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TheCycoONE: What I don't respect is having a polling feature about what users desire and then brushing off the most popular results. From all the 'just do this' or 'just do that' comments in the poll it sounds like the majority of those voting are willing to have a half way solution, and if you don't want negative publicity - advertise it as such. Hide it if you want - a profile option: "[x] Unsupported Files - For technical users only, no support will be available for files downloaded if you select this option" or www.gog.com/linuxbetacaveatemptore
I know I've said I'm more than willing to take a half way solution. Even if they were to take it as far as the CD-Key arrangement where the customer has to implicitly ask for the item, I would be fine with it. They could then respond with some notation about there not being any official support for the version, but here you go.

I'm taking several opportunities to say so since I know is being considered, and I know they are watching.
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shmerl: Of course effort is more if they are to add many titles with messed up release rights right away. What was meant by tiny steps I think, is first to prepare the infrastructure inside GOG, and then to start with titles which treat their different OS builds as the same release. When that will work, GOG can engage in more complex cases where rights are spread amongst different entities. In this case the difficulty will increase gradually, and GOG can use the easier ones as a test for the whole process.
Even preparing the infrastructure costs money and it wouldn't be worth spending if they don't already have the licensing... which also costs money. Its kind of a chicken and the egg scenario; they can't take one step without the other first and both require a up front investment that might not be worth it in the end. You are also assuming that the licensing on some of these titles is the same for GOG as it is for other sites. Just because HIB (for example) offers games across all platforms does not mean that GOG is licensed to do the same with the titles they have in common. If GOG does move forward with Linux support, I would expect it to be implemented much like you describe, but those tiny steps are still not really as tiny as they seem.
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cogadh: The problem is you and everyone else arguing for "Linux now" are assuming that this is a tiny step, as if GOG could pull it off tomorrow with little to no effort. It's not. It's actually a huge step, even if it is only a few titles. As TET already mentioned, GOG may not even have the licensing to distribute Linux games (I'm guessing that NWN would be the one exception, since the Linux client is already free to anyone who owns the game). Getting those licenses involves new negotiations with rights holders, possibly even adding rights holders they don't already have deals with, and a layout of cash that could be prohibitive.
a) That's speculative, the E.T. and others have never confirmed there are licensing issues, though they haven't denied it either. There are very few native linux games from big publishers with whom licensing would be a complicated mess, and dosbox games without the windows installer are not necessarily for another platform.

b) I haven't read the license agreements so it may be the fact that every one of them says 'for Windows' in it. GOG is amazing at negotiating licenses - they've been able to track down rights and get games that no one else has - it is arguably their greatest strength. I'm sure they could convince at least SOME publishers to allow releasing linux or platform neutral versions.

I never said they had to offer Linux versions for their entire catalogue. Any gesture would be very encouraging even if it's only a handful of games to start.
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cogadh: The problem is you and everyone else arguing for "Linux now" are assuming that this is a tiny step, as if GOG could pull it off tomorrow with little to no effort. It's not. It's actually a huge step, even if it is only a few titles. As TET already mentioned, GOG may not even have the licensing to distribute Linux games (I'm guessing that NWN would be the one exception, since the Linux client is already free to anyone who owns the game). Getting those licenses involves new negotiations with rights holders, possibly even adding rights holders they don't already have deals with, and a layout of cash that could be prohibitive.
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TheCycoONE: a) That's speculative, the E.T. and others have never confirmed there are licensing issues, though they haven't denied it either. There are very few native linux games from big publishers with whom licensing would be a complicated mess, and dosbox games without the windows installer are not necessarily for another platform.
I believe E.T. did say something after it was mentioned as to not really knowing if they did have such rights. I would actually be surprised if they didn't have to renegotiate anything existing. It annoying that different platform versions are being segregated as separate products, but they seem to be in a lot of cases. If I had to guess its because some devs are having to pay other companies to help port their games, which ends up giving those people some rights that have to be dealt with.

