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winepak [Official Site] is another interesting Wine-related project. One that aims to package up an assortment of Windows-only games that work in Wine using the power of Flatpak packages.

I'm not going to get into the politics of Snap vs Flatpak, mostly because I don't care for the arguments surrounding it and end-users shouldn't care as long as they work and work well.

Much like today's previous post about Track Mania Nations Forever having an easy to use Snap package, winepak seems to aim a bit higher and offer a repository of games. The advantage of using such packages (Snaps or Flatpaks), is that it should come with everything you need to get the Windows game running on Linux, without having to mess around with configurations. It's a new project though, so there's likely a fair amount of kinks to work out.

Their listed goals are simple:

  • Package wine applications via flatpak
  • Make installing and running applications Just Work

Currently it seems to offer: League of Legends, Path of Exile, Blizzard's BattleNet client along with, Overwatch, Starcraft II and World of Warcraft, World of Tanks and more. The full list can be found on GitHub here, although some don't work like Fortnite. Obviously, it does depend on Wine and what Wine build they include with each game.

Testing it myself, it seems that both League of Legends and World of Tanks had no issues with their launchers downloading, logging in and updating using this Flatpak method.

For those wondering how legal this is, well, it doesn't have to include any of the installers itself. It will just download them for you, so it's not actually redistributing stuff it's not supposed to.

Curiously, it seems the mind behind winepak, Julian Richen, is the same developer who we chucked some bucks some time ago to help re-design our website (which turned into our current theme). Always nice to see more from someone you've worked with before.

Will be fun to see how far this project goes, as I said it's early days yet. If projects like this can help bridge the gap, for people moving over to Linux so they don't lose access to some of their favourite games and have an easy way to play them—I'm all for it. It can help ease the transition until they become fully fledged Linux gamers. A lot of potential here.

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63 comments
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devnull 14 June 2018 at 2:33 am UTC
Swiftpaw
devnull
Swiftpaw
devnull-Flatpak and sure. Otherwise nah.

Wut? Flatpaks are what this article is all about, unless you were responding to some comment somewhere...

-Flatpak .. aka Not flatpak and sure. Otherwise no.

Flatpak makes some, ok many, politically motivated descsions for you including where to install. Seriously what moronic distro puts things in /app? It's entirely too easy for someone to release a "pak", that is backdoored since there is no restriction on the language. Calling curl on a url and blindly installing it for example, is utter complete stupidity yet they do shit like that all over the place.


Overwatch for example

echo "Downloading installer..." - curl -L --progress-bar --output "${XDG_CACHE_HOME}/overwatch-installer.exe" "https://www.battle.net/download/getInstallerForGame?os=win&version=LIVE&gameProgram=OVERWATCH"

What would a language restriction help and how would that break through the sandbox?

I don't follow, restricting what can be run by third parties is basic security. The manifest is essentially a glorified, untrusted script much like any docker file.

QuoteHow is downloading something unsafe as long as, again, it's sandboxed? As long as flatpak is sandboxing ${XDG_CACHE_HOME}/overwatch-installer.exe then so what?

There's no verification the download was valid nor complete. Even winetricks runs circles around it.

QuoteThese are online apps, they do need to download and run stuff, so as long as everything is being treated as a potential threat and sandboxed then it should be okay?

Curious, have you actually read what flatpak is? You're putting an awful lot of faith in the way flatpak sandboxes. See above anyway, there's no verification. Hell it doesn't even support alsa (thus their political nature).

QuoteWhy is it bad if they use wget, curl, or anything else when the Blizzard installer itself is going to download loads of files for WoW? How is that any different?

Blizzard has at the very least a PR if not legal obligation not to backdoor their installer for one. That doesn't exist here.

Their own guidelines are contradictions. http://docs.flatpak.org/en/latest/sandbox-permissions.html
Hamish 14 June 2018 at 6:44 am UTC
ShmerlI don't mind tinkering with Wine. One problem with "just works" approach that was also used for example in PlayOnLinux installation scripts for games, is that it grew huge and no one was maintaining those scripts. So they quickly became obsolete. It's safer just to install something yourself using newest submissions in Wine AppDB.
Pretty much my feelings when it comes to WINE wrappers as well; I would much rather just do the heavy lifting myself and get things working just the way I want them than rely on third party packages and scripts. Of course given that I am an Arch Linux user that idea kind of comes with the territory anyway.

Not everyone is going to be both as patient and anal as I am.
TheSHEEEP 14 June 2018 at 6:50 am UTC
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ShmerlI don't mind tinkering with Wine. One problem with "just works" approach that was also used for example in PlayOnLinux installation scripts for games, is that it grew huge and no one was maintaining those scripts. So they quickly became obsolete. It's safer just to install something yourself using newest submissions in Wine AppDB.
But "just works" is a necessity if Linux is to attract more gamers.
The vast majority don't have the skillset or patience like you or me (or many others here) to fiddle around with anything. Hell, for some, having to install Wine to install their game is already too much.
Of course, that says more about the quality of the people than that of the OS, but it is what it is.

