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Interview with Keith Poole from Desura part 2!

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The second part in my inteview with Keith Poole one of the Linux engineers at DesuraNET responsible for porting over Desura to Linux!

Part 1 link - click me.
Part 3 - click me.

Q) You say games will go into the Desura directory so will that mean the Desura installer itself will not be say a .deb or .rpm type file but a general installer, so i could install it to say /home/liam/Desura for example?

A) Ah yup sorry I wasn't very clear on that one. There will most likely be a .rpm and a .deb version, along with probably a straight .tar.bz2, but what I meant is that Desura will simply get extracted to the home folder or desktop (where ever the user wants to put it), and the games will go into that folder too. Essentially you should be able to pick up the 'Desura' folder and move it where ever you like without breaking anything.

I'm glad the community are asking some questions too. Feedback and constructive criticism is always good.

Community asked questions i put forward to Keith:

Q) "Is this for native Linux games only, or will it have a list of games with "best wine config" built-in?"

10 A) It seems like it wasn't just me that had this thought. I suggested a very similar thing to the guys the other day, but it isn't something that we are going to do immediately. Our first goal is to support native Linux games, after all we want to encourage linux game development. However if particular games work well under wine, and we get requests from the community or developer, we will consider it.

Q) "Ask what challenges there are for porting Linux applications and if they had the time how would they make it easier for others?"

A) This is a very big question. I'd say the main challenges are wrapping platform specific code, and dealing with dependencies. There's is a lot more to it than just that though. The main thing that makes porting easier though is writing applications that use multi-platform libraries (such as boost, sqlite, wxwidgets, etc), and then encapsulating any and all platform specific calls in 'wrapper' functions. A quick example would be having a wrapper function called 'getConfigValue' that on Windows reads a value from the registry, and on Linux reads it from the equivalent /etc/ file. There isn't much we could do to make the process easier though, it's up to the developers to plan ahead and program with cross-platform compatibility in mind.

Q) "Do they have any plans with any native Linux titles such as Doom 3 etc."

A) Well, this is more of a question for Scott, here's his answer: Our aim is to support any great game that works natively on Linux. So that includes Doom 3, we will be reaching out to these publishers and working with them to get their games released. It will take time however, we expect the catalog to launch with a few titles and grow from there.

Q) "I would like more elaboration on their views on DRM as well as if they will allow their mod integration features to work with Linux native versions of games that they do not even sell. I know they allow that for the Windows version of Doom 3 for example, but I want to know if that will be carried over to Linux." - A very good question i thought :)

A) We are DRM agnostic, so our recommendation to game developers / publishers is to ship without DRM or use a CD Key system. We don’t want to make customers jump through hoops to get their games running, however if a publisher requires a DRM and won’t release without it, we shall discuss that with them, and make sure users purchasing the game are aware of the DRM it ships with and how it works. As for mods, well that is something that we constantly chatter about here in regards to the Linux client. For a first step, I don't think mods will be supported. It saddens me to say that, but supporting mods would most likely push our timeline too far back for the first release, so we will be focusing on native Linux games we know work! Also from what I can see, mods on Linux seem to operate quite differently to how they operate on Windows given that there is no central source of configurations (not that I'm complaining about lack of a Windows registry!), and each game may or may not support the same functionality under Linux. As we learn more about it, and make decisions on the topic, we'll definitely let the public know.

Final part to follow in a few days!
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The comments on this article are closed.
MaximB 3 July 2011 at 8:03 am UTC
Nice interview, I can't understand the companies that insist on DRM (even months/years after their games release), look at GOG - they sell games without DRM and it's seems to work great for them.
I've bought many games from them for the major reason being NO-DRM, they got over $100 from me over the past 1-2 years.
Hamish 3 July 2011 at 8:54 am UTC
Well, I understand his reasons for not doing the mod support, but I still hope that at some point they can get that working on Linux. That said, I am still interested in Desura and they responded to my question well. So well done Keith and Scott and of course well done Liam for the interview. ;)
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