Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Dec 2013 00:14 UTC
Games

As promised, Valve has released the first test release of SteamOS. From the FAQ:

SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called 'alchemist' and it is based on the Debian 'wheezy' (stable 7.1) distribution.

The major changes made in SteamOS are:

  • Backported eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing
  • Added various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack (Intel and AMD graphics support still being worked on)
  • Updated kernel tracking the 3.10 longterm branch (currently 3.10.11)
  • Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay
  • Configured to auto-update from the Valve SteamOS repositories

You need to have an NVIDIA card for it to work, since Intel and AMD graphics are currently not yet supported (work is underway).

Order by: Score:
Some notable things from the FAQ
by WereCatf on Sat 14th Dec 2013 00:40 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

* All of the base operating system components are open source. The Steam client itself is proprietary, as are some proprietary third party drivers.

* It also provides a desktop mode which can run regular Linux applications. SteamOS makes use of the standard APT package manager for software updates; you can add third-party sources to your subscribed repositories to gain access to more applications.

Some people were already proclaiming that Valve will lock everything down and make it as difficult to customize the installations as regular consoles generally do. Well, this luckily proves them wrong.

Reply Score: 14

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Some people were already proclaiming that Valve will lock everything down and make it as difficult to customize the installations as regular consoles generally do.


Some people are stupid and ignored everything Valve said about SteamOS, including the multiple times they said it would be open and customizable.

I mean, Valve literally did not mention SteamOS without mentioning it being opened up and customizable.

Some people...

Reply Score: 5

Riba Member since:
2006-02-12

I wouldn't be surprised though if they "pull a Sony" and do exactly that in the near future.

Reply Score: 3

cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

Valve is clever, they learned 2-3 things from Android and I doubt they will distribute root-kits, punish customers away and slip into lose-making cause of ...?

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I would be. Valve recruited from the open source graphic communities. If those guys start to exit, then watch out.

Reply Score: 3

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I would. At least in the foreseeable future, the Steam Machine competes against PC-in-the-living-room setups more than it competes against consoles. As it is, it looks to compete quite well against living room PCs. Lock it down, it will compete miserably against living room PCs without offering anything new to compete against console systems.

Plus, the outrage against Sony for killing the Other OS feature was quite large despite it only affecting a really small portion of their user base.

Valve seems to actually have honest respect for their user base, and that respect seems to be a part of their business model.

Reply Score: 4

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Some people were already proclaiming that Valve will lock everything down and make it as difficult to customize the installations as regular consoles generally do. Well, this luckily proves them wrong.


Yeah, I never bought into that argument - it doesn't make sense. How would locking things down help them in any way at all?

I mean sure, to an extent Steam Boxen will be competing with consoles (which are generally expected to be locked down), but their main competition, the one everyone is going to compare them to, is a custom built PC. If they cripple their platform in any substantial way, they are going to end up screwing their chances of it gaining traction.

On a different note, I wonder if the guys in Cupertino have realized how much this will benefit them in the long run? Every single game that gets ported to SteamOS is pretty much automatically going to get an OSX port. OSX and Linux, from the perspective of game development, are virtually identical.

I really do hope this catches on, if for no other reason than it might convince some of the bigger studios to develop for OpenGL first - anything that loosens the ActiveX stranglehold on PC gaming is a good thing...

Reply Score: 9

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

ActiveX stranglehold on PC gaming is a good thing...

ActiveX is already dead. Are you still living in the '90s?

Reply Score: 5

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

ActiveX is already dead. Are you still living in the '90s?


I think meant DirectX, and mixed them up...

Reply Score: 8

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

"ActiveX is already dead. Are you still living in the '90s?


I think meant DirectX, and mixed them up...
"

yeah... Sorry.

Reply Score: 4

Lumbergh Member since:
2005-06-29

He did say boxen, so yeah, he's trapped in some kind of time warp.

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

He did say boxen, so yeah, he's trapped in some kind of time warp.


I'm not trapped scooter, I'm just old... I can come back from 1985 any time I want to - I just prefer it here ;)

Edited 2013-12-16 10:28 UTC

Reply Score: 5

belal1 Member since:
2013-05-25


I mean sure, to an extent Steam Boxen will be competing with consoles (which are generally expected to be locked down), but their main competition, the one everyone is going to compare them to, is a custom built PC. If they cripple their platform in any substantial way, they are going to end up screwing their chances of it gaining traction.



I don't think Valve is competing against custom built pc. Rather they are creating a platform where people can either go with a custom built pc or a pre-configured pc. SteamOS is not about making another competition in the industry but rather destroy the concept of competing hardware/console. Their main focus is the Steam store which is the platform they will use to generate revenue. The Steam Boxes themselves and the controller may yield small profits but the main attraction is the platform itself. If anything, this looks like Valve is employing a Blue Ocean strategy as they call it in Business.

Reply Score: 4

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

I don't think Valve is competing against custom built pc. Rather they are creating a platform where people can either go with a custom built pc or a pre-configured pc.

Valve has not created a new platform. They took Debian, bolted on a few minor changes, and set minimum SteamOS requirements. Nothing new to see here. If anything, it's less than impressive on its best day. This isn't about custom pc vs. pre-configured pc. It's about non-Linux gaming vs. typical Linux gaming.

SteamOS is not about making another competition in the industry but rather destroy the concept of competing hardware/console.

