Linux Users Petition Against ‘Humble Bundle V’ Due To Non-Native Version Of ‘Limbo’

Humble Bundle V
Humble Bundle V

The Humble Bundle V has already been a huge success, mostly due to the incredible line up of games, but not everyone is entirely happy. One of the great things about the Humble Bundle is that it has brought a lot of games to Linux which might never have appeared on the platform otherwise. In return, Linux users have consistently been the top contributors on average to the bundle’s cause. It’s fair to say that an amount of trust has been established between both parties (the Humble Bundle and Linux users), but a number of people feel as though this trust has been “violated” due to the non-native Linux version of Limbo in Humble Bundle V.

The version of Limbo included in the bundle uses a Wine/CodeWeavers wrapper rather than running natively on the system. Those who have started and stood behind the online petition feel that this “sets a horrible precedent for the future, encouraging developers to merely put out unoptimized Windows binaries of their games running through a WINE or similar layer merely to con Linux users out of their money.”

A debate has been ensuing for the past few days about this. Some agree with the petition and demand to see a high standard maintain for Linux users, while others look to the history of Linux games – a noticeable lack of them – and are grateful that they can even play the game in the first place. The latter group fear treading on toes and scaring other developers away from making Linux versions for their games at all. Not to mention the show of disrespect towards Humble Bundle, calling it out for a loss of integrity despite the many games it has provided the platform’s users with. Many feel that the petition raises a valid point and support the cause, but perceive the online petition as a step too far.

The question about the Linux build of Limbo was pitched to the Humble Bundle organizers on Reddit and they gave some pretty valid reasons for the decision to go with WINE.

Jeffrey Rosen, the co-founder of Humble Bundle said:

“The LIMBO Linux build was created by CodeWeavers who basically take a custom version of Wine and tune the game to make sure it runs flawlessly. This is our first experiment with CodeWeavers and we are watching carefully.

If there are any bugs with the game, I don’t want people to think “oh well, it uses Wine” — these ought to be sent to CodeWeavers who should do their best to fix them.”


Richard Esguerra, also co-founder of Humble Bundle then added:

“We typically help organize porting for the games in the bundle, and it’s usually the toughest part! But we’re rabid about trying to provide the best experience possible, and native ports usually do that.

But in the case of LIMBO, our porting friends said there was some audio middleware that’s not easily supported on Linux, we decided to see if we could experiment with another solution that could provide a rock-solid Linux gaming experience. CodeWeavers took it on—they do highly customized Linux wrappers to optimize specific pieces of software—and the prototypes worked incredibly well. They spent a lot of time tweaking and optimizing, and it passed their QA and our QA (and seemed to perform more consistently than even some of the native ports we’ve seen).

But we get that software is hard, and so we’ll try to keep an eye out for any showstoppers. Hit up with any issues and we’ll make sure CodeWeavers hears about any LIMBO bugs that need fixing.”

Ultimately it’s up to you decide where you stand with the petition – it’s not intended as a “smear” towards the Humble Bundle or the developers, just a means to raise awareness so that Linux users don’t get the short straw again if possible. Sympathies can lie on both sides quite easily for the reasons listed above, but where do you stand? Is the petition a step too far? Is WINE all that bad after all?

There are 27 comments

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  1. Shawn McCool

    You show them, Linux guys!

    It’s easy to ignore Linux as a gaming platform. Why not make it easier by leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth?

  2. Carlton Hobbs

    While I’d rather a native Linux version, Wine is more essential than any single game ever could be…as a migration path from Windows to Linux.  So I think it just as important to occasionally show how good Wine can be (and Codeweavers who direct it).  So I’m actually GLAD Humble Bundle chose to add a wine port this time.

  3. CraigStern

    If it runs well, who cares what the underlying tech is? There are better reasons to be irritated with the latest Humble Indie Bundle than this.

  4. Régis

     I’m a long-time Linux user (since 2001).

    If you choose to use Linux instead of Windows, you must deal with consequences as I do. And the major consequence is : “You can’t play on a Linux box as you can play under Windows”. You must choose. That’s why there’s so many Linux user whose keeping a Windows partition.  For some of them it’s like having a STD, it’s ashamed ;)

    Thanks to Humble Bundie to try to port as much as they could on Linux platform.

  5. Vrajak

    The HIB are great, and have been providing lots of games for Linux users. Can’t believe some are rediculous enough to petition against it. Getting a game that runs flawlessly or great on your Linux setup is not getting the short straw in any way shape or form. Its like caring about what color a person is, no matter how good they may be. 

    Linux gamers, stop whining and enjoy your games.

  6. Anthony

    I think they are behaving as iff the  choice is between a wine port and a native client when it is more likely between a wine port and not including limbo at all.

  7. Brews

    I think part of weight behind this hubbub is that the Wine ports are often not so “rock-solid” and “flawless” in the wild. And so it is a bit of a let-down when you thought you were paying for a working (ideally native) game.

  8. Brews

    …if it runs well…

    The frame rate are often sub-par, if it even launches in the first place.

    I’m not sure were I stand on this. I can understand both sides of the problem.

  9. Hellhowl

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Linux is free, but there are costs :)

    I’ve been a linux user for many years and now have a few machines with different distros installed (ranging from a very duct-taped Arch to latest Fedora and Ubuntu). No problem with running the games.

    In previous Bundle there was a problem with Botanicula which needed Adobe AIR to run in linux. I happily downloaded the windows version and ran it in Wine.

