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Under the Hood of SteamOS

timothy posted about a year ago | from the inside-scoop dept.

Debian 201

jones_supa writes "SteamOS has been further inspected to see what kind of technical solutions it uses. The Debian-based OS uses Linux 3.10, shipping with a heap of patches applied, with the most focus being on real-time-like features. The kernel is also using aufs and they seem to be sitting on some bug fixes for upstream on top of that. The kernel is not using the new Intel P-State driver, with the reported reason being, 'it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.' SteamOS is using SysVinit as its init system. The desktop is backed by X.Org server 1.12.4 and a custom desktop compositor which seems to be a 4,200-line patch on xcompmgr. Catalyst and Mesa components can be found on the system, but so far only NVIDIA is officially supported. The system boots into Big Picture Mode, but the user can drop into a GNOME desktop. Responsible for a great deal of the kernel changes, SteamOS compositor work, and other SteamOS code is Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, a.k.a. 'Plagman'. He was a NVIDIA employee dealing with their Linux support. Another Valve employee doing lots of the SteamOS system-level work is John Vert, who up until last year was a Microsoft employee since 1991. There's also other former Microsoft employees on Valve's Linux team, like Mike Sartain."

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First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692001)

Maybe 2nd ?

Re:First Post (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#45692249)

Maybe 2nd ?

Looks more like a stump than a post.

Maybe it's just me, but aren't posts supposed to be ... bigger? taller?

Stop fragmenting (-1, Troll)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692009)

Forking/Fragmenting is good when it solves a problem. Not when the differences are between using different conventions.

For a hilarious example, see this Android:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/07/visualized-the-real-android-fragmentation/ [engadget.com]

LSB came a long way, more work needs to be done.

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692083)

I'm sure Valve could learn a ton from you...let us know when you revolutionize gaming and release games of the same quality as Portal and Half-life

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692101)

Europe or the Ivory Coast

Re:Stop fragmenting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692363)

Don't even bother. Recoiledsnake works for Microsoft. All you'll ever get is competitor smears and MS promotions.

Re:Stop fragmenting (-1, Troll)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692763)

Is that why you post AC, to launch silly attacks while not being man enough to put even a userid on your posts?

Um... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692961)

The commenter does realize that Portal was bought completed and was not originally made by Valve....right?

Re:Stop fragmenting (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692093)

Forking/Fragmenting is good when it solves a problem. Not when the differences are between using different conventions.

So... "A Linux-based gaming console" is a problem best solved by stock Ubuntu/Debian, rather than fine-tuning aspects of the OS to handle gaming demands that a desktop or server machine doesn't have? What are you getting at? Of course you fork something if you have a new use case.

Seriously, the iThingamajig audience has already taught me to hear "fragmentation" in the same tone of voice and significance as a Fox News pundit saying "destroying America" (voice: "whiny, desperate, and entitled"; significance: "zero"). You're not helping.

Re:Stop fragmenting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692221)

The problem, cockbreath, is that they're asking people to reboot into a specialised, crippled version of Linux just to play games. It's all the disadvantages of a console without any of the advantages of a console.

Issue packages and/or patches for stock Debian, not your own distro.

And iThingamajig and Android are two examples of systems which try in their own way very hard to avoid fragmentation: in the first case, by being entirely locked down by one company - in the second case, by having various rules for eligibility to connect to the Google Play store. This hasn't stopped cunts like Amazon from making their own shit, but anybody who thinks that knowledge is best transferred from something requiring a 500-year-old printing press filling a room to something requiring a global industrial and service infrastructure deserves everything they get.

Re:Stop fragmenting (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692327)

Valve offers SteamOS for use in a specific case - when you use a dedicated box for SteamOS. If that is not your case then you can simply install Steam through your package manager, or by hand if not available. Last time I checked Gabe didn't put a sharp knife on anyone's throat to force them to switch from Gentoo to SteamOS.

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692355)

This has not begun to explain why you need anything more than a stock distribution with, at worst, one line added to a config file so you can select a standard set of packages for a dedicated Steam setup if you want.

To make HW mfrs' lives easier (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45692381)

This has not begun to explain why you need anything more than a stock distribution

It's to make the lives of set-top PC manufacturers easier. Instead of selling a naked PC and requiring end users to install an operating system, which will not work for the demographic that most often games on a TV, they can just ship SteamOS.

Re:To make HW mfrs' lives easier (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692591)

What stops set-top PC manufacturers from shipping Debian? We aren't talking about console users here. We're talking about people who (are supposed to) know enough to load and troubleshoot SteamOS onto the machines.

Re:To make HW mfrs' lives easier (2)

pcolaman (1208838) | about a year ago | (#45692913)

Actually they are trying to pull people over to the "PC" from being console only by making an OS that mimics closely the experience of a console for PC games. So it is in their best interest to make it outwardly as easy to use and setup as possible, while still giving power users access to what's under the hood.

Re:To make HW mfrs' lives easier (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#45692917)

No, we *are* talking about console users here. The target demo for the Steam Box is a gamer who wants to play PC games in their living room, and so will be able to just buy the box and plug it in. The current release doesn't try to achieve that because it's not there yet, hence why they're suggesting that it won't be of much interest to anyone but Linux enthusiasts at this point.

Re: To make HW mfrs' lives easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692941)

SteamOS was forced to replace parts of this Debian, basic things like low-latency audio didn't work properly in Debian, I do not think Debian by itself is shippable or ready for production.

Re:To make HW mfrs' lives easier (2)

Smauler (915644) | about a year ago | (#45692983)

SteamOS beta is not meant to be configured and played with by normal, console using, end users. Funnily enough, because what Steam want to be played with by normal, console using, end users is not here yet. The beta OS is a beta OS.

It's not that difficult to understand, is it? This is the beta of the operating system that steam boxes will ultimately run. You can install it on something else now, if you choose to. Getting it to run now is not representative of Steamboxen (hah!), and the experience they will deliver when they arrive. I want a controller to play with, for one...

Re:Stop fragmenting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692351)

you're such a piss stain

tl;dr stfu foad lrn 2 troll n00b (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#45692847)

You've basically revealed yourself as a moron who doesn't know what he's talking about but thinks he knows better than everyone else anyways.

SteamOS is an OS designed not just for gaming, but for a specific subset of gaming - using a controller and television instead of a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. The UI needs to be significantly different. You know how everyone bitches whenever an OS tries to reinvent the UI so that it works on both tablets and computers? This could have been the same situation, but Valve was smart enough to realize "hey, nobody wants to use a 10-foot UI on a 23" monitor, and nobody wants to type with a controller when they have a keyboard. Instead of pissing off our existing users *and* alienating the new target audience by making a compromise that fails at both, let's have two completely separate modes".

That's what SteamOS is designed for - a difference user interaction method. Or to be more precise, that's what Big Picture Mode (the Steam mode that SteamOS boots to) is. Big Picture Mode can be enabled as the default on any Steam install (Windows, OS X or Linux), and it's relatively simple to get Steam to launch by default as well.

However, SteamOS includes more than just a few default UI settings. There's the incredibly simple installation script - it offers very little customization, but it requires almost zero knowledge outside "getting your computer to boot off media instead of primary disk". That's essential for this particular niche, but would you want Debian dumbed down like that?

Or the stripping of unneeded crap. As I read TFA, I learned they built a rather customized compositor focused on game performance. Doesn't work too well in windowed mode, but it works well for fullscreen with UI overlays. Does that sound like something Debian ought to use?

Same for their kernel tweaks (some realtime scheduling stuff and disabling things that caused bugs with games), or their stripped-down install, or the dozens of other changes people are still trying to find.

But here's the thing - they are making almost all of this available as patches. It's open-source, except for Steam itself and the improved proprietary drivers. If Debian sees a use for these changes, they can merge it in. But to counter your inevitable repetition of "just make it a patch shit-gargler", you need to look at Valve's logic.

They saw Windows 8, and they were afraid. They realized that as long as PC gaming was reliant on one company (Microsoft) for an essential component, and that company has not just apathy towards PC gaming, but an outright reason to try to kill it in favor of their higher-profit-margin console, no matter how well Valve did at making games or keeping Steam running, their business could be destroyed. And with the Metro stuff and the locked-down app store, they saw a direct death threat. Shortly afterward, they started pushing their Mac port harder, and started work on the Linux port.

Given that history, would you really expect them to make themselves reliant on someone else for their console? Their thinking is basically "if we control our own OS, even if every other OS maker turns hostile to our market segment we can still keep it running". They have no problem with people running Steam on Windows or Ubuntu or Debian or fucking Slackware for all they care - but they want to make sure that there's at least one OS that will *always* be there to play games on. Hell, they even recommend Ubuntu+Steam for the old desktop experience, not SteamOS. Nobody is going to be rebooting into SteamOS - they'll be running it as the only OS on the machine because it's the only one that's usable on that machine's setup.

But everything I just said was kind of pointless, because you don't understand the very issue you're bitching about. Fragmentation on Android is a problem because programs that use new features do not work on old versions. Fragmentation of window systems or other APIs is bad because you have to write a new version for each system. And desktop Linux dislikes fragmentation because it makes it harder to evangelize the platform when there's infighting.

SteamOS specifically avoids all that. As far as Steam is concerned, "Linux" games are "Linux" games, and run on Ubuntu, SteamOS or any other platform that runs the "Steam runtime", a basic compatibility layer so games can assume the existence of certain things.

They aren't fragmenting compatibility. If anything, they're reducing it by making a standard for games to work against.

