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Valve's Steam License Causes Linux Packaging Concerns

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the patience-young-padawan dept.

Debian 163

New submitter skade88 writes "With the Linux Steam beta giving Ubuntu and its large userbase all the love, other Linux gamers understandably want to be let in on the fun. For the beta, Valve has provided Steam as a Debian package. Many hungry Linux gamers have reported that they have Steam running on their favorite distro, but that still leaves the legal debate. What is the legal threshold needed to get Steam in the repos of your preferred flavor of Linux? Will Valve's one-size-fits-every-OS license be flexible to work on Linux or will it delay the dream of a viable gaming world for Linux? We are so close to bridging the last major hurdle in finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop: Gaming. Lets hope the FOSS community and Valve can play together so we all win."

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Not required to use every package manager (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42006229)

The packaging is not the issue here.

Any competent distro can install Debian packages via various foreign package tools.

The issue is that some of these Distros are going out of their way to accommodate a non GPL package, and a beta one at that.

Its a binary blob.

Any time a Distro starts messing with those, its on very thin ice. Most don't. They just write scripts that will fetch the original and
do what ever is necessary to install it if the user chooses. Or they seek official permission to re-package. This is very common with Video drivers, etc.

The proper way is to fetch the binary from what ever legal source Valve provides, and install it using what ever foreign package utilities they have.
That way they live within valve's license. Its the only reasonable way. Why take on a packaging headache for a binary blob?

Part of what was troubling from Valve's Steam license comes down to "You may not, in whole or in part: copy, hotocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer (with the exception of specific circumstances where such act is permitted by law), derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, or create derivative works based on the Program; remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Program; or attempt in any manner to circumvent any security measures designed to control access to the Program."

Re:Not required to use every package manager (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006283)

Isn't this exactly what stuff like Debian's 'non-free' repo are for? If each distro has an equivalent (like for binary blob video drivers), it goes there, prompt the user to agree to the non-free license, and then fetch as normal.

Question is, does 'may not copy the Program' mean you can't mirror their packages for them with your own distro mirrors, untouched?

Re:Not required to use every package manager (5, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42006323)

Think 'debian-multimedia' or Adobe's yum repo for flash. Total non-issue.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006297)

The packaging is not the issue here.

Any competent distro can install Debian packages via various foreign package tools.

The issue is that some of these Distros are going out of their way to accommodate a non GPL package, and a beta one at that.

Its a binary blob.

Any time a Distro starts messing with those, its on very thin ice. Most don't. They just write scripts that will fetch the original and
do what ever is necessary to install it if the user chooses. Or they seek official permission to re-package. This is very common with Video drivers, etc.

The proper way is to fetch the binary from what ever legal source Valve provides, and install it using what ever foreign package utilities they have.
That way they live within valve's license. Its the only reasonable way. Why take on a packaging headache for a binary blob?

Part of what was troubling from Valve's Steam license comes down to "You may not, in whole or in part: copy, hotocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer (with the exception of specific circumstances where such act is permitted by law), derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, or create derivative works based on the Program; remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Program; or attempt in any manner to circumvent any security measures designed to control access to the Program."

Or put the package in non-free....

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42006539)

Or put the package in non-free....

Except Valve says:

      "You may not, in whole or in part: copy, hotocopy, reproduce,"

That seems overly broad, and maybe the place to start is to grab Valve by the wattles and slap them till they spit.
What the hell were they thinking when they wrote that mess?

Re:Not required to use every package manager (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006611)

The thing they are packaging is just a script that downloads the real steam binary. You know, exactly like with flashplugin-installer, which has a similar license. This is a non-issue. Put it in non-free.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006745)

What the hell were they thinking when they wrote that mess?

I think it was just a typo, pretty sure they meant photocopy.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (3, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007325)

Well shucks. So much for my plans [imgur.com] .

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42007309)

This is pretty retarded of them. They should have ZERO problem with the redistribution of their client. It is NOT the product. It is the thing that downloads the product.

There is really nothing for them to lose here.