Nothing Valve is doing, or SteamOS provides, has any potential to destroy competition with hardware & consoles. SteamOS is an attempt to make Linux gaming more attractive to Joe Average because Valve believes there is a lot of untapped gaming profit to be had there.

Their main focus is the Steam store which is the platform they will use to generate revenue. The Steam Boxes themselves and the controller may yield small profits but the main attraction is the platform itself. If anything, this looks like Valve is employing a Blue Ocean strategy as they call it in Business.

Building a pc with certain minimum hardware requirements in mind, and installing SteamOS Debian Linux on it instead of Windows, is not exactly groundbreaking territory.

Gamers don't care if their console, or their Windows box, or anything else is "locked down". When I hear gamers complain about something, it's never about system lock down and proprietary drivers/blobs. The only way for Linux gaming to ever take off is by giving the masses what they want and doing it at a competitive price. And it's going to take some blockbuster titles to do it, not simply an endless list of indy games where only a sliver are worth playing.

I'm no stranger to Linux. I'm used to the big promises accompanied by big let downs year-in year-out. I'm not convinced what Valve is attempting will in any way make any kind of dent, and if they did it will only happen after a long slow uphill climb. There's no reason or evidence to believe otherwise. In the end I hope Valve and SteamOS are successful but I'm not willing to declare it so until it has actually happened.

Reply Score: 3

allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

"I don't think Valve is competing against custom built pc. Rather they are creating a platform where people can either go with a custom built pc or a pre-configured pc.

Valve has not created a new platform. They took Debian, bolted on a few minor changes, and set minimum SteamOS requirements. Nothing new to see here. If anything, it's less than impressive on its best day. This isn't about custom pc vs. pre-configured pc. It's about non-Linux gaming vs. typical Linux gaming.

"
They took a Debian (stable branch) O.S., customized and improved the graphic stack by working with nVidia and AMD then currently working ( audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. [sic]) see http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS

And you call this a minor staff/minor changes? I mean, without a game developer experience at this caliber(HALF LIFE), you cannot do what Valve did to their Debian based O.S. Clement Lefebvre cannot replicate Valve's works, although he is free to customized now the SteamOS to be the based of the next Mint release. SteamOS though will look like another Linux-distro on the block, but it is not something you can find at the basement. like any other distro out there. I'm tired of seeing new distro popping out in existence with the same features that you can find in every distro all over again.

Edited 2013-12-16 03:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

They took a Debian (stable branch) O.S., customized and improved the graphic stack by working with nVidia and AMD then currently working ( audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. [sic]) see http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS

And you call this a minor staff/minor changes?

Until I see something that amazes me, I'm not going to be amazed. And btw, not a single Linux dev I know (and I know many) has commented about being impressed -- it appears only to be Linux users who desperately want Linux gaming to become remotely serious who seem to fall into that category.

I mean, without a game developer experience at this caliber(HALF LIFE), you cannot do what Valve did to their Debian based O.S. Clement Lefebvre cannot replicate Valve's works, although he is free to customized now the SteamOS to be the based of the next Mint release. SteamOS though will look like another Linux-distro on the block, but it is not something you can find at the basement. like any other distro out there. I'm tired of seeing new distro popping out in existence with the same features that you can find in every distro all over again.

Valve is not doing anything that couldn't be done by others. They simply have a desire to do it and are willing to commit their resources. If you're a Linux user, you should know by now that most of what's missing or broken hasn't been added or fixed because of lack of interest/motivation by the people with the necessary skills to do it. The most common response I see when people inquire is, "feel free to do it yourself and submit the patches". In other words, `do it yourself because I don't care enough to bother`. That's not a guess, I've seen that type of response from several devs. They're also quick to point out that you could always pay to have <X> done. Afterall, people who `work for free` tend to worry about what affects/interests them so why would they waste their efforts trying to satisfy `you`?

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the biggest leaps Linux experiences come via money changing hands or some special interest w/company resources to throw at it.

Reply Score: 3

Dr-ROX Member since:
2006-01-03

They are a corporation after all. So they might get it closed and locked from all sides if they feel to do it. As someone said here one - you should never trust corporations.

Reply Score: 1

Novan_Leon Member since:
2005-12-07

That seems like a narrow-minded philosophy to me.

Corporations are just groups of people and trusting corporations is approximately the same as trusting people. You may give them the benefit of the doubt or you may be skeptical in the beginning, but over time you begin to learn who is trustworthy and who isn't. If you trust the wrong ones or trust any of them to an unreasonable degree, you get burned and you need to re-evaluate your own judgement. It really isn't complicated.

The problem most people have is they place unrealistic expectations on corporations (and people) to act and behave a certain way and are burned when their expectations aren't met. They feel like their trust has been betrayed when, in reality, their trust was misplaced or unreasonable to begin with.

Edited 2013-12-16 17:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Corporations are just groups of people and trusting corporations is approximately the same as trusting people.


Not quite. With most large corporations the stockholders are the people in charge and stockholders generally buy the damn stocks only for one purpose -- to make money. That makes them an untrustworthy bunch from the get-go.