Re:tl;dr stfu foad lrn 2 troll n00b (3, Interesting)

pcolaman (1208838) | about a year ago | (#45692931)

You said it much better than I could ever have hoped to. I've been a big Windows guy since 3.1 (maybe partially because for a while I didn't know any better) but lately Windows 8 has made me realize that Windows 7 will probably be the last version I will have installed on any of my systems voluntarily. I have a Win8 laptop (preinstalled) that I now have dual boot with Ubuntu 13.10 and I have considered more than once wiping Win8 off and making it a completely Ubuntu laptop. Seeing SteamOS has made me an even bigger believer in what Valve is doing for PC gaming because as far as I can tell, Microsoft is the worst enemy to the PC as a gaming platform and that's only going to get worse.

Perhaps this is partially to help push the XB1 forward as a "better choice" than the PC for gaming. Perhaps it's just ineptitude on Microsoft's part. Probably it's a bit of both. But either way, I think as my children get older and I start teaching my kids how to code and how to work with computers at a deeper level than launching netflix and playing plants vs. zombies that it'll be primarily with some sort of *nix based system (not Mac OS X though, they've just become overpriced PC's with specialized software). As a matter of fact, my goal is by the time my kids are over 10 they'll know how to write basic C programs and use make along with gcc, and they'll feel as comfortable using terminal as they will using a GUI.

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692095)

That article is 3 years old and points to a button scheme that hasn't been used in years. You might have a point, but your example ain't it.

Re: Stop fragmenting (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692097)

Wow...slightly different toolbars.

such doom
horrible fragmentation
can't use

Re:Stop fragmenting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692127)

You can sum it up easily.

Valve hasn't fragmented anything of importance.

They have a custom compositor (to ensure that the Steam overlays works properly)... and really that's about it.

Re:Stop fragmenting (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#45692157)

Indeed. The patches will go back to Debian. The custom kernel is something Debian works very well with and without changes. I have been doing that for over 10 years. Currently running wheezy with 3.10.22 and a custom patch for an issue fixed later in 3.10.23.

Re:Stop fragmenting (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#45692145)

They are not fragmenting, they are deriving. As long as they offer their patches back to Debian or the upstream from there, everything is fine.

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692203)

Of course we are all allowed to have our own opinions. Linux have some 1,000 distro's and it appears to not have had a negative impact. It's the freedom to create which I think is the senior datum here. It tends to go in cycles where thing bloom out and then settles down to some fewer standards and then repeat as new ideas are implemented. In fact life on Earth is following a similar principle.

Re:Stop fragmenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692213)

recoil back into your hole.

Re:Stop fragmenting (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45692367)

> Forking/Fragmenting is good when it solves a problem. Not when the differences are between using different conventions.

Fork? What fork? I don't see a fork. I see something that is about as far away from Debian as MythBuntu is.

This is Debian+Steam in a can. You might as well call it SteamBuntu.

Re:Stop fragmenting (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#45692463)

Steambian. For some reason, reminds me of symbian.

Re:Stop fragmenting (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#45692577)

Get some force feedback joystick/game pad/input devices and it can remind you of a sybian instead too

Re:Stop fragmenting (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45692467)

You might as well call it SteamBuntu.

Thanks. I just registered that trademark and steambuntu dot com.

Fragmentation: preventing Android success (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45692479)

Oh, yeah. Fragmentation has clearly been blocking Android's success since 2008 [cnet.com] , before the first phone was introduced. If it weren't for this fatal flaw Android might have been popular by now.

Re:Fragmentation: preventing Android success (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692565)

By the same metric, Windows never had any flaws ever and is above criticism because it's still running on 90%+ of PCs, yet you regularly heap crap over it. Funny how that works.

Re:Fragmentation: preventing Android success (0)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45692725)

Speaking of which, fragmentation doesn't seem to be holding Windows back much either - and Windows is far more fragmented than Android could ever be.

Re:Fragmentation: preventing Android success (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692757)

You got my OP wrong. I was pointing out about needless fragmentation of things that are just conventions. Having the buttons in any one config would be better than different configs even if it weren't optimal, consistency is important. Is any one of those configs better than the others? How easy it is to fix? Hope you can see how this is different from Windows fragmentation of XP vs. 7.

Re:Fragmentation: preventing Android success (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45693027)

How is the fragmentation of Windows useful for anything except generating turnover for Microsoft and Intel?

Re:Fragmentation: preventing Android success (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45693127)

The end users don't have to pay for an upgrade and in many cases avoid costs of new hardware as well. That's how they're benefiting, with extra money in their pocket. How were Android users served by different layouts of buttons on each device? You seem overly sensitive to criticism of Android while ignoring my overall point. Windows may have its own useless "fragmentation", for example jerking around network settings during XP to Vista. This isn't Team A vs. Team B. It's about a case of NIH syndrome and lack of consistency. There is no need to get defensive about your preferred platform while peddling criticism of others.

Fucks Given: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692061)

Zero

Re:Fucks Given: (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692919)

Your mom gives infinite fucks.

Only nVidia? (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year ago | (#45692115)

so far only NVIDIA is officially supported

This seems odd to me, as I thought that the actual Steam/Valve hardware would be using AMD APU's?

