PlayOnLinux – Play Games On Linux

I discovered this via an LXer newsfeed on Most Linux users should know about the Wine project and about the Cedega project and even about CrossOver Office – the aim of these programs is to run Windows programs, games and office type programs easily on Linux. There are problems with each program – Wine can be difficult to get working well (often needing tweaks even to just install it), Cedega took Wine and turned it into a “pay for” program and gave nothing back to Wine and Crossover Office is another program you have to pay for, though they do give their programming back to the Wine project. If you just want to play games, until now, Cedega is the one you had to go for. And if you wanted to pretty much guarantee that you could play games and run office programs, you had to buy both Cedega and CrossOver office. And finally, if you have a lot of time on your hands and don’t want to pay money for a product, you could spend time with the original Wine.

That is, until now. PlayOnLinux is a Wine frontend created with Bash and Python. This means that it is runnable on any recent (or up to date) Linux distro. It provides pre-scripted installs for many Windows programs and Windows games. In fact, I installed LucasArtsJedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast with it and it plays flawlessly and installs in the quickest time ever. I chose this game for two reasons: the first is that I know it installs with both vanilla Wine and with Cedega. The second reason is that it’s a lot of fun to play 🙂

From the Presentation page:

PlayOnLinux is a piece of sofware which allow you to install and use easily numerous games and softwares designed to run with Microsoft®’s Windows®.
Indeed, currently, still few games are compatible with GNU/Linux, and it could be a factor preventing from migrate to this system. PlayOnLinux brings an accessible and efficient solution to this problem, cost-free and rescpetful of the free softwares.
Get rid of Windows®’ constraints! But continue to play!

There really isn’t a lot to say about this program.  If you need a way to run Windows games or programs, don’t want to spend money and don’t want to have to spend time tweaking and configuring, then this is a program to add to your toolbox.  It is pretty much only limited by Wine’s limitations.  It allows you to run multiple versions of Wine, to install programs with only a few clicks and, because it’s distro independent, to carry your configuration settings to any PC you have Linux installed on.

The program is at version 3.0.1 at this time of writing and is already very polished.  Currently, only documentation for developers is provided, though user documentation is coming, they also provide distro specific packages and installations.  Help is provided through their forums, though I would be very surprised if a wiki isn’t produced at some time.  The program has it’s own IRC client so you can help and be helped without using your browser.  As it’s open source and cost free, installation
is very pain free and you are welcome to help it progress by either testing and bug reporting or by creating plugin scripts or by checking the code and suggesting improvements.


Posted on 1 June, 2008, in Computer Stuff, Open Source and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Wow..that is sweet. I bet my games would run really fast on linux.

  2. How is the 3d performance under Wine? I guess it all depends on that whether it’s worthwhile or not exploring this potion.

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  3. My laptop isn’t the best guage for this sort of thing: it’s got a crappy Ati card on it and the fglrx drivers don’t support it. On the other hand, JKII ran pretty quickly with lots of effects turned up to the max. It’s at least comparable with the performance on a Windows machine. The program also allows you to install DirectX so I see it as the perfect program to unite Wine/XOver and Cedega.

    Steve – basically, if your game is supported by Wine it should work under POL/Linux.

    Rays last blog post..PlayOnLinux – Play Games On Linux

  4. I’m asking because I’d really like to use this. Windows Vista is crappy for gaming and I have a few games I’d like to play without jerkiness or frame drops (like it happens in Vista).

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  5. Wow, I would love to run games on Linux. Very cool

    Larry @ Green Lightings last blog post..Green LED Light bulbs Shine in a Variety of Places

  6. Great! Thanks so much for the info! I agree with Steve. My games would probably run really fast on Linux! 🙂

  7. Wow, I would have to agree with hari vista has been nothing but trash for me. It will be interesting to try out some games on Linux.

  8. Hari (and everyone), try it out. For Debian users, you can install it via Synaptic/Apt/Aptitude and there are instructions for all the major distros. It builds on the technological improvements of Wine and, as I say, JKII runs with no more slow down than I had under Windows versions prior to Vista (not that I’ve ever used Vista).

    My laptop roars along with it and my laptop is definitely not a gaming laptop!