Now, contrast the above with privately-owned companies like e.g. Valve; there's a single person or only a few who are at charge and who can steer the ship any direction they want. They don't need to steer the ship solely with profit-generation in mind if they don't wish to and can instead pursue things based on their own, personal morals, ethics and goals in mind. Gabe Newell is an idealist, he still refuses to list his company, he insists on holding the reins and doing what he deems right, and that's quite a different path for the whole company to operate on.

Reply Score: 5

Novan_Leon Member since:
2005-12-07

Not quite. With most large corporations the stockholders are the people in charge and stockholders generally buy the damn stocks only for one purpose -- to make money. That makes them an untrustworthy bunch from the get-go.


You say that, but IMHO this only makes them easier to understand. Stockholders are people too. They're only untrustworthy if you're trusting them to do something that is inconsistent with their primary motivation of making money. Someone may have an aversion to profit-centric organizations, but this is different from being untrustworthy. Their expectations just need to be adjusted accordingly.

Edited 2013-12-16 21:13 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Novan_Leon,

"Stockholders are people too."

True, but they have an entirely different role than those who are directly accountable for a business. In the stock market, stock holders are not accountable, they're only there for the money. Many shareholders don't even know what companies they own stock in, the stocks are generic financial funds, such as 401ks. Ethics & responsibility just doesn't factor into stock markets and it probably never will.

"They're only untrustworthy if you're trusting them to do something that is inconsistent with their primary motivation of making money."

Sure, as long as you "trust" corporations to follow the money, which they typically do, then your "trust" in them is probably well founded. But isn't this the point Dr-ROX was getting at despite the new context of "trust"? We could add your qualifier to his statement to write: "you should never trust corporations to do something that is inconsistent with their primary motivation of making money." And Bam! You and he are both right.


I think WereCatf made an excellent point as well. Within a privately owned & operated company, trust extends from the owners. If either the owner or the company were to break that trust, then that would reflect directly on the other. It'd be a large stretch to tie in the concept of trust into the stock market since the only thing that matters there is profits. Most people own shares of managed funds rather than individual stocks anyways, like 401k retirement contribution plans where employees pay into the funds chosen by the company's fund managers. The concept of right or wrong doesn't factor in, just profits.


"Someone may have an aversion to profit-centric organizations, but this is different from being untrustworthy."

It is what it is, and it's not always bad, but the issue for myself and others is the conflict of interest faced by profit driven corporations. Sometimes corporate profit comes at the expense of society at large. For example, vendor lock and products restricted by design. Products that last "forever" are good for consumers, but bad for profit; they'd go a long way in helping reduce pollution, waste. Offshored support centers are notorious for poor customer support, yet companies still opt for it fully knowing this to increase profits. Etc. These companies aim to not be so bad as to loose many customers, but just "good enough" to maintain them while maximizing profits.

Reply Score: 3

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Gabe Newell is an idealist, he still refuses to list his company, he insists on holding the reins and doing what he deems right, and that's quite a different path for the whole company to operate on.

Is there a good reason to? I find it difficult to understand why so many companies are listed? Seems to me it is only handy to get a lot of money in a short time so you can expand. But if you already have a billion...

Reply Score: 2

Nice
by twitterfire on Sat 14th Dec 2013 02:14 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

They have a console, they have an OS, the only thing they are lacking are games. But that's just a minor issue.

I think game studious couldn't care less about SteamOS.

Reply Score: 1

Let me tell you why that's bullshit...
by Xenmen on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:21 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Xenmen Member since:
2013-12-03

You seem to be forgetting Valve itself is a game studio...

and that they've already been building up a Linux game catalog...

The PS4 and xBone launched with ~20 titles each. SteamOS launches with all this: http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/


There are plenty of reasons why other devs would listen to Valve and support this project, not the least of which being to escape the closed App Store model.

See, here's the thing you people aren't understanding... When you made a Windows program before, Microsoft couldn't prevent someone else from installing it. Same with Apple computers. That's changed now, and both Microsoft and Apple are using their muscle to rig new computers so that you've got OS lock-in, AND can only install applications from their app store.

When you develop for SteamOS, you're really developing for Linux, with some Steam API stuff on the side. Ditching SteamOS and making a generic Lunix binary and distributing it is trivial compared to working around a closed proprietary platform, like Windows 8 RT or Maverick.


You don't understand what SteamOS is about. It's not about SteamOS becoming a dominant OS, it's about enhancing Linux support by making Linux gaming accessible to more people with less effort, making a bigger potential market for hardware makers to give proper driver support, so that nobody besides Valve can block what gets onto Valve's game distribution platform, so Valve can make more money. As this happens, though, there's no way for Valve to prevent game developers from releasing on Linux, but outside of Valve's Steam platform. That's why developers are not afraid of lockin.

Reply Score: 5

cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

To the point. One addition: Linux is already the most used consumer OS via Android. Windows loses and continues to lose massive while the PC market continues to shrink rapid. Customers moved away already. There is no money to make in the Windows app store and alternate distribution-channels going to be locked out. Its all happening on Apple and Android. Apple uses OpenGL on Unix, Android uses OpenGL on Unix, Sony's Playstation uses OpenGL on Unix. Combine all that and compare with the shrinking propitary Microsoft-onkly market Windows.

Game publishers are where the customers are and will be and that's OpenGL/Unix, that's what Valve's SteamOS is on. Be sure that publishers will look at SteamOS while thinking Android+Apple+Steam, that's multiple times more customers and money to make then Windows, lets do it!

