[Games] Turning on the engine

Miriam Ruiz miriam at debian.org
Wed Nov 26 01:31:53 PST 2008

Hi all,

My name is Miriam, and I'm part of the Debian/Ubuntu Games Team.

First of all, please notice that all the mails sent to the list will
be publicly available in Freedesktop's lists archive [1] and Gmane

We'll wait a bit for the first developers of other distros who might
want to join to do so, feel free to tell anyone who might interested
about this mailing list, especially those who might be doing gaming
stuff for other distributions we might have not contacted yet.

Games are probably the kind of software that needs more patching and
maintenance, and in some cases we even have to effectively act as
upstreams ourselves. Currently every distro is doing that on their
own, and we end up making n times similar patches to provide similar
functionality (put files in the proper places, endianess and word size
stuff, building with newer versions of gcc or free toolchains, etc).
It makes a lot of sense to share among us all that stuff.

Of course, whenever upstream is active and collaborative, we encourage
everyone to work hand-to-hand with them. and send them their patches
and suggestions instead. This mailing list is not a replacement for
active upstreams. The problem is that, in fact, many games lack active
upstreams, or even when they might have, some of them don't care a bit
about the Linux versions of their games, and thus we must patch it to
make it work in our systems, being effectively Linux version

As a declaration of intentions, we want to discuss here patches that
would apply to all, or many of the Linux distributions out there, if a
certain distribution needs to add some specific patches of their own
afterwards, they're free to do so. In any case, the ideal situation
would be that our patching would allow the resulting code to be
compiled in most of the distributions, architectures and versions of
the toolchain as possible.

We're also concerned about freedom of the game contents. In many
situations games have to be modified to remove non-free parts of it
(sounds, music, graphics, fonts,...). We will also have to deal with
that, as we're doing right now in our own distributions.

We also encourage the usage of open standards, such as the XDG Desktop
Base Specification [3], Linux Standard Base [4], Linux Filesystem
Hierarchy Standard [5] and so.

At some point we'll have to decide if we need more tools than just a
mailing list, possibly a wiki page and/or a repository of patches, or
maybe even for the full code of the games. What kind of repository is
up for discussion, but we'd better wait for representatives of the
different distributions who might want to join to do so before taking
those decisions. My personal option would be git, but, as I said, It's
open to discussion.

Please, share your thoughts, whatever those might be. Open discussions
are the best way to achieve the best results.


[1] http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/games/
[2] http://news.gmane.org/gmane.comp.freedesktop.games/
[3] http://standards.freedesktop.org/basedir-spec/
[4] http://www.linuxbase.org/
[5] http://www.pathname.com/fhs/

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