The State of Linux Gaming
Posted Sep 23, 2004 1:39 UTC (Thu) by elanthis
Parent article: The State of Linux Gaming
The fact that half of these games are considered news of how "gaming is alive on Linux" makes most the proof how sad a state Linux gaming is in.
The absolute worst problem I've found with games isn't even the lack. There are a number of good ones. The problem is installing the bastards.
If a user is required to open a terminal, ever, for any reason, to install the app, your install sequence has failed. A Linux guru will happily open a terminal. The rest of the world will tell you to piss off.
The installation has to be as simple as:
1) Insert CD
2) Click Install
3) Confirm/Accept Install
For security reasons, asking for the root password is allowed. With a solid, standard installation infrastructure, that could even be avoided by allowing certain users to install software using their own password, or no password.
The questions asked also need to be simple. There is usually some path entry like "/usr/local/games/foo" to be edited. Who is supposed to know what to put there? And if they're not root, they get some cryptic message that doesn't tell them what they need to know - install to /home/user/.local/foo. And, even if it _does_ tell them, it still expects the user to type it out. The average gamer I've met types at maybe 10 words per minute. It is not their strong suite.
For something like install path, it needs to just offer two, and only two, options. "Install System Wide (All Users)" "Install Privately (You Only)" (I do not claim those are the best phrases to use, they are both a little too technical.) If the user does not have write permission in /usr/local/games, then insensitize the system-wide option. Maybe add an Authenticate button that will prompt for the root password (or user password, or whatever the sysadmin prefers) and relaunches the installer if successful. (Using an option like --acept-license so that it goes straight to the option dialog the user was previsouly at.)
This is all 100% possible today. Just none of the developers give a damn enough to do it, because they think Linux users don't need anything better than a shell script that only works on two distros (and then only older releases of them) that launches a GUI tool that looks like something from stone ages. And the binary incompatibility problems caused by the Linux developers who don't seem to care about users and real-life applications and what the users want to do with their systems - use apps that (*gasp*) are not Open Source and can't be recompiled every other minute when a developer decides to alter an ABI somewhere.
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