Edited 2013-12-14 11:08 UTC

Reply Score: 5

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Linux is already the most used consumer OS via Android


I though the only thing about Linux on Android was the kernel.

Sony's Playstation uses OpenGL on Unix.


Again, this urban legend about OpenGL support on games consoles.

http://develop.scee.net/files/presentations/gceurope2013/ParisGC201...

Edited 2013-12-14 14:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

"Linux is already the most used consumer OS via Android


I though the only thing about Linux on Android was the kernel.
"
Correct me if i'm wrong, but I thought that Linux was just a kernel, and the GNU userland (and android userland) actually made it an OS...

Reply Score: 4

olejon Member since:
2012-08-12

Linux is just the kernel. GNU is just another (very important) part of a typical Linux-distribution. X.Org is another important part. Android does not use many of the common components used in GNU/Linux distributions.

In addition to the Linux kernel, Android uses many other open source components. You can see it yourself if you have an Android device. Go to Settings > About > Legal information > Open source licenses

Edited 2013-12-14 20:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

xfce_fanboy Member since:
2013-04-09

It seems like there are many reasons for Valve to get behind Linux, foremost of them being Gabe Newell's stated dislike for Windows 8.x, and his presumption that many gamers in his target audience feel the same way.

Valve's goal seems to be putting its games and gaming PC's in the hands of people who normally play console games, while expanding its base among PC gamers at the same time. With Steam OS (and Linux in general,) Valve can keep their hardware prices lower (no "Windows Tax") and avoids being captive to the whims of Microsoft.

Reply Score: 4

icicle Member since:
2013-12-07

Great comment Xenmen.

Half Life 3 + Oculus Rift anyone?

Reply Score: 1

xeoron Member since:
2007-03-25

Apple, by default only blocks Apps that are not digitally signed by the developer, so the source (App Store, Web, etc) the system will let you install and run. Gatekeeper can be disabled. The only down side is that you need need to pay someone for a signing key. Apple rolls this into their dev program and it $99 bucks a year, even for open-source/freeware apps. The fee is not per app, but per registered developer. I don't like the idea of having to pay for a signing key for my opensource projects, so I turn off Gatekeeper on my machine or other peoples who want my programs. Apple claims this is to help protect Macs, and to some degree it might, but it is not like there are background checks for the company or person signing up for the Dev program before they hand people signing keys nor do they prevent you from getting keys from other sources.

As for Microsoft, they are allowing you to install programs from other sources than their App Store without having toggle off a setting for non-RT versions of Windows.

I do like how Apple lets you buy 1 copy of app and can install it on all your Macs. While Microsoft makes you buy from their app store a new copy of a app for each Windows machine your Microsoft account is linked to, regardless if it is a free or paid app.

Edited 2013-12-15 14:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice
by Morty on Sat 14th Dec 2013 11:21 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Morty Member since:
2005-07-06


I think game studious couldn't care less about SteamOS.

But they do care about Steam, as it's a major distribution channel.

A fact not lost on them and Valve both, giving Valve both opportunity and power to convince the game studios to support SteamOS. Ranging from nicer financial deals for studios supporting SteamOS, to making games without SteamOS support "second class" titles promotion vise on Steam. For Minor studios it may even be a simple "no access to Steam without StemOS support" rule.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Nice
by Lennie on Sat 14th Dec 2013 13:52 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Actually, if you look it up, there are more users of Steam than XBox Live.

And I heared developers on Steam get a bigger cut.

Edited 2013-12-14 13:55 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nice
by Vanders on Sat 14th Dec 2013 17:14 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

I think game studious couldn't care less about SteamOS.

If only Valve knew some game developers. Hey, perhaps they could develop a game engine for other developers to use, and then develop a distribution platform for developers to sell their games on?

It's crazy but it might just work.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Nice
by Vordreller on Sat 14th Dec 2013 18:52 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Vordreller Member since:
2012-08-29

That's so ignorant, it's not even funny.

Reply Score: 1

Working just with Nvidia
by twitterfire on Sat 14th Dec 2013 02:21 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Maybe nVidia had more engineers to spare to support Valve, what with AMD being busy with the XBone/PS4 launch and all.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Working just with Nvidia
by Ford Prefect on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:18 UTC in reply to "Working just with Nvidia"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

nVidia also has a very solid driver to start with, they can achieve a good partnership without any big efforts. Whereas AMD has a really shitty driver base and there are so many problems to fix in the first place.

Intel on the other hand have a very solid open source (!) driver, so I don't understand why they are left out in the first release.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Working just with Nvidia
by moondevil on Sat 14th Dec 2013 14:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Working just with Nvidia"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Intel on the other hand have a very solid open source (!) driver, so I don't understand why they are left out in the first release.


Because anyone serious about 3D programming knows how Intel OpenGL drivers suck and they still seem not to care that much about improving them.

They are good enough for accelerated 2D, now in what concerns OpenGL compliance and performance, there is still lots of things to fix.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:29 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Some interesting stuff going on here. These quotes say it all:

To access the SteamOS desktop, it must be enabled from the Steam Settings menu.


Looks like it boots straight to the Steam app with no other DE -- i.e. a console-like experience.

Why is SteamOS built on Debian and not Ubuntu? --
Building on top of the Debian core is the best way for Valve to deliver a fully custom SteamOS experience to our customers.