Re:Only nVidia? (5, Interesting)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#45692131)

so far only NVIDIA is officially supported

This seems odd to me, as I thought that the actual Steam/Valve hardware would be using AMD APU's?

Might be, but when you're doing early prototyping you go with what the developer knows, and in this case the dev used to work for NVIDIA.

I'm excited about the RT patches myself. I'm hoping one day that whole branch can get merged into the mainline kernel.

Re:Only nVidia? (4, Informative)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year ago | (#45692223)

No, you haven't been paying attention ... the beta boxes are NVIDIA and eventually they want reference designs with all the major graphics architectures.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2013/10/09/valve-confirms-official-amd-powered-steam-machines-for-2014/ [forbes.com]

Sounds good (5, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#45692139)

Debian is a rock-solid foundation, that is just missing drivers. As to the custom-kernel, I have been doing that with Debian for over 10 years with no problems at all, except for some very recent issue with kernel include paths. (Which can be fixed by just using older kernel headers.)

Now they just need AMD GPU support and some games.

Re:Sounds good (3, Interesting)

lordofthechia (598872) | about a year ago | (#45692365)

and some games.

The games they've got. Over 300 last I checked + "more AAA titles coming soon".

Re:Sounds good (1)

samwichse (1056268) | about a year ago | (#45692465)

They don't have Portal 2 yet :-(

Re:Sounds good (3, Interesting)

pcolaman (1208838) | about a year ago | (#45692943)

Valve has already commented that they will be porting all of their engines over to Linux, so I doubt that it'd be long before Portal 2 is offered as a native game in Linux rather than having to play through the streaming service.

No not really (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#45692539)

"Over 300" isn't an impressive amount. The Windows Steam client has "over 9000" games (well, items which can be DLC, expansions, etc).

For that matter quantity is never the issue, quality is. Right now Steam for Linux lacks in the big name games. It has a few, and some popular indies like Starbound, but you find that you miss out on the majority of new games, particularly AAA games for it.

Re:No not really (3, Informative)

lordofthechia (598872) | about a year ago | (#45693041)

How many of those 9,000 windows steam games run on the consoles? (BTW it's closer to 3,000 - 3,500 unique windows games - excluding DLC).

Somebody that already has a gaming PC (presumably with Steam) isn't the target demographic of this push. Folks who want console level convenience but would be open to saving money buying on Steam are. And what will they see when Steam Machines launch early next year?

PS4 169 Total Games released and announced
XBONE 77 Total Games released and announced
Steam Machine 300+ games already released (and purchasable) *and* more coming soon.

Then look at the other features you'll get with a Steam Machine (and Steam):

* Steam Sales

* Steam gifting (give your grandkids a Steam Machine then send them games through steam from your home PC/Tablet/Phone, etc)

* Access to player mods (Steam Workshop)

* Free online play (MMO's w/ monthly fees not included)

* Equal or better hardware depending on your budget

* Upgradeable hardware

* Made with COTS HW -> easily fixable

* Games you purchased on your Steam Machine are tied to your account, *not* your machine. On the road? Open your laptop and pick up on your games where you left off.

* Ability to play 3rd party/unlicensed titles without jailbreaking

* Compatibility with PC hardware (that works with Linux). Mouse and KB anyone?

* Compatibility with XBOX 360 and PS3 controllers (and surely XBOne and PS4 to come)

* Full desktop mode!

* Controller that's nearly as precise as using a mouse (and miles ahead of the console controlers.

* Devs can issue patches for free! (looking at you Microsoft)

 

Re:Sounds good (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45692821)

Not to mention, as an indiegame dev who cares more about the game than the money and creates cross platform code using GNU/Linux, I might just say screw purchasing iHardware and lose the additional time sink of build/test on Win. There's a few other developers I know of similar mindedness, so if the audience isn't non-existant you may see Linux exclusive games too. In my instance I'd just concentrate on the Linux build to get it out the door (as I always do), but put the testing on other platforms off until interest/demand warrants it.

Since I started with an OS abstraction layer and use the GNU toolchain everywhere, there's no such thing as porting between platforms -- setting up cross compiling is a one shot deal; However, there's nothing like testing on the metal. Porting changes even without the cross compiler suite is just "git pull && make" on any platform GCC runs on; I could use LLVM, but the point is that I'm not compiling with multiple different compilers with their own quirks to work around; FLOSS means vendor lock-in isn't a concern there. It's a shame that Apple makes it illegal for me to install their OS on my superior yet cheaper hardware. I can't justify buying separate lower spec systems just for OSX gamedev given their market share, and even setting up the cross compiling from Linux is a bit questionable, so while it's doable I avoid it. Linux and Windows allow installation on whatever they'll run on, even VMs in most cases.