  9. Vista has completely clogged my system… my pre-Vista battery life was roughly 3 hours, and now it’s 1 hour. I’m looking forward to testing Linux!

  10. Ray, the Debian version won’t install properly because it depends on a newer version of Python and Python WX-GTK than is installed on my system.

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  11. That sucks. Can you not upgrade via Unstable?

    Rays last blog post..PlayOnLinux – Play Games On Linux

  12. I could, but that *might* break other dependencies. Besides I tried playing my game EA Rail Simulator 2008 under Wine and it doesn’t work.

    Is PlayonLinux configured in such a way that makes games play under Wine?

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  13. It hits that sweet spot between Xover office and Cedega, but I don’t know that it adds anything to either except the fact you don’t have to pay for it.

    Could you run it under a VM?

  14. Does 3d acceleration work under virtual machines? I doubt it because it needs the full, exclusive access to 3d hardware which virtualization does not provide.

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  15. 3d acceleration depends on the virtualizer. Parallels for Mac and some version of VMWare has some 3d acceleration but its not universal and not always trouble free.

  16. My brother Ram is the family expert on virtualization, as he works for Sun (on virtualbox). So I take his opinion on this one. 🙂

    haris last blog post..Papa Hari School of the Obvious

  17. Linux is a very fluid operating system. I haven’t played any games on it, but I imagine they run well. PlayOnLinux seems like a good application, especially since it’s free and seems to work better than the pay one.

  18. I am a system admin and i am using linux(gentoo) for 8 years both my desktop and servers.PlayonLinux is a nice piece of software, in my opinion a lot better than cedega but i still think dual boot is a lot better than emulating.Ati and Nvidia should give us better drivers especially ATI.

  19. Could not agree with you more. Wine was only ever intended as a stop gap – once *Nixers hit a critical mass games and software developers were supposed to recognise the market and tailor their offerings accordingly. Cedega took Wine and made it proprietary and gave nothing back 😦

    Dual booting is fine if you are a gamer, but I game irregularly, my test game is several years old now, so dual booting for one game is a bit of overkill for me.

  20. I don't play so much and I like windows, but if I had linux as the main operating system, certainly I would had a windows on another partition to play games, the performance is better I think.

  21. I don’t play so much and I like windows…
    but if I had linux as the main operating system, certainly I would had a windows on another partition to play games,
    because the performance is better I think.

  22. It can depend on the game. I have seen postings from people who say the game runs better on Linux – in fact, JKII was constantly crashing on me under Windows, whereas on Linux I can play it right through.

  23. I don’t play so much like my husband. But sometimes I play but it depends on the game. I like wii.

  24. do they even have any worthwhile games out for linux? i mean goood games, like the ones Blizzard makes @_@

  25. POL is for Windows games. Wine, Cedega, POL, Xover Office all allow you to run Windows games and programs on Linux. So if a particular game of MS Office is keeping you in Microsoft’s clutches, you can use one of those programs to free yourself. Sort of.

  26. The problem with playing games in Windows is that the operating system sucks up so much of the resources. I think it’s part of Microsoft’s game plan to make people by bigger and bigger machines, instead of cheaper ones. These programs lets gamers get out of that cycle.

    Craig@Game Reviews’s last blog post..Diablo 3 – PC Mac Games

  27. Absolutely. Why should MS try to make their programmers make more frugal code when they can simply make users buy bigger and better hardware? It’s a good thing to make your computer equipment last longer – saves you money and saves the environment somewhat.

  28. I run all my projects and games through linux. No CRASHING or other MS bs. Linux is by far better and safer!!

  29. Good man!! Shame you’re running XP and IE6 though 🙂

  30. I have to for work 😦 They won’t let me do what I want….

  31. I have the exact same problem at my place of work too….

  32. I will try it running on my linux machine.

  33. I will try it running on my linux machine. At the moment for fun stuff have to switch to windows and linux is more for server oriented tasks only.

  34. Not a very big linux fan,although it does seem like games would run better on it.

  35. Linux isn't meant to be played on, there are so much better platforms.
    Thanks for the article will recommend it.

  36. Hey thanks a lot i didnt know about this free games, i tought linux was very boring, thanks for the post, you're amazing dude

  37. Not a lot of MMORPG games can be played on Linux. Look through this list – and you'll not find many.

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