The community can do the packaging work for them if they are allowed.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008001)

Wrong on so many levels.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008281)

Wait what? Jesus christ, shut up. Some of their engineers tried to give the go ahead, on that mailing list you can tell they're waiting for a lawyer. Why not wait until we know what VALVe has to say before shitting our pants over boilerplate text from a license that was written before Linux support for their games was even considered ?

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

gmack (197796) | about 2 years ago | (#42008377)

Or better yet, Valve can add a package or script on their website that adds the valve repo and then the distro makers don't need to care at all. It's a fix that works for both DEB and RPM and allows Valve to be in full control of their updates.

There are many good reasons why Valve wouldn't want to be dependent on distro update schedules.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42006631)

The issue isn't classification, it's that the people behind the distribution may not have the right to distribute the package in the first place.

For two examples, look at how most distributions dealt with Java prior to the GPL, and how they currently work with Flash. Those with long memories can also recall the issues with Netscape (3 & 4, not Mozilla) which had similar problems, albeit at a time when package repos were still a relatively new concept.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42006681)

Why is why you do not distribute it, you do like flashplugin-installer. Your package just goes and fetches the actual software and runs the install.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006531)

The packaging is not the issue here.

Any competent distro can install Debian packages via various foreign package tools.

The issue is that some of these Distros are going out of their way to accommodate a non GPL package, and a beta one at that.

Its a binary blob.

Any time a Distro starts messing with those, its on very thin ice. Most don't. They just write scripts that will fetch the original and
do what ever is necessary to install it if the user chooses. Or they seek official permission to re-package. This is very common with Video drivers, etc.

The proper way is to fetch the binary from what ever legal source Valve provides, and install it using what ever foreign package utilities they have.
That way they live within valve's license. Its the only reasonable way. Why take on a packaging headache for a binary blob?

Part of what was troubling from Valve's Steam license comes down to "You may not, in whole or in part: copy, hotocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer (with the exception of specific circumstances where such act is permitted by law), derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, or create derivative works based on the Program; remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Program; or attempt in any manner to circumvent any security measures designed to control access to the Program."

Darned, I was planning on hotocopying Steam.

It's certainly useful to point out these license issues to Valve to get them sorted. In Windows the sort of issue doesn't arise because there are no alternative packaging methods. I seem to recall NVIDIA having a similar problem with their early driver releases and licenses.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42007121)

So anyone who packages OpenSSL is screwed then, or did you just mean 'GPL-compatible'?

The main thing any packager would need would be at the minimum a redistribution clause or license, like distros that package a flashplugin binary (including Arch) have ...

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

egr (932620) | about 2 years ago | (#42007131)

The packaging is not the issue here.

I disagree. I've had enough bad experience with closed-source auto-updating debian packages! (I look at you, Guitar Pro!)

The ideal case would be a tarball (almost all linux gaming publishers do that). Why would they limit themselves to the crapbuntu is unknown to me, but my guess to spare time on user support. Oh well.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007423)

Why would they limit themselves to the crapbuntu is unknown to me, but my guess to spare time on user support. Oh well.

From what Valve has said, that's not intended as a long-term thing. They are going with Ubuntu first because ... surprise surprise ... that's what the vast majority of their survey respondents said.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (1)

egr (932620) | about 2 years ago | (#42007559)

From what Valve has said, that's not intended as a long-term thing. They are going with Ubuntu first because ... surprise surprise ... that's what the vast majority of their survey respondents said.

I really wish so. And I really hope that they will keep up the work and not abandon the project like some others did with other Linux ports.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (2, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#42007375)

Well, non-free and all that... Or maybe, the best way for Debian to handle it is to put a package at non-free that adds Valve's repository into apt.conf.d. That way they avoid any problem that may appear by redistributing Valve's software when their license changes, as it keeps doing. (Maybe Debian could create a few of those packages, including the keyring and sources.list of other repository - multimedia and backports, for example, could use that.)

Anyway, the main reason I cared to replay was to say: PLEASE STOP SAYING "BINARY BLOB". A BLOB IS BINARY, IF IT WERE TEXT IT WOULD BE A CLOB.

Re:Not required to use every package manager (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42007459)

Seriously, you just posted that to YELL at me about a trifling disagreement about terminology?

Where are my mod point....?

a non-issue (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42006265)

Seriously, this is not an issue.

