Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Apr 2012 18:23 UTC, submitted by Radio
Games "I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations. This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organization. Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point." Nice scoop from Phoronix. Seems to all tie in quite well with the prospect of a Steambox running Linux.
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nice
by theuserbl on Thu 26th Apr 2012 18:47 UTC
theuserbl
Member since:
2006-01-10

Nice to see, thar after Desura http://www.desura.com/ & Co, comes a big player like Steam nativly to Linux.

The Linux version was already developed since a long time, but Valve don't published it.

Reply Score: 3

... Egosoft?
by gilboa on Thu 26th Apr 2012 19:10 UTC
gilboa
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now if we someone could get Egosoft to port X3:TC to Linux, I'll be a happy man *.

- Gilboa
* Now that LGP is more-or-less KIA.

Reply Score: 2

He's been claiming it for 4 years
by Kivada on Thu 26th Apr 2012 20:03 UTC
Kivada
Member since:
2010-07-07

It still looks like Larabel is touting the same crap he's been doing for 4 years now with still no evidence, the only thing new is the grainy, out of focus, missing the window half of the time 13 second video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_sLKHOHtug and a crappy photo.

If steam was actually coming to Linux then Valve should make an announcement on their site instead of everyone paying Larabel's tabloid via ad impressions.

Reply Score: 6

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Yeah, that's the common reaction on the Phoronix forums, too. They've heard too many of Michael's unsubstantiated claims - they'll believe it only when they hear an official announcement from Valve themselves

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Not to mention that if even for the sake of argument Steam WAS coming to Linux frankly other than the valve titles and some indies it would be doubtful that it would be anything like the full version on Windows. I mean seriously think about how much work it would take to either port those AAA titles or to wrap them in some sort of Wine wrapper, and that doesn't even take into account how many of the games on Steam use Steam+ some sort of other DRM, SecuROM and TAGES seeming to be the most popular although I've run into a few GFWL as well.

In the end having Steam on Linux will be a LOT of work for very little reward, its pretty common knowledge that 3D graphics drivers, which frankly aren't the greatest of code or the most stable thing to start with, aren't exactly great on Linux anyway and due to the huge number of different distros trying to support in on even a few would be a LOT of work, and in the end frankly anybody on Linux would probably be better off dual booting and having access to the entire Steam store than dealing with all the work and hassles just to get some game using D3D to OpenGL translation and getting a speed hit because of it.

The more likely rumor (Still doubtful but more possible) is the "Steambox" idea as they could "pull a TiVo" by locking down the Linux based OS with code signing (thus meaning they only have to support their own custom version on hardware they chose) which would also solve the DRM problem and probably get a lot more publishers onboard.


But a Steambox would at least be something they could control as far as hardware and direction, Linux with the DEs all undergoing major rewrites and the whole pulseaudio mess and the graphics driver issues is in too much of a state of flux ATM for Steam on Linux to be a great idea, maybe when things have settled down and the new DEs are as stable as the previous ones were but not now.

Reply Score: 1

Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

If steam was actually coming to Linux then Valve should make an announcement on their site instead of everyone paying Larabel's tabloid via ad impressions.


It might not be, they could just be researching the viability of it.

Gabe clearly mentions he is working in a Linux team on this podcast http://www.sevendaycooldown.com/site/episode001/

Reply Score: 3

OpenGL 2.1 is going to be a problem
by boldingd on Thu 26th Apr 2012 20:06 UTC
boldingd
Member since:
2009-02-19

Not to start a flame war, but the sorry state of graphical acceleration on Linux is going to be something of a barrier. With most distributions, we don't even have GL3 state-trackers for most hardware, never mind GL4, so they'll have to make do without a lot of modern features in any game they port. They'll be working with the incredibly-fugly old fixed-functionality-based OpenGL 2.1 and GLSL 1.2; I don't see how they can build modern games on top of that.

(For reference, the GL version I've got, with Fedora 16 and by a Radeon 6650M, is 2.1.)

