Linux app brings Xbox online

A group of software developers have designed the Linux-based Xbox Gateway to play Halo or Tony Hawk online even though Microsoft won't have its connections ready until next summer..

A relatively complex and limited method of playing Xbox games online has been devised.

A group of software developers has created a Linux-based application that they claim lets Xbox users play system-link games over the Internet.

The so-called Xbox Gateway program works like an Ethernet bridge by splitting up Xbox game data packets and delivering them to the right players. It requires each player to have an Xbox, a PC with a broadband connection, and system-link games such as Halo and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x.

According to the application's developers, head-to-head games between two players are generally lag-free, but the addition of a third player to the LAN configuration can slow down gameplay. Additionally, network configurations using one Ethernet card must use a hub, while two-network-card configurations work with a switch.

The current version of the Xbox Gateway software doesn't support USB Ethernet devices or PCMCIA Ethernet. Microsoft, for its part, has not contacted the developers or made any moves to halt further development of the software to date.

Microsoft will launch the official Xbox network, which will let users play a variety of Xbox games--including Unreal Championship--online, in summer 2002.