Valve wants to make it easy? Run a repo, and provide instructions for using it.

Valve wants to make it only moderately difficult for newbies? Provide package files and leave it at that.

Re:a non-issue (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42006411)

Valve wants to make it easy? Run a repo, and provide instructions for using it.

Repos only work for one distro. Or a closely related family (e.g. debian/ubuntu/mint) at best. The right thing to do is provide a tarball under as permissive a license as possible, and let the distros do their own packaging.

Re:a non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006575)

Or put a blob out there for as many distros as they want (.deb, .rpm, etc...) and have the user install it manually. Steam is self-updating, why would they need to rely on a package manager?

Re:a non-issue (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42006767)

Steam is self-updating, why would they need to rely on a package manager?

That in itself is something of a problem if you ask me. Unfortunately, it seems to be the way a lot of packages want to go these days.
We've seen it on some platforms with various things like Google Chrome, FireFox, Google Earth, Thunderbird, etc.

The opportunity for unintentional mass-breakage is wide open. The potential for some intentional skuldegerous subversion of the update servers is less wide open, but would be far more devastating if someone pulled it off.

You still need a package manager (or some installation method) for new/first time users. You can't update what you don't have.

Re:a non-issue (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#42007515)

the reason for this is Windows - because these programs need to roll their own updaters, they tend to write the code to be as cross-platform as the program is. So there's no incentive for them to scrap code they know and replace it with a different updater.

It might make sense for the end-user, and I'd hope the manufacturers of these programs would start to support more default package managers now they're getting more into Linux, but they're still really Windows programs for the most part.

Re:a non-issue (2)

devman (1163205) | about 2 years ago | (#42008563)

Not everything in a linux distro needs to be installed with a package repo. I mean you could just download the tarball from their website and run it. For what its worth, the update method is similar to how Half-Life Dedicated Server and Source Dedicated Server are updated and it works well.

Re:a non-issue (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#42006585)

ofcourse they could always provide a .bin that would work too.or the source code....

Why just one (1)

phorm (591458) | about 2 years ago | (#42006591)

Eh? Why not all of the above. A lot of companies provide RPM and DEB archives, plus a .tar.gz
It's not particularly hard to package things up.

If they want to add some ease-of-use to updating, throwing the packages on a public repository would work, but I believe that the application itself was supposed to have self-updating capabilities.

Re:Why just one (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42007305)

Because multiple repositories just multiplies the work Valve has to do supporting Linux. Simply packaging things isn't a lot of work, but checking to see if the packages work is. Better to have one canonical archive and let the distros do their own packaging and testing.

Re:Why just one (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007377)

Because multiple repositories just multiplies the work Valve has to do supporting Linux. Simply packaging things isn't a lot of work, but checking to see if the packages work is. Better to have one canonical archive and let the distros do their own packaging and testing.

I can flip that argument around though: if you're Valve and thus concerned about the quality of your product, why would you turn over control of said quality to a third party?

(I'm not sure to what extent I buy these two arguments; I'm just putting it out there as sort of a "devil's advocate" perspective.)

Re:Why just one (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#42007431)

I believe that the application itself was supposed to have self-updating capabilities.

Or, if they really wanted to play nice, they could disable auto-updating on Linux. (They may keep it on if it was installed from a tarball. Just don't make a self-updating .deb or .rpm.)

Re:Why just one (1)

devman (1163205) | about 2 years ago | (#42008609)

The system they have works well. Half-Life DS and Source DS also use Valve created update tools and people run those servers on dozens of distros with out the need to wait for maintainers to update package repositories.

Re:a non-issue (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42006809)

No reason they can't provide several repos, in addition to a sharutils-style self-installer. Seen plenty of third-parties do that.

Re:a non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006641)

Indeed. Opera does this, Google do this with Chome, as do other sane companies. Once Valve get into the groove, they'll do the same.

Re:a non-issue (5, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 2 years ago | (#42007033)

This.

I don't see Microsoft or Apple worrying how they will distribute Steam, because they don't*. I don't see why browsing to steampowered.com and downloading the client for your OS of choice should be any different than on Windows or Mac OS. The belief that everything should be in the repos is silly.