They don't want to follow in Ubuntu's steps.

All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.


They're using a shim-layer to sit Steam upon; likely necessary for sharing Windows/Linux compatibility with the same code base.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Kroc
by xfce_fanboy on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:47 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
xfce_fanboy Member since:
2013-04-09

Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 14th Dec 2013 17:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, Ubuntu has chosen to go alone when it comes to the display server graphics stack with Mir. I can't imagine a company so heavily invested in graphics display would give Canonical complete control, when the rest of the software stack is heading towards Wayland. Heck with Debian they could stay on X forever, if they wished.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by allanregistos on Mon 16th Dec 2013 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.


Please, do not use Valve's choosing of Debian over Ubuntu to show your hatred towards Canonical.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by xfce_fanboy on Mon 16th Dec 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
xfce_fanboy Member since:
2013-04-09

"Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.


Please, do not use Valve's choosing of Debian over Ubuntu to show your hatred towards Canonical.
"
Hatred towards Canonical? Please read the comment before criticizing! I happen to use both Ubuntu and Debian, and I love both distros for different applications. Debian is a leaner distro that can be tweaked to run well on my older PC's, while Ubuntu is a good out-of-the-box experience that needs very little tweaking as long as the PC is fairly recent.

Steam OS seems to be aiming for a "best of both worlds" approach. Valve wants Debian's performance and the freedom that comes from using a community-based distro, but they want to tweak it so it's easy to install and configure like Ubuntu.

Valve and Canonical are both great companies that have served the Linux community well. That doesn't mean they'll agree on every technical issue like desktop environments or display servers, because their target audiences are often different.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by allanregistos on Tue 17th Dec 2013 08:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

"[q]Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.


Please, do not use Valve's choosing of Debian over Ubuntu to show your hatred towards Canonical.
"
Hatred towards Canonical? Please read the comment before criticizing! I happen to use both Ubuntu and Debian, and I love both distros for different applications. Debian is a leaner distro that can be tweaked to run well on my older PC's, while Ubuntu is a good out-of-the-box experience that needs very little tweaking as long as the PC is fairly recent.

Steam OS seems to be aiming for a "best of both worlds" approach. Valve wants Debian's performance and the freedom that comes from using a community-based distro, but they want to tweak it so it's easy to install and configure like Ubuntu.

Valve and Canonical are both great companies that have served the Linux community well. That doesn't mean they'll agree on every technical issue like desktop environments or display servers, because their target audiences are often different. [/q]

I apologized for having use the term "hatred" against you. Sorry. I just want to make a point that we should not used Valve's decision of choosing Debian over Ubuntu as a vehicle to criticize Canonical. Ubuntu is open source, and even it has a Ubuntu JEOS (Just Enough Operating System) version. So the point is moot about bloats. I don't believe that Ubuntu is bloated, on the other hand, I believe KDE based desktops are more bloated than Ubuntu with Unity, this according to my testing.

Regarding no need Unity for SteamOS, that's irrelevant, I am more in favor of NO GNOME Shell for SteamOS, but the point of Valve is SteamOS is open, so no one would stop building a GNOME based SteamOS or a Unity one. If MIR would happen to be successful ( which is very likely IF their mobile push is a success) then it would be an easy part for Valve to choose MIR over the competition. There is no technical barrier for doing so. Where the market is leading, manufacturers will just follow.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Kroc
by pgeorgi on Sat 14th Dec 2013 10:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

"All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.


They're using a shim-layer to sit Steam upon; likely necessary for sharing Windows/Linux compatibility with the same code base.
"
The explanation sounds like it's for Linux-Linux compatibility. That "shim" is probably just a set of "known good" libraries in given versions and configurations, no matter what the distribution itself is using.

ABI compatibility can be a pain at times.

Reply Score: 4

Debian!
by stabbyjones on Sat 14th Dec 2013 07:03 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

looks like in already running steam os then. ;)

Reply Score: 5

Custom graphics compositor
by madmalkav on Sat 14th Dec 2013 09:46 UTC
madmalkav
Member since:
2009-04-25

Anyone knows where I can read more about the "Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay"?

Reply Score: 3

Keeping my hopes up....
by tomchr on Sat 14th Dec 2013 13:38 UTC
tomchr
Member since:
2009-02-01

Well, I know that it is far fetched, but I was hoping that Valve had made an effort to optimize the Linux desktop GUI with the same eyecandy elements found in the Steam client / Big Picture, so as to provide their take a better desktop environment.

Hopefully, we will see something more polished in the end product, if not only a Gnome Valve skin/theme pack.

Edited 2013-12-14 13:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Keeping my hopes up....
by WereCatf on Sat 14th Dec 2013 13:59 UTC in reply to "Keeping my hopes up...."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Well, I know that it is far fetched, but I was hoping that Valve had made an effort to optimize the Linux desktop GUI with the same eyecandy elements found in the Steam client / Big Picture, so as to provide their take a better desktop environment.


What incentive would they have to spend time and effort on that? SteamOS and SteamBoxes are meant for the living-room and the desktop isn't a part of that plan, it only exists "just in case."

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Keeping my hopes up....
by tomchr on Sat 14th Dec 2013 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Keeping my hopes up...."
tomchr Member since:
2009-02-01

What incentive would they have to spend time and effort on that? SteamOS and SteamBoxes are meant for the living-room and the desktop isn't a part of that plan, it only exists "just in case."


