Posts Tagged ‘installer’

Playing well with distros

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

We often get a question similar to “why don’t you create native packages?”. I’m going to make an attempt at answerring that.

Current Linux distros primarily use either RPM or DEB (and a load of other less common ones that are only used by a distro or two). Most deb distros are somewhat compatible, as most of those are in one way or another based upon Debian. However, on the RPM side we’ve even got two completely different development trees of rpm itself, and a load of distros that are not compatible with each other. Last I checked (feel free to correct me here), most RPM distros let you install a 32bit package on a 64bit system, but last I tried I couldn’t do the same on a deb system. So now we’re up to three packages. One 32bit RPM, one 32bit DEB and one 64bit DEB. But now we’re assuming that all people have one of those two, but the fact is that they don’t (yes I know RPM is part of LSB, that doesn’t really guarantee that it is always present, nor properly set up). So we’re going to need another one anyway. We could go with a tarball, which at least gentoo and slackware will be used to, and possibly others, but for the others, well, we’ll either have to provide a lengthy technical README, or an installer. So, that’s five.

Now, consider that many of our games are several gigabytes, it is completely impossible for us to package all of them on the DVD. As far as I know, neither RPM nor DEB can have their payload as a separate and compatible file. Things could be copied in post-install hooks, but then we’re just about back to square one, as we’re pretty much bypassing the package manager anyway. As the installer could be made to use the tarball, we’ll need four full-size packages, and all of this is assuming that the package formats will stay compatible.

So to sum it up, not only would it be a lot of work to test and document it all, we’d still have to provide the packages we’re providing now to keep it accessible to everyone, but it would also take roughly four times the space, and I for one would not pay extra for a game to have four install DVDs containing the same game, just in several different installation formats, when one would suffice (yes yes, I know it would provide you with backups, but with the new copy protection system we have added you get free downloads of your game anyway, so that’s not a valid argument:).

If you have any input, suggestions or questions for me, feel free to ask them here in the comments, on IRC (Zero_Dogg in #lgp on, via or via e-mail (to eskild at the domain linuxgamepublishing dot com).

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Why you won’t get a Linux installer for the Windows version

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

We probably get this question at least once or twice a week, ‘I already bought this game for Windows, can I just get an installer for Linux for free’.

In some ways it is a fair question, you bought a license to play the game, but in reality it is not going to happen. Let me explain why.

When LGP ports a game, it takes time and money. We only get revenue back from people buying the Linux version. This means that if we were to say ’sure’ to that question, we would then suddenly get no revenue, as buying the windows version will earn us nothing.

We license games from companies who make the Windows version, and we do not get paid for making the games, and so selling them is the only revenue we receive. If, for example, you bought a game for Windows, you wouldn’t expect to be able to get a free copy of the same game for the Playstation. This is pretty standard for any industry. If you go pay to see a film at the cinema, you wouldn’t expect to get free pay-per-view access of the film on TV later on just because you paid money to the cinema.

We have had many people try and justify why they should have a free installer. We even had one bright spark take the demo for X2, hack the Windows datafiles into it, and then came asking for help wondering why he couldn’t save the game. The answer of course being ‘its a demo, its meant to not save the game’. Our demos are all written in such a way that they will not run the full version of the game.

Some Linux games, for example Quake 4, you get a downloadable installer because the same people who made the Windows version made the Linux version. They went to the expense and they recoup the money by selling the Windows boxed version. Other times, such as Unreal Tournament, where Loki released a downloadable installer for the Windows boxed version, the company who made the Linux version were paid to do so, and so the revenue is generated in that way. This is not the case with LGP games, and is unlikely to become so.

Of course, to leave things on an optimistic note, when Linux finally becomes the ruler of the desktop, then of course, Linux versions will be released first, and Windows gamers will end up in the shoes we Linux gamers currently wear. However, that will be a while coming, so until then, the answer is no. No installer!

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