*Even if they were to make Steam available through their app stores its still the publishers responsibility to submit the app for distribution.

Re:a non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008171)

This a trillion times again.

Holy hell, I hate all this stupid package crap.
Why do you people have to have your hands held for you by distro-creators?
Weren't Linux geeks supposed to be smart?
Not everything needs to be packaged all neatly, hell, isn't that the damn reason most people use Linux to be free of crap infested OSes by others?

Valve are adults, they can put that crap on their own site like any other group.
Package-mentality needs to beat it already. Sick of it.
All this stupid bitching is a MAJOR turn-off, I hope you all realize this. This crap confuses the hell out of people, rather than helps them.
Stop being so retardedly anal over this crap and scaring even more people away from Linux.

Re:a non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42007217)

Seriously, this is not an issue.

Valve wants to make it easy? Run a repo, and provide instructions for using it.

Valve wants to make it only moderately difficult for newbies? Provide package files and leave it at that.

Since when is downloading an installer and double clicking it HARD?

Oh it's hard on Linux because the installer would have to account for dozens of different common configurations or thousands of less common ones?

You did that to yourselves...

Re:a non-issue (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42007355)

This is the situation on ANY OS.

When you let game installers run willy nilly through the system files, every single PC can have it's own unique configuration. Windows solves this through brute force but it's still the same problem.

Linux is far from unique here.

A tempest in a teapot .. (2, Insightful)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#42006281)

Nothing to see here , moving on ...

Re:A tempest in a teapot .. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42006333)

A light buffet of wind in a shotglass, more like.

Re:A tempest in a teapot .. (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 2 years ago | (#42006457)

But it's a phoronix article!! It must be promoted!!

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006331)

We are so close to bridging the last major hurdle in finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop: Gaming

Well, that and the hurdle of "having software available to do the shit you want to do."

Linux on the desktop is a dead dream. Move on.

Re:Really? (0)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 2 years ago | (#42006405)

I give you a 2/5 - reasonable trolling attempt, but a bit too harsh. Try again.

Sent from my Linux desktop.

No it isn't a dead dream, wrong target audience (0)

osssmkatz (734824) | about 2 years ago | (#42006445)

I am a freelance computer consultant like many of you. I had a client the other day that had a windows 2000 system she picked up as a donation. She had forgotten the administrator password. I backed up her data using Acronis (no encryption), installed Lbuntu (a special distro for older systems), gave her a wireless dongle, extracted her files on a windows box, and moved them over to her Linux system. As it turned out she was already using OpenOffice. She was of a certain socioeconomic status where this made sense, and now she no longer had to pay for her operating system either. More importantly, I'm not pro-Linux or a Linux expert. I installed Red hat so many years ago, it was ok, but not great. This time when I installed an Ubuntu derivative, there was technical support in terms of documentation, IRC, and forums and I used all three. The point is: Linux is great for older systems, great for people who can't afford Windows and Office, and is well-supported. --Sam

Re:No it isn't a dead dream, wrong target audience (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006629)

You really did all this because she forgot an admin password? Please hand in your geek card and don't, in any fashion, consider yourself anything but a joke in the face of real IT.

Oh, she wasn't paying for her OS in the first place let alone "no longer."

Again, you're a sick sad joke.

Re:No it isn't a dead dream, wrong target audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006663)

Yes indeed I propose all the people that know about the offline password reset tools available round up all the people who don't and exterminate them somehow, that aught to show those useless twonks.

Re:No it isn't a dead dream, wrong target audience (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42006735)

She was not getting any updates either. Which I bet is the problem he was trying to solve.

Re:No it isn't a dead dream, wrong target audience (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42008079)

and now she no longer had to pay for her operating system either.

Doesn't sound like she paid for her OS in the first place, now does it, having received it as a donation and all?

A lot of things about this post seems very off. I wouldn't doubt if it was pure bullshit.

"Gaming" is not the answer for Linux desktops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006359)

"We are so close to bridging the last major hurdle in finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop: Gaming."

If you think "Gaming" is the last hurdle to finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop, you're missing the point entirely.