Now that consoles are basically just neutered PCs where the functionality is sold back to you at a premium: Fees for multiplayer & P2P chat? Charging for publishing i.e. making their platform valuable? While ads are on the dash, wtf? And considering that heterogeneous computing is coming to desktops, mobiles, etc. I think this last console generation was it for me. Upgradeable game system? Yeah, it's just a full featured personal computer. FINALY! One thing I don't hear many folks talk about is the huge potential for tons of actual user generated content with SteamOS (PC) games in contrast with consoles; Not just gloating over social media screenshots and vids of in-game footage... You really need a desktop interface to get down and dirty with some wicked modding;

As a modder from way back, all of my game dev efforts are mod centric. I have mods I made for games decades ago that still play great today. If we want gaming to be realized as the full expressive medium it can be, we need to stop the practice popular in the last decade of birthing games and giving them DRM death sentences. I'm less concerned about this aspect on SteamOS than a console. EG: My Xbox 360 can see my friend's console. We'll be connected and chatting with each other. The consoles both know we have the original Halo 2 in the tray, and all the game needs is to be given the IP of the other client to play online -- And yet you can't do this on XBL, they turned off the Halo2 server; You have to purchase a newly released version of the game. That's asinine. Fire up a VPN w/ system link (or XLink Kai), BLAM, online multiplayer without XBL. What the fuck, MS. Might as well not be paying for your planned obsolescence non-service.

One day the Halo 3 server will be cut off, and all of the Halo Tracks [halotracks.org] we modders spent lots of time building and playing for that game will be unplayable online. Without emulators, our hardware will crap out too. This kills the game. Game devs and players benefit most if games can run everywhere forever, but most console makers are directly opposed to the game industry's benefit: They benefit if games can only be played in one place for a limited period of time. I really hope SteamOS takes off and breaks the cycle of needless game death. Art should not have needless death sentences applied.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year ago | (#45693055)

Art should not have needless death sentences applied.

I agree, completely, but also should point out that most art is crap. I've not modded anything much since I made DOOM levels, and I would find it hilarious if anyone still actually had any copies of the levels I created. If I remember correctly, I only made 3 "fit to release" (IMO) levels I uploaded, after having played them for hours on end with my friends. I just made them for me and my friends, and shared if anyone wanted them.

Re:Sounds good (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#45693133)

Debian is a rock-solid foundation, that is just missing drivers.

Drivers have been in the official non-free repository for ages. Unless you're saying that they're using some kind of different NVidia driver?

UEFI excludes too much (0)

callmetheraven (711291) | about a year ago | (#45692147)

imagine how much this would rule... if it didn't require UEFI

Re:UEFI excludes too much (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year ago | (#45692179)

If your computer does not have UEFI, then it's probably older than what Valve has in mind.

Re:UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692259)

The main thing that Valve "has in mind" are the "Steam Machines" built by their partners, which will obviously be UEFI. If it works on uncertified hardware, that's purely a bonus.

Re:UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692181)

Yea, sucks I can't install it to my X58 rig......yet.
Hopefully this will be an *issue* that gets *fixed!!

Re:UEFI excludes too much (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692215)

Reddit solved this yesterday.

http://www.reddit.com/r/SteamOS/comments/1su4t1/uefi_requirement_with_steamos/

Re:UEFI excludes too much (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692505)

thank you, kind sir.

if i had mod.....blah blah ...yu know the rest.

and if you were a ma'am...then thank you kind ma'am!!

zenlessyank was here

Re:UEFI excludes too much (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692227)

Instructions for installation to standard BIOS:

http://www.reddit.com/r/SteamOS/comments/1su4t1/uefi_requirement_with_steamos/

Note: I have not tried this, and cannot verify it works, but it seems others in the thread have. Try at your own risk.

Re: UEFI excludes too much (3, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#45692247)

uefi is not "restrictive". In fact, it provides quite a bit of additional functionality that never existed in BIOS. The only thing that has come from it that has been "restrictive" is a permissive feature called SecureBoot, also known as allowing for code signing to take place. Valve does not have code signing turned on in SteamOS, so that doesn't even impact you at all.

Or are you saying restrictive in the sense that it only shipped by default on x86-64 computers for the past 4 years?

Re: UEFI excludes too much (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45692395)

Valve does not have code signing turned on in SteamOS, so that doesn't even impact you at all.

But the user still has to find how to turn off Secure Boot in a given UEFI implementation's setup screen to get an OS without code signing to work. Is that easy on all UEFI implementations?

Re: UEFI excludes too much (0)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45692569)

Do you really want someone that's unable to find and unselect an option in a GUI, attempt to install a complete new Linux distro on their machine?

Re: UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692793)

So somehow these users are technically minded enough to try to install alternate OS's on their machines but they are incompetent enough that they are defeated by BIOS configuration. Sounds perfect actually, if they are so useless they can't change a setting then they should not be trying to install another OS in the first place.

Re: UEFI excludes too much (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about a year ago | (#45692959)

Don't underestimate the people who are stupid enough to think that installing a beta version of a linux distro on their machines is easy when they probably can't even troubleshoot minor issues like printer connectivity in their Windows install...

Re: UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45693025)

But the user still has to find how to turn off Secure Boot in a given UEFI implementation's setup screen to get an OS without code signing to work. Is that easy on all UEFI implementations?

