Pirates are Packing Windows games with Flatpak

Not sure if this was discussed yet. Looks like when devs don’t port games, pirates will just bundle them instead as a one- click-run in a sandbox.


I recall @wendell talking about pirates doing stuff like this bad in the ol’ days of computing

Well flatpack, appimage, snap packages make it even faster and easier now, it also means the images are distro / kernal agnostic.


Maybe it will solve @Marten’s problem =P

would be interesting seeing linux ports use something like this


You can always trust pirates to pave the way with new technologies. I wonder if developers will take note of this and improve the state of Linux ports or if they would denounce it and label Linux as a platform for piracy. Big publishers are already reluctant to port their games to Linux and I can see them doubling down on that if these new technologies make it much easier to package and distribute pirated games.


Probably the latter but it will mostly fall on deaf ears. It might give AAA studios another excuse not to port but that won’t stop the flatpacks rolling in and it certainly won’t put off smaller indie devs who already release good value games that work fine on Linux. Pirating has existed on windows for a long time and it still has games.

It really will be port or get sandboxed. Rightly or wrongly there’s nothing they can do about it.



I love them so much.

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Could this be used to ship a preconfigured/patched version of Wine to distribute non-Linux titles? Now that would be a reason for developers to officially support Linux.

EDIT: I can’t read.

That’s exactly what it is. One click to run.


I can really see this being a big boon to indie development to get their games to as many platforms as possible with less effort. My only concern is the perception by the big studios but as you said it’ll either be ported or get sandboxed.

And in some ways that is really bad. Dev’s would be better learning Linux rather than lazily packaging wine versions… but if it works, then at least older titles can be ported. It would probably take for Valve to allow for flatpack, but i heard they have been looking into it themselves.

Newer games should always be native for finer performance and better hardware support. IMO ‘No Tux no Bux’ still applies.


My thought was for indie developers to package native versions using flatpack and distribute the sandbox to improve compatibility between different distributions of Linux.


Many games that do support Linux use a compatibility layer like eON anyway. So the difference between using WINE or “native” ports is minor.


True. So long as things like VR, Multi-monitor, various gaming peripherals ( wheels, motion controllers, 3rd party gamepads) are still supported and im not sure how eON and WINE differ in this regard. Honestly all those things would probably work just fine too with flatpack WINE (well maybe not VR)

Obviously Neither method would yield the same results as native especially if Vulkan is used, but as a solution to bundling everything up in one executable as a Dev you could probably now just flatpack 90% of your older windows titles and have them work due to WINE supporting D3D DX9, DX10 really well and GPU’s having the headroom to run them easily.
Especially If you factor in Gallium9 on AMD giving native and in some cases faster than native Windows performance.

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From the subreddit:

If they actually make a “native” (whatever the fuck that means by now) it rarely performs any better than wine.

I agree with this. All the DirectX supporting APIs for sound, networking, etc. have a negligible impact on performance. Direct3D is the problem and OpenGL/Vulkan are not drop in replacements so there will always be overhead unless the game engine also supports OpenGL or Vulkan out of the box. Perfect example is Doom 2016, performance under Wine is pretty much identical to Windows because there’s no additional graphics API overhead.

The real issue is this:

Because then they’d have to support it.

The quick and dirty method doesn’t change the fundamental issue. Support and compatibility. Windows is an OS that from version to version mostly maintains compatibility. Certain versions break compatibility, but its years in between. For example, Windows 95 GA -> Windows XP GA (6 years difference); Windows XP -> Windows Vista (6 years), Windows Vista -> Windows 8 (6 years).

When you compare this to Linux? Its all over the map… First, you have dozens of OSs: RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu, OpenSuSe, OpenMandriva, Arch, Slackware, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, Mageia, PCLinuxOS, Elementary, etc…

Each is linux, so which do you choose? Maybe the big two: Ubuntu and RHEL / Fedora. So, on windows you are only testing one OS with a guarantee that for 5-6 years compatibility will be maintained, but on linux you must test at minimum two and there isn’t any guarantee compatibility will be maintained. Look at Fedora, plowing ahead with Wayland for the last year when Nvidia hardly even supports it right now, and Ubuntu is just starting to…

If flatpak can become the standard, and make it easier for devs to bundle what they need their games to run with, then it will be easy for them to support it, and then over time the userbase will grow and become widely adopted.

I believe that containerization/sand-boxing will be the future of gaming because it will unify the platforms in a way that hardware pass-through cannot.


Man if it can carry my whole Steam Library or even most of it over, I won’t need Hardware Passthrough and it will actually make life easier now cause I wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining a Virtual Machine.

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I think so too. But native does perform better than WINE in almost everycase, it always will and if Vulkan is to be adopted over DX12 then more native Vulkan titles are needed not wrapped versions of DX12, that puts the onus on Microsoft to play fair and it says nothing for the endless amounts of middleware required to play modern AAA titles.

I don’t condone Piracy or this method of doing it but there is no denying that as you said the vast majority of older games will perform ‘good enough’ and perhaps even have some bugs squashed from the original Windows release. It also opens up a way to archive games to last way beyond the OS use-by date, unlike now where XP games don’t work on Windows in many cases they still do … on WINE :slight_smile:

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Thinking about it within 6 months from now if this takes off there could be hundreds if not thousands of working flatpacks of Windows titles. It would be better for Devs to take the lead now before missing out on potential sales rather than tub thump about how Linux is full of evil pirates.

I wonder which route they will choose… :unamused:

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More flatpak news. Given so many people use Mint for gaming this is interesting. It might help launch Mint for gaming even further given Ubuntu are using Snappy.


DuckDuckGo-ing for “GTA5 Flatpak” …

This just might be the thing that finally allows me to kick MS out completely. GTA is literally the only thing keeping me on Windows right now.