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Well folks a lot of you saw this one coming, GOG.com have officially responded to us to state that Linux support just isn't happening anytime soon. Quite sad news really, was hopefull on this one since they are such a big name and a pretty decent store too.

Here's the message I got from Trevor Longino, their Head of PR and Marketing, with thanks to Piotr Szczesniak who also works in the PR dept.
Trevor Longino GOG.comHi Liam,

Unfortunately not much has changed in our stance towards supporting Linux in the last few months and there is one main reason for that. Since our birth over 5 years ago we have always provided full customer support for all games we have released. That is not going to change. For every game we release we provide a money-back guarantee: if we can't get the game working on the customer's computer with the help of our support team, we return the money. The architecture of Linux with many common distros, each of them updating fairly often, makes it incredibly challenging for any digital distribution company to be able to properly test the game in question, and then provide support for the release--all of which our users are accustomed to.

Sure, we could probably release a client and sell the games and let Linux users worry about the rest. We don't consider it, however, a viable option for the business model we have followed so far. Apparently our model has its drawbacks, as we cannot make everyone happy, but, as of now, we don't plan on introducing Linux support in the foreseeable future.


So folks no matter the hints, you have it direct from their PR head.

This line is the bit that gets me:
QuoteThe architecture of Linux with many common distros, each of them updating fairly often, makes it incredibly challenging for any digital distribution company to be able to properly test the game in question, and then provide support for the release--all of which our users are accustomed to

It has often bugged me just how many distributions there are, but it's more of a problem with their own policies of refunding if they cannot get it to work for you which is a good policy, but on Linux it is fair enough that it could be trouble for them when someone tries to install x game on "Look Ma I Built A Distro v4" that has some crazy new configuration somewhere.

I will just leave this here:
image

UPDATE #1, I asked if it was basically the amount of distro's and how often they are updated that's really the issue:
Piotr Szczesniak GOG.comIt's a bit more than that.

There are a number of distros. We can support just one (which is how Steam is doing it), but since we believe strongly in freedom of choice, that's not our preference. On the other hand, supporting everything in the world is more burden than any business could assume So, the last time we looked into this, we investigated supporting three common ones: Mint, Debian, and Google's Chrome OS.  We researched the number of OS updates, how often they occurred, when (and how frequently) various libraries are surpassed and deprecated. We then researched how often, for example, updates to these versions of Linux caused problems with DOSBox, SCUMMVM, and other tools that we make use of for our remastering process. 

There is a difference in GOG.com's business model from Steam or any other distributor out there. *We* are on the hook for support of these games. And we update our support as the OSes that our games are running on are updated. That means that, unlike a developer or any other distributor, when we release on a Linux distro, we don't have to test once and then we're done. Each time there is a major update in an OS that we support that changes compatibility, we have to devote substantial time and resources to updating our catalog to work with the update. Sometimes, it may even occur that we cannot fix it in-house but rather have to spend the money to get it fixed by outside resources or else we'd have to remove the compatibility for the game from its game card. Imagine if we had 400 games from our 600+ game catalog supported on Linux and we found that a third of them no longer worked in a distro that we supported. Imagine the time and effort that would go into re-building 130 games.

Now take that kind of time and effort--time and effort that is not required by other OSes except on a one every four or five years' basis--and think of the cost we associate with it vs. the possible revenue that we might earn from Linux. Even if, on average, a Linux distro only has big updates as often as, say, Mac OSX does (every four or so years), unless these big updates are synchronized across the distros (which, historically, they're not) that means we're seeing the need to remaster some of our games every 14 - 16 months. 

Until we can figure out something like a better way to automate testing and building games for GOG.com, there's no way that the economics of Linux support make sense for us. That said, we do know that there are plenty of people who want to be able to play their games with Linux-native support from us, and we continue to look for ways where we can automate this until it reaches a point where it is something that we believe we can do and not lose money at it.

So a long winded answer to basically say "Yes Linux is updated too often for us".

Strikes me as odd since even Windows which was once known for being exceptionally slow to make major OS updates has committed itself to having a much more regular release schedule now, along with Mac having yearly releases.

So, I have asked about that as well and I have also pointed out that Ubuntu for example has LTS (Long Term Support) releases which are meant for things like this, so people don't have to update every 6 months.

UPDATE #2:
Piotr Szczesniak GOG.comNo, it's not.

One, because Windows' faster releases are promised, but I'll believe it when I see it. As for Mac OS:  "The desktop-oriented version, OS X, followed in March 2001 supporting the new Aqua user interface. Since then, seven more distinct "end-user" and "server" versions have been released." (seven versions released over 12 years or about one every other year).

Also, as I just noted below, to support Linux in a manner that we feel is consistent with our standards, we would need to support three distros each of which sticks to its own schedule and period for updates, and each of which brings in a tiny part of the revenue of Windows or even Mac. So, as I noted, it's a question of economics. Until we solve things our own end for how to make this scale economically, I don't see it happening any time soon. That said, we are investigating how to do this for a variety of issues beyond Linux support, so don't give up hope. Just don't expect it tomorrow, either.

About his Mac point - It was one every other year back in 2009 but Mac now does yearly updates, 2011, 2012 and 2013 will have all had Mac OS X releases and they have said it will be yearly.

So basically guys, if you're looking for native Linux support out of the box you'll have to look elsewhere than GOG for now.

We have Steam, Desura, Gameolith, ShinyLoot, FireFlower Games and one day soon IndieCity too. One day GOG.com may support us and I will thank them when they do and we can put all this to rest!

I hope one day they support us but considering their answers I don't ever see it happening. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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182 comments
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DrMcCoy 9 Sep, 2013
Quoting: scaineAnd tarballs are shit - [...] make stuff executable
tar supports file modes.
Hamish 9 Sep, 2013
Not to be rude, but will you people shut up? I am getting a little sick of being inundated with email notifications. Plus you do not seem to be going anywhere in your arguments, as each comes from a different perspective with each not really being right or really being wrong.

Plus, after all the resentment shown against gog over this by some people, you think they would have stopped talking about them by now. 
Renzatic 9 Sep, 2013
I'm a recent Linux convert. The recent surge in software availability is what made me consider it, and now that I'm actually here, I'm finding it considerably nicer than what I was expecting. There's tons of reasons for me to stick with Linux over Windows. Control, speed, customability. It's all good.

...but I have to say that the Linux community at large is one of the most doom and gloom bunch of people I've ever seen. You read through the comments section at sites like Phoronix and it feels like it's nothing but bad news. This, that, or something else is going to be what's gonna kill Linux. There are no set standards among all the hundreds of distros out there, Canonical is apparently the devil, and this recent upswing in developer support is a temporary thing destined to die because the community itself will rise against it.

It's enough to make someone despair.

Right now I'm hoping its all doom and gloom from an overly vocal minority. I like Linux and want to stick with it, but I'm of the opinion that a platform is only as good as the software available for it. With articles like this, along with the opinions of the community make me wonder if I'm gonna eventually have to run back to Windows or jump over to OSX just to use what I want to use, play what I want to play.

Here's hoping this is just a case of occasional bad news and a bunch of overly negative people griping just to gripe.
Shmerl 9 Sep, 2013
On related note, an answer from CDPR about their view on porting their games to Linux (you might need to translate that - see reply from Karolina_Gnaś_IR, 25.06.2013 / 13:48). That's for sure sounds like a brush-off answer to me, and not a serious position on this matter.
scaine 10 Sep, 2013
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Quoting: HamishNot to be rude, but will you people shut up? I am getting a little sick of being inundated with email notifications. Plus you do not seem to be going anywhere in your arguments, as each comes from a different perspective with each not really being right or really being wrong.

Plus, after all the resentment shown against gog over this by some people, you think they would have stopped talking about them by now. 
Easily fixed, Hamish - just click on your "User CP", on the right hand side click "Article Subscriptions", then unsubscribe from the ones causing you spam. There's also an unsubscribe quick link in every email you're sent.
I've enjoyed this discussion, although it's drifted off topic a fair bit.