If they can't hit the enter key to change one option in UEFI (Disable SecureBoot), then similarly they wouldn't be able to hit enter and an arrow key to change another required option (Boot from optical/usb before SATA)

The fact is even many BIOS defaults are set to HD first and CD second, knowing that as-shipped with OEM HD and OS it will continue to boot the HD only. Those users you refer to would still be screwed, and have no UEFI to blame it on.

Re:UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692391)

well Ive had it running under Vmware 10 no uefi to the point its connected to steam. Haven't got the sound working yet but then again I have no linux chops and having to search everything as I go .

Re: UEFI excludes too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692627)

I hate when people say VMware like the above post. VMware is a company not a product. (Yes being familiar with VMware products as I admin ESXi hosts and vCenter boxes I know its Workstation (well could be player I have no clue what version that's on as I don't use it).. But dammit use the product name not the damn company name!)

Re:UEFI excludes too much (1)

Rennt (582550) | about a year ago | (#45692703)

It's not a hard requirement, they just include a disk image instead of a real installer at this stage, so it's pretty limited.

It's easy to set up yourself though. Install debian, add steamos repo, apt-get dist-upgrade. You are now running steamos.

Always AUFS ... (4, Interesting)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year ago | (#45692169)

How many downstream projects get screwed when one of the kernel devs decides to ignore AUFS and "accidentally" breaking it? There are no more excuses. Union mount/overlay is fucking vapourware ... the farce has gone on long enough, mainline AUFS already.

Re:Always AUFS ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692183)

For what it's worth, this AC 100% agrees.

P state driver audio issues? (5, Interesting)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about a year ago | (#45692229)

Interesting that Intel's frequency scaling causes audio pops so they disabled the p state drivers at the kernel level. As such this release might work well as a DAW if one were use Ardour or ecasound with jack. I am thinking about setting it up for this purpose and seeing what kind of RT performance it will achieve. Ubuntu Studio is interesting but far to convoluted and difficult to modify to ones liking. Seeing that this system is using sysvinit, coding called functions will be much easier to script and run. It would be really great if it can be tweaked to do high bit rate audio recording and broadcast in realtime streams over networks. Nice to see they are paying close attention to audio problems caused by the system at the kernel level, this release could become much more than just a gaming platform.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692279)

Sound is one of the reasons I've never used a Linux distro for long as a desktop OS any of my computers. It's always something. Something pops, something fizzes, something doesn't produce sound, something doesn't produce sound when something else is running. It makes the OSes feel cobbled together, possibly more than the font rendering inconsistencies, inconsistent configuration, and random unresponsiveness.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45692419)

Sound is one of the reasons I've never used a Linux distro for long as a desktop OS any of my computers.

Maybe you should try a distro released after 1993.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about a year ago | (#45692503)

I did (several versions of Fedora, around 6-10), and that's pretty much the same reason I abandoned it eventually.

Re: P state driver audio issues? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692645)

You know they're up to 19 now, right?

Re:P state driver audio issues? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692511)

if there really weren't issues why would SteamOS have to do what it's doing?

Re:P state driver audio issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692633)

Ahh, the old "that's an old Linux problem that isn't a problem anymore" routine. A true trolling classic. You sort of remind me of this guy. [slashdot.org] You'll notice he's not active anymore. He thought his trolling didn't have consequences. He was wrong.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692841)

I've been doing it once every couple years for at least the last ten years. Every single time, I end up annoyed and switch back to OS X and Windows. I don't have an infinite amount of time to spend getting my OS to work, and I have no desire to make a hobby out of OS configuration; I'd rather just install it, and have it get the hell out of the way.

Mind you, in the server space Windows Server just pisses me right off and I'm far more comfortable with Linuxes.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (2)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about a year ago | (#45693125)

I've been doing it once every couple years for at least the last ten years. Every single time, I end up annoyed and switch back to OS X and Windows. I don't have an infinite amount of time to spend getting my OS to work, and I have no desire to make a hobby out of OS configuration; I'd rather just install it, and have it get the hell out of the way.

Mind you, in the server space Windows Server just pisses me right off and I'm far more comfortable with Linuxes.

To my way of thinking it is entirely possible to create a really great audio server that will respond as well as linux does as an internet server. My particular interest is creating internet coffee houses for performers where at least the audio of their performances could be broadcast in a similar fashion to a pod cast but in real time and at high bit rate. It comes down to the fact that the coffee house type performance venue that once helped musicians to hone their craft desperately need to be revived. After all JS Bach and his second wife actually ran one and in doing so promoted musicianship and musical literacy to a greater extent than we currently do today!

The software to do this in realtime does not exist, sorry Skype and other social networking interfaces do not cut the mustard with audio and there is nothing out there that can do broadcast high quality RT streaming audio on the net as of yet.