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Don't use ATI. Nvidia supports what you need:
http://developer.nvidia.com/opengl-driver

Reply Score: 9

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Catalyst Control Center handles OpenGL4.2 just fine. He was referring to the open source Gallium3D drivers, which are just now getting OpenGL3.0 support.

Reply Score: 6

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Catalyst Control Center handles OpenGL4.2 just fine. He was referring to the open source Gallium3D drivers, which are just now getting OpenGL3.0 support.

Exactly so, and my apologies for not making that clear.

It's worth pointing out that - at least, the last time I tried it - if you switch to the closed-source drivers, you loose a lot of other functionality. For example, the closed-source drivers don't use GEM, and don't support kernel resolution management. They also don't work with Gnome 3 (again, at least not the last time I tried it). In my experience, switching to the closed-source drivers is like going back in time, to the way that X was in 2002. I have to have an xorg.conf file again, and I have to spend hours screwing around with it with the display disabled to get it to work right. For me, at least, the proprietary drivers aren't a satisfactory solution.

Also also, Linux distributors can't (and/or don't) distribute them. So if you're Valve, and as a practical matter you require your users to use the closed-source drivers for their hardware, then you're requiring them to jump through some extra hoops to install them, potentially including editing an xorg.conf file by hand. You're also requiring them to not use Gnome 3, which limits their choice of distributions. That's not really an option.

Reply Score: 2

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

> That's not an option.

Thom said that "Seems to all tie in quite well with the prospect of a Steambox running Linux".

Valve could do all that they needed there.

Edited 2012-04-26 22:46 UTC

Reply Score: 3

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

> That's not an option.

Thom said that "Seems to all tie in quite well with the prospect of a Steambox running Linux".

Valve could do all that they needed there.


That would make a lot more sense, at least from a technical stand-point; then they could do whatever horrible things they have to do to get a working environment with GL4 set-up without concerning the user.

Reply Score: 2

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Or they could do the unthinkable and give the Linux graphics projects a hand and get OpenGL up to snuff and have it supported on all Distro's.

Reply Score: 3

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Uh, what are you talking about? All distros support OpenGL be default, there is no other option. If you mean certain OpenGL features, then it's the patented parts of OGL3 that keep some distros from compiling with all features enabled for legal reasons, you can add them back in yourself though.

If you want to see full OpenGL support enabled by default you have to go after the companies that hold the patents to the affected features.

So it's what we've been saying for years, patents are killing the industry and hampering progress, I want my flying car dammit!

Reply Score: 3

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Well Ubuntu based distributions that wold be the core target audience of any company making games for Linux makes it pretty dead simple to install the closed source drivers via the Additional Drivers applet. Makes it pretty seemless to install and update the drivers to the versions tested to work on Ubuntu and derivatives like Mint, Studio and Kubuntu.

The Gallium3D drivers though do offer allot more in terms of features, but support for newer OpenGL and OpenCL versions isn't there yet and allot of things have to be added in from Git to have all of the currently available features and performance enhancements that have yet to be merged.

With AMD dropping support for their DirectX 10/OpenGL3.3 class hardware in Catalyst Control Center after 12.7 for Windows as well as Linux we'll hopefully see a fire lit under the Gallium3D devs to get things in order for the merge windows of the fall distributions.

Reply Score: 3

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Well Ubuntu based distributions that wold be the core target audience of any company making games for Linux makes it pretty dead simple to install the closed source drivers via the Additional Drivers applet. Makes it pretty seemless to install and update the drivers to the versions tested to work on Ubuntu and derivatives like Mint, Studio and Kubuntu.


Targeting "Linux" in general and only targeting Ubuntu are different things. I doubt that there are a lot of gamers running Linux, and if you cut that already-small number down to "only people running the closed-source binary drivers on Ubuntu," then you're talking about undertaking a pretty huge porting endeavor (they'd have to re-write a lot of code here, to move D3D engines to OpenGL) for a pretty small market indeed.

The Gallium3D drivers though do offer allot more in terms of features, but support for newer OpenGL and OpenCL versions isn't there yet and allot of things have to be added in from Git to have all of the currently available features and performance enhancements that have yet to be merged.

