Ok, now let’s have some good old fun. No, I’m not talking about Sonic 2 which is of course full of funnies, but about the terrible situation surrounding the world of emulators on Debian and Ubuntu.
The Sega Genesis is one of those machine to have very limited support on Ubuntu. Of course you have dgen, but basically it sucks. I never managed to run Sonic 2 with dgen and when you want to emulate a Sega Genesis you’re likely to play Sonic 2… The other alternative is Gens/GS, which is not in Ubuntu repos because of some silly licensing issues. The “offending” part is StarScream an old 68000 emulator that hasn’t been updated in almost 10 years. And no, StarScream is not under the GPL licence, in fact StarScream documentation says :
“Starscream may be distributed freely in unmodified form, as long as this
documentation is included.
No money, goods, or services may be charged or solicited for Starscream, or
any emulator or other program which includes Starscream, in whole or in part.
Ok, that makes it non-free I suppose … WHAT ABOUT PUTTING THE WHOLE THING IN THE NON-FREE REPO THEN! It’s sickening, most emulators use libs of one kind or another and chances are that sometimes they happen to use a non-free one. So Debian guys has decided to punish everyone and keep a good piece of (Open Source) software out of their distribution.
It’s not GPL’d so they have to make a big fuss out of this and hurt the authors by not giving them a good coverage (while dgen gets an excellent coverage, being the only Genesis emulator in town).
Oh and one last thing, Gens is really Gens/GS, the original Gens is dead and there has been a major fuck up in the transition of maintainer. Either Gens original author decided to stop his project without giving commit access to anyone (which is very rude) or GerbilSoft decided it was very important that his initials where in Gens’ name (which is not very humble). Apparently :
The main motivation for creating this fork was that the original Gens for Linux project was a disaster. Among other things, menus kept desynchronizing and various features didn’t work.
Same thing again, either GerbilSoft does not believe in sending patches, or original Gens maintainer was nowhere to be found when GS sent his patches. As you can see, I’m not a big fan of forks and I see them as huge failures in Open Source software management.
Anyway, Gens/GS (or let’s simply call it Gens) is the very best emulator of Sega Genesis around, and the good thing is that there is a package for it here (32bit only).
Writing the gens runner took me about 4 minutes, that’s how easy it gets when you have a good emulator. The game runs without any kind of problem. It’s a shame that licensing issues come and spoil everything.