Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 18 of 18

Thread: Open Rails in Linux

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Carolina's
    Posts
    1,972

    Default

    The potential could well be in drawing the attention of developers who could contribute to ORTS from the Linux world. This can be seen in following OpenBVE which runs in all three OSes quite happily.

    Robert

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Wareham, Dorset, U.K.
    Posts
    1,895

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NW 2156 View Post
    The potential could well be in drawing the attention of developers who could contribute to ORTS from the Linux world. This can be seen in following OpenBVE which runs in all three OSes quite happily.

    Robert
    ....well from where I sit they'd be doing something more constructive working on OR? ....so good point!
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pacific Time
    Posts
    641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lateagain View Post
    Interesting input Mike but I still don't see what Linux "brings to the party" for OR? Not being argumentative here. It just strikes me that I've no obvious (I may well be missing something!) issues running OR in Win7. Most machines ship with an M$ OS anyway so apart from the geeky pleasure in proving it will work I don't see why anyone would want to change?

    BTW what's a Kaby Lake CPU? and if it's new? surely machines equipped with it won't ship with Win 7 anyway?
    Well, you have the key point right there up front: I'm moderately geeky and like to keep up on the competition. Yes, I know, Apple is the real competition, but you have to buy a whole new computer for that - you don't for Linux. Purpose is really to maintain an option should MS decide (as their Terms of Service allows them to) that my old hardware will no longer receive updates in Win10. I'm not going back to 7; it's already in extended support and hits EOL in only another couple of years.

    Kaby Lake is the latest round of Intel hardware. The tech press (see Ars Technica, for instance) has been discussing the fact that MS now blocks support, if not installation, of Win7 and 8 on Kaby Lake chips, and Intel will not provide chipset drivers for Windows prior to 10. So if you buy a Really New Computer, you have to take Windows 10 with it. It's not a disaster, since despite threatening to do that for the later Skylake CPUs they apparently didn't do it and most Intel CPUs currently being sold are Skylake hardware. And if you have 7 or 8 working on older hardware now they continue to be supported until their stated EOL. It's just that if you buy a new computer with the latest CPU you have to take Win10 with it (and pay for it, either on your own if you build or from the OEM) - or install Linux. The geeks are freaking over this, but most people won't notice.

    The story initially included the new AMD Ryzen CPU in the no-Win7-support category, but 7 & 8 have now been show to work with it including receiving updates. So far at least.

    If you're running Win10 (or 8 or 7 with no plans for new hardware), and have it tweaked to run OK for you, then unless you're geeky Linux probably isn't worth worrying about. Keep using Windows; it's fine if properly configured. I just like to keep my options open.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Wareham, Dorset, U.K.
    Posts
    1,895

    Default

    This takes us rather off topic ...EXCEPT that reality dictates that our hobby ONLY exists on machines built to support a much wider usage. The relationship between OS publishers (of any name) and hardware manufacturers seems to put the consumer right at the bottom of the priority list? Their R&D has to be paid for so they force new machinery and new software on the consumer by stopping support on their established product. I can see that Linux offers a "safe haven" from their greed ....BUT.....

    THE big issue I have with new OS's is that they render software and utilities that worked superbly in previous OS's useless. Cut down "generic drivers" offer scant performance for expensive peripheries such as Scanners and Printers and usually render some excellent software that shipped with them unusable . I've had to bin two perfectly good photo quality scanners due to this and have found updates to OS's provide much poorer interfaces with printers. Most manufacturers are forced to develop new drivers for their kit but even Canon bailed out on an updated driver for the last scanner I was forced to bin.

    As a technician I firmly believe in the creed of "If it ain't broke, Don't fix it", but sadly the so called progress of OS and hardware producers "breaks" more useful stuff than it fixes real problems? We got Win 8 & 10 to help M$ (fail to) sell their own cell phones! NOT to help the desktop PC user.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    713

    Default

    "Kaby Lake" is the current name for the latest generation of Intel CPUs. (They're based on the "Skylake" design from 2015.) Microsoft has stated that with the Kaby Lake series forward, they won't engineer support for Windows 8/8.1 or earlier on that platform. In other words, if you build a system around a Kaby Lake chip, it will need Windows 10 or whatever the current Windows OS is called. You may or may not be able to run Windows 7/8/8.1 on it, and Microsoft won't make any guarantees. The most controversial aspect is that Microsoft won't offer any operational (bugfix) or any security patches to the older operating systems under a Kaby Lake, AMD Ryzen, or newer CPU.

    There's a business reason why they're doing this -- it costs money and development time to adapt the OS kernel and provide specific fixes and security updates across multiple CPU platforms. Microsoft has decided not to spend any of that on end-of-life operating systems for CPU architectures that are new and not specifically intended to run the older OSes anyway.

