HOWEVER... applications are free to bundle key libs with their application. AS long as the ogl interface doesn't change OR libc doesn't then its just a case of finding the correct libs.
Thankfully *NIX has a SANE method of library management and as such multiple version of the same lib can live side by side ALSO thanks to the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable applications can have local version of libs in their install directory
UT2k4 ships with a libSDL and an openal in its System folder
etqw ships with a libgcc, libjpeg, libSDL, libstdc++, libCgx86
HoN ships with a libcurl,libfreetype, libpng14, libspeex, libfmodex, libgcc, libspeexdsp, libstdc++
ALL to maximise compatibility (via controlling a certain version and build of some libs the app needs) across many distro AND as the distributions adapt.
UT2004 was released in... 2004 and still runs great on my Gentoo system. There are applications that were released around 2004 that will not run in Vista or Win7 and yet it is linux and its dynamic system that gets slated... seems to be more compatible and stable then windows could EVER hope to be
To make out that in Linux having an application wouldn't be simple isn't taking into account everything that linux provides for flexibility.
It's a common thing within the game industry to do this sort of thing- it provides a pre-rolled set of binaries so you don't have to expect things being fully installed for the game to work and it's easy enough to fix/replace the .so's provided. Now, I use RPATH specifications, which works cleaner than LD_PRELOAD or LD_LIBRARY_PATH does and doesn't require special launcher scripts if that's the only magic you need.
Yeah, it wastes disk space- but you can't presume that a user is going to have any of the .so's you're needing installed on their system. Most people want their game to largely work out of box; and since you're not participating in the packaging systems (I looked into that- if you're going to do it right, you're going to have to specify dependencies, etc. which may/may not be available to you for a given distribution (Like linked against libpng 1.2 versus 1.4 (you have to pick one...) and distributions like Arch have moved on to 1.4- and dropped 1.2 completely, which means you're busted if you pick one and DON'T provide a version for the users somehow...)
Even if they provide packaging, that's just deployment- you're still going to need to know which binaries to require within the local system's loadout or provide your own answers in a directory as part of the packaging, much like they do now with most Linux games that're not part of the distribution's repo.
It's neither Valve's or the distribution maintainer's issue with your stuff unless they're the ones doing all the work. (Though I will say, Kano's permanently on my beta testing list as long as he wants to be- he's been very helpful with a few fit-n-finish items and it's nice having a distribution contributor to work with for a change...)
In case anyone else was interested in the price:
From http://twitter.com/oilrush_game/status/24446011782 (through Google Translate).so far the matter has not been solved yet, depends on the distribution partners. Approximately no more than $ 20.