ID Software

Story: Cutting Through Multiple Linux Distribution ConcernsTotal Replies: 2
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Oct 09, 2005
9:20 AM EDT
Just a data point from the real world. It's just one data point out of many. I'm sure there are examples to contradict it.

For those who might not know, Id Software is a game company and long time friend of Linux. It was former Id software employees that first ported the original Doom to Linux. Since the time of Quake 1 (1995'ish) Id has always taken the trouble to do an official (but unsupported) port of their games to Linux. They write very portable code, and there is usually a port to Irix, Solaris, BSD, etc. as well. They believe that cross-platform is cool.

They release the source code of their (excellent) engines under GPL a few years after initial release of the engine.

Game code is GPL'd from day one.

When the time came to release Quake 3 a few years ago, they took the bold step of officially supporting Linux. You could actually go to the store and buy a shrink-wrapped box (with a Tux sticker on it) that said Quake 3 for Linux. These were first run, so they actually came in stamped tin boxes, just like the first run Windows version. These boxed products came with full support.

In short, Id Software is a friend of Linux and has been for many years.

The Linux policy ended after the first run of boxes. Id's business manager even stated the exact reason for discontinuing the Linux version. He said, and I quote:

"Linux is a support nightmare."

He then went on to explain a bit about how there were zillions Linux of distros, all different from each other.

One might be tempted to wonder if maybe Microsoft didn't put pressure on them to make that move. Forget it. Id Software was the one game company to spit in MS's face over Direct3D back in the Quake2 era. If it had not been for the prestigious Id Software standing up to MS on the issue, I suspect few Windows users would ever have heard of OpenGL today.

Their latest game out is the excellent Doom3. It's available for Linux, as usual. And *without* official support.

Like I say, one data point. But not one to be ignored.

--- Edit: 12:24 CDT

I found the actual quote. And it was the CEO and not the business manager:

--- Computer gaming company Id Software, creator of "Doom" and "Quake," has scrapped a retail version of its Linux rendering of "Quake III Arena," chief executive Todd Hollenshead said in a recent posting.

"It's a support nightmare due to the multiple flavors of popular versions (of Linux) and the ever-changing kernel; retailers don't want it; and the Linux Q3A sales were disappointing," he said. ---

Oct 09, 2005
10:16 AM EDT
Y'know, Steve...

I forgot all about games. Games are one of those things that get real tight with the hardware and drivers.

They're all one of those things likely to appeal to someone persnickety enough to run Rowdy Chihuahua Linux or some such thing.

Bad combo for Id, I would say, and support for my position that I gave up too easily.

Oct 09, 2005
12:50 PM EDT
Yeah, I'm on the same page here -- don't see how to fix it unless Linux gaming APIs can be consolodated better than they are presently.

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