I hate proprietary software

Posted on May 12, 2023

Even when it’s \m/.

Years ago I watched my SO play Brütal Legend and of course loved it, but I’ve been only using used computers for a long time, and none of them was really able to run modern games.

Admittedly, he told me that I could use his computer to play the game while he wasn’t home (and I do have an account on that computer, that I’ve sporadically used to do computationally intensive stuff, but always remotely), but it was a hassle, and I never did.

This year, however, he gifted me a shiny new CPU and motherboard, and among other things that meant games from this century!

The first thing I’ve spent time on was 0ad (which admittedly already worked on one of the old computers, as long as the map wasn’t too big), but now it was time to play basically the one recent proprietary game I had been wanting to play.

So, this afternoon I started by trying to copy the installer (it was bought from an humble bundle, I don’t have steam) from the home server to my PC, and the home server froze. Ok, I could copy it through something else than git annex (or from the offline hard disk backup, as I did).

Then I tried to run the installer, which resulted in the really helpful error message:

bash: ./BrutalLegend-Linux-2013-05-07-setup.bin: cannot execute: required file not found

ok, then surely ldd can help:

not a dynamic executable

maybe it doesn’t like being a symlink (remember, git annex), but no, that wasn’t the problem. ah! maybe file can help, and indeed:

BrutalLegend-Linux-2013-05-07-setup.bin: ELF 32-bit LSB executable

argh. Why does proprietary software hate us?

Oh, well, https://wiki.debian.org/Multiarch/HOWTO , dpkg --add-architecture i386 followed by apt update and apt install libc6-i386 and the installer started.

Of course this didn’t mean that the game could run, but at least it was spitting out the right error messages, and I could quickly see what the other missing packages were:

apt install lib32z1 libbz2-1.0:i386 libgl1:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386

and the game started!


no. audio.

I often play games with no audio, because I can’t wear headphones, but here the soundtrack is basically 50% of the reason one would play this game.

Back when my SO had played the game audio was still through pulseaudio, while now I’m using pipewire (and I wasn’t sure that the game wasn’t old enough to be wanting to use alsa), so I started to worry a bit.

And this time, there was no error message to help, but some googling (on searx) and trial and error gave me this list of packages:

apt install pipewire-audio libpipewire-0.3-0:i386 libpulse0:i386 pipewire-alsa:i386

and that was it! the game started AND I could hear music!

And then it was time for dinner, and I couldn’t play.

(You may notice that this post has been posted quite some time after dinner. Most of this time wasn’t spent writing the post.)

Anyway, as soon as I’ve defeated and crushed Doviculus I’m going back to 0ad. or maybe wesnoth. or some other Free Software and frustration-free game.