Re:"Gaming" is not the answer for Linux desktops. (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42006535)

Games and video editing are the only reasons I keep a Windows PC around. And a lot of my Steam games already run under Wine.

Re:"Gaming" is not the answer for Linux desktops. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42006653)

Games and video editing are the only reasons I keep a Windows PC around. And a lot of my Steam games already run under Wine.

Audio stuff too.

My kingdom for a good Linux ASIO driver...

Re:"Gaming" is not the answer for Linux desktops. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42007683)

Steam isn't gaming anyway. Steam is a game distribution service, in linux world it's basically a gaming specialized repository, that takes money. Every developer under the sun still needs to package their games, although the point of steam is probably that valve will handle that for you I imagine a lot of teething pains.

Valve is only going this route to hedge their bets against windows 8, justifiably so, and that's the big opportunity for linux and always has been: waiting for a serious break in microsofts armour. If windows 8 is the trainwreck it seems like it could be, well we might have 2013 as the actual year of the linux desktop and game companies coming along for the ride.

The Source engine from steam, which is used for some games, being on linux matters a bit, but one game engine does not an industry make. I'll be very interested to see if the big guys in the business add in linux support while they're at it (PS4, Xbox3, Windows PC already, why not add Mac and Linux for the same reason valve is?). With kickstarter funding a few engines in the direction of linux there might be some future hope for games, rather than just a store that can be run as a webpage.

Year of Linux on the desktop again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006361)

It'll be the year of Linux on the desktop when the desktop has about 5% of it's peak marketshare. I'm guessing 2020 for that. Just give it up already.

You don't need it in your repo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006373)

Seriously. You don't need it in your repo. Commit patches to Valve so they can make pages for other distros and let them host it in *their* repo. That's the way we (the linux community) should have been doing things from the start. Let the vendor host a repo for their product rather than each distribution make a copy in a distro controlled repo.

VirtualBox is a great example of doing this the right way. They have their own repos. You add it to your package manager's sources list and install the package. Now you get the official package from the vendor rather than something from your Linux distro's repo (who knows what they've changed or broken).

Re:You don't need it in your repo. (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42006731)

Yeah, because I definitely want to be giving every random software company root access to my system.

Re:You don't need it in your repo. (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#42007487)

Ok, you prefer that the spyware comes in an unverifiable binary proxied by your distro's servers. I just don't understand what is the difference (except for who pays the bandwidth bill).

If you don't want Valve to have access to your system, don't install Steam. Or that is too simple?

*in* distri: OSI approved. Else: Any licence (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006419)

The answer is easy, and I think it applies to all distributions:

To be in the distribution, the licence of your project must fit the , currently version 1.9 or later. This means that the licence most likely also has [opensource.org] OSI approval [opensource.org] and can be found on the SPDX list. Beyond that, you also need to make sure that your package is compatible licence wide with the licences of all your dependencies.

To be available for a distribution, you only need to take care of the latter bit, and you can choose any licence, including non-FLOSS commercial ones. I, however, will not look at, review, debug or build that package without being paid for it outside of the scope of my work on the distribution.

I am a packager for a major GNU/Linux distribution.

Re:*in* distri: OSI approved. Else: Any licence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006645)

Nobody cares what you think, asshole.

Re:*in* distri: OSI approved. Else: Any licence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008047)

I hope you choke on the next dick you suck.

Re:*in* distri: OSI approved. Else: Any licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008301)

Glad to know you're a self entitled bitch and that others are more lenient. Requiring pay? lol.

Re:*in* distri: OSI approved. Else: Any licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008455)

Glad to know you're a self entitled bitch and that others are more lenient. Requiring pay? lol.

Yes, as in "actual job". You will know some day.

Hey guys... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006431)

If you want the popular toys. You're going to have to give up your hardon for absolute control.

No you don't get the source code.

Re:Hey guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006557)

Swing and a miss. Don't worry, smarter people than you are working on it.

Does it really need to be packaged at all? (5, Informative)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#42006521)

The Steam client auto-updates on Windows. I would imagine it would do the same on Linux. Now, I understand that Windows doesn't have a packaging system like Linux but I really don't see why Valve would need to use one. There are several pieces of software that I use that I get from a tar.gz over a rpm or a deb. Why wouldn't Steam do the same?

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42006747)

Hint: Linux actually has security built in by design. Random apps can't just update themselves, because they don't have root permission.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#42006799)

They can if they aren't owned by root.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (5, Informative)

mic0e (2740501) | about 2 years ago | (#42006865)

Counterhint: Steam circumvents this by providing only a tiny 'seed' package, which will then download the whole steam application and all games to the user's home folder. I also heard chrome does the same (on windows as well). However, the seed coul probably easily be re-written as or published as free software (e.g. a 100-line bash script) to circumvent all packaging license issues.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007273)

I also heard chrome does the same (on windows as well).

I can confirm that it does (or least, did) on Windows. It's one of a few reasons I don't use it.

(And yeah, I know about some alternative thing you can download that's aimed at business that lets you choose installation location. I said "one of a few reasons" :-))

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42007395)

Unix users have been able to install stuff to their own $HOME directory since before there was a Linux or a Windows.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007473)

That doesn't mean it's commonly done. For instance, installing to anything but /usr is something that almost no package manager out there does. So sure, you can install $PACKAGE yourself, but first you're going to have to track down the three libraries it uses, and the two libraries one of those use, and the three libraries one of those use. (Believe me, I do this a fair bit because I somewhat frequently have need to install things to non-standard locations.)

What we're talking about here is what basically every user will see. In other words, the common case, rather than (at least currently) the uncommon one.

Not as uncommon as you think (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#42007975)

"So sure, you can install $PACKAGE yourself, but first you're going to have to track down the three libraries it uses, and the two libraries one of those use, and the three libraries one of those use. (Believe me, I do this a fair bit because I somewhat frequently have need to install things to non-standard locations.)"

Believe me, I've installed "official" versions of Firefox and Opera in any directory accessible to my non-root user account. They typically come in a tarball of program binaries rather than the usual open source code. A third-party binary tarball or installer intended for GNU/Linux will sensibly include any unusual libraries needed by the program.

You can visit the MegaGlest RTS project page for an example of a GNU/Linux installer that can be run from a non-root account (http://megaglest.org/download.html). The installer is itself binary that you must bless with the proper executable permissions.

So Linux binary tarballs and installers aren't as uncommon as you think, at least when it comes to cross-platform projects that have fairly frequent official releases.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008297)

So sure, you can install $PACKAGE yourself, but first you're going to have to track down the three libraries it uses, and the two libraries one of those use, and the three libraries one of those use.

That's not how binary blob software works. Every imaginable library the program might concievably need will be included in the package.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#42007619)

Counterhint: Steam circumvents this by providing only a tiny 'seed' package, which will then download the whole steam application and all games to the user's home folder.

Turning the life of anybody that properly partitioned his disk into a hell. No wait, turning the life of EVERYBODY into a hell, since it will replicate Steam on everybody's home dir, and let several different versions of it installed at the same time.

Or maybe they'll be "smart" and make a setuid updater... That will open every computer running it to invasion, and will finaly turn virus into a everyday problem for Linux users. (That may have a silver lining, at least AV vendors will stop spreading FUD.)

I really hope Steam will be smart and do it the Linux way. Or they could be up to a serious awakening once the problems start appearing, and will be locked into Windows again.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

devman (1163205) | about 2 years ago | (#42008659)

Steam on linux doesn't install to system directories. The update method is similar to updating HLDS or SRCDS which have valve created update tools that work across dozens of distros. Everything the apps need to run is provided by the steam updater, and can be installed and run by the user where ever they please.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

Kardos (1348077) | about 2 years ago | (#42006793)

Steam would run as a user (not as root), and users don't have permission to change system binaries. So unless you're pondering installing Steam in your $HOME, no, Steam will not be updating itself.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (2)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 2 years ago | (#42006963)

Steam automatically installs itself into $HOME so it can self-update.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (2)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 2 years ago | (#42006913)

It auto-updates on Linux as well, however it does it in an interesting fashion. Essentially, the .deb package Valve put out (and distros are considering throwing in their repos) simply installs an installer. When one runs "steam" for the first time, it downloads and installs steam locally in his or her home folder. It can thus update as non-root.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#42007303)

If it does that, then why would it need packaged at all? Just provide the installer for download and let users run it. Since it's not installing anything at the system level, there's nothing that needs to be in the package management system. And since the installer won't need manual updating after you've got Steam itself installed (if it does need updated, presumably the auto-update function will handle that), there's nothing gained from having it under package management.

