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Games Linux To Add Linux Support 55

jones_supa writes "More great news for Linux gamers: following the footsteps of Steam, 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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  • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:30PM (#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.

  • Re:It's A Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @07:31PM (#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.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong