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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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

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Kivada Member since:

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 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 Parent Score: 5