There is the pretty obvious incentive to make the Linux desktop platform a perceptively more user friendly alternative, thereby gaining traction among as many developers as possible.

I do not believe that Valve is betting the farm on living-room SteamBoxes alone. The Steam distribution model has much more potential than gaming alone.

This is only the beginning...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Keeping my hopes up....
by oiaohm on Sun 15th Dec 2013 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Keeping my hopes up...."
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

What incentive would they have to spend time and effort on that? SteamOS and SteamBoxes are meant for the living-room and the desktop isn't a part of that plan, it only exists "just in case."


We don't know where steambox is fully going yet. Please remember steam does host some desktop applications. Yes the majority of steam is games but its not 100 percent games.

I would not say Gnome is there as a just in case. Its there to allow for the possibly. Valve will not put a huge effort into it until demand is shown.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Keeping my hopes up....
by allanregistos on Mon 16th Dec 2013 04:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keeping my hopes up...."
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

"What incentive would they have to spend time and effort on that? SteamOS and SteamBoxes are meant for the living-room and the desktop isn't a part of that plan, it only exists "just in case."


We don't know where steambox is fully going yet. Please remember steam does host some desktop applications. Yes the majority of steam is games but its not 100 percent games.

I would not say Gnome is there as a just in case. Its there to allow for the possibly. Valve will not put a huge effort into it until demand is shown.
"
PLEASE no Gnome Shell...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Wafflez
by Wafflez on Sat 14th Dec 2013 14:36 UTC
Wafflez
Member since:
2011-06-26

Allright, my VGA does not work and my audio card does not work (some Asus Xonar model).

And there I was thinking it would take like a year of Valve pushing Linux, then only indie devs jumping the bandwagon and real gaming companies (who release games that are above SNES level and that I would like to play) will continue ignoring. Oh and all that controller fiasco in rare multiplayer game that will get released - you'll open score board, people with 0 kills and 60 deaths will be playing with controller and people with 60 kills and 0 deaths - with mouse and keyboard.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Wafflez
by Vanders on Sat 14th Dec 2013 17:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by Wafflez"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh and all that controller fiasco in rare multiplayer game that will get released - you'll open score board, people with 0 kills and 60 deaths will be playing with controller and people with 60 kills and 0 deaths - with mouse and keyboard.

Could you not put your amazing psychic skills to better use and give us all next weeks Lottery numbers or something?

Reply Score: 4

Good news but...
by dennisma on Sat 14th Dec 2013 16:01 UTC
dennisma
Member since:
2013-12-05

I like Steam. Heck I love Steam. But even for the PC they don't have all the games I want and I need to go the EA Origin route on occasion (though I try not to).

So given they don't even have all the titles I want for the Wintel side of the house, I am a bit concerned how this will fare going forward.

I like that they have future plans for Wintel game streaming (I assume it will be akin to the nVidia Shield streaming). That will certainly relieve a good deal of my concern when (and if) it arrives.

I know many here love the idea this is Linux based. I don't care as much except I like the idea the platform will be more open.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Gregory Isaacs
by Gregory Isaacs on Sat 14th Dec 2013 19:03 UTC
Gregory Isaacs
Member since:
2006-06-30

I downloaded the beta today. You need UEFI enabled in your BIOS to get the USB drive to boot. The installer will wipe your entire disk without leaving the choice to choose a partion or create other ones for different distros. So no dual booting from one disk here. After booting you can choose between an automatic or custom installation. The custom one will not work so you are left to the automatic one which fails later on during the installation process. A lot of work needs to be done here but they announced that this beta is a bit rough ;) .

Reply Score: 5

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Sun 15th Dec 2013 00:06 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Good to see them using Debian rather than Ubuntu. It means they'd rather pick Wayland in the future, and not Mir.

Reply Score: 2

Need help
by Xaero_Vincent on Sun 15th Dec 2013 04:29 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Anyone have any success getting SteamOS to boot properly in VirtualBox?

I got it installed but after selecting to boot from Grub, it just boots into a blank screen and just stalls there. I can boot into the console rescue mode, however and access apt and dpkg.

Any ideas?

Hopefully I can get the Gnome desktop working and install Wine, so that the Windows steam and other apps can be installed on SteamOS too.

Reply Score: 3

Phoronix
by WereCatf on Sun 15th Dec 2013 11:14 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Phoronix has just posted an article going into more details on SteamOS. Notable things from the article:

* The xcompmgr package is still popular though among lightweight Linux users. In looking through the code, steamos-compositor is much-changed compared to upstream xcompmgr. The diff between steamos-compositor and upstream xcompmgr is over a 4,200 line patch.

* SteamOS is using the Linux 3.10 kernel, but it's not a vanilla kernel. There's many patches added onto the Linux 3.10 kernel for SteamOS, particularly taken from the real-time patch-set and other changes. As pointed out by a Phoronix reader, "SteamOS appears to be using linux 3.10 - PREEMPT_RT_FULL (unsurprisingly) with a heavy amount of patching (282 patches for -rt in the 'all' architectures/folder, alone). The kernel is also using aufs and they seem to be sitting on some bug fixes for upstream on top of that. Some of the -rt related hacks they are using i have seen (in one case, i am using the same patch for ntrig)... It looks like they have gone to a lot of effort getting the kernel just right for their needs."

