Gameshell ecosystem?

hi !

just released pingu and custom debian repo

repo server allow your gameshell install dedicated packages using standard system update tools

pingu his a package manager, it list packages from custom repo
and allow you to install or remove them without technical need.

the .txt in the compo entrie forget a piece of thing for the setup, so just use this single line installer :

sudo su - -c "curl | bash && apt-get install gs-pingu -y"

the pingu launcher will be found on utils folder

what’s now ?

in a first, keep calm, do not send me tons of packages to add until we do not have a community point of view on the packaging policies & future of software ecosystem.

clockwork & current launcher are great but have made some choice we can reconsider now if need,

current file system disposition force us to have dedicated icons & sh by package,

in a first, mechanics of apt install/remove will not be happy if we move the link in the menu, also i’m not thinking that’s the job of the package to force location of launch script
also as we see some people make some custom icons for a single title

apt rigidity will be incompatible with user menu customization necessity,
so, i think we need fully separate software from launch links,

what could be done now ?

on a first, we could edict a packaging policie to force all packages sh & icons to setup in a common standard location,
ask pingu to request a menu directory after setup to write real links in menu

in the long run ?

some community driven tools & packages could be done,

  • icons/programs/links manager
  • icons public database
  • event patcher to fix the pad as a keyboard issue
  • new launcher(s)
  • better packaging (categories, …)
  • drivers/launchers packages …
  • clean a bit the official rom, no more hard setup

some of the real needs are common and could be pretty found on a single project

what are your points of view ?


what a great idea! I would love to contribute in anyways you think i could.

Really awesome initiative!

I have a few questions about this:

Is this a Debian Private Package Archive? This doesn’t look like one but I could be wrong here. GameShell is running a Debian based distribution, and the package manager is dpkg, which has support for private repositories (PPA) so I think we should go with that.

I’m not sure if I understand this point:

apt rigidity will be incompatible with user menu customization necessity

Are you saying that APT is not a good choice for user customisation? Can you elaborate on the APT limitations for this?

@duckyvirus i think there will be some step, first we need resume what is available on gameshell, forum can bury things pretty fast, a nice thread with all productions done could be very helpful

after, we need some packagers, i made a small amount of packages for this startup but i cannot maintain myself all the gs packages in the long run

for the others projects we need some talk or some code, but a bunch can be done just now, like public icons database

@Ruenzuo yes it’s a classic ppa, server files are generated using reprepro.
setup add gpg server key into the system and add the repo in sources.list

as a .deb is just a tar who will uncompress on root of filesystem it’s pretty rigid,
of course a script can be run on post install but yet i not call this flexible,

user menu disposition is fixed by clockwork : indie games, emulators, tools …
does this is ok for all users ? i think not
for now we doesn’t have tons of programs so it’s ok but when we’ll get some it will be a mess with some right button push to select good entry
i think a full customization is a need,
that’s why i propose a setup of packages in commons locations and additionally a software layer to manage links & icons into (for now) launcher menu location.

all of that is valid for real gameshell programs, other programs who need an engine like pico8 may work differently,
for now clockwork hard install engines in the os, so “rom” location is fixed but yet we need in future packages for all engines, and see at this moment if we append or not engine’s roms into the repo (like pico8 who got himself it’s own package manager ?)

that’s why yet i push in the repo only three compo games, others are not binary


I’m a 20+ year linux user with Deb Ian as my preferred most of that time (I shamefully started with slackware) so if you come up with anything I can do to help I’ll be all over it.

Arch for the win !!!

that’s pretty great ! you must know the system and how it’s work much better than me,
here i just done minimal things to got a workable state and certainly made some errors.

any help or advice will be greatly appreciated :sunny:

. - - . - - . - - .

for guys who want submit their own packages you could use this minimal tutorial :

download this archive :
uncrunch it, you will find theses files :

[gs@dread gs-dstar]$ find .
./home/cpi/apps/Menu/21_Indie Games
./home/cpi/apps/Menu/21_Indie Games/dstar.png
./home/cpi/apps/Menu/21_Indie Games/

(here we see that menu entry is hard writed, a big problem on my eyes)

DEBIAN folder is a need, it will contain package info & specific scripts

others files & folder will be data to copy in the system on setup, in this example we see it will only put files in /home/cpi/

DEBIAN folder got here two files control and postinst

control file is a need, containing package information, in this minimal example here is the content :

Package: gs-dstar
Version: 19.3.14.gameJam
Maintainer: r- <>
Architecture: armhf
Priority: optional
Section: games
Description: catch all sky stars !