I've also speculated that alternative versions may be being used to incentivize desirable purchasing habits, and hope for multiple sales to individuals, but thats just a guess. Whatever the reason, the fact that they are often being treated as different products does suggest they must be individually negotiated.
Post edited June 14, 2012 by gooberking
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TheCycoONE: a) That's speculative, the E.T. and others have never confirmed there are licensing issues, though they haven't denied it either. There are very few native linux games from big publishers with whom licensing would be a complicated mess, and dosbox games without the windows installer are not necessarily for another platform.
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gooberking: I believe E.T. did say something after it was mentioned as to not really knowing if they did have such rights. I would actually be surprised if they didn't have to renegotiate anything existing. It annoying that different platform versions are being segregated as separate products, but they seem to be in a lot of cases. If I had to guess its because some devs are having to pay other companies to help port their games, which ends up giving those people some rights that have to be dealt with.
I'm pretty sure that's one major hurdle to overcome. I like to point to Shogo: MAD as a good example. The IP and rights to distribute the Windows version of the game are owned by Monolith. However, the Linux port was done by Hyperion and published by Titan Computer. So who owns the rights to the Linux version of Shogo? We're lucky that both companies are still around, so we'd have to do negotiations with them; we can't safely just assume that the rights would revert back to Monolith. And then there's the issue of support. The Linux port of MAD was released in 2000, and there's no guarantee it would still run on modern distros. And what distros do you target? Which versions of that distro?

The same holds true for a lot of other classic games on the GOG catalog as well which have had native ports for Linux released in the past.

The simple truth of the matter is that while yes, there are people who would buy Linux ports of GOG titles, the question is whether there would be enough of them to make all of that effort profitable (relative to the cost), and right now I simply don't think that the numbers support it. You can't make an immediate comparison to the HIB because all of the developers own the rights to their IP and all of their OS distributions, and they're the ones handling support. For GOG, all of that would essentially fall on them.

I hate to say it, but that applies doubly so for Mac users, since the proportion of Mac users who'd buy games from GOG is (I'd wager) a lot less than the proportion of Linux users who'd buy games from GOG, and some significant Mac porting and publishing companies have long been out of business.
Post edited June 14, 2012 by rampancy
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rampancy: I'm pretty sure that's one major hurdle to overcome. I like to point to Shogo: MAD as a good example. The IP and rights to distribute the Windows version of the game are owned by Monolith. However, the Linux port was done by Hyperion and published by Titan Computer. So who owns the rights to the Linux version of Shogo? We're lucky that both companies are still around, so we'd have to do negotiations with them; we can't safely just assume that the rights would revert back to Monolith. And then there's the issue of support. The Linux port of MAD was released in 2000, and there's no guarantee it would still run on modern distros. And what distros do you target? Which versions of that distro?

The same holds true for a lot of other classic games on the GOG catalog as well which have had native ports for Linux released in the past.

The simple truth of the matter is that while yes, there are people who would buy Linux ports of GOG titles, the question is whether there would be enough of them to make all of that effort profitable (relative to the cost), and right now I simply don't think that the numbers support it. You can't make an immediate comparison to the HIB because all of the developers own the rights to their IP and all of their OS distributions, and they're the ones handling support. For GOG, all of that would essentially fall on them.

I hate to say it, but that applies doubly so for Mac users, since the proportion of Mac users who'd buy games from GOG is (I'd wager) a lot less than the proportion of Linux users who'd buy games from GOG, and some significant Mac porting and publishing companies have long been out of business.
This all assumes that GOG would have to go after these hard cases to support Linux. Yes, there are a number of classic games with real linux ports which were or are owned by other companies (e.g. Loki/LGP own Alpha Centauri and Sacred Gold for Linux), however there's a lot of games on GOG that use scummvm or dosbox. These games were never ported to Linux (or Windows) so there is no Linux IP. It's still possible that the contracts said Windows only so they could sell the rights to console 'ports' to other third parties, but there wouldn't be any other publishers involved. There's also all the new indie games, e.g. Trine which are easier to track down.

I think I've repeatedly made the point that supporting Linux doesn't necessitate getting every Linux port out there day 1, or even ever - just like they haven't gotten every Good Old Game yet, and likely never will.
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TheEnigmaticT: Or if FreeBSD removes a driver from the kernel that we depend upon in order to run some games?
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TheJoe: Well that'd only matter if you were supporting BSD.
Or Debian. ;)

http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/

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Elenarie: While we're at it, any chance of supporting Novell's Netware? :p
Don't forget Windows RT! :D
Post edited June 15, 2012 by Snickersnack
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Snickersnack: Or Debian. ;)

http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/
Ehh... That's still just BSD, a separate thing to Linux. Debian is a Linux distribution because it's an operating system that uses Linux as the kernel, Debian kFreeBSD is a BSD distribution because it's an operating system that uses BSD as the kernel.
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Snickersnack: Don't forget Windows RT! :D
Yea, and Linux ARM distributions, and OpenVMS, and...
Well, Raspberry Pi won't be supported by GOG - it was already mentioned above ;)
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TheCycoONE: This all assumes that GOG would have to go after these hard cases to support Linux. Yes, there are a number of classic games with real linux ports which were or are owned by other companies (e.g. Loki/LGP own Alpha Centauri and Sacred Gold for Linux), however there's a lot of games on GOG that use scummvm or dosbox. These games were never ported to Linux (or Windows) so there is no Linux IP. It's still possible that the contracts said Windows only so they could sell the rights to console 'ports' to other third parties, but there wouldn't be any other publishers involved. There's also all the new indie games, e.g. Trine which are easier to track down.

