Why doesn't Wine/PoL work?

This isn’t a request for tech support, and I have posted this elsewhere, but what I’m after (hopefully) is some insight from the Ubuntu team on what could be wrong with the development/release process. After all, most things work perfectly in Ubuntu. But somewhere along the line, this entire nonfunctioning PlayonLinux system was made available in the Ubuntu apps utility, which, presumably, means that either it wasn’t tested at all, or it worked under some older version of Ubuntu, or the testing process involved just one or two old games that ‘somewhat’ worked.

Here’s a message I posted the Wine forums detailing the major problem (it’s anyone’s guess whether they will approve it, but no matter). I just wonder where the responsibility lies for having a program on the list which ostensibly works to run many Windows games in a sandbox, but when tried out it doesn’t run anything. I imagine that in most cases, users would simply uninstall PoL and find something else to do. In a smaller number of cases, users would try out various solutions, and seek help from online forums. But it’s really amazing to me that everything works ‘out of the box’ on this new Ubuntu system I’ve got except this bizarre Windows emulator which makes such extraordinary claims.

Hi everyone

I am a recent returner to Linux, after a hiatus of many years. A long time ago, just about everything had to be installed by means of the terminal box, and everything about it was experimental. Sometimes things just worked, and at other times they didn’t, and the problem-solving exercise was challenging enough, and if it was too challenging you could post a question on a forum and hope for the best. But, generally, unless you wanted to do raw computing tasks, you couldn’t count on Linux for any multimedia (it wouldn’t even have drivers for the audio or graphics card most of the time), and the games were pretty bad. :lol:

Now I have an Intel i5-7400. I’ve installed Ubuntu 18.04.1 on it. So far, so good. It’s a very well-developed distro and it’s moved along in leaps and bounds. It’s as infantile as Windows but much better, starts up faster, is more reliable and secure, etc. Excellent. So I found Wine and installed it, in the hope of running just a couple of old Windows games. These games were:

Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed 2
Assassin’s Creed Revelations
Microsoft Age of Empires Gold

I have the original DVDs and the licence codes/permissions for all those games.

To my surprise, there is a program here, which Ubuntu installs painlessly, called PlayonLinux. It’s a sort of shell script with its own graphical interface, which has a drop-down list of games it supposedly automatically installs. I had a look at the drop-down list. It has all of the games I listed above, and more! Great! This PoL program supposedly knows the correct Wine version, and then prompts you for permission to download and install it, along with other libraries required to run the games.

I tried it out. It suggested a different Wine version for each game (I don’t know anything about Wine but isn’t it bizarre that an older version of Wine can run a particular game but a newer one won’t?) and a set of libraries to install. I went through with it and allowed it to install what it wanted. But absolutely nothing would run. I then Googled the problem and found instructions on how others had got it working. I followed the instructions to a tee, and tried out various Wine configuration settings, and still nothing worked. I’m content to give up at this point, as I have more entertaining hobbies in my life these days than old-school Linux problem-solving.

But there is something I would like to know. I struggle to understand why Wine shouldn’t do what it says it does on the tin. What is there to gain from making claims that PoL + Wine will run every program under the sun, when it demonstrably doesn’t? Is it more like about having a vision for the future guiding a project (e.g. an actual Windows emulator) than about having actual functionality? How much problem-solving and research is expected from the end-user?

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PlayOnLinux states

Wine is not a perfect replacement for Windows; in fact, it is rather limited.

and PlayOnLinux is just a “front-end” for Wine so I don’t know how you got

as I couldn’t find anywhere on Ubuntu documentation where a claim like that was made.

If there is Ubuntu documentation that states what you claim, we can look at it (if you tell us where), but I can’t see how we can help otherwise as your post is just an expression of disappointment without anything specific that we can use to make Ubuntu better. (my opinion only)

Fair enough. Tbh I have no criticism of Ubuntu as I’m really happy with it - it gets stuff done and it just works, but there is a hint of disappointment in my post because of the slight hyperbole used. This is because the ability to use proprietary Windows games is a real game-changer, and it makes it impossible to convince others to continue using or switch to Ubuntu rather than shell out for the Windows behemoth. At a personal level, I know I’ll have to suffer by providing tech support in perpetuity (basic things like firewalls/virus protection, setting up printers, etc.) if family members revert to Windows, and I find that a tiresome prospect.

PlayOnLinux claims to install everything on this list:

When you start PoL on Ubuntu, all of those titles are shown in a drop-down list. You select one and the PoL program suggests a Wine version and extra libraries. PoL then downloads them and declares your game installed. However, it doesn’t work.

I tested it with all of these and I presume nothing else on the list would work either:
Assassins Creed
Assassins Creed 2
Assassins Creed Revelations
Assassins Creed Brotherhood
Age of Empires 3
Civ 4

I have lots of others from that list, but, realistically, I think I’ve tested enough to know it doesn’t work with this Ubuntu version. PoL is just a frontend to help with installing Wine-compatible games But the testing is being done by the end-user. This makes it different from everything else I find in the Ubuntu store, which works like a charm. It also is rather important IMO, because the ability to run these classic Windows commercial games is a real selling point for Linux.

