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Games Linux

GOG.com To Add Linux Support 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-gamebox dept.
jones_supa writes "More great news for Linux gamers: following the footsteps of Steam, GOG.com is preparing delivery of Linux games. They expect to start doing so this autumn. The officially supported distributions will be Ubuntu and Mint. Right now, they are performing testing on various configurations, training up their teams on Linux-speak, and generally preparing for the rollout of at least 100 titles — DRM-free, as usual. This will update some of the catalog's existing games with a Linux port and bring new ones to the collection. Further information on specific games is yet not known, but GOG invites fans and customers to their community wishlist for discussion."
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GOG.com To Add Linux Support

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  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:05PM (#46519915)
    The linked announcement was a bit vague on details. Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows. It would be interesting to see what they can do with the DX based stuff.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:12PM (#46519971)

      The old DOS games is for starters. The DX stuff is simply using the Linux port of games that are coming out now for many games. Except instead of relying on the developer to test their Linux builds somehow, they test on Ubuntu and Mint to make sure it at least works there (heaven forbid some game developers merely recompile and ship, or use some oddball Linux config and "works for me!").

      It's really an extension of what they did for OS X - DOSbox games are inherently supported, other games are on a case-by-case basis on whether or not a port exists.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:57PM (#46520261)

      Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows.

      This closes an even sillier gap to be honest; because GoG has for quite some time expanded beyond old games to embrace indie games, and it was a bit of a goof to not support linux versions of games that were already natively available on Linux.

      I ended up, for example, choosing to buy FTL via the HumbleStore (back before there even was a humble store, and there were just those wierd 'secret' links you could use.) because although GoG has FTL, they only had the Mac and PC; and I wanted to buy something that gave me access to all 3 platforms.

      So while it will be great to see what progress GoG can make on on the old DOS (and old windows catalogs) its just great news that we'll be able to get the native linux release of any indies we buy there now. This is a real boost to their indie catalog, much of which is already linux native, and all they have to do is add the downloads.

    • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:55PM (#46520699)

      The linked announcement was a bit vague on details. Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows. It would be interesting to see what they can do with the DX based stuff.

      They sadly haven't done any of the old DX stuff on Mac with WINE, so I wouldn't hold out hope that you will see Linux releases of that.

      Not that I wouldn't like that to change. Deus Ex can't be that hard to package inside of WINE.

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:01AM (#46522067)

      Many of their games already run on MacOS. They're basically either dosbox or Wine, preconfigured and ready to go without any deciphering of manuals or experimenting with config files. The Wine ones feel nicer overall.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @04:20PM (#46634169)

      DX = 9 is pretty much solid in Wine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:14PM (#46519989)

    Read the Ford translation of Mein Kampf and see if it doesn't ring true in these troubled times!

  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:16PM (#46519999)
    This is great news. Gog installers are very easy to use. I've been wanting this for some time.
  • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:30PM (#46520081)

    About time too. All their games catalog which runs on DOSBox and ScummVM should be easy enough to port. Other games have portable engines too like GemRB.

    GOG is a vendor that sells DRM free games so more power to them.

  • This should rope in literally a handful of crotchety old nerds. I almost decided not to buy stuff from GOG because they didn't already package for Linux, and I imagined that it would sometimes be a pain in the ass to make the games work even though it should be easy because I've written dosbox configs before, etc. And lo, I was right. The dosbox configs for example have no consistency in the style department, so you actually have to understand them in order to write the new one. That's just a waste of space in my brain that I could be using for something useful, like Firefly trivia. So I wound up only buying the games I really felt I needed, or games which were a buck, because I would then run them in a XP VM. So huzzah, GOG. I am likely to spend more money with you in the future.

  • by jfbilodeau (931293) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:55PM (#46520249) Homepage

    YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

    That's all

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:07PM (#46520343) Homepage Journal

    Not everybody uses Ubuntu or Mint.

    It's a shame they decided to support a specific "distro" instead of just generic Linux. How hard can that be?

    What's wrong with specifying minimum version numbers for libraries, using /usr/local/games and providing standards-compliant *.desktop files? How difficult is that?
    Or better yet, ship the required libraries with the binaries (providing the source code via ftp) and using a wrapper script to load the correct libraries and run the game for a "works-every-time" experience.

    To GOG's credit, their support forums contain a wealth of information about running some of these games using Linux. As well, PlayOnLinux can install supported *.exe games directly from your account at GOG, so they have been supportive of Linux for a very long time.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:18PM (#46520443)

      If it runs on ubuntu, it won't be a problem to run it on any other distro. And if you don't know how, maybe you should use ubuntu.

