Depending on who you ask, an actual good platform for PC gaming may be becoming harder and harder to find. A few months ago it came out that Valve had no faith in Windows 8 as a good platform for gaming. This only served to cause the company to put a lot more effort into releasing a version of its Steam platform for Linux. In order to provide a decent Linux experience, though, Valve opted to only officially support a single distro. As such, they decided to support only Ubuntu in the initial release of the client, and that continues today with the client having reached an open beta status.
This has been slightly disappointing for me since I have had very little love for Ubuntu after some recent decisions that have taken place at Canonical. Only adding fuel to the fire is a new report that apparently Canonical has been selling the indie title Super Meat Boy in the Ubuntu Software Center for a year without receiving permission from the developers or providing them with any payment for it. According to co-developer Ed McMillen:
“Last year Ubuntu added Super Meat Boy to their store without our written permission and sold it for a full year without paying us. we didnt find this out till a few months ago and had to contact them directly about it in order to get our payment…. i dont trust or respect their actions and wont be working with them ever again.”
No one should blame them for not wanting to support or work with Canonical, either. If you have any doubts regarding how hard indie developers work to get their games created or the risks they take, the film Indie Game is something you should watch. While McMillen has gone on to say that the sales numbers from the Ubuntu Software Center were small and not something they felt inclined to sue over, it’s the principal of the matter that makes the whole situation so uncomfortable. First Canonical is willing to be quite free with user information in order to generate some revenue. Now they’re apparently also willing to rip off hardworking, independent developers in order to make their lackluster store slightly more appealing to the masses.
Overall, it’s just appalling behavior from a company, especially one that has previously shown a lot of promise in the realm of making a Linux distro more widely acceptable outside of computer nerd circles. Ubuntu has had a lot going for it over the past few years, and despite some rough patches with Unity I had finally thought they managed to clean everything up and restore their OS into something that wasn’t just usable but that was actually good. While everything appears to be in solid working order from a technical perspective, administrative-level decisions just continue to cast Canonical’s product in a negative light. I can only hope they get the negative backlash they deserve from this.