Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dancing over the Windows, Night I / Day III / Day II-C / oh fsck it

I setup RvS in between bites of dinner, luckily most of the procedure is just waiting on files to extract/copy, so I was free to sit and eat xD. I already have a collection of patches in various languages, so it was a simple matter of fishing out the v1.0-1.60 US patch.

Play testing and a quick spin around dxdiag showed that everything was good to go. All that I will need to do is setup my settings again (hoorah for archived ini files ;) and install maps. I have a CD-ROM here which is so full of map files, that I barely fit them all on it back in the day lol. I've also got access to the SAS map packs and such, so shouldn't be to much hassle.

Next up was setting up SWAT 4 with The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion pack; a quick job. Since I'm aware that SWAT 4 disks may be beyond a simple dd operation to clone, I chose to take 'steps' to archiving my copy of SWAT 4—I paid $80 in two installments with much waiting for a still unfinished and already abandoned product, so I have no interest in buying another copy if something happens to my disks! Before running the installer, I did a quick dump of the entire registry; after setting up SWAT4+TSS+Gez, I then took another dump of the registry. In theory, doing a simple diff of those registry dumps should allow me to create an import file, that can be used to recreate them (with needed local adjustments), then mate it with No-CD fixed EXE files, plus a lovely archive of all the latest game files; that means I should be able to backup/restore SWAT 4 at will, without having to dance through installers and patches, muahuahauha! At least, that is the _theory_ but it should work.

I'm sorry I didn't think to do the same registry trick with RvS lol.

Since the games are poorly designed, there is probably little use in installing the game without administrative prives. Running them under a regular user isn't to hard, in SWAT 4 all that needs to be editable at run time, is basically INI files, and that is easily adjusted with Access Control Lists. I haven't tested RvS yet as my normal user, but it should work as well as SWAT does. I backed up the important things, but sadly I forgot to backup my in-progress SWAT 4 map files... so only Chester has a working copy of SAS Killhouse Redux, and I've lost all my work on the SAS Dept. of Agriculture :-(. Small loss though, since the former wouldn't be tooo hard to recreate.

Since Windows XP by default only exposes a useless level of DOS-style permissions, I doubt most users have any concept of access controls or file permissions. I always kick Winsucks into showing my the "Security" tab in a files properties dialog. Although it is occasionally a whacky inconsistent mumbo jumbo to work with Microsofts various tools, Windows XP does actually have a very nice ACL and Policy implementation. Most Free Open-Source Unix like systems (e.g. GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc) have support for Access Control Lists, and I believe the POSIX standards mandate them but don't quote me. Most systems however, rely on the simple unix permission model; which is basically the most simple ACL system you could invent like 40 years ago lol. Until you get into the Policy related stuff in the MMC, there's no serious differences. My one complaint is that working with the cacls command in XP, means putting up with DOS invocation style :-/.

I have used Microsoft operating systems since MS-DOS, and have used Windows since cica 2000, when we got our first Pentium PC with Windows 98 pre-installed on it. Since then, there are only 3 things that I have ever found, and actually like about Microsofts premier product: 0.) the start menu is a very nice file-system driven implementation, well the parts that are adjustable anyway (think All Programs); 1.) Windows NT has nice support for ACLs, and 3.) NTFS is a heck of a lot better then FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32 ever were. Beyond that, it all can go suck an egg :-P.

All that is left for me to do, is complete a few minor tweaks, like giving the File open/save dialogs a makeover and organizing files. Oh yeah, I still need to go and install KDE4 so I can get a decent Solitaire program running again ^_^_^_^_^.

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