    By way of more detail, all modern OS kernels -- Windows, MacOS(BSD-based), BSD UNIX and Linux are all compiled to support generational families of CPUs. It's because of the specific memory and processor bus architectures, as well as power management functions. Even in 2001, no one expected to make Windows XP run on a 486DX. But it would run on a Pentium, Celeron, or comparable AMD K5; those were all within the hardware generations that XP was designed for.

    As all OS kernels have developed, they've laid down cutoffs where they won't run on older processors. Apple runs an approximately seven-year "window" of compatibility (although it's gone as long as ten years under OSX originally). Linux has been a bit more complicated, but there are still ongoing generational boundaries. Microsoft learned the hard way that continually revising and adding-on support in Windows XP because (primarily business) users didn't want to switch got expensive and consumed resources that should have been spent on modern development for modern processors. That then fostered more consumers to stick with XP because hey, it's well-developed and stable at work so it ought to be perfect for everybody. And so XP stayed, and stayed, and stayed beyond it's intended design life.

    Microsoft doesn't want to repeat that. On the other hand, they've learned from the Linux and UNIX world the advantages of some of the finer points of kernel designs that are more modular and adaptable to updating to match CPU engineering advancements. So Windows 10 is, from an engineering standpoint, sort of a "line in the sand" where monolithic design stops and a more modular design of the kernel begins. Windows 10 (or whatever they decide to call it in another decade...) will always be recognizable to an OS developer as the same framework, but with different specific bits to a related family of CPU designs, but not necessarily all of them since its inception. The advantage is that as old CPU designs become obsolete and new ones become available, the OS can be upgraded to match with less engineering effort and cost since (like UNIX/Linux) the functionality doesn't change much, only the CPU-specific code has to. That's quite different from the Win9x vs NT families' differences, and even the evolution of Windows NT through 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1. There have been some major monolithic architecture changes along the way for the NT family, all the while maintaining Win32 API support all the way in spite of it. It's been fantastic for end-users, but expensive for Microsoft.

    So Microsoft's decision now is to break with the past in favor of moving ahead more economically while still not breaking Win32 compatibility. So you can keep using the same software as much as possible while continuing to upgrade the computer hardware it runs on. The hardware upgrades eventually demand OS upgrades; it's just makes good financial sense to focus on a reasonable spectrum of older hardware up to the newest as a development target.

    Some people are complaining that they won't be able to keep installing Win7 on their Kaby Lake CPU-based computers because of the cutoff, as if they're being singled out. That's not the case. According to the new rules, my still-nearly-new Skylake CPU-based custom PC will eventually be unsupported by Windows 10. I'll have to upgrade the CPU and motherboard, at least, to keep going with updates. But the same has been true with my Macintoshes, and while I have a couple of very useful old laptops running Linux, they can't run the very latest distributions anymore since their CPUs are from 2004 or so. It's a development life-cycle process.

    The nice thing about the old Linux machines is that, while they can't run the very latest major distributions with the newest kernel builds, they can still run some of the current-version software packages, or alternate versions compiled for older kernels but still with current features. Linux has a long history of allowing for near-infinite customization of the OS and the software it runs, which helps keep older hardware productive -- although at some point, security patching becomes a concern and old hardware still should be retired. Open-source development helps quite a bit for this in the Linux/UNIX world. That may be part of the reason why Microsoft has decided to take .Net and Visual Studio development into open source. This will provide more Linux/UNIX-like development flexibility for software while Windows moves to what's really an established OS development life-cycle that's been common outside the Windows world.

    So, Microsoft has anticipated that people will want to buy a brand-new PC with a Kaby Lake CPU and have Windows 7 on it. And they're saying "No, don't do that -- don't put an OS from 2009 that's end-of-life in three years -- on a CPU from 2017. It wasn't designed for that and we won't support it. And by the way, don't expect our operating system to forever support aging CPUs that are functionally obsolete going forward either, because that's just silly and expensive." That's actually pretty reasonable. The problem is that they aren't saying it plainly that way. Actually, they're not saying much of anything plainly, and that's because the people in Marketing insist on editing everything the technical folks say, and they turn it into useless, incomprehensible marketing double-speak which gets all turned-around upon hearing it.

