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GOG.com Don't Plan On Introducing Linux Support In The Foreseeable Future UPDATED

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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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Liam Dawe 5 September 2013 at 6:49 pm UTC
DrMcCoyAlso, also:

QuoteIt has often bugged me just how many distributions there are

Stop being stupid, liamdawe.

Quotebut 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

No, it's not. It's bullshit and they know it. Stop accepting said bullshit.
I am not being stupid for having a personal opinion of that I don't like the immense fragmentation we have, it is a valid point, why do you think Unity and Steam (possibly our two biggest players now) only official support Ubuntu?

How can I not accept what they (gog) say? It's their choice, not mine.

I hear time and time again from developers who tweet to me, email me, talk to me on IRC etc about being confused on what to do for all the distros, what package type to use (deb, rpm, tar). If it's a concern from developers, we should be concerned too.

Distrowatch alone shows 100 different distro's, don't like to use them for stats but it shows my point some more.

It is a valid point. Hell a developer even tweeted to me just now http://twitter.com/AeornFlippout/status/375698476199186432 (Makers of Race The Sun).
Guest 5 September 2013 at 6:51 pm UTC
Heh, way for them to troll the community. Parrot bullshit like there are too many distros and watch them bicker in epic flamewars. Amuzing
Speedster 5 September 2013 at 7:05 pm UTC
They can't possibly be supporting every Mac and Windows box under the sun

"How about running this Mac game on my powerpc ibook?"
GOG: "No problem, use our highly optimized x86-on-ppc emulator!"

"Can you help me run this game on my win95 classic pentium?"
GOG: "Of course! We'll call in developers to backport it!"

So this policy is a total cop-out -- they just need to define what is officially supported and keep it as tightly focused as their Windows and Mac support, e.g. add Ubuntu as a platform rather than Linux if they are afraid of getting deluged with Linux support tickets and refund requests. Outside sites (e.g. GoL wiki) could collect tips on running on other distros.

Maybe someday GOG will hire enough Linux fans to talk some sense into the management over there.

P.S. gentoo is my favorite distro, so I'm not saying this as an Ubuntu fanboi -- it's just the sensible choice for out-of-the-box support since Valve and Unity already picked it. I have no problem with dual booting to Ubuntu if I can't get something working in my favorite distro!
commodore256 5 September 2013 at 7:10 pm UTC
Pardon my French, but I'm gonna be using a lot of "colourful metaphors". 



McCoy, you're not the average user, you're a reverse-engineer trying to re-implement the Neverwinter Knights engine, you know how to fix broken shit. Not everybody has the ability to do so or the time to waste to learn how to fix broken shit. If you want Linux to gain massive adoption, things have to be brain dead simple as inserting a VHS Tape into a VCR or click "buy", "Install" and "play" button like the Steam Box, It's PC gaming simplified running on the Linux Kernel or Android. People shouldn't have to fuck with the command line to update Nvidia Drivers. (like I do because they won't update with Xorg running) As much as People say ATI/AMD is shit on Linux, I had more stability and a higher frame rate using my 512MB 4870 with a new kernel and Release Candidate Mesa 9.2 Drivers than with Nvidia's Binary Blob for a Video Card that's beats the 4870 in Windows Benchmarks. Even after that, I might as well use Windows and my GTX 460, I get more stability and a higher FPS than my 4870 could ever dream of.


My problem is I want an OS that just fucking works without being locked into a Hardware Vendor level and if Linux wants to be a viable platform for games and try to convert people from locked down platforms to the platform that will never lock in users on an OS Level, things have to be simple and reliable. Different package distros link to libraries to different places and libraries get deprecated and replaced. On Windows 8, I can install the CD Version of Half-Life (a game made in 1998) without a problem and it will just fucking work. I can't even install quake-sdl from Debian Potato (A package two years newer than Half-Life) in Jessie, Hell I can't even run old LoKi Binaries without preloading using a Glibc compatibility layer.