K.I.S.S.: Learn this acronym and abide by it.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008467)

If it does that, then why would it need packaged at all?

Dependencies. The installer is just a bootstrap, but by installing it, it will pull in all the libraries the full program needs.

To make the bootstrap download-and-run by unprivileged users requires making the full program a massive statically-linked behemoth, or bringing along a heap of private .sos; either way, Valve takes on the responsibility of tracking all those libraries and updating for each bugfix.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (0)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 2 years ago | (#42006941)

The problem is that modifying files outside of /home/ requires root, and that includes auto-updating. You'd have to launch Steam with root access every once in a while. The ones you get from tar.gz, rpm, or deb generally don't update. The only exception I know of is the Google Talk plugin, which added a repo to my sources.list and now updates with aptitude just like everything else.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007097)

As others have said (but I'll reply here so you're more likely to see it), apparently Steam essentially installs to your $HOME.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

iroll (717924) | about 2 years ago | (#42007497)

Can somebody explain why Valve wouldn't want to do this (add a repo to sources.list and update via apt)?

It could still do version checks and even prompt you to run a script (by clicking an update button) to run apt-get update.

Re:Does it really need to be packaged at all? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#42007657)

I don't know. But I do have a guess.

Steam pretty aggressively updates the actual games in its library. This means that either (1) it would fairly frequently need to ask the user to sudo those changes or (2) put the game files in $HOME anyway. It's possible they think that (1) would be too obnoxious and so go with (2) for that reason; and once you've done (2), why not just put Steam itself in $HOME too?

Stop the negativity (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#42006601)

as we don't want to run out of Steam do we!

Not windows, don't care (0)

sirmonkey (1056544) | about 2 years ago | (#42006711)

Not windows, don't care
In terms the kids would understand.

"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop! (5, Insightful)

mfearby (1653) | about 2 years ago | (#42006759)

It happens every so often around here that someone will claim X as the final hurdle to "finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop", and if you think that packaging Steam is that last cab off the rank, you are sorely mistaken. What about the ruination of a good desktop environment (GNOME), and the torture that getting a video card properly working can be? Or the cacophony of sound libraries that mean I can't get Skype to pick up my microphone? Or the many mail programs that *should* be able to import/export each other's databases yet, to this day, still manage to be a PITA (Kontact!).

I've been using Linux full time for 5 years (since the Windows Vista calamity) and it wasn't until Ubuntu ruined their distro with Unity that I had to hop to another one (Debian Squeeze and now openSUSE due to a new mobo install, and to get support for the LAN on same I wasn't prepared to upgrade to Sid). openSUSE 12.2 hasn't turned out to be as stable as I had hoped, so my Mac Mini should be delivered on Monday (TNT tracking currently has it in transit from Hong Kong :-) And installing and configuring Oracle Java is a nightmare. Just when you think you've found the right HOWTO to get it installed, you find that there's another way, and the way you were using was perhaps ill-advised. Yes, this isn't Linux's fault but Java is a necessity for some people, and the free Java doesn't quite cut it for some apps (CrashPlan, for example). It used to be that there were non-free repos in Ubuntu that added all these things nicely, but these seem to be a thing of the past nowadays for most distros.

Until Linux learns to cope with the installation/addition of other software that doesn't live up to its high and mighty standards, and stops fragmenting its core GUIs and programs, the much prophesied "year of Linux on the desktop" is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! And if you think that people are going to accept a totally stripped-bare 100% pure distro the likes of which Richard Stallman would use, then it's game over (though it's probably been game over for years, now).