"just works" is the most important bit for the spread of any OS and its software.
PlayOnLinux could have worked if it had maintained its maintainers (pun? intended).
Lutris seems to gain more traction, and is definitely more promising than PoL ever was. However, only time will tell if that leads anywhere.
Nothing of this will amount to much, IMO, if it doesn't become officially endorsed. As in, every Ubuntu comes with the most recent Lutris right away, no questions asked.

PS: Here we see the fragmentation problem, again. Now we have PoL (which is minimally maintained, still), Lutris and this winepak (and possibly others, too). All kinda similar in their purpose. It would be better for everyone if they all worked together.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 14 June 2018 at 6:59 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
lucifertdark 14 June 2018 at 8:31 am UTC
Wine Is No Excuse not to port your games/applications to Linux properly.
Pompesdesky 14 June 2018 at 9:15 am UTC
lucifertdarkWine Is No Excuse not to port your games/applications to Linux properly.

We're going in circles with this one. As already expressed by others most of the current Windows users will never switch to Linux if they have to lose access to their Windows only catalog of games and if they must spend 3 hours on Linux support websites to figure out how to install any of their game.

Once we get maximum playability for Windows games with an install process that is a simple double click away then we should have a lot more users. Then when the Linux playerbase starts to really represent a good fraction of all gamers, developers will have to start thinking about what they're doing.

I've been trying to make my brother in law switch for over 2 years without success, but now that he sees me starting to easily play games that he likes with Lutris (like SupCom Forged Alliance or Bad Company 2) he's beginning to seriously consider making at least a dual boot to try. If it's simple enough, the low barrier to learn how to use a new OS should outweight Windows 10 pissing him off.


Last edited by Pompesdesky at 14 June 2018 at 9:16 am UTC
Blink123123 14 June 2018 at 9:25 am UTC
I'm currently a windows user and app developer and I hate windows so much that I'm re-coding all the tools I have created to support Linux in order to switch.

I was searching for something just like this app so I can also have League of Legends or Starcraft in case I wanted to play, so for me this is great news

And for the
QuoteWine Is No Excuse not to port your games/applications to Linux properly.

I think if enough games are supported or Linux via wine, Linux will become a viable platform for gaming, and then ports will surely follow. For now it's a must to get Linux to became a good enough solution.
buenaventura 14 June 2018 at 9:35 am UTC
devnulllotsa stuff

What is the political angle? Just bad security for people or? I am interested. Who is behind flatpak and snap, and what are the differences etc?
lucifertdark 14 June 2018 at 9:55 am UTC
PompesdeskyWe're going in circles with this one. As already expressed by others most of the current Windows users will never switch to Linux if they have to lose access to their Windows only catalog of games and if they must spend 3 hours on Linux support websites to figure out how to install any of their game.

Once we get maximum playability for Windows games with an install process that is a simple double click away then we should have a lot more users. Then when the Linux playerbase starts to really represent a good fraction of all gamers, developers will have to start thinking about what they're doing.

I've been trying to make my brother in law switch for over 2 years without success, but now that he sees me starting to easily play games that he likes with Lutris (like SupCom Forged Alliance or Bad Company 2) he's beginning to seriously consider making at least a dual boot to try. If it's simple enough, the low barrier to learn how to use a new OS should outweight Windows 10 pissing him off.
PlayOnLinux & Lutris are a step in the right direction but technical support for Wine when things go badly tits-up is practically non-existent. Search for any given bug & you'll find 30+ pages filled with people asking for advice on the bug & getting nowhere fast, you might get lucky every now & then & find the answer but you're far more likely to be as stuck as I was last year when Wine died & I couldn't even uninstall it to get rid of it.
Micromegas 14 June 2018 at 10:53 am UTC
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The nice thing about PlayOnLinux is that Wine doesn't need to be installed system-wide to use it. PlayOnLinux will display an error message about missing Wine but you can just dismiss it.

You can just and only use the different Wine versions you can download directly via the PlayOnLinux client itself which get only "installed" (= copied) in prefixes in your /home not system-wide. You have to start Windows programs after that via the PlayOnLinux client of course but with the advantage that if you close PlayOnLinux all Windows programs are closed too and no other Windows programs can be running while PlayOnLinux is closed. This mitigates some problems with a system-wide installed Wine like security problems or installed Windows programs interfering with your Linux programs.


Last edited by Micromegas at 14 June 2018 at 10:53 am UTC
STiAT 14 June 2018 at 12:23 pm UTC
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I don't see the real difference to using lutris or playonlinux.

In the end, you need to winepak it anyway, as you need to install it with lutris with different settings in a different wine prefix, because the installers will need to download the installers somehow, because you can't redistribute the games anyway.

I don't really see the benefit over using different prefixes with installer-scripts (except that installer scripts in lutris seem somehow a unmaintained mess).

The only thing could be that the game developers actually pick that up for re-distribution for their games on linux with tweaked wine versions, on the other hand - they could theoretically do that right now too.


Last edited by STiAT at 14 June 2018 at 12:25 pm UTC
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