With AMD dropping support for their DirectX 10/OpenGL3.3 class hardware in Catalyst Control Center after 12.7 for Windows as well as Linux we'll hopefully see a fire lit under the Gallium3D devs to get things in order for the merge windows of the fall distributions.


That would be nice, but if the current state of affairs hasn't lit a fire under the Gallium devs, then I bet that isn't going to either.

I get the impression that the amount of GL3 code that exists in Mesa now is due in large part to Intel; that's why so far pretty much only their hardware is actually supported. The main problem isn't lack of motivation on the developer's part, but lack of resources. Creating a whole lot of new drivers, tracking fast-moving changes in hardware and keeping the state-trackers up-to-date with the current OpenGL standard is extremely time-expensive. I guess the biggest problem is just that they don't have the man-hours to do it.

Edited 2012-04-26 23:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Well if the Kickstarters and Humble Bundles are indication the Linux gaming market is alive and well and is starving for content, in the last year there have been tons of games being announced for Linux, one just needs to check out http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/ to see the ever growing list that now includes titles form Square Enix and Ubisoft.

That and allot of Gamers on Linux are dual booting Windows. As well as the vast majority of Linux users on any distribution have been using the blob drivers forever just as the Windows users have to install the Windows drivers to make their GPUs work. Nobody uses the VESA driver on any OS by choice.

The argument behind Ubuntu is that it may not contribute allot of code to other projects, but it has done more to bring in new non ubbergeek users then any other distro ever has, this massive influx of normal users are actually really likely to want to game compared to your typical Slackware or Gentoo user. Companies also want to support as stable a platform as possible, so just shipping a .deb is allot less support effort, even less so if you let some company like Gamolith or Desura do the packaging for you.

As for driver devs, yeah, Intel is providing the lion's share of the OpenGL compliance code, the reason is simple, they have by far and away the largest team of open source GPU driver devs. AMD's team is much smaller, around 10 people at most, they would do well to hire the students that have been contributing allot of code as well as bring back or replace the few that either got laid off due to budget constraints a while back or got moved to other projects at AMD.

The Nouveau team is also very small, but they focus almost exclusively on making whatever state trackers are made ready by Intel or AMD work via reverse engineering the Nvidia drivers, it's why they seem to work so fast, it's because they aren't saddled down with all of the having to build all of the underpinnings first.

What will be good for everyone is if/when Intel finally moves to Gallium3D for their driver codebase, my only conclusion as to why they don't is that corporate thinks it'd be helping AMD and Nvidia to work on the Gallium3D stack directly.

Reply Score: 5

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

You are right of course, that if game developers target wide range of hardware, they'll need to lower the requirements. But it's not a problem on Linux only. Poor OpenGL support is the problem everywhere including Windows. It's hardware vendors fault.

Edited 2012-04-26 20:21 UTC

Reply Score: 5

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

It's hardware vendors fault.


No, it isn't, at least not entirely. Part of the reason that OGL support is so bad on Windows is because OpenGL isn't Windows' primary 3D API; hardware developers treat OpenGL as a second-class citizen on Windows because it is a second-class citizen on Windows.

Also, part of the reason that OpenGL is so inconsistent between drivers is because Khronos doesn't (and can't) have the same kind of driver verification regime for OpenGL that Microsoft uses for D3D. Actually, NVIDIA (amusingly) is infamous for shipping known-broken OpenGL drivers on Windows.

You are right of course, that if game developers target wide range of hardware, they'll need to lower the requirements. But it's not a problem on Linux only. Poor OpenGL support is the problem everywhere including Windows.


The problem isn't the range of hardware targeted; the problem is that GL3 and GL4 state-trackers are not available for GL3 and GL4 hardware on Linux. I'm dual-booting my lap-top: in Windows 7, I get a GL4 context, while in Linux, I get a GL2.1 context. The open-source driver stack makes GL3+ contexts available to pretty much nobody at the moment. We're only just beginning to see GL3 state trackers actually get sent out to users by distributors. Mesa currently includes GL3 state trackers that work on some Intel hardware, and nowhere else; God knows how long it will be before GL3 is available for most of ATI's or NVIDIA's hardware, and say nothing of GL4.