Re:"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42007345)

apt-add-repository ppa:webupd8team/java && apt-get update && apt-get install oracle-java7-installer

Re:"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop (2)

6031769 (829845) | about 2 years ago | (#42007869)

OK, here's the news:

1. Nobody really uses SUSE anymore. Even Slackware beats the pants off it for usability. Give SUSE the heave-ho and you're halfway to paradise. *

2. Java is 100% unnecessary for most of the productive tasks for which you will use a computer. Just bin it. If anything you think you want to run requires java, bin that too and just use a non-java equivalent. Java is very useful for mobile phones and old-style web apps, but nothing on the desktop since 2004.

3. This is the choir here. Nobody in this audience really cares whether 2012 is the year of the Linux desktop or not. The linux desktop is great: we know that and we use it. Whether everybody else uses it or not is largely irrelevant to us.

4. GNOME 3 sucks - this is widely established. The good news is that you run Linux, so you have your choice of XFCE, LXDE, Enlightenment, AfterStep, Ratpoison, Fluxbox, etc. Just run whichever window manager you want.

5. If your MUA won't export to mbox and/or maildir, why are you using it? Question 1 for any data-critical apps is always "How do I get my data out of it?". If an app cannot answer that, don't use it.

*OK, that one may be slightly contentious, but TBH, I've never (and I mean in since kernel 1.0) heard any convincing argument regarding why anyone should run SUSE over another distro. Counter-arguments happily invited.

Re:"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008149)

I'll translate this for the Linux-uninclined:

1. It's your fault for using something that I don't use.

2. It's your fault for using something I don't like.

3. It's your fault for caring.

4. It's your fault for not rolling your own distro.

5. It's your fault for using something that's broken.

Typical Linux community response: "It's YOUR fault. STFU and RTFM."

Typical end-user response "Fuck you, you fat fucking prick. I'm going back to something that actually works and doesn't require being in the elite club of fat-fuck jackoffs with no life and a wad of your own dried and crackly cum splattered across your neckbeard to utilize. Fuck you and die, you fat fucking piece of excremental ass spackle."

Re:"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop (2)

mfearby (1653) | about 2 years ago | (#42008401)

You managed to summarise his points quite well... Not too sure about the last one, though... but it was a funny read :-)

Re:"the year of the Linux desktop"? Make them stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008175)

Java is 100% unnecessary for most of the productive tasks for which you will use a computer.

Exit your cave. Lots of shit unfortunately requires Java. Glad nothing of yours does.

This is why Linux can't have nice things... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006883)

You mean your software you want to run with Linux isn't from the original Star Trek series future where everything is developed in a post scarcity economy, money doesn't exist and freedom and true democracy reign... WELL THEN FUCK YOU FASCISTS! I'm taking MY Linux and living in the future! Which is my own little bubble, where no one else is allowed and you have to do everything by my rules.

Why include it at all? (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 2 years ago | (#42007017)

Seriously. Why do distros have to ship with every possible FOSS package under the sun? Why not let the user decide which packages to install after they get the base system installed?

A word processor is not necessary to make a working system, yet every bloody one of them ships with Open Office as part of the default install, which then costs time in removing it. If I want a word processor, I'll install it later.

Same thing with Steam. It's awesome that Valve is doing this, but at the same time, it's not necessary to a working system and the people that are actually interested in playing Valve-distributed games will make the necessary investment in downloading the installer as a separate package. There is no need to include Steam on any distro.

Re:Why include it at all? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42007335)

Nobody's talking about putting Steam in the base install of any distro. If you want users to be able to easily install it, it has to be in the repository. That's what we're talking about.

As if it's never happened ... ? (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 2 years ago | (#42007177)

Linux Mint comes with Dropbox. And that is a good thing.

Relevant, but not a problem, and here's why (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42007239)

The license says you can't redistribute it without permission. Valve will likely give permission to any distribution worth mentioning. Metadistributions won't be permitted to redistribute without permission, but they can simply link to the original distribution's repo and/or packages.

Over here in Arch land... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42007381)

...we don't GAF and will just make it work one way or another.

Gaming via Proxy (-1)

zakeria (1031430) | about 2 years ago | (#42007819)

Not really bringing gaming to Linux as it's more or less emulated, FGS fix Linux!

disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42008061)

As a Windows and Linux user both, who has almost $2000 worth of games in my Steam account, I'm disappointed that I didn't get into the Steam For Linux beta. :-(

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