Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 22:53 UTC
Games Yesterday Phoronix showed proof of Steam's Linux client existence via its Mac OS X launcher that is currently in closed beta, then this morning they showed further signs of Linux support. Since 2008 it was known that Steam and the Source Engine would come to Linux. As an update, they even pointed out the download link for the Steam Linux binary from their store.
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Steam, Smoke, Hot Air . . .
by El_Exigente on Sat 24th Apr 2010 06:49 UTC
El_Exigente
Member since:
2007-01-08

First, if Steam comes to Linux, what are Linux users going to do about graphics cards and drivers. I think that Nvidia has Linux drivers, and I think that ATI hasn't, but I am not sure. Even if there are drivers, how good are they?

The other point is quite humourous. Steam is a profoundly anti-user, rights-restricting technology. You buy your game either digitally via a download, or as a physical product (dvd, cd, etc). In order to play that game, you must register it to your Steam account. Once it is registered to your Steam account, it stays registered to your Steam account and can not be transferred or unregistered. So, let us say that you buy some new and well-hyped-up game for $60. You install it and you find yourself disappointed to such a degree that you want to sell it. You can't. Or, you have a game, you play it, and, eventually, you tire of it, and you want to sell it. You can't. Or let us say you have a large collection of games that you used to, but no longer play, and which, collectively, represent a large cash investment. You decide that you would like to sell them. You can't. Steam has found what must be the Holy Grail of software developers: a way to completely eliminate any market for second-hand games! You might have the legal right to sell your unwanted movies in videotape or dvd format, and your books, and records and cds, but your games? Not anymore!

Or, to look at this from the other side: Perhaps you can not afford to spend $60 on a game. Or even $30 or $25. Do you want to save some money by buying a second-hand copy on eBay? Sorry, not allowed! If you can't pay the full retail tariff, you are out of luck. Or, if you sometimes partially defrayed the cost of your new games by selling your old games, you are also out of luck.

Selling and/or transferring of game licenses is prohibited. Selling and/or transferring of Steam accounts is prohibited. Each account must be tied to an email address. Needless to say, Steam is fully aware of any email addresses used for multiple Steam accounts. If you attempt to open a new account with an email address that Steam already has on file, it will inform you of the fact. (One other game service, possibly EA, recently changed from accounts based on screen names, to accounts based on email addresses. Steam could do that too. In fact, as doing so would only be "tightening the screws" I would have to expect them to do so.)
Steam is a *deeply* draconian drm technology.

It is interesting to see how many users of Linux, the OS made for people who [sarcasm] cherish freedom [/sarcasm], seem to think that Steam would be a great addition to their platformm even as it erodes what many thought were the rights of the consumer/end-user.

Similarly, it is interesting to see how many users of Linux, the platform which was supposedly meant to bring computing to the masses, seem to think that Steam, which helps maintain the high price of video games by making impossible the existence of a market for second-hand games, is a great addition to their platform.

Reply Score: 1

torturedutopian Member since:
2010-04-24

Oh thank you, I was flabbergasted no one raised this point.

I really definitely prefer supporting developers directly (there are a few good independant games released for Linux each year).

Maybe there could be some special community powered repositories to distribute them at prices specified by the developers with a low fee that would just be enough to cover the servers costs (?). Wonder what will befall of Ubuntu One.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Steam, Smoke, Hot Air . . .
by steogede2 on Sat 24th Apr 2010 10:52 in reply to "Steam, Smoke, Hot Air . . ."
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

El_Exigente, I think you made some very good points, but I would like to play devil's advocate for a moment:
* These people who are in favour, already use Steam on Windows. Some of them paying for and installing Windows, purely to play games on Steam. They may not like Steam, but it is they only way to play some of the games they like (without resorting to "piracy").
* 'Software freedom' is not every Linux users primary motive for using Windows. There are plenty of reasons using Linux, 'software freedom' is jut one.
* Even if 'software freedom' is the main reason - it won't necessarily influence all uses of their computer. In some scenarios open source and software freedom make all the difference (a closed model could never make something like Drupal for instance) - in other case it is more ethereal. For example, I have never sold a game, so that freedom doesn't matter to me greatly - even though at an intellectual level, I think it is very important and I think that the way Steam (and many others) use DRM should be outlawed.
* They are looking at the bigger picture, they see that if Steam supports Linux and lots of people use it, hardware support could increase. More independents might release games for Linux and they could then support them.

I think a point that most of those in favour seem to be ignoring is that even if Steam comes to Linux - it won't be all games, it probably won't even be many games. That said it is still probably a step in the right direction. I just hope it isn't going to be another Unreal Tournament 3 or Neverwinter Nights.

Edited 2010-04-24 11:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Steam, Smoke, Hot Air . . .
by bert64 on Sun 25th Apr 2010 23:45 in reply to "Steam, Smoke, Hot Air . . ."
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Nvidia has binary only linux drivers which work quite well, and for games which have native linux versions have always tended to outperform windows by about 5% vs xp...
ATI also has binary drivers, but they suck and are much slower than the windows ones. However, ATI are releasing hardware specs and open source drivers are progressing. More games being available for linux will likely spur development of drivers.
Remember, windows only has binary drivers too, for either vendor so linux isn't doing too badly.

The other major graphics vendor is Intel, and they have fully open linux drivers, ofcourse intel graphics are only suitable for older games.

Reply Parent Score: 2