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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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64 comments
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Ryblade 14 June 2018 at 12:36 pm UTC
This is cool and all, but I do recommend people exercise caution with certain developers and publishers.

I remember reading several years ago that Blizzard actively perma-banned people from Battle.net if they are "caught" using Wine and Linux. Could someone confirm if their hostility and paranoia is still this bad today?
Micromegas 14 June 2018 at 3:07 pm UTC
I played Starcraft 2 and Hearthstone quite a while (several years) via Wine on Linux - obviously without getting banned.

I remember those rumors but I think bans were either errors by Blizzard or had other (valid or invalid) reasons.
Shmerl 14 June 2018 at 3:16 pm UTC
STiATI 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 differentiating factor in Flatpak is sandboxing. Other than that, sure you can do the same thing with prefix management and custom Wine bundles.

And yes, installer scripts tend to become an unmaintained mess, because of the sheer volume of games that are out there. That's why I simply stopped using them in the past and prefer to install things in Wine myself.


Last edited by Shmerl at 14 June 2018 at 3:18 pm UTC. Edited 3 times.
Swiftpaw 14 June 2018 at 3:27 pm UTC
devnull
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

Nope I don't know much about its inner workings, I just just know what it's supposed to be. It says there it's supposed to sandbox network access for example, but these Blizzard apps had Internet access, so clearly that was granted to them somehow already or the sandboxing isn't working. X3
TimeFreeze 14 June 2018 at 3:41 pm UTC
RybladeThis is cool and all, but I do recommend people exercise caution with certain developers and publishers.

I remember reading several years ago that Blizzard actively perma-banned people from Battle.net if they are "caught" using Wine and Linux. Could someone confirm if their hostility and paranoia is still this bad today?

Blizzard never had and never will ban people for using something like Wine. WHEN People got banned for that then they would get unbanned pretty quick because thats no reason. People who are claiming that you will get Banned for that are just dumb and used Cheats and other stuff which WILL get you banned. But stuff like Wine? Never.
Hamish 14 June 2018 at 4:01 pm UTC
TheSHEEEPBut "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.
In my case a great deal of the games I play through WINE no longer "just work" on modern Windows anymore. There is a real opportunity for WINE to corner the retro PC gaming market as for many older Windows games it is now easier to mess around with WINE than to try and get them running on Windows 10. It is for this reason that I have really started to warm up to WINE over the past few years.
Purple Library Guy 14 June 2018 at 4:32 pm UTC
Lakorta
Purple Library Guy
shigutso
TheSHEEEPThat's a good idea, but my hope is that such functionality should be made official and implemented within Wine itself.
After all, Wine's biggest problem is that is simply doesn't "just work". There's always some fiddling around required.
Not quite... all software from this page Just Works (tm):
https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&sTitle=Browse+Applications&iappVersion-ratingOp0=5&sappVersion-ratingData0=Platinum&sOrderBy=appName&bAscending=true
Well, no. My understanding is, Platinum means it works perfectly if you set the fiddly stuff correctly, not that you can ignore the fiddly stuff. In this discussion at least, I think people are using Just Works to mean you just click something and it installs properly and happens, rather than having to figure out how to configure it first.
There is probably some Platinum stuff that Just Works in that second sense as well, but plenty that doesn't. So things like this, and PlayonLinux and so on, have always been welcome initiatives and I really hope at some point one becomes really solid--achieves critical mass so most stuff is there, and is easily maintainable so it doesn't rot.
Definition of the Wine Platinum ranking: "Applications which install and run flawlessly on an out-of-the-box Wine installation"
Gold is the one you described: "Applications that work flawlessly with some special configuration"
I stand corrected . . . partially. Presumably this means you don't need to download anything, but there's a lot of potential not-so-"special" configuration in an "out-of-the-box Wine installation". There's all these settings on tabs--which Windows version, which this, which that, and I tend to have no clue which of them matter for any given application.
TheSHEEEP 14 June 2018 at 7:28 pm UTC
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Hamish
TheSHEEEPBut "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.
In my case a great deal of the games I play through WINE no longer "just work" on modern Windows anymore. There is a real opportunity for WINE to corner the retro PC gaming market as for many older Windows games it is now easier to mess around with WINE than to try and get them running on Windows 10. It is for this reason that I have really started to warm up to WINE over the past few years.
Absolutely! Wine has great potential.
It would just need someone in the role of a producer and/or manager - and not only developers.
However, people truly managing open source projects are even harder to come by than coders.
Shmerl 14 June 2018 at 7:37 pm UTC
As long as you can install and use it, you don't really need anyone to manage it. The main resource here is bug fixing and features development in Wine itself, which so far Wine developers are addressing well.
biscuit 15 June 2018 at 3:04 am UTC
SwiftpawBoth the Overwatch and WoW flatpaks error out in the Blizzard launcher for me. The Blizz launcher gives the error, "Failed to create a graphics context".

Linux Mint 18.3 w/ NVIDIA proprietary driver.

I get the same type of errors for other games in that repo, using Kubuntu 18.04 with NVIDIA proprietary driver, no Lutris installed. Really puts a bad taste in the mouth when the promise is a non-fiddly install. Whatever it is that's prohibiting it from working right, I hope it gets ironed out.
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