    • Re:It's A Shame (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:24PM (#46520489)
      Damn, already spent some mod points here...
      Anyway, it's not a shame that they support a specific distro, as there is no such thing as a "generic linux". Different libc versions, different set of patch for the same version of some libraries, different config locations, different way to handle very simple stuff... Although there is some "standardization", mainly for the visible stuff (standard way to add menu in every desktop environment...).
      And officially supporting one distribution doesn't mean it won't work almost anywhere. Back when steam started by supporting only Ubuntu, it was relatively painless to launch it on almost anything (as long as it was x86). It just mean that they focus on *support* in a relatively well-known environment.
      ...and all these "linuxes" (not the kernel, but all the software around it) are free, and can run beside each other (sometime at the same time using a chroot) if you end up with a combination of things that can't start the games. I did that for steam, when debian didn't have a recent enough version of libc.
    • Re:It's A Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169) <<moc.oohay> <ta> ... isiurc_tuo_neeb>> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:31PM (#46520535) Homepage Journal

      'How hard can that be?"

      Really, really hard. Linux is a mess of mutually incompatible pieces with mutually incompatible dependencies. There have been attempts to create a "common base" that can be used, but very few people seem to use it. Pretty much the only truly safe way I've found to distribute Linux binaries (as opposed to source code, for which there's autoconf and friends) is to statically link all your dependencies and build for as many architectures as you feel like supporting (x86 obviously - probably i586 at best, though and maybe i386 - and likely x64; maybe ARM but probably not). This produces huge binaries with a lot of redundant code compiled in, but it means it works regardless of which libc you use, what version of openssl (or gnutls) you have, and so on.

      Distro-specific builds let you use package files which pull in the requisite dependencies. They have smaller install footprints and smaller downloads, and you don't have to push a whole new version every time a dependent package fixes a security bug; you can expect the user's package manager to handle that. You can also massively reduce support costs by assuming that users have a common base of software installed (a full set of standard utilities instead of busybox, a version of python that can execute a given script, etc.)

      However, distro-specific builds have their own costs. If you say you support distros X and Y, you have to test on all the common configurations of those distros. The more you add, the more the costs go up. There are over a thousand tracked distros on distrowatch. You have to draw the line somewhere. Ubuntu and Mint are close enough that it's really easy to handle both of them, but it's awkward for those who don't use Debian-derived distros.

      For what it's worth, some game companies do take the "support generic Linux" approach. Heroes of Newerth, for example (a DotA clone that predates, and is in some ways better than, DotA 2) has a Linux client that often works... but sometimes it doesn't (I've had real issues with some older Fedora machines), and troubleshooting why can be a real pain.

      • Re:It's A Shame (Score:4, Informative)

        by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:00PM (#46521341) Homepage Journal

        Funny. It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years. Sure you have to install some optional modules on some platforms, but how much more complex do you get than a database server?

        Shame on the other database vendors for not being able to do the same. Currently DB/2 UDB 10.2 is the only commercial database I was able to install on Debian. Clearly it can be done, but the other vendors seem to take the "RHEL or the highway" lazy approach to "Linux" support.

        • by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:26PM (#46521927) Homepage

          how much more complex do you get than a database server?

          How about an application that not only does client/server network processing, but also does realtime hardware-accelerated 3D rendering, multi-channel 3D sound processing, and processes user input from a wide variety of completely different devices. Oh, and it's probably got an internal database that it uses to track its state so that it can serialize and deserialize it to a file at any time. And don't forget that the video, audio, network, and input all have to appear to be synchronized to the user.

          But the problem here isn't actually how complex things are, but how self-contained they are. How many external dependencies does DB/2 have compared to your average modern game?

        • by Lotana (842533) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @01:14AM (#46522279)

          It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years.

          True, but that is IBM you are talking about.

          It is a MASSIVE corporation that charges arms-legs-and-all-other-body-parts for their services. They got the resources to spare in order to test and support their products on all the hundreds of Linux distributions.

          Contrast it to GoG.com that is a speck in comparison.

        • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @01:30AM (#46522329)

          Funny. It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years. Sure you have to install some optional modules on some platforms, but how much more complex do you get than a database server?

          Actually server apps are easy. Well, of course they can be very complex, but they don't necessarily need that many fancy interfaces like games do. What do you need for a server... a TCP/IP stack, a network card driver, a disk driver, a simple terminal for administration ... other than that, it is just running lots of standard CPU code.

          This is also why Linux works so well on servers, but has still some rough edges on the desktop.

