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TheEnigmaticT: Back from a week's vacation. I'm here to blue up all your threads.
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shmerl: Thanks for appearing here. What do you think about using Docker for providing long term support? Then you won't be limited by distro choice and won't support "SteamOS only, or "distro ZZZ only"? I hope you'll develop something that won't require everyone to use Steam runtime.
I've never heard of it before, but from a quick look it seems to be something that's developed to help create a simple environment for web SaaS applications, which don't really address what GOG.com does?
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TheEnigmaticT: We're certainly keeping our eye on it, yes. :)
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Fever_Discordia: Good to hear!
Thinking about it, SteamOS would also make most sense to target because its the one aimed at the average consumer, presumably, for the other distributions, if a game QAed for SteamOS doesn't work out-of-the-box on them, in 99% of cases it would only take a bit of tinkering and if you're running a Linux distribution other than SteamOS then you're going to be a tinkerer!
Since when SteamOS, a new-comer for a very short time should be considered as the reference over distributions available for a lot of years…?
By the way, SteamOS, like Ubuntu, is debian-based and should use .deb packages for distro-natives one, or the universal .bin/.tar.gz and if it's working on Debian, it should work with really few changes on Debian-based distro. (just a reminder. Debian have twenty years – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian – while SteamOS was announced couple of months ago…

And don't forget that some distributions would be happy to package the games themselves with nosrc packages (like Archlinux which provide in their AUR repositories every game from humble indie bundles if you give it the standard bin/tarball file and install it perfectly in your system)

Anyway, nice to see a blue coming again here, and I really have high hopes that Linux support will come soon. Let's still hope…for the moment…

PS : Docker is a possibility I think, but I don't know it enough for my part to be sure about this solution.
I am but a humble end user in a non-tech profession but let me say this about Linux:

I love Linux and have tried/used several different distributions over the past 5 years but always in a dual boot configuration. Why?

Gaming.

When Linux gaming becomes a real thing I'll be gone from Windows so fast it will make your head spin.
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Fever_Discordia: Good to hear!
Thinking about it, SteamOS would also make most sense to target because its the one aimed at the average consumer, presumably, for the other distributions, if a game QAed for SteamOS doesn't work out-of-the-box on them, in 99% of cases it would only take a bit of tinkering and if you're running a Linux distribution other than SteamOS then you're going to be a tinkerer!
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Porkepix: Since when SteamOS, a new-comer for a very short time should be considered as the reference over distributions available for a lot of years…?
By the way, SteamOS, like Ubuntu, is debian-based and should use .deb packages for distro-natives one, or the universal .bin/.tar.gz and if it's working on Debian, it should work with really few changes on Debian-based distro. (just a reminder. Debian have twenty years – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian – while SteamOS was announced couple of months ago…

And don't forget that some distributions would be happy to package the games themselves with nosrc packages (like Archlinux which provide in their AUR repositories every game from humble indie bundles if you give it the standard bin/tarball file and install it perfectly in your system)

Anyway, nice to see a blue coming again here, and I really have high hopes that Linux support will come soon. Let's still hope…for the moment…

PS : Docker is a possibility I think, but I don't know it enough for my part to be sure about this solution.
Yeah, it may be new, but as I say, its going to be the native OS in all of these:
http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/steam-machine-which-steam-box-should-you-buy--1213121
Consumer marketed desktop boxes - how many different companies are making consumer targeted Linux appliances featuring YOUR favorite distribution, installed and ready to go out of the box? Thought so!
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marlowe221: I am but a humble end user in a non-tech profession but let me say this about Linux:

I love Linux and have tried/used several different distributions over the past 5 years but always in a dual boot configuration. Why?

Gaming.

When Linux gaming becomes a real thing I'll be gone from Windows so fast it will make your head spin.
I've embraced dual-booting. I spend my time on Linux (Ubuntu) but when Witcher 3 comes out, oh boy, am I glad that I have Windows 7 on another drive.

