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The State of Linux Gaming

The State of Linux Gaming

Posted Sep 23, 2004 1:39 UTC (Thu) by elanthis (guest, #6227)
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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The State of Linux Gaming

Posted Sep 23, 2004 4:36 UTC (Thu) by dvdeug (subscriber, #10998) [Link]

I don't think that games need to be any easier to install than the rest of the system. Linux users aren't idiots, and often like control over thier system (i.e. don't install it somewhere random and expect me not to get pissed.)

In any case, there's always tradeoffs in life. Backwards compatibility comes with a cost, a cost that Linux has frequently chosen not to pay.

The State of Linux Gaming

Posted Sep 23, 2004 7:03 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

You claim that gaming on Linux is in a sorry state because of the installers? The INSTALLERS??

There are tons of good arguments to make about Linux gaming, both good and bad. Let's talk DRI/DRM. Let's talk sound latency (though that's getting MUCH better). Let's talk about packaging inattention by distros. Let's talk about the general lack of inspired artwork (though, surprisingly, sound is usually quite good). But, to go on at length about InstallShield clones is just plain strange. Especially when the distributions have pretty much solved the packaging problem to the satisfaction of their users.

Well, I'm done here. I'm going to apt-get or emerge flightgear.

The State of Linux Gaming

Posted Sep 25, 2004 3:07 UTC (Sat) by IkeTo (subscriber, #2122) [Link]

I won't install *anything* that is not in the standard distribution format: in FC2 I won't install anything other than an RPM; and in Debian you won't have me installing anything that's not a .deb. Games are no exception. Anything other than the base OS that just would have to be installed by putting a CDROM into my computer, press a few buttons and got installed at non-standard location and can't be managed in the standard way will be opt-out. It's as simple as that as installers are concerned.

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