Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th May 2010 15:07 UTC
Games "Valve Corporation has today rolled out their Steam Mac OS X client to the general public and confirmed something we have been reporting for two years: the Steam content delivery platform and Source Engine are coming to Linux. This news is coming days after we discovered proof in Steam's Mac OS X Client of Linux support and subsequently found more Linux references and even the unreleased Steam Linux client. The day has finally come and Linux gamers around the world have a reason to rejoice, as this is the biggest news for the Linux gaming community that sees very few tier-one titles." This means Linux users can finally enjoy two of the best games in recent years: Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. BOOMER!
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MacMan
Member since:
2006-11-19

What do I mean by this?

First off, before I piss off lot of people, let me start by saying that for the most part, I think Linux rocks, in fact I actually use Linux far more often than OSX, but I use Linux as a compute node / developer env, and not as a desktop OS. In my experience, the Linux kernel is more stable, and much better performing than the OSX kernel. The virtual memory subsystem in OSX is real pile of crap. That said, I do use OSX only as a desktop OS mostly because of the state of 3D hardware support in Linux.

This really is a great accomplishment on Steam's part considering the state of 3D hardware support in Linux.

I'm referring to the ridiculous cat-and-mouse game between the Linux kernel developers and hardware manufacturers. Face it, graphics hardware vendors do have some trade secrets that they develop and need to protect to give them a competitive advantage over competitors (nVidia / ATI...).

Now the Linux devs who want to block binary drivers at ANY COST. So (read the kernel mailing lists and the goals of kernel mode switching), every time nVidia, ATI, etc.. release a new driver, the kernel devs try to change some kernel interface to intentionally break the proprietary drivers. In the end, this just ends up screwing the end user. Then the hardware vendors re-compile their driver, and the game starts a new. This is why I use OSX as desktop OS, and Linux as a compute node OS: because 3D just works.

Are proprietary drivers ideal? absolutely not, but one needs to understand the hardware vendors POV also. It would be really nice if every piece of hardware had a full open source driver, but that is simply not realistic. If Linux just had a stable kernel binary ABI for device drivers, so a binary driver would not break every time somebody issues some security fix, I probably would switch to 100% Linux. Until the Linux devs find a way to co-exist with hardware manufacturers who only want to provide binary drivers, we all loose.

Reply Score: 2

Blind Member since:
2009-09-24

Sure, but some probably most of us are not as bleeding edge as it takes for your scenario to create an issue.

Reply Parent Score: 1

TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I don't think the kernel devs go out of their way to intentionally break anything. They just aren't going to hold back from doing their work because of Nvidia, etc. If you use Fedora, the Nvidia drivers are easy to set up and automatically updated if you add rpmfusion to you repo list. Its no harder than installing the drivers in Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 6

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

They intentionally have an unstable abi that breaks binary drivers.

Their position has long been that they don't care if this makes life difficult for hardware companies.

They have not only broken video drivers but VM Server as well since it hooks into the kernel.

Linus and the peanuts gang are open source purists that could give a shit about any problems they cause downstream.

Reply Parent Score: 3