Understand, I am a Linux user, and I'm not trying to really come down on the Mesa team or Linux kernel team. I think the major problem is just a lack of resources; graphics hardware is moving pretty fast right now, as is the OpenGL standard, and they just don't have the resources or the vendor support to keep up. But that doesn't change the reality of the situation; you're not going to get a decent port of a DX11 graphical system on GL2.

Edited 2012-04-26 21:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

DX11 isn't used by most game developers. They use DX9.

Reply Score: 2

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

DX11 isn't used by most game developers. They use DX9.


Not really. There exists a lot of DX9 code that people still use, but you're starting to see a lot of new titles use DX11. There are a lot of graphical effects that are becoming common -- that are commonly used on consoles, that people expect to see on the PC versions of those titles -- that you just can't get in DX9.

There's going to be a huge, visible difference between a DX10 (-like) game running on an XBox 360 (or a GL3.2-like game running on a PS3) and a GL2.1 game running on a Steam box. And there's going to be a performance hit if don't have access to geometry shading.

Reply Score: 3

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Most Windows games these days are console ports so the best the consoles can do is DirectX9.0c/OpenGL2.1 that and the fact of the matter is that there isn't all that big an improvement in what you can do graphics quality wise in DX10/OGL3, the big improvement over DX9.0c/OGL2.1 is tessellation which came out with DX11/OGL4. Thus it didn't make sense for game companies to move forward with requiring newer features as they'd have to lose compatibility with the consoles and if using DirectX Windows XP.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

But you are seeing more and more games support higher Dx on Windows than Dx09, probably because they know that they will need to be fluent on the later version when the next Xbox comes out. For example while Just Cause II may be Dx09 on the X360 you can't even run it on anything less than Vista because it requires Dx11 in Windows. Just look at the wiki pages for Dx10 and 11 and you'll see the games list is getting longer by the day because all the devs know the current consoles are about tapped out. heck if the rumors are true many are already getting dev boards for the next gen so if for no other reason they'll support the newer Dx modes because they are already working on the new systems and will want their games to be easily ported to the new consoles.

In the end the only one to blame for linux gaming is Khronos. For right or wrong they chose to focus solely on CAD performance instead of gaming and so simply fell further and further behind. of course it didn't help that OpenGL supported extensions so each GPU ended up with different extensions based on whether it was Nvidia or ATI but that doesn't change the fact that while it was neck and neck with Dx in the 90s it didn't continue that trend and so fell behind. the only real gains I've seen for openGL is popcap style gaming on phones and that isn't really the kind of stuff to sell gaming on a console or a PC.

Reply Score: 3

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

OpenGL is on par with DirectX in terms of features, the only advantage that DirectX has is that it's a cleaner spec as Khronos bends to the will of the CAD companies far too easily to keep the ancient model alive so they don't have to do all that much to keep their software running.

Reply Score: 3

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

hardware developers treat OpenGL as a second-class citizen on Windows because it is a second-class citizen on Windows.

I quote what Daniel Phillips said:
CAD is the engine that kept OpenGL going through the years of vicious attacks by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft achieved near absolute victory in the gaming space and played an instrumental role in bringing SGI to its knees, [even buying SoftImage, to sell it later when Microsoft couldn't drive it anymore], it failed to kill OpenGL entirely, in large part because of the entrenched high end CAD market. [...] During this period, Linux took over Hollywood's render farms from Unix, and that was another base of support for OpenGL, but it might not have been sufficient if Microsoft had ever succeeded in dislodging the tenacious grip of OpenGL on Windows-based CAD. And then there was John Carmack's famous refusal to switch to Direct3D, but that came close to the brink. Not any more.

A litle off-topic, I would like to remind that:
- out of Windows, there's the CAD in Linux (Maya, SoftImage, XSI, Mudbox, Houdini, Nuke, Renderman, etc) to interest hardware developers.
- out of PCs, there's OpenGL in Mac (Blizzard uses OpenGL on their Mac ports (*), etc.); the massively growing Android and iOS smartphone and tablet market, where OpenGL is the standard 3D graphics engine; etc.