Quoting: ShmerlOn related note, an answer from CDPR about their view on porting their games to Linux (you might need to translate that - see reply from Karolina_Gnaś_IR, 25.06.2013 / 13:48). That's for sure sounds like a brush-off answer to me, and not a serious position on this matter.

Same reason as GoG then : "Unfortunately, due to the number of versions of Linux, we are not able to support any of them as far as we wanted to"
Surprising that a myth like that is prevalent. Do they really care about the number of distros, or does it come back to packaging?
Penguin Pusher 10 Sep, 2013
Fascinating! Valve ist able to do, what GOG can't!

Wizardy 6 & 7 with DOSBox including Linux:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245410/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245430/
Shmerl 10 Sep, 2013
Quoting: Penguin PusherFascinating! Valve ist able to do, what GOG can't!

Wizardy 6 & 7 with DOSBox including Linux:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245410/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245430/

This particular example is exactly the opposite though. Same thing on GOG and DRM free with that
https://secure.gog.com/game/wizardry_6_7
In such DOSBox/ScummVM cases GOG is a much better place to go than DRMed Steam. I wish GOG would sell Loom and other classic Lucas Arts games as well. But no luck so far.
Guest 10 Sep, 2013
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: Quote from Penguin PusherFascinating! Valve ist able to do, what GOG can't!

Wizardy 6 & 7 with DOSBox including Linux:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245410/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/245430/
This particular example is exactly the opposite though. Same thing on GOG and DRM free with that
https://secure.gog.com/game/wizardry_6_7
In such DOSBox/ScummVM cases GOG is a much better place to go than DRMed Steam. I wish GOG would sell Loom and other classic Lucas Arts games as well. But no luck so far.

Please enlighten us on how exactly those games are tied to Steam's DRM. Think carefully before you answer though. You run the risk of sounding dumb.
Shmerl 10 Sep, 2013
Silviu: They are no tied. I just see no point in supporting Steam to begin with, since Steam itself proliferates DRM as a whole. I.e. anyone who cares about DRM and has an option to get the same thing on GOG or Steam should consider GOG. I don't use Steam at all anyway, that was about people who tolerate DRM to some degree. Of course for those who don't care at all it's unimportant.

Quoting: scaineSame reason as GoG then : "Unfortunately, due to the number of versions of Linux, we are not able to support any of them as far as we wanted to"
Surprising that a myth like that is prevalent. Do they really care about the number of distros, or does it come back to packaging?

In case of CDPR this answer is strange though. They also say something like:

We always strive to provide players with the same quality no matter the platform on which they play and support our game after the release of patches and accessories for all systems in which they operate. Unfortunately, due to the number of versions of Linux, we are not able to support any of them as far as we wanted to and in accordance with the adopted standards. At the same time we do not want to to differentiate fans on more important and less important, and decide on which Linux specifically our games will be available. Therefore, at present we do not expect adaptations for this system. However, we will inform you on a regular basis, if in the future this decision will change.

GOG indeed deals with code for which they have no sources, and if they want to provide long term support, they have a number of problems to solve. CDPR have their sources and can provide support as along as they want to. The point about not differentiating fans is also weird, since by not making Linux versions they precisely differentiate their Linux users as second class citizens.
Penguin Pusher 10 Sep, 2013
@Shmerl: I have about 400+ Games on GOG in the Shelf including the Wizardry-Games. So keep your DRM-Rant for yourself. The only thing I have with Steam is a love-hate relationship. I love them for the comfort features and linux support, but hate them for their stupid DRM and SSA.

Anyway. What I wanted to show is that Valve is capable in supporting old games on Linux, while GOG is hiding behind a wall of excuses.

I don't expect from GOG that they provide linux support for all games. It would just be nice to have the existing linux binaries of Indies and newer Games on GOG too.

Some funny detail... xD
http://cdn3.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/245430/ss_3f57a7532dbde0a3bf65f1917dc964e7a4bb823e.1920x1080.jpg?t=1378834505
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