This idea could work because the broadcasts could be by subscription for RT and could become locally popular. This could also be used to promote the venue locally. The stream from the venue could be available in lower bit rate at any time and the performance venue could also sell musical instruments, recordings or even coffee and food for that matter. Doing things a little differently by making venue website only locally available for high bit rate real time would reduce bandwidth needs for the server and facilitate the targeted promotion of a local business.

As I stated a linux audio and then eventually full a/v server could create something really interesting in as much as being low in cost to a new form of smaller localized ip broadcast venues.

Somehow I do not think the costs of using any of the commercially available like MediaRoom [ericsson.com] is a solution. Microsoft ditched MediaRoom because they do not see the real possibilities of internet provided entertainment. All I am saying is that to take real advantage of the possibilities created by the internet and customized Linux servers one needs to think of the net as a local commodity not just the entire WWW concept. Essentially it comes down to the old saw of the developers not seeing the forest for the trees.

SteamOS at the same time could easily become a local game platform for small real time local game servers in the same way. Gamers will always want to play someone that they can frag locally over some unknown from Timbuktu with distance latency issues. The internet is changing and the change will be to a more realistic expectation of what is possible, expensive WWW streaming broadcast solutions are not the answer, local specialized nodes are the wave of the future.

Re:P state driver audio issues? (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45692509)

. As such this release might work well as a DAW if one were use Ardour or ecasound with jack. I am thinking about setting it up for this purpose and seeing what kind of RT performance it will achieve. Ubuntu Studio is interesting but far to convoluted and difficult to modify to ones liking. Seeing that this system is using sysvinit, coding called functions will be much easier to script and run. It would be really great if it can be tweaked to do high bit rate audio recording and broadcast in realtime streams over networks. Nice to see they are paying close attention to audio problems caused by the system at the kernel level, this release could become much more than just a gaming platform.

Buddy, that is very smart. I've written here on several occasions about my annual efforts to use Linux as a main production machine in my DAW setup. I've been using it for streaming samples and rendering and off-loading effects and other processing (via Cockos' Reaper) but it never was ready for prime-time. UbuntuStudio and Debian and others, and there were always problems.

I think it's interesting that today I noticed that Valve has started selling a DAW program called "Ohm Studio" through Steam. Wouldn't it be great if there was some connection to SteamOS? I'd love for it to become a solid platform for music production. Plus, when I get tired after my 30th take, I can unwind with a little Dota2.

I'm glad you posted this, because I'm not really enough of a Linux maven to have made the connection/

Re:P state driver audio issues? (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#45692551)

There no connection to SteamOS with Ohm Studio. It is, as with most pro audio stuff, Windows and Mac only. It is just on Steam because Valve is now selling regular software, as well as games, on Steam. Cakewalk started selling Music Creator, their home version of their Sonar software, on Steam a couple months ago.

Call it flame bait if you must (4, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#45692255)

They combined 3 of the things I hate the most. Games that require a Steam account, a Steam account, and Microsoft employees. I'm expecting to find out they are being side funded by Sony.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (2)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year ago | (#45692283)

Just in: SteamOS requires a Steam account. More at 11.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692935)

Gay. An OS that requires an internet connection just to boot.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692305)

Go play TuxRacer, you fucking faggot.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | about a year ago | (#45692371)

Xbox requires Xbox games, BFD. If you don't like it, don't get an account, don't use it.

I've been on Steam since, well, before Steam existed. Back when TFC was distributed by Sierra. They have the least amount of DRM, often none, and the least restrictive policies of anyone. They have successfully bridged the needs of the user and the wants of the publisher. It isn't perfect, but it is less offensive than any other DRM method, and they have a lot of free stuff. And frankly, I don't mind a company making money for selling software anyway, it's a free fucking country, and part of freedom is being able to sell your wares. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

Unlike any other publisher, I don't feel like Steam is trying to constantly screw me out of more money all the time, and is instead trying to keep me as a customer by giving good service and fair prices. I hope they continue to be successful.

Four reasons to prefer discs (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45692425)

Perhaps sgt scrub prefers discs for one of at least four reasons:
  • Some people like to rent games before committing to a large purchase.
  • Some people like to buy used games, but I'll admit Steam sales reduce this need.
  • Some people are stuck on 5-10 GB/mo capped cellular or satellite Internet. That's not even enough to transfer a single dual-layer DVD (8 GB) along with the rest of the month's web browsing, and more and more AAA games have started to come on multiple DVDs.
  • Some deployed members of the armed forces go without Internet for several weeks at a time. Steam's not nearly as bad in this respect as Xbox One was initially announced to be, but it's still reported to expire receipt caches after about a month.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about a year ago | (#45692719)

"Often none"? How many games work without being signed into Steam? (Hint: that's DRM.)

Among the services that prevent resale and force you to be online to play*, Steam is the least bad of them. Far preferable is something like the Xbox 360, where you don't need to be online or have an account to play, and can let your friends play too.

*Yes, I know Steam nominally has an offline mode. It's been sufficiently unreliable for me that Steam requires online as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#45692377)

This is not flamebait. It's a valid opinion.

