killing innocent people on the street actually hinders your chances in the game as it makes police cars chase after you and if they capture you it is game over.

    There are however bonuses to be won in GTA3 with missions where you drive an ambulance and have to rescue a number of people by driving them to hospital as quickly as possible.

    Here is a description from the GTA Wiki…

    “This mission requires the player to find, pick up and deliver patients to the hospital within a time limit, while endeavoring to drive as safely as possible (each bump further injures the passengers). With every level comes another patient to deliver, increasing the difficulty. Usually when the player beats level 12 the mission is complete (but can be carried on and replayed later) and a reward is achieved, e.g. infinite sprint or extra health.”

    I really do think you should do some more research before you make it any more clear you have no concept of what happens in GTA. At the moment you are just jumping on the misinformed band wagon.

  10. Ok – this is kind of both sides are right.
    In GTA3 and GTA4 it seems that you, to quote my son “have kill for pleasure” i.e. normal game habits, but in the first two games you could earn money on stupid things like hitting little old ladies.
    When I read the terrible story about the taxi driver being killed I accepted it as I have had long discussions about game violence with my son (I should mention he’s 41 years old) and we discussed GTA quite a bit – but I had to ask him to be sure….
    Should perhaps have checked the credibility of the story – but in the end it was an interesting discussion, even if I really dislike being called right wing …

  11. Regarding the taxi driver murder I read the most logical thing ever about it on a Cnet blog the other day.

    “Are we now supposed to believe that the video game is telling kids to go out and kill taxi drivers?

    A dog told the Son of Sam to kill people. Should we start killing off every dog we see for fear that dogs are sending us subliminal messages telling us to kill other people?

    It doesn’t make any sense.”

    Amen to that.

  12. I agree with the comment about the dog, but the questions remain – are “we” immune to all influences from computer games or movies or whatever? Should we portray/create anything regardless of content?
    The answer is no to both questions. I don’t want to deny anyone the pleasure of playing a computer game, but is the pleasure of gaming worth the risk that a “bad game” has an influence on someone so he/she kills?
    I don’t see that connection in a dog….
    And at least for me this has nothing to do with that I don’t like games (because I do even if I don’t find the patience to play much any more) or find the young generation “disturbing” (which I do) but that’s how it should be … (within limits)

  13. Show me some concrete statistics that show that the number of crimes which are portrayed in GTA that are committed in real life has increased since the game came out.

    To date 70 million copies of GTA games have been sold and at least another few million pirate copies so you should have a large enough sample size to tell me if it has had an effect on society. If something is harmful enough to warrant a completely ban in your opinion then surely we must see some effects from the 70 million people who have already played it.

    Simply assuming that because a game asks players to steal and kill is going to somehow increase that in real life seems like a logical concept to someone who has never played a game, but fact is it just don’t happen. If you played games you would understand that.

    You deny that this is a generational thing but it really is. If you had grown up playing video games then you would laugh at how ridiculous this concept is. It is no different from in the 50s not allowing Elvis to be shown below the waist for fear that his gyrating hips would make all the girls want to have sex. It’s as ridiculous as that, it really is.

    The only people who do disturbing things as a result of playing games are the people who are disturbed anyways, they are just ticking time bombs waiting for something to send them over the edge. It wasn’t a game it would be a film or a heavy metal album or hell, a dog barking.

  14. I guess it’s my turn again (haha). This is where I am coming from. Video games are video games. Period. You can say it’s just a game, but really, video games (well certain ones like GTA and Cod4 and BF2, etc) are a representation of real life. Personally, I could do without all the violence (all games in my collection are T or E) but I guess it’s up to the person. I for one have personally tried to cut back on games like those, simply because, like I said, it’s a representation, and I sure wouldn’t want that to be happening in real life. Also, there is this cliche that I try to live out. Not a lot of people do, but I guess this is the other reason why, and this is just me, a personal reason why I don’t, WWJD. Anyhow, my two cents.

  15. I think Belovedmonster and I have to agree to disagree 🙂
    He’s right in most ways, but where we differ is that I can’t see why, as Acid_1 says, when “video games (well certain ones like GTA and Cod4 and BF2, etc) are a representation of real life” we should accept bad behavior in the games we despise in the real world.
    Agreeably I seem to be wrong about GTA3 and 4 but 1 and 2 were despicable.
    And it’s of course – luckily – a rare event that someone reenacts a murder in a game in the real world.
    Also don’t assume that I’ve not been gaming just because I’ve reached a certain age – I was playing quite a bit until a few years back when I got tired of the artificial difficulties in many games….

  16. Husse: I think it’s precisely because it’s realistic and because it lets you do things you wouldn’t like to be part of in real life that there’s such an appeal for it. As much as I don’t like war, corruption, intimidation, theft.. it’s a real pleasure to incarnate a Mafia gangster, to lead entire legions into war or even to shoot at cops and steal cars. I see games and movies as entertainment. What I don’t like about violence isn’t violence itself (I think it’s quite clear people in general like violence a lot), it’s the consequences of it.. the suffering, the lack of safety, the worries… now, in a game one can enjoy violence without worrying about consequences, or all that usually comes with it. Assuming violence is something Human people enjoy and something which has nefast consequences which people don’t like.. it’s quite understandable why it’s such a taboo in real life and a hobby in games/movies.

  17. Also, if in the times of Rome there wasn’t more sympathy for prisoners and other people’s slaves than we currently have for our games characters we can probably understand why Gladiators were so popular. There it was: violence without any consequence.. no consequences for the audience, no sympathy for the characters.

  18. As long as it does not actually hurt anyone, why would we consider banning something that was designed for consumption by consenting adults. It’s a slippery slope. As others have mentioned, what will be next? The latest Tarantino movie? Stephen King’s newest hack-fest? Hyper-realistic video games are new, but this debate is age-old. Personally, I think GTA in all it’s incarnations, are trash entertainment. Similar to reality TV shows. But just because I think it’s worthless entertainment, doesn’t mean I would support banning it. In fact, I would actively defend GTA’s right to exist because anything less would diminish my own personal freedom of speech. If one thing that you don’t happen to care about gets banned, it’s only a matter of time before something that you *do* care about gets banned.

    And Clem, you’re letting Thailand off the hook. Restricting freedom of speech anywhere is just wrong. Cultural differences don’t excuse curtailing civil rights.

    –Akshun J

  19. OK OK I give up 🙂
    I definitely don’t want censorship and the like
    So maybe in the name of freedom I should not call for a ban, but for an age limit
    I still don’t like excess violence in games, but I have played a few with violence in them and liked the games, so….
    I hope this matter is closed now and I promise never to put my personal opinion in the newsletter itself again

  20. Doesn’t matter. Your newsletter, your opinion, as long as it is separated as that. But it was a good discussion though haha.

Comments are closed.