I think I've repeatedly made the point that supporting Linux doesn't necessitate getting every Linux port out there day 1, or even ever - just like they haven't gotten every Good Old Game yet, and likely never will.
History says they would have to go after the hard cases and the especially hard ones would actually be those games that do not have a Linux port already. You seem to think that it would be easy to convince companies and rights holders that have never had an interest in Linux that letting GOG "port" their games would be a good idea. Assuming they do agree, their only motivation would be money, which means negotiating with GOG for another chunk of cash. Once you get past the difficulties in negotiating the licensing, it all comes down to money: does GOG have enough and are they willing to risk it on Linux?

No one is suggesting that GOG would need or even want to get every Linux port out there to begin with, but they do need to get enough to start building the Linux part of the library. As you say, the simplest ones to get would probably be the indies like Trine, but the rest of the library, the vast majority of the library, is no where near that simple. If GOG can't at least get some guarantees that they will be able to continue expanding the library, it won't be worth it at all to even start.
I don't think GOG should take such a monumental task as porting all those old titles to Linux (unless you mean simply debugging those to work well with Wine, which is different). GOG should rather be focusing on publishing side (not on porting). I.e. to be a distribution service for those developers who already created (or going to create) Linux games. Aiming to port all the old stuff to Linux just to have a matching selection for all OSes sounds unrealistic, and that's not what GOG Linux users are primarily requesting.
Post edited June 15, 2012 by shmerl
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shmerl: I don't think GOG should take such a monumental task as porting all those old titles to Linux (unless you mean simply debugging those to work well with Wine, which is different). GOG should rather be focusing on publishing side (not on porting). I.e. to be a distribution service for those developers who already created (or going to create) Linux games. Aiming to port all the old stuff to Linux just to have a matching selection for all OSes sounds unrealistic, and that's not what GOG Linux users are primarily requesting.
By "port", I meant those games that already run in DOSBox and ScummVM as TheCycoONE was referring to, which is also one of the things that the Linux gamers here have been asking for since day one. In re-reading my post, I realize I didn't make that clear at all. I don't think anyone expects GOG to do actual ports of the Windows games that don't already have a port.
Post edited June 15, 2012 by cogadh
A point of clarification seems to need to be made. dosbox and scummvm already run in Linux.

I only run games I buy off GOG.com in Linux already. The technical issue with dos and scummvm games (which is a lot of GOGs catalogue) is simply that the installer is inconvenient for us. We have to use wine to run the installer, then copy the files somewhere sensible to run with our Linux dosbox or scummvm engines. Even a zip with the same files bundled in the installer would be easier.

Not saying that a zip would please everyone or get the publicity that real Linux support would - but it's common ground for Windows and Linux users so you could arguably be distributing zips for the benefit of Windows users and avoid licensing or support hassle.
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TheCycoONE: A point of clarification seems to need to be made. dosbox and scummvm already run in Linux.

I only run games I buy off GOG.com in Linux already. The technical issue with dos and scummvm games (which is a lot of GOGs catalogue) is simply that the installer is inconvenient for us. We have to use wine to run the installer, then copy the files somewhere sensible to run with our Linux dosbox or scummvm engines. Even a zip with the same files bundled in the installer would be easier.

Not saying that a zip would please everyone or get the publicity that real Linux support would - but it's common ground for Windows and Linux users so you could arguably be distributing zips for the benefit of Windows users and avoid licensing or support hassle.
We all know DOSBox and ScummVM run in Linux, however, just providing a zip is not necessarily going to cut it. Several of the DOSBox titles that GOG sells have a custom configured version of DOSBox and use fixes that are not present in the "stock" DOSBox (probably the source of those issues you mention). GOG would need to provide that same kind of packaged install they already provide for Windows, and that's assuming that the fixes they use even work in the Linux version of DOSBox.
Post edited June 15, 2012 by cogadh