But it's just that, an opinion. I have the opposite opinion. I love steam as a system and have no problem with a steam account. I honestly can't imagine going to a brick and mortar store and buying a game on DVD, actually nowadays I don't even have a DVD player in my machine. I use an external USB drive when I need to. I have no opinion on the account itself, that's just an account.

As for Microsoft employees, they are just people. Some are excellent coders, some a horrendous managers. (I think this is the most likely breakdown). I can't draw conclusions without further information.

Re:Call it flame bait if you must (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692445)

Oh noes...they require an account...ZOMG...well in that case clearly HL2 and Portal 2 SUX BALLZ!!!!

I love these fucking linux nutbags that hang out here...total fucking fringe wackjobs

Is nVidia backing this? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#45692315)

Is this NVidia's attempt to keep market share given that the latest consoles are all ATI based?

Re:Is nVidia backing this? (1)

Tynin (634655) | about a year ago | (#45692387)

Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no. :-)

But honestly, that sounds plausible.

Re:Is nVidia backing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692665)

Is everybody imperfect? YES!!!!!!!!!

Re:Is nVidia backing this? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45692501)

Call it what you want. nVidia claims to be working closely with Valve, including embedding their own engineers in the project. [nvidia.com]

Engineers from Valve and NVIDIA have spent a lot of time collaborating on a common goal for SteamOS: to deliver an open-platform gaming experience with superior performance and uncompromising visuals directly on the big screen.

NVIDIA engineers embedded at Valve collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL; optimizing performance on NVIDIA GPUs; and helping to port Valve’s award-winning content library to SteamOS; and tuning SteamOS to lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action.

The collaboration makes sense as both companies strongly believe in the importance of open-platform innovation, and both companies are committed to providing gamers with a cutting-edge visual experience.

Valve will deliver a great, open-platform gaming experience, and NVIDIA will continue to be the best choice for gaming on any open platform or operating system, including SteamOS.

Trol+Lkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45692433)

this is idiotic. (2, Insightful)

markhahn (122033) | about a year ago | (#45692513)

the proliferation of distros is just stupid - people don't seem to understand what "distro" means, or why they should be offering addons to an existing distro, rather than pretending that they are building a new OS.

the ONLY value a distro offers is in establishing a particular set of versions, with a modicum of consistency of config and hopefully some testing. none of them offer anything significant that is also distinctive - just slightly different versions of the same packages maintained by others and used by all the other distros. yes, apt vs rpm, so what? they're functionally equivalent.

the real point is really a matter of software engineering: forking a distro is bad, since it increases the friction experienced by source-code changes. streamOS (sic) people may be dilligent and honestly propagate their changes upstream, but fundamentally, they should really just be running an apt repo containing their trivially modded packages. sure, that may mean a different kernel, big whoopie (very little of user-space is sensitive to anything but huge kernel changes.)

but yeah: it wouldn't be very sexy to say "I've got a repo of 37 tweaked packages I call a brand new whizzy *OS*".

Re:this is idiotic. (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about a year ago | (#45692989)

The real reason distros are forked is because Linux userspace is an entangled mess of packages patched into shape to work with ever changing APIs. I am not speaking about kernel-level APIs here, those are rock solid. If APIs would be stable, packages would not have so many versioned dependencies and forking would not be necessary. I am already scared of the day when the idiots make their threat true to replace X with Wayland, breaking one of the remaining stable APIs with decades of backwards compatibility for no good reason.

hmmm (0)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#45692607)

Another Valve employee doing lots of the SteamOS system-level work is John Vert, who up until last year was a Microsoft employee since 1991. There's also other former Microsoft employees on Valve's Linux team, like Mike Sartain."

Rats fleeing a sinking ship?

Meanwhile, in reality... (2)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | about a year ago | (#45692771)

It's a stock Debian kernel with some minor packaging changes and support for a new game controller. All those realtime patches? Not actually used by default. The full list of exciting changes:
  • Make the binnmu regexp also reconize our build suffixes
  • New XBox controller driver
  • Disable Intel P-State driver as it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.
  • Hard-code parallel build for now since our OBS infrastructure doesn't know how to set these options yet.
  • Add postinst step to touch /var/run/reboot-required

Continued PREEMPT_RT development & NVIDIA supp (2)

Arakageeta (671142) | about a year ago | (#45693129)

I'm glad to see SteamOS has picked up PREEMPT_RT. I hope they stick with it. The PREEMPT_RT developers recently reported that they lacked the man-power to continue development (https://lwn.net/Articles/572740/). Maybe Valve can contribute money or man-power?

Also, since NVIDIA is keen to support SteamOS, this means that NVIDIA must officially support PREEMPT_RT. NVIDIA's driver support for PREEMPT_RT has always been spotty. At best, hacks to the driver's GPL layer were required to make it work. I hope those days are over. NVIDIA has really improved their Linux driver over th years in order to better serve the Android and HPC markets. PREEMPT_RT support should make it even better (PREEMPT_RT can often uncover pre-existing bugs).

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