* Valve though did make (not-in-mainline) improvements to the Xpad Linux input driver for the Microsoft Xbox 360 game controller.

Details at http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU0MzY and http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU0Mzc

Reply Score: 4

RE: Phoronix
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 15th Dec 2013 11:22 UTC in reply to "Phoronix"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thanks, I'll see if I can summarise the articles accurately later today.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Phoronix
by allanregistos on Mon 16th Dec 2013 04:10 UTC in reply to "Phoronix"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

* SteamOS is using the Linux 3.10 kernel, but it's not a vanilla kernel. There's many patches added onto the Linux 3.10 kernel for SteamOS, particularly taken from the real-time patch-set and other changes. As pointed out by a Phoronix reader, "SteamOS appears to be using linux 3.10 - PREEMPT_RT_FULL (unsurprisingly) with a heavy amount of patching (282 patches for -rt in the 'all' architectures/folder, alone).


And someone above these posts was able to say, this is a minor change?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Phoronix
by WereCatf on Mon 16th Dec 2013 04:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Phoronix"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

And someone above these posts was able to say, this is a minor change?


That's partially the reason why I posted that here ;) I mean, none of that is "minor changes" and I would assume the devs have really tested each and every patch they made and/or applied to see that they bring out as stable and fast performance as possible. Even just the heavily-modified xcompmgr alone is quite a lot of work.

This certainly isn't just vanilla-Debian with the regular Steam-client on top of it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Phoronix
by allanregistos on Mon 16th Dec 2013 05:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Phoronix"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

"And someone above these posts was able to say, this is a minor change?


That's partially the reason why I posted that here ;) I mean, none of that is "minor changes" and I would assume the devs have really tested each and every patch they made and/or applied to see that they bring out as stable and fast performance as possible. Even just the heavily-modified xcompmgr alone is quite a lot of work.

This certainly isn't just vanilla-Debian with the regular Steam-client on top of it.
"

To add to the point as I mentioned earlier in this thread, that _amount_ of work cannot be done by just anyone else, it needs to have the expertise of Valve's software engineering to do the massive changes they've made to their OS. Their experience in game development is the biggest factor why they are able to do this.

So this is not something as another basement distro, for I'm tired of seeing linux-distros popping everywhere with the same features being touted again and again.
Regardless of Valve's success on this project, I am very excited for SteamOS, for this is a very different and unique Linux distribution.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Phoronix
by oiaohm on Wed 18th Dec 2013 03:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Phoronix"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

"* SteamOS is using the Linux 3.10 kernel, but it's not a vanilla kernel. There's many patches added onto the Linux 3.10 kernel for SteamOS, particularly taken from the real-time patch-set and other changes. As pointed out by a Phoronix reader, "SteamOS appears to be using linux 3.10 - PREEMPT_RT_FULL (unsurprisingly) with a heavy amount of patching (282 patches for -rt in the 'all' architectures/folder, alone).


And someone above these posts was able to say, this is a minor change?
"
http://packages.debian.org/wheezy/linux-image-rt-amd64
Compared to lot Distrobution kernel alterations this is a minor change. Yes I have provide a link to a debian equally messed with kernel.

Its all about prospective.

If you expect the steam customised kernel to be a good desktop kernel you have another thing coming. Linux kernel is highly customisable. The options you set do effect performance quite a bit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Phoronix
by allanregistos on Wed 18th Dec 2013 07:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Phoronix"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

"[q]* SteamOS is using the Linux 3.10 kernel, but it's not a vanilla kernel. There's many patches added onto the Linux 3.10 kernel for SteamOS, particularly taken from the real-time patch-set and other changes. As pointed out by a Phoronix reader, "SteamOS appears to be using linux 3.10 - PREEMPT_RT_FULL (unsurprisingly) with a heavy amount of patching (282 patches for -rt in the 'all' architectures/folder, alone).


And someone above these posts was able to say, this is a minor change?
"
http://packages.debian.org/wheezy/linux-image-rt-amd64
Compared to lot Distrobution kernel alterations this is a minor change. Yes I have provide a link to a debian equally messed with kernel.

Its all about prospective.

If you expect the steam customised kernel to be a good desktop kernel you have another thing coming. Linux kernel is highly customisable. The options you set do effect performance quite a bit. [/q]


From my perspective, this is not a LFS-based project, the kernel was fine-tuned for gaming and not just by a random geeks, but engineers from Valve, where you cannot replicate their skills easily, you need at least their level of expertise to do the job. And that is massive. This is not about how much lines of code you added or subtracted from a vanilla Debian kernel, but the quality of code that is needed.

And I am excited also for their works on audio, since this can greatly benefit musicians who are using Linux.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Phoronix
by oiaohm on Wed 18th Dec 2013 10:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Phoronix"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

From my perspective, this is not a LFS-based project, the kernel was fine-tuned for gaming and not just by a random geeks, but engineers from Valve, where you cannot replicate their skills easily, you need at least their level of expertise to do the job. And that is massive. This is not about how much lines of code you added or subtracted from a vanilla Debian kernel, but the quality of code that is needed.

And I am excited also for their works on audio, since this can greatly benefit musicians who are using Linux.