        • by Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @08:44AM (#46523709)

          If you are lucky they support SUSE, if you are unlucky they support only Red Hat version X.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @11:34AM (#46525085)

        This produces huge binaries with a lot of redundant code compiled in, but it means it works regardless of which libc you use

        You didn't statically link glibc did you? It's LGPL which requires that the end-user be able to swap out the glibc you used with any other version they'd like to use. I suppose it's possible to do in some way, maybe by distributing object code which can then be linked against the user's custom glibc, but the requirement is ridiculous enough that, for a project that a friend and I are working on, we tell the Linux users to just run the Windows version in Wine even though the Windows version is just a port of the Linux version, as MinGW's libc isn't covered by the LGPL. When you're working on a free game in your spare time, you don't have any desire to waste resources complying with such BS licensing requirements.

        I suspect that were it not for glibc's license making static builds illegal, we'd see a lot more commercial software available for Linux. It's kind of ridiculous that people even have to worry about licensing requirements just because they type "#include " but they do. I mean, I understand when searching out other libraries, for example, I wanted to use cracklib to suggest to users when they should choose a better password, but as it's LGPL, I simply passed on it and instead offer no suggestion at all as to the strength of a password. However, if you can't code anything that accesses the system at all (basic file I/O is covered by glibc) then you've got a major problem with the licensing requirements of releasing closed-source software for your OS. The result is that, rather than offer a fully statically-linked executable (which isn't nearly as bloated as most people assume -- 99.9% of your hard disk is full of data, not code) to guarantee a program will be functional (as the Linux ABI is quite stable in the portions covered by POSIX, which is all that the vast majority of software needs to access), you instead have people first requiring that you choose which distribution you're using, then which version, and if that fails, they at least ask which glibc your system has since, while they can probably find public domain or BSD-licensed code for most things they need to do, Linux's API is glibc and it's LGPL, so they can't statically link it, and instead have to provide a version of their program dynamically linked against every version of glibc that someone may have.

        For more ridiculousness, just try to statically link a program that uses the getaddrinfo() function. You'll get a warning that the function will only work when run on a system with an identical version of glibc (which defeats the purpose of statically linking) and the glibc people see this as a non-issue since, due to the LGPL licensing, they don't believe you should be statically linking anything that uses glibc anyway. Indeed, this warning message was how I found out that I was violating the LGPL by releasing static builds of my free Linux game which I had been careful to use only public domain and BSD-licensed libraries. The fix for this, as mentioned above, was that I simply stopped releasing Linux versions of the game. With no money involved, I can't set up a server farm with every version of every Linux distribution in order to compile all of the different downloads, nor do I want to start and stop as many virtual machines as that would turn a 60-second compile into an hour long affair. If I had that kind of time to waste, I'd spend it improving the game, not dealing with BS licensing requirements. I imagine any commercial developers thinking about supporting Linux encounter the same situation and see that what just barely made any financial sense when they first thought of it suddenly makes much less sense when they realize what a complete PITA the licensing requirements of the standard library are.

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:06AM (#46522085)

      I suspect they'll be very portable to other distributions anyway. They just won't be as simple to get running with just a click or two.

  • Steam Machine? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:08PM (#46520353) Homepage

    I wonder how hard it will be to play these games on a Steam Machine. The quantity of Linux games available will make a big difference in the success or failure of that project.

  • PlayOnLinux (Score:5, Informative)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:15PM (#46520421) Homepage Journal

    PlayOnLinux can already access your GOG account and install many Windows games automatically and run them using WINE.

    Here's a good tip for older games that use DOS4GW.EXE: download the GPL'ed binary from http://dos32a.narechk.net/inde... [narechk.net] and re-name it DOS4GW.EXE, then substutite it for the original. You'll find a noticable improvement in game performance, even using WINE o DOSBOX.

    If your game uses CWSDPMI.EXE , download the latest version of it from http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

  • I have purchased a significant number of games from GOG already, and play pretty well all of them on my Linux laptop in WINE.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @08:56PM (#46521325)

      Partially because it's now supported as in they'll give you help if something goes awry and will test the releases before claiming they work on Linux.

      The bigger deal though is that it gives more visibility to Linux users. Buying a Windows version of a game and running it on Linux does very, very little for Linux,but buying and running a Linux version is something that developers notice. Even more so if people refuse to buy the Windows version and opt for the Linux version instead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:41PM (#46521483)

    I hear that it supports all the latest Matrox Graphics cards - yay!

  • by Lotana (842533) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @01:21AM (#46522297)

    Thank you so much GoG!!!

    No DRM, clean installers, good responsive forums, reasonably priced. And now Linux support incoming. Virtually unheard of in today's game publishing/distributing business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:31AM (#46522731)

    This is great news. I own over 200 games on GOG and would be delighted to play on my linux machines, especially for some casual gaming on my linux laptop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @05:35AM (#46522905)
    Not good enough. DRM free, but still proprietary software!
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