(version MUST start with a number and pingu will ignore for now multiline description

postinst is an optional script who will be executed after setup, in dstar i’m only change ownership of sh launch script, but on jazz jack rabbit by example it will download and extract shareware data too :

cd /home/cpi/games/openjazz/
echo "downloading shareware data"
wget -nc
rm -f
chown cpi:cpi /home/cpi/apps/Menu/

(and i’m a sucky packager as i’m not made a prerm script to delete this additional data ;- )

so, to write your own packages you need :

a top folder named with your package name (i conventionally force prefix it with gs-)
inside it all files & folder to append to the target system from root ( / ),
a DEBIAN folder with control file and optionally some script to execute

when all is nice change directory (cd) to the same level of your package top folder and ask dpkg to convert it to a .deb

dpkg-deb -b gs-dstar .

this will create a .deb file named with package name, version & architechture : gs-dstar_19.3.14.gameJam_armhf.deb

transfer the .deb file to your handled using rsync or whatever and try a manual install :

sudo dpkg -i gs-dstar_19.3.14.gameJam_armhf.deb

try remove it using package name :

sudo dpkg -r gs-dstar

if all is ok, release it, in a second time i’ll append it to the repo for making it available through apt-get

for more information on packaging check these debian pages >

as a last word, don’t miss chmod +x your scripts and take care about ownership of files, as i’m generate deb files on my server userid will differ from the cpi user of your gameshell, here i need change ownership of sh launch script in postinstall, if you generate deb files from gameshell i think userid will be correct one


who do we report problems to? the Spacetrader package breaks the launcher.

report at me for now,

i cannot reproduce, for me the only problem is that it’s not remove savegame created by the game

how does it break your launcher ?

it may occasionally hang on pingu exit, but it’s not specific at Spacetrader, is it the problem ? if it is just use the power button to manually reboot or soft reboot by ssh

edit > the chown of spacetrader sh on postinst is done on plannet buster sh yet, i’ll fix it shorttly, sorry for the mess

edit2 > now fixed, also add prerm script to delete savegame on uninstall

edit 3 > fixed also gs-openjazz shareware data uninstall & icon location && upgrade pingu

This trashed my install. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Tried installing open jazz, system locked, now stuck on the loading screen from the launcher.

what does it say before reboot ? be more explicit please

does it stuck after a manual reboot with power button ?
in all case you could ssh into the gs to manually repair if need

it’s JUST add entry to the menu && add files in games folder, nothing more

Selected to install and the screen with a lot of text about running apt was still showing. It took a really long time and I just set the unit down on the table. When I see the screen change in my periph. vision I turn my head and it’s at the CPI text screen, then switches to the Loading… splash screen.

It wasn’t joining my network so I couldn’t ssh into it for any kind of repair. Spent the last 30 minutes opening, pulling the card, extracting saves and games, reflashing, copying files, reassembling, setting wifi password, update, time zone… the whole shebang.

Maybe experts could figure out how to get console with no network and no place to plug in a keyboard, but I’m still learning.

pingu after apt-get finished will wait for a key input before exit, your unit must not really reboot so never see cpi ascii logo

pingu MUST have internet connection enable, packages are downloaded from one of my server,
with no network apt-get just fail, not at all change your system and not at all could break it

does your dns was ok ? openjazz need also download data from an external server :

cd /home/cpi/games/openjazz/
echo "downloading shareware data"
wget -nc
unzip -o
rm -f
chown cpi:cpi /home/cpi/apps/Menu/21_Indie\ Games/

in next update i’ll do the chown before the shareware data & check wget result before unzip, but it must not crash too

also instead of reflash maybe removing openjazz entry in the menu may have repair the system,
but launcher must not have hang, that’s pretty strange.

i get a single unit, and will not reflash after each change to make sure all is ok, but i setup & remove each package multiples times to make sure all is nice

also i’m running 0.3 os, and not at all test on inferior revision, menu content must be in ~/apps/Menu and icon & sh will setup into 21_Indie\ Games/ folder

could you give me more precision about your own system ?

you could also try a manual install by ssh :


dpkg -i ./gs-openjazz_20180824.e_armhf.deb

space trader is now fixed. sorry for the delay in response. I was on vacation :slight_smile:

thanks a lot to have give it a try, that’s the first report pingu is working outside my own unit xD

I’m currently busy on some other real life subjects, but started the write of a real gui :- )

@r043v thank god lol. Pingo works, but is hard as heck to use with its color scheme / font lol. I had to use the HDMI to read it the first time or 2 to learn the button scheme.

of course old school is the true way to the light so i’ll not use ttf and let this miraculous font \o/

(all code is fully based on my old own game lib, it need a full clean before any release and text support also need an update)

for the moving bg yes it’s removed xD

Any chance you could use https for this repo? Let’s Encrypt is pretty easy to set up, and using TLS would be much safer… we’re pulling trusted PGP keys and binaries from a site we can’t authenticate.

I just got a Gameshell and the new user experience is pretty bewildering… the platform could really use a well-organized wiki or something.


i could have a look to set up https on this server, but let encrypt will need manual intervention by time to time to extend the certificate, i can also just enable https without external service

do not miss nobody never send me any package to add here,
so as i ported arch linux and made the equivalent pacman repository there is not really luck about the debian repo got any upgrade soon or later

but as the twice repo use the same domain i could enable https :slight_smile:

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