RT kernels have existed for audio work for a long time on Linux. Most of the patches Valve added to their kernel are in fact longterm existing ones like the RT tree. More and more of the RT tree is ending up mainline.

The major difference between valve kernel and standard Distributions RT kernels is tuning. There are a few options like one of Intel power mangement options that is disabled.

Basically you can be given the best kernel on earth but if you cannot configure it correctly it worthless.

Reply Score: 2

Works well
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 16th Dec 2013 09:08 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

This SteamOS beta is a bit rough around the edges but after tackling with it a little to get 3D acceleration and sound to work, it runs pretty well in a VM.

Its understood that SteamOS will be a HTPC OS with LAN game streaming but hopefully Valve decides to leave the "desktop mode" intact in future releases because its perfectly capable of being a full-featured desktop operating system.

http://s21.postimg.org/wt29qq7c7/SOSS.png

Reply Score: 4

Trying it out....
by deathshadow on Mon 16th Dec 2013 16:37 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Went diving into my spare parts bin -- came out with a i7 920, Asus P6T Deluxe, 6 gigs of RAM and a GTX 260... I think my cup doth runneth over when THAT is what was in my junk drawer.

First problem I hit up against is this release was UEFI only -- so unless you're running IVY/newer it's NOT going to work out of the box. Being it's just linsux it was easy enough to make a GRUB bootable flash drive, add GRUB to the dependencies and force the issue, but really that's shortsighted of them if they wanted to make something most people can test... since to be brutally frank, unless you're sitting around transcoding video all day anything more than a Q6600 is overkill -- for general computing, for gaming, etc, etc... Which is why most people who have an i7 -- ANY i7, really aren't that interested in upgrading apart from bragging rights. (See the 4770k in my workstation, as if it is ACTUALLY delivering anything the i7 870 it replaced for my day to day use...)

I was a little surprised they couldn't be bothered to include GRUB and gParted -- shouldn't have taken more than ten minutes to apply to the distro and really shows a lack of foresight.

As expected it refuses to see the audio on the motherboard -- I have the WORST luck with audio and linsux, and with this particular board no amount of dicking around with modprobe on the command line will make it acknowledge it's there -- had the same problem with this setup as a hackintosh, with no amount of voodoo HDA kexts making it work. The obvious solution being to drop one of my spare Live! or Audigy cards in which recognize right off.

The instructions in the FAQ get down on it's knees in front of the proverbial equine of short stature -- the "login as steam and start steam" bit omitting that they mean to start it from a terminal window, since the icons on the gnome desktop or from applications for STEAM do exactly two things... and Jack left town.

FINALLY having it up and running, the SteamOS UI is about what I expected. It works a treat with my wireless gamepad, but is total **** with a mouse or keyboard. As 'ten foot' interfaces go, my RCA streaming box and Samsung Blu-ray player could take a few lessons from SteamOS on how to do it right. Seems like where they put the most effort, and it shows!

For running the dozen or so games off Steam it's acceptable, but there needs to be a better way to run non-steam delivered content apart from going into Gnome

I was also surprised to not see games I KNOW have Linux versions... VALVE games at that, not be listed on STEAM. No Half Life 2 regular or episodes, No Portal, No source ports of older HL games... REALLY? REALLY?!? Really.....

I'm going to test this with a vanilla Debian, but the GTX 260 seems around 40% faster in SteamOS than it did the last time I tried it in a Linux distro... FINALLY dragging it kicking and screaming up to the performance I see in Windows. That's been one of my complaints for years about linsux is openGL performance being so crippled it's like owning two generations back in hardware; you don't install a GTX 260 to have the performance of a 8800GTS, or a GTX 770 (like on my workstation) for the performance of a GTX 260! So kudos there, though I'm gonna test that more with some other distros.

They also seem to have all the freetype tweaks the free-tards have disabled by default on most distro's and hide in vaguely documented and ultimately useless config files. It still kerns small text like a sweetly retarded crack addict, but those issues really don't matter once you're running the ten foot interface as the kerning bugs are far less noticeable the more pixels you use per character... But I' m real ly sen siti ve to fre etyp e 's kern ing of chara cter s lik e this! ... the dancing "i" syndrome being the worst of it.

The worst problem I've had is that every now and then on reboot the system is losing CMOS settings -- again, shades of a hackintosh. Switching to the Windows 7 hdd the rig was using previously and it's fine -- so I can only assume it's a problem with the distro.

For the issues I've had, most of them are easily dismissed or expected from a BETA release, worked around by using proper hardware choices or a bit of Linux knowledge, or are just the typical crippleware BS I've come to expect out of a Linux distro when used for anything other than a server. Right now I'd give it 5 out of ten stars, and that's mostly due to a lack of content. Apart from some REALLY mediocre indie games (mostly platformers), TF2 and the two Metro games, it's slim pickings.

But there's a LOT of potential if they can get developers on board. Lack of developer interest can kill any platform... see Linux as a desktop OS where the pathetic crippleware relegates it to an 'also ran' amongst all but the most die-hard of geeks and freetards.

Reply Score: 2

GPL
by res0r9lm on Thu 19th Dec 2013 15:05 UTC
res0r9lm
Member since:
2013-08-13

Some of these people are just trying to cause a rift. What could they close? Its just Debian with some Linux kernel patches and fork of xcompmgr. They couldn't use GPL code and close it.

Reply Score: 1