I’m curious why this discussion is occurring in the Ubuntu community instead of the friendly PlayOnLinux forums?

POL is a volunteer effort, I’m sure they would appreciate some more volunteer testing (who wouldn’t?)


I have already done my volunteer testing and have found that it doesn’t work with this version of Ubuntu and those games. I’m not going to invest more time in it, and certainly not give them error reports etc., because if PoL is willing to boldly put their app on the Ubuntu repository without testing it, it’s not a project worth helping out. It’s just an ethics thing because money is always involved (donations) even if it’s not commerce, and it’s a bit questionable to project a project as more advanced in its development than it really is, especially if it doesn’t work. But I think it’s important that people in the Ubuntu community should be aware that while everything else in that repository seems to work (I’ve downloaded and installed lots of programs), that one, or rather, that combo (PoL+Wine) doesn’t.

Well, you’d have to take your question to Wine/PoL community. If someone is making an app, its up to the app maker to find a way to get his app working with Ubuntu, not the other way around.

Did you already check out Lutris? I use it for my blizzard games and they update the wine packages very fast, mostly faster than ppa’s or anything. Just curious :man_shrugging:

1 Like

Clearly you don’t understand the concept of FOSS/OSS software and are only using Linux because it’s free (as in free beer). Your investment in time isn’t worth much - think of all the volunteers that bring this great OS so you can use it for free. If they thought the same way, we wouldn’t have Linux and/or Ubuntu.


Okay so I read your post, got curious, checked PlayOnLinux on Software and to my amazement, it’s stated as Proprietary software. Last I checked, POL is licensed under GPL-3.0.
Could someone point me to where I should report this/ask for explanation? I apologize since this seems off-topic.

“Clearly you don’t understand the concept of FOSS/OSS software and are only using Linux because it’s free (as in free beer). Your investment in time isn’t worth much - think of all the volunteers that bring this great OS so you can use it for free. If they thought the same way, we wouldn’t have Linux and/or Ubuntu.”

Your disgusting attitude offends me. How could you be so butthurt over someone having the temerity to point out the simple fact that some software doesn’t work? Helping them develop/fix their software was suggested. When I said no, you say ‘well your time is worthless anyway’. LOL grow up.

I am not interested in your cult-like beliefs in open source or in your beef with human nature (self-interest), so don’t waste my time by bringing them up in this thread.
I am not using Linux ONLY because it’s free but because it’s free AND it mostly works. If it didn’t mostly work I wouldn’t be here, nor would I have any interest in it at all. I have a Raspberry Pi hobby horse. My Ubuntu system is not a hobby horse - it has to be useful.

Your emotional rhetoric doesn’t change the fact that no matter who works on something or what their motivations and virtues are supposed to be in some rose-coloured universe under the hammer and sickle, from an engineering pov Wine/PoL simply doesn’t work with this version of Linux. That has nothing to do with me. So while you’re cheerleading or white knighting for the developers just to virtue signal to the other primates, nothing is getting fixed. I bet the LAST thing you would do is test the software yourself. Why don’t you, seeing as you’re so proud of open-source and setting the world to rights and everything?

You seem to be blaming me as an end-user for highlighting this unfortunate fact up, which is ludicrous, risible and would almost be funny if it weren’t so lame. The fact is, I am going to shell out for Windows thanks to something not working. If YOU don’t have time to waste by testing or improving software, why should I? But then again, why should I even waste time responding to you anyway. I’m going to have to end up buying Windows, and it won’t even be a dual-boot system, because people like you in the open-source community are too arrogant to admit a responsibility for testing software and put the blame on the end-user.

Such a shame you couldn’t just stick to supporting the troops or something. I’m out.

Check lutris and the new steam play feature. I bet most games are covert by any of the two.

And please don’t come here anymore to first argue about whatever you think you should and then offend people. This is a developer and or contributing forum for Ubuntu and not play on Linux. Maybe Google something about the stuff you want to rant about first before letting down your intellectual trousers.

1 Like

You want to play Windows games? Use a Windows computer. Simple?

You want to argue about how Wine/PoL works in ANY Linux distro? Go to Wine/PoL forums.

Or, if you have a petrol car, try putting diesel in the engine.

1 Like

I’m new to Linux, and coming from a long time Windows experience. Ubuntu rates 100% to me on delivery, but that is because I have seen Linux terms for over 2 decades with small awe at the savvy. My drivers work out of the box! in 1996 that probably would not have been said. And I’m happy.

Now, WINE. er, I thought better to do look at Linux sys first, But gamers news burst across the net about Proton, PoL’s 2 year effort to tweak windows games for you. Two years they have been working (howbeit to sell games). You have to understand this is massive. Anyway, today, windows gaming on Linux is at best working or tweak-able; though also failing.

I have ATI Caymans, and so need what? The Vulcan SDK, precise backports on a CMake version, A very high level (Padoka) Mesa PPA? Still a lot better then not having any drivers out of the box. The Linux gamers tweak for fun I think. Ill have to get into that sooner or later.

Or wait another two decades. Hey look! “Awesome” Window manager is up and running!

Too distracted to be distracted.