(*) Also, Apple chaired the OpenGL 3.3 branch. They also chaired the OpenGL 3.1 branch. Khronos is fully embracing the move to OpenCL along with AMD. Nvidia is still kicking and screaming and pushing CUDA. PTC is starting to move its applications to OS X. It's not because OS X wasn't ready for OpenGL (as it had OpenGL throughout). It was the perceived market share for years and perceived resistance by IT to push OS X. That's all gone. iOS and OS X make it obvious that CAD companies can now push "fat" and "thin" client tools for their clients and actual technical users giving them a new vertical market for profits.

Edited 2012-04-27 09:13 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Windows 8 app store model undercuts Steam
by skandalfo on Thu 26th Apr 2012 22:04 UTC
skandalfo
Member since:
2010-04-07

They have no choice but to try to make Steam independent from Windows. Once Windows 8 ships "bundling" Microsoft's own application store, Windows PC gamers will have a different distribution infrastructure installed by default.

Guess who the publishers will go with, moreover if Microsoft's shop is integrated with the operating system's DRM and supported by a hardware TPM module.

The pity is that I think they're late to this game. It would take way more time bringing PC gamers (and hardware makers) from Windows to Linux than it'll take Microsoft to destroy Steam.

Another lesson for people making their business depend on the Redmond company.

Reply Score: 7

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

While I'm sure they see an app store as a threat, Microsoft would have to overcome the antipathy most gamers hold towards their GFWL platform. Steam is more than just distribution; it's palatable DRM, communications, friends lists etc. Microsoft fell on their face with their last competing platform that next to no one uses anymore. Who knows what Windows 8 and beyond will bring of course

Reply Score: 3

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

I'm sorry but have you TRIED GFWL? Its horrible! A total mess! Heck it can't even load the one lousy game I have for it (Bioshock II and i won't make the mistake of not reading the box before purchase again) without kicking me off whatever screen i'm on and back to the title screen!

In the end Valve has pretty much nothing to fear from Windows 8. Having set up a Win 8 CP machine in my shop and letting passersby try it the one thing they can all agree on is how much they HATE Win 8, whereas Steam is frankly a joy to use. Friends lists, chat, the Steam sales, in game screencaps you can share with buds, it is as opposite as opposite can be to what me and my friends have experienced with GFWL which is a badly done XBL clone.

Reply Score: 2

Ubuntu 200 million users = steam box?
by moochris on Fri 27th Apr 2012 06:27 UTC
moochris
Member since:
2009-03-20

Bit of speculation here, but I wonder if Mark Shuttleworth's recent comment about gaining 200 million users in four years was due to the imminent arrival of a SteamBox running Ubuntu with Steam as a first-class citizen in Unity, heavily integrated.

Reply Score: 2

ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Y'know, that makes great sense from both technical and business perspectives.

From a technical perspective, a SteamBox console would require only modest development costs - the hardware, OS, and support infrastructure exist already - and the ecosystem is already mature, TV-friendly, and fairly lightweight.

From a business perspective, Steam would get an inexpensively developed console product that could dramatically expand the market for Steam games, and open new revenue streams with profit-sharing from UbuntuOne-based sales and such - and possibly some marketing cost-sharing with Canonical to boot. Plus they get closer to their customers by no longer depending on Apple and Microsoft as sole hosts for their games.

You may well be onto something here.

Reply Score: 3

Official enough?
by Licaon_Kter on Fri 27th Apr 2012 06:57 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19
RE: Official enough?
by Nth_Man on Fri 27th Apr 2012 08:38 UTC in reply to "Official enough?"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Well reported!

Edited 2012-04-27 08:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Official enough?
by Beta on Fri 27th Apr 2012 09:46 UTC in reply to "Official enough?"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06


Oops, didn’t see this when I linked above ;)
Listened to it yesterday after hearing the buzz. Disappointing he didn’t mention more, but it was enough to further the Internets.

Reply Score: 2

jbauer
Member since:
2005-07-06

Yay! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

Reply Score: 2