    I guess it could’ve been mentioned that LIMBO is just a W$ version wrapped in Wine, but hey, they only say that the games _work_ in linux, not that they run natively. We get what we pay for.

    This edition of the Humble Bundle is probably the best so far, we’re getting 5  high quality games for (currently) less than $8, this is ~$1.5 _per_game_. Plus soundtracks. How much work (I mean real work, being a dick on the Internet doesn’t count) would the disappointed and whining linux users do if I offered them $1.5? Would any of them port LIMBO to linux for $1.5?

  10. jimvonmoon

    You have to be insane to petition against charity. Linux isn’t for gaming – deal with it. What do you expect developers of Limbo to do? To port their game to another platform just for charity? World doesn’t work like that.

  11. jimvonmoon

    You have to be insane to petition against charity. Linux isn’t for gaming – deal with it. What do you expect developers of Limbo to do? To port their game to another platform just for charity? World doesn’t work like that.

  12. jimvonmoon

    You have to be insane to petition against charity. Linux isn’t for gaming – deal with it. What do you expect developers of Limbo to do? To port their game to another platform just for charity? World doesn’t work like that.

  13. James

    This article has a sensationalist title. Linux users aren’t petitioning against the bundle. They’re petitioning for native ports.

  14. Whaitera Kanakoka

    I feel for the Linux crowd, but I don’t think we should pick on the indie devs. They and the charities scrape for every dime, and being resistant to kindness is not a good way to make yourself heard…it actually comes across as uncaring and down-right mean-spirited

  15. Tom Novelli

    Haha, I was wondering if anyone else got Limbo working on Linux. It doesn’t work for me in Fedora 17. I’ll try my wife’s Ubuntu box, or if that fails, on my old Windows junker. It sounds like a kick-ass game, from the reviews I’ve read. If Limbo wasn’t in this Humble Bundle, I would’ve ignored it. Ditto if I’d known Limbo didn’t have NATIVE Linux support.

    Also, the Linux packages for most of these games are total crap. Just give me a friggin’ tarball I can unzip and run in place. Statically linked. Maybe a separate tarball for 64-bit if it’s too bloated. 

    I know Linux gamedev is a pain in the ass, that’s why I’m experimenting with HTML5 and WebGL. If you don’t want to deal with Linux, just say “sorry, Mac and Windows only”. I’m signing the damn petition and I’m not raising my $9 payment. Bah humbug :)

  16. Naylord

    Why don’t you just use windows? I understand some of the benefits to Linux but given how many things only work with Windows you’re better off dual booting if you’re an enthusiast that wants linux

  17. Naylord

    Why don’t you just use windows? I understand some of the benefits to Linux but given how many things only work with Windows you’re better off dual booting if you’re an enthusiast that wants linux

  18. Hellhowl

    Will you buy me a Win7 copy? Actually, I’d need 4. This is $400-$800, depending on version. Frankly, even if you would, I’d still prefer linux and asked you to send the money to charity.

  19. Sir Lintalot

    Having downloaded most of the games recently, and tried playing some, I have found Bastion to run horribly and braid has vsync issues, and those are the two I’ve tried so far.

    But I don’t really care that much about it, I already have all those games on Steam, which I can use on my windows partition. I actually bought the humble bundle because I wanted to see what the linux ports were like, and to support charity and developers. 

    To be honest, if you are complaining about getting some of the most esteemed indie titles for 10$, free to download on any platform, free of DRM, with OST, and most of the money goes to devs and charity, not publishers; if you’re complaining about this, you are among the most petty human beings out there. I’ll say it again, if you’re complaining about this, you need to get away from your computer, and get back in touch with reality, because you are not participating in this world as a human being. Seriously, 10$ will get you two beers if you’re in a pub, and you’re complaining that your 10$, which will give about approx 20-80 hours of entertainment, not being tailored perfectly to a close to non-existent market.

    I mean, the OSTs themselves are worth the 10$. Seriously, they are.

    So, if you are a linux fanatic, for the love of the FSM, don’t start petitioning the guys who are trying to help you. Yes, despite not making “native supported games”, these guys are actually trying to make linux better, and you’re complaining about it. In the normal world, that’s called being an asshole.

    And as the humble bundle people have said, they’re urging linux users to report bugs so they can fix them. That’s better than many devs do for their windows versions for crying out loud.

  20. indiegamer

     Well the sound is flaky as compared to the other games and it will suddenly just stop i cant hear any music. I’ve been on the forums and it mostly talks about non compatibilities with direct sound. I any case it is a decent attempt but i hope we get a native linux version soon in the future

  21. vhzc

    Somebody says “Linux is free, but there are costs”, I think that he lost completely the point.

    The linux users  are paying for that games (in fact we pay more than the other system users) and we deserve  the same quality of game that the other system users.

     Also is a lie if you say that a game is cross platform and you have to use wine. In that case are all the games that can run win wine cross platform? I don’t think so.

  22. Jamieson Christian

    A lot of people don’t realize there are two flavors of WINE: the runtime compatibility layer (which is the “WINE” most people are familiar with) and winelib, a development toolkit that allows Windows-centric code to be compiled to run natively on Linux. Personally, I don’t have a problem with recompiling the source against winelib to create a native (if not terribly optimized) Linux port. It’s why winelib exists: to encourage the porting of apps that might otherwise never get ported due to resource constraints.

    I don’t know whether Crossover used a runtime compatibility layer or winelib. But LIMBO ran smooth as silk on my Ubuntu 11.10 box, so I find it hard to complain about the method of porting. I’m more inclined to complain about the Bastion port, which crashes consistently after about an hour of gameplay.

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