The default way to install free games that run on Linux natively (Cube 2, for example) is to donwload the tarball and compile it. While this works, I don’t think it’s ideal. For games that exist in the distrobutions’ repositories, installing games through the package manager makes Lutris fit much better in the ecosystem.
The implimentation on a basic level is simple, I’d think:
- Detect what distro the client is being run on.
- If it not based on Arch, Debian, Fedora, or Gentoo, (as an example), use the tarball installation method.
- If it is on a ‘supported’ distro, lookup the package name for that distro (cube2 for Debian/Ubuntu, sauerbraten for Arch), which would be specified in the installer (and if there isn’t one for that distro, use the tarball).
- Have the package manager (apt-get/pacman) install the package.
After that is implimented, compatibility with things like the AUR and PPAs are only a matter of offering the user a custom package manager command or adding a url from the installer.
Well that would be neat, but it is a lot of work, also installing the packages the way Lutris currently does, doesn’t require root privileges, which makes it a more comfortable experience for the end user.
I think maybe we can add installers as usual but for specific distros. And the decision of installing that way would still be on hands of the user. But we should figure out how to prompt for super user password for installation, thinking that each desktop environment may be different.
That’s not exactly how it works on Lutris. The client downloads an archive of the pre-compiled game, extracts it and runs the executable in the Lutris runtime (which is a customized Steam runtime).
I’m not saying it’s ideal, but it’s working cross-distro and – being lazy – I like universal solutions.
It’s also the solution that provides us with the most freedom (we can provide the latest version of the games; users choose where to install (games being heavy, it’s important) and don’t need root access).
Knowing that, would you still prefer to install via distro packages and why?
I will pretty much always prefer to install via distro packages if I have the chance.
- If the system happens to be one where I have an additional account for a girlfriend or friend or family member or whatever, they, too, can use/play the game without first downloading and installing it locally on their user - saving time and space.
- The package manager will know where all the system files are and I can use something like
pacman -Ql to see this. I also trust my distributions package manager to get rid of a package properly more than I do non-distro specific ones (a reason I prefer to do even test-installs via PKGBUILDs and
make install from Git or using
pip etc.). (Maybe these package managers are better at this now than they were ~15 years ago when I switched to using Linux, but I’d rather not have to find out.)
- If you’re worried about a game not being up-to-date, use a distribution that doesn’t think 10 year old software is the bomb.
Sorry but this won’t happen.
Lutris is capable of using games installed via the package manager by adding them manually via the interface.
One possible feature that could be implemented in the future is the ability to mass-import games installed system-wide (as long as they have a desktop launcher).
One of the reason why Lutris was created is that I didn’t want to be subjected to the distributions release cycles for the versions of games I run and I didn’t want games to be installed on my system partition which is usually small.
With lutris, games are installed without root to the user’s location of choice.
For the record, we tried having a system where we would try using the package manager to install stuff. It wasn’t for games but for runners, it was basically the same thing.
This system was brittle, incomplete and deeply flawed, we are not going back there.
Just to be clear: I didn’t put out my arguments for why to use the package manager over something else (like Lutris) to try and get the proposed feature into Lutris (I’d still install via package manager even if Lutris had this feature). It was merely a rebuttal/answer to the “would you still prefer to install via distro packages and why?” question.