My current setup is such that I have similar work environments on both operating systems, sync clients that are cross platform for stuff that does not live on my computer so I can switch pretty much seamlessly
Post edited January 08, 2014 by silviucc
A Blue here. LOL! ;d
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shaddim: This meme from the 90s needs to die: Pre-installation is NOT the core problem of linux, it's just an excuse.
Linus doesn't agree with you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFKxlYNfT_o
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elendiel7: Linus doesn't agree with you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFKxlYNfT_o
I agree completely with what Linus is saying there of course, but IMHO to truly understand one must look into the underlying reasons of why it isn't preinstalled on more systems. There is some chicken vs. egg going on but there are fundamental reasons that go below that which are part of the core reasons why it isn't out there en masse already. Those things will be resolved over time however much like they've been resolved for specific usage cases like smart phones and tablets that run Android. SteamOS for example is an attempt to solve some of these problems for a gaming specific appliance usage case and they'll likely do a good job at that IMHO because they have the money to put the right resources in and solve the problems for their target. For the desktop to succeed I believe someone just needs to identify the problematic areas that exist and devise a strategy to systematically solve them with enough money to see it through, and to present an end result that is actually market viable. Some have tried in the past but largely unsuccessfully. I believe past failures or luke warm ventures are just that though - the past. Eventually some company will come forth with a solution that is the right mix to get the ball rolling and that will end up attracting the Dells and HPs etc. to offer it as a preinstall.

According to recent rumours I heard from CES or similar, Dell and others plan on shipping systems dual-boot with Windows and I believe ChromeOS or Android on them. That itself if true is another attempt from the big guys to stick their Linux toe in the water and see if it's warm. Sooner or later one such experiment will work and catch on and the rest will be history. Whether it is this Android/ChromeOS thing or something else to come later is anyone's guess but it's ultimately just a matter of time until someone makes the right set of choices to sling together an OS distribution that tilts things to being market viable. Don't think we're too many years off now from some game changer, but it'll probably need to reiterate a few cycles to catch on when it comes - much like Linus also says in the video.
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shmerl: Thanks for appearing here. What do you think about using Docker for providing long term support? Then you won't be limited by distro choice and won't support "SteamOS only, or "distro ZZZ only"? I hope you'll develop something that won't require everyone to use Steam runtime.
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TheEnigmaticT: I've never heard of it before, but from a quick look it seems to be something that's developed to help create a simple environment for web SaaS applications, which don't really address what GOG.com does?
Docker definitely can be used for cloud deployments, but it's not limited by such use case. See http://www.docker.io/the_whole_story/

I never actually used that, so I can't say how much performance penalty comes from that abstraction. But they claim it's pretty small in comparison with real virtual machines. At least it would be good if you'd evaluate it and see how it performs in real gaming use cases.

I'd say if that is workable, you can provide two options for Linux users. A game as is (but with no long term support promises), for those who are ready to accept that and want to skip the abstraction layer for any potential performance gains. And then a game packaged in a Docker container, where you can promise a long term support for whatever period you plan to. That would cover both your interest in supportable solution, and interest of users who don't care for long term support or don't want to trade performance on that.
Post edited January 08, 2014 by shmerl
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shaddim: This meme from the 90s needs to die: Pre-installation is NOT the core problem of linux, it's just an excuse.
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elendiel7: Linus doesn't agree with you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFKxlYNfT_o
While I respect Torvalds as engineer and appreciate his style, here I think he is emotional to involved to have a clear view on the topic. Other important linux people were not sharing his point of view recently. E.g. Ingo Molnar, who said nothing about pre-installation: "The desktop Linux suckage we are seeing today - on basically all the major Linux distributions - are the final symptoms of mistakes made 10-20 years ago - the death cries of a platform. Desktop Linux distributions are trying to "own" 20 thousand application packages consisting of over a billion lines of code and have created parallel, mostly closed ecosystems around them. The typical update latency for an app is weeks for security fixes (sometimes months) and months (sometimes years) for major features. They are centrally planned, hierarchical organizations instead of distributed, democratic free societies." Miguel de Icaza, fallen hero of the the free software community, also says nothing about pre-installation but mumbles about "the problem with Linux on the Desktop is rooted in the developer culture that was created around it."
Also a gartner analysis stated not pre-installation as primary problem: "Gartner hasn't been seeing much interest in switching to Linux on the desktop, he says. "We get a lot more questions about switching to Macs than switching to Linux at this point, even though Macs are more expensive." [...]But the single biggest disadvantage Linux has on the desktop is in applications," Also, history of existing pre-installed systems showed that they are not embraced and enjoyed by the users: "Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux."

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TheEnigmaticT: I've never heard of it before, but from a quick look it seems to be something that's developed to help create a simple environment for web SaaS applications, which don't really address what GOG.com does?
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shmerl: Docker definitely can be used for cloud deployments, but it's not limited by such use case. See http://www.docker.io/the_whole_story/

I never actually used that, so I can't say how much performance penalty comes from that abstraction. But they claim it's pretty small in comparison with real virtual machines. At least it would be good if you'd evaluate it and see how it performs in real gaming use cases.
Indeed, Shmerl is right, Docker promises distro agnostic software deployment, a capability long missing in the linux ecosystem and worth for GOG taking a long look. :)
Post edited January 08, 2014 by shaddim
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shmerl: Docker definitely can be used for cloud deployments, but it's not limited by such use case. See http://www.docker.io/the_whole_story/

I never actually used that, so I can't say how much performance penalty comes from that abstraction. But they claim it's pretty small in comparison with real virtual machines. At least it would be good if you'd evaluate it and see how it performs in real gaming use cases.
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shaddim: Indeed, Shmerl is right, Docker promises distro independent software deploying, a capability long missing in the linux ecosystem and worth for GOG taking a long look. :)
If you talk about deploying, there are dedicated software for this purpose which are distro-independant (Puppet, Chief and so on with recipes…)

Btw, you didn't answered about important missing things in previous post ;)

You mainly reply when it suits to you, and we can even see here that you denigrate Thorvalds (yeah, the guy who created Linux!) when what he say doesn't fit what you expect…
I think the main benefit of Docker is not just deploying, but some automated support for isolation, which was the primary concern of GOG above when it came to long term support issues. I.e. they can save on writing their own bundling / isolation code and use the docker as their tool. Deployment automation comes as a bonus on top.
Post edited January 08, 2014 by shmerl
Linux Sales Are Higher Than Mac For Maia Developer.

Hot damn, this was already posted. Still, it deserves emphasis.
Post edited January 08, 2014 by Future_Suture
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shaddim: Indeed, Shmerl is right, Docker promises distro independent software deploying, a capability long missing in the linux ecosystem and worth for GOG taking a long look. :)
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Porkepix: If you talk about deploying, there are dedicated software for this purpose which are distro-independant (Puppet, Chief and so on with recipes…)

Btw, you didn't answered about important missing things in previous post ;)

You mainly reply when it suits to you, and we can even see here that you denigrate Thorvalds (yeah, the guy who created Linux!) when what he say doesn't fit what you expect…
Porkepix, I was not wanting to disrespects you by not continuing the last dialog, quite the opposite: I applaud your enthusiasm and motivation to work on the distribution of open technologies. Infact, I do it myself in my surrounding: PDF instead of DOC(X), Latex instead of Word, Firefox instead of IE, Inkscape instead of AI, etc etc ... but there are domains where the open ecosystem lacks, seriously lacks. Lacks so much, and so deeply by architecture (or even culture) that I can't recommend it, and Linux as desktop is the most hurting one. Yes, it hurts, I was hoping that this central piece will fall in shape after some time, but still after 15 years, the linux desktop fails to deliver, hard. And here, it helps not all to to show just "loyalty" and ignore the quirks, as the reasons are so deep architectural that some hard changes are required to fix this very central piece of the open and free software community.

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shmerl: I think the main benefit of Docker is not just deploying, but some automated support for isolation, which was the primary concern of GOG above when it came to long term support issues. I.e. they can save on writing their own bundling / isolation code and use the docker as their tool. Deployment automation comes as a bonus on top.
Indeed, working deployment. Also, working for longtime and over a broad range! :) Inspired by Poettering who used it for describing systemd, "deployment automation" (as you called it), while not intended, is a result of "doing it right". :)
Post edited January 08, 2014 by shaddim
I'm not interested in getting into a big debate, so I probably won't respond to any replies to this, but I thought these claims needed a little more context.

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shaddim: I follow the technical development of linux very detailed for years now, and I also noticed the arrival of the HIB with great pleasure. And I have seen the rejection of too many technologies which could help ISVs providing third party apps in a reasonable way too often: often because the distros feared they could loose importance and also because some unix traditionalist thought "what worked somehow for decades must be therefore good enough for the next decades, don't touch the architecture!" One example is FatELF developed by Ryan Gordon, the genius who provides 90% of the HIB ports to linux, another one Autopackage which could have ended the painful distro fragmentation.
I can definitely agree that the reception FatELF received was a big problem (though, on the glibc side, not unexpected. Ulrich Drepper is an infamous jerk who even rejected a patch to fix skewed distributions from strfry() because "Stop wasting people's time! Nobody cares about this crap." It's one of the reasons Debian switched to EGLIBC.) but Autopackage fails to get adoption because, architecturally, it's a messy hack, the developers have an arrogant "If we disagree, the world is wrong" attitude and, for better or for worse, many Linux developers care about both of those things.

(I'd link you to a flurry of blog posts going into more detail from as far back as 2005 but the domains are dead, they don't seem to have been saved by the Wayback machine and the only reason I still have access to some of them is that I save local copies of almost every page I read using the ScrapBook Firefox extension.)

Efforts do seem to be under way but God only knows whether this attempt will meet with more success than previous ones. (Here's hoping since this one actually has the major distro vendors participating.)

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shaddim: Another example is GIMP which is functional a fine software, but it also has the most horrible UX (taken out software which has bad functionality too).
No argument. It's not as bad now that they finally gave in and implemented single-window mode (especially with some fine-tuning by someone who knows good UI design principles), but it could still use improvement and Synfig Studio (a Flash-like animation tool) still follows the horrendous mistakes made in GIMP's multi-window mode and actually does worse.

(Though, in GIMP's case, last I checked, part of the problem was that they still made the same mistake Firefox used to make. Long, heavy, slow release cycles with inefficient merging based on Subversion.)

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shaddim: As there is common misunderstanding here I will answer in detail: dependency hell was solved for windows with win2000 and private DLLs (meaning, apps bringing their own set of DLLs). This works as windows always prefer DLLs in the local directory before system libraries.This works fine and SOLVES dependency hell once and for all...by clear separation between apps and system. Also, the overhead is negligible (as DLLs are in moderns apps only a very small part). In linux, on the other hand, there is no concept of local private libraries, applications use always system libs before local one (ignoring ugly hacks like LD_LIBRARYPATH which redirects ALL libs). Which means, in linux everything is in sync and permanent under the risk that on app pulled the wrong version and destabilized the complete system, therefore I call this system (hopefully) "managed dependency hell".

This means every application needs to be synchronized with an distro and it's libs. If I want to provide packages and deploy the app for linux, this results in support pain and many packages. Take a look at humble library, for linux you need 10 packages where windows is fine with one. Distro-agnostic packaging is a problem. Bundle system (like Autopackage) trying to solve that (bundles are common under windows and MacOS), but facing major resistance by the distros.
Private DLLs are basically Windows's way of getting the benefits and downsides of statically-linked libraries without actually statically linking. The only advantage they have is that, like LD_LIBRARY_PATH hacks, users can swap in another version if the developer screws up and is too lazy/busy to release a newer version.

In fact, SDL2 just added support for overriding static linking so that ported games using static linking rather than just LD_LIBRARY_PATH hacks can still allow the user or distro packager to force a newer version of SDL on the game in order to apply fixes.

In essence, it's a trade-off between security and stability. Private DLLs put responsibility for updates on the application provider while fully shared libraries make it easy for the OS updates system to patch a security bug at the risk of breaking an application if the library or application aren't rigorous about maintaining and sticking to an agreed-upon stable ABI.

It's similar to the situation that has prompted Microsoft to take steps like requiring webcams use the Microsoft-provided USB Video Class driver if they want Windows Logo certification. The majority of remaining BSODs are caused by 3rd-party drivers that Microsoft can't fix because they don't have enough leverage to force them to update.

As Donnie Berkholz explains in On package management: Negating the downsides of bundling, there's no simple solution.

I'd be careful citing Ingo Molnar. He's burned enough credibility and made enough enemies over the years on other issues that a lot of people will just dismiss his arguments because he made them.
Post edited January 10, 2014 by ssokolow