Companies just want it to compile in their favorite language once and have it work on the same CPU Architecture and Kernel Brand forever without a problem and watch those Steam Games have problems years down the road without updates.
Liam Dawe 5 September 2013 at 7:11 pm UTC
I have asked them what their issue would be with stating they only support the major distro's using Unity and Steam as an example but it took me a week to get this answer so stay tuned.
DrMcCoy 5 September 2013 at 7:13 pm UTC
liamdaweam not being stupid for having a personal opinion of that I don't like the immense fragmentation we have
That dislike is unfounded. That fragmentation is a strength (choice), not a weakness.

liamdawewhy do you think Unity and Steam (possibly our two biggest players now) only official support Ubuntu?
Because Ubuntu claims to be the "userfriendliest" of them.

liamdaweHow can I not accept what they (gog) say? It's their choice, not mine.
But it's a choice they give a bullshit reason for and calling them out on that is well justified.

liamdaweI hear time and time again from developers who tweet to me, email me, talk to me on IRC etc about being confused on what to do for all the distros, what package type to use (deb, rpm, tar).
And the correct answer is to educate them, not to capitulate and say "Duh, haven't thought about that, guess no Linux then".

And there is an easy answer to that big mystery:
- If you care about Ubuntu people installing your game with one click, distribute a .deb
- Additionally, a tar.gz / tar.bz2 / tar.xz is nice for people not running Ubuntu (though you can of course manually extract the .deb and resolve the library dependencies)
- If you want to be really fancy, distribute an installer (Loki did that, for example), but some people rather have a tar-ball.

Bam, that's it.

liamdaweDistrowatch alone shows 100 different distro's
Yes, I'm aware there are a lot of distros. And no, that doesn't make your point because I never said there weren't, just that your fear of them is silly.

liamdaweHell a developer even tweeted to me just now http://twitter.com/AeornFlippout/status/375698476199186432
http://twitter.com/SinedioMD/status/375699361109274624
Also, see above.
toor 5 September 2013 at 7:17 pm UTC
… Intense
Liam Dawe 5 September 2013 at 7:21 pm UTC
DrMcCoyLots of stuff.

Freedom of choice is great, but when the choice can be overwhelming and when that choice brings with it many many different ways for doing the same thing it can become a problem.

Your other points are valid but it doesn't change the fact that it is extra work for developers (work in researching all these different ways and work actually doing them), work some don't want to do and they don't have to, it is after all their choice. We are the ones that chose an operating system with very low use rates compared with the others.

Don't get me wrong I obviously love Linux and gaming, these are just my personal opinions, I am allowed to have them.

As perfectly pointed out by our new member commodore256 you are a very far above average user, if you feel so strongly, why not send them your wise words yourself?
Speedster 5 September 2013 at 7:21 pm UTC
DrMcCoy
Quote from liamdaweHell a developer even tweeted to me just now http://twitter.com/AeornFlippout/status/375698476199186432
http://twitter.com/SinedioMD/status/375699361109274624
Also, see above.
Fixed your broken link (I agree with your suggestion of course)
DrMcCoy 5 September 2013 at 7:25 pm UTC
commodore256People shouldn't have to fuck with the command line to update Nvidia Drivers. (like I do because they won't update with Xorg running)
I'm pretty sure Debian can update the nVidia drivers automatically through its package system.
Very sure, because I actually had to jump through hoops to disable that (I'm a manual kind of person). Ubuntu surely does that as well.

commodore256As much as People say ATI/AMD is shit on Linux
I for one am still bitter over them removing support for my 2005 laptop's rv350 card from their binary driver years ago. That was before the radeon project. Nowadays, the card runs very well again.
I'm also not happy about nVidia being shits with their closedness, but, well, 3D drivers is topic I'm in general pretty conflicted about.

commodore256On Windows 8, I can install the CD Version of Half-Life (a game made in 1998) without a problem
Ah, come on, I can name you hundreds of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 games that don't even work in Windows 2000 or XP, let alone in 7 or 8.

And I can tell you that the 2002/2003 game Neverwinter Nights still works swell on Linux.

And then there's also the lot of Mac PPC games...

You really can't generalize that.
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