    Short version: Microsoft is capable of making good decisions with reasonable justifications. They just need to banish their marketing people. And probably some of their lawyers. Or at least keep them muzzled and on leashes in public.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

    With Open Rails and ZDSimulator
    Info

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pacific Time
    Posts
    641

    Default

    All good points, Eric. Except: Windows NT was designed from the very beginning (some time in the 1990s, when it evolved from OS/2 after IBM went its own way) as modular and able to run on different hardware. All you need to do, in principle, is swap out a HAL file that provides the low-level hardware interface. For many gory details see: http://www.geoffchappell.com/studies...tory/index.htm and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archit..._of_Windows_NT. If Kaby Lake were as different as MS wants to say it is, all that would be needed to run the older OS versions is a new HAL to drop into them. Says the one who doesn't have to code it ... but if KL is really just a minor tweak of Skylake, as seems to be the case, then that shouldn't be difficult. The main reason for doing the cutoff is marketing - another opportunity to force people into Win10, with its difficult (not impossible) to control data gathering and occasional (so far) advertising. MS isn't handling that particular transition very well, but as you say, MS marketing & legal don't have a good reputation. But don't blame it on difficult technical issues; it's corporate preference not a technical problem.

    As far as Open Rails is concerned, it's agnostic as to which version of Windows it's on, as long as it can find the final DX9, XNA 3.1, and .NET 3.5SP1 where they're supposed to be in the system. That's a Good Thing in a time of constant change to Windows; it's tolerant of new hardware & Windows versions as long as the standard APIs are there. So OS preference is, for now at least, a side issue for it wrt Windows. Having it finally work on Linux, even if only via a kind of hacking, is a bonus and provides a side channel for those who don't want to (or can't, for an assortment of reasons) use Windows. In the long run, it will be better for OR if it can more easily support Linux, and even Mac, to spread its use beyond Windows. Hey, why not even Android (which is based on Linux), some day, so we can play it on phones & tablets? Or Steam - though that would mean moving away from open source, probably.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    713

    Default

    WRT to the NT kernel, Microsoft unfortunately pulled off in their own direction, while processor technology headed in another. They tried building a modular OS kernel that could be configured for Intel, PowerPC or Alpha platforms. For better or for worse, Intel won out, but I suspect Intel's architectural thrashing about through the early Pentium era and difficult transition to 64-bit architecture didn't help. Intel went through a number of false starts, which diluted a lot of Microsoft's efforts. The NT family was always modular at the low level, but its user environment got messy. Win10 is supposed to offer the same kind of building-block approach to the UI layers. We'll see... On the good side, it's capable of running a Linux subsystem, sort of the ultimate development of the POSIX-compliant aspect of NT4. They once said that would never come back, but here it is in a new guise!

    I agree that cutting off on Kaby Lake seems awfully arbitrary. It might have been better to do so on the next complete generation, not an interim version. Although there's some concern that, at least for Intel, Moore's Law is falling by the wayside and processor advances are coming more slowly. So maybe they wanted to draw the line now rather than in two years, then three, then four, as a moving target.

    Steam's "Steam Machine" platform is Linux-based -- yet another case where Linux is more than capable of doing things that naysayers claim it can't. The uphill battle for the Steam Machine platform is in convincing hardware OEMs to build products with decent specs, and for more games to offer more Linux-friendly Vulkan (OpenGL) support. It ought to get easier now that .net is open-sourced; so cross-compiling may become a reality. But Vulkan is, hopefully, going to be a big deal as a common graphics API which could allow for more Windows/Linux equivalence in games.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

    With Open Rails and ZDSimulator
    Info

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pacific Time
    Posts
    641

    Default

    Another point - I've been seeing more comments suggesting that MS might have violated something. Not that they can't get around that with a little legalese, but their published support lifecycle policy in fact doesn't place any limits on what hardware you're running. W7SP1 is supposed to get security updates until 2020, period (W8.1 a bit longer). So cutting off security updates if you install W7 on Kaby Lake (where it technically should work, even without new chipset drivers) seems a little questionable. OTOH, they could just issue a new Terms of Service/Support Lifecycle Policy applying to all versions of Windows that resembles 10: support lifecycle is indefinite, but ends when MS decides that you have reached the end of life for your system. Yes, they can change things any time they want to, and the user has no ability to question it (other than moving to a different system). Outside of enterprises perhaps, you and they didn't sign a mutually binding contract; the terms can be changed at MS' whim.

    Anyway, enough of the conspiracy speculation. Windows is a great source for that, but it's ultimately not productive. Current OR works in Windows XP and up without any special tweaks, and has now been shown to work in Linux as well though with a few tweaks. That's a Good Thing. A future OR might not support XP/Vista any more, depending on what happens with the underlying platform (DirectX version, XNA or other framework, .Net version, or some combination of those), but there's no obvious sign of that happening yet.

    Even Firefox has now scheduled termination of XP support (fall 2017), so those still using it will no longer have a mainstream supported browser soon (Chrome & IE dropped XP a long time ago). Not much else in the way of current software (outside of OR and Avast) still supports XP. That's not XP Hate; it's just the facts.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 03-21-2017 at 12:41 PM. Reason: typo

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •