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Torvalds: SteamOS Will 'Really Help' Linux On the Desktop

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the year-of-linux-on-the-steambox dept.

Operating Systems 304

nk497 writes "Linus Torvalds has welcomed the arrival of Valve's Linux-based platform, SteamOS, and said it could boost Linux on desktops. The Linux creator praised Valve's 'vision' and suggested its momentum would force other manufacturers to take Linux seriously — especially if game developers start to ditch Windows. Should SteamOS gain traction among gamers and developers, that could force more hardware manufacturers to extend driver support beyond Windows. That's a sore point for Torvalds, who slammed Nvidia last year for failing to support open-source driver development for its graphics chips. Now that SteamOS is on the way, Nvidia has opened up to the Linux community, something Torvalds predicts is a sign of things to come. 'I'm not just saying it'll help us get traction with the graphics guys,' he said. 'It'll also force different distributors to realize if this is how Steam is going, they need to do the same thing because they can't afford to be different in this respect. They want people to play games on their platform too.'"

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Stallman ain't gonna be happy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45214853)

This doesn't help GNU/Linux on the desktop. It will only lure people into using non-free programs distributed through Steam.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#45215173)

It certainly will help Linux on the desktop if more optimized graphics drivers are made available. That's the whole point of this article.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#45215405)

Drivers are probably about the biggest problem that Linux has right now. It's the main reason I'm not using it on my laptop. Last I tried, about 6 months ago (2 year old laptop), I could not get accelerated graphics working on the desktop. It still looked good enough, even without accelerated graphics but I suspect this also had the other disadvantage of greatly lowering my battery life, by running everything in software. Battery life was about half of what it was on windows. Also, because there was no accelerated graphics, I couldn't play any games. Well, that and Netflix. I don't understand why I can run Netflix on Android, but I can't run it on Linux. Personally, I don't even want to run in a browser. I'd actually rather run it as a separate application. And they can make it closed source for all I care.

Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215503)

I 100% agree that drivers are a big problem for Linux. However, Just yesterday I followed some simple directions and now have NETFLIX working on Mint 15. Look at this Youtube video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfte5su5DIA

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215657)

Your opinion has been noted and published on the website.

Re: Netflix (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215835)

Yeah, great, but.... you have run silverlight based app via Wine, so it is kind of wierdly possible.. SteamOS can bring native Linux Netflix, at least there's hope.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#45215807)

Your right, but a surprising number of the games I enjoy run on Linux just fine, infact I have an older I really like that actually runs better on Wine. Just sayin'.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215917)

You didn't actually read my post, did you...

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215217)

The gamers are still exposed to much more open source software than they would when playing the games on Windows. This, in turn, creates more interest to the open source ecosystem which then creates more commercial incentive to improve it.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#45215305)

"This doesn't help GNU/Linux on the desktop. It will only lure people into using non-free programs distributed through Steam."

The problem with stallman is that he doesn't grasp that anything requiring years of education and basically amounts to a time commitment of a full time job needs to get paid for. The reason many free programs suck is because no sane programmer in their right mind can produce and maintain a project of non-trivial size that doesn't have a sizable community of tinkerers and paid experts from which to draw from like linux has.

GNU/Linux would be helped if they would allow some commercialization IMHO without any ability to make revenue, who can afford to maintain/update applications which more often then not require a serious amount of time and hard work?

The problem becomes as problems become non-trivial (aka beyond the realm of part-timers both amateur and pro) you simply can't maintain a project of any reasonable size and complexity for any given length of time because people have lives, get old, get sick, die, etc. That is why there needs to be some kind of income coming in to maintain any project beyond the trivial.

While I agree with many of stallman's principles, his allergies to commercialization show how naive he is. If he was serious he'd be rallying the open source community to invest in GOG.COM and get them to make an app that competes with steam that allows users to own their own games for instance. People like stallman don't get that the world doesn't work on hardcore morality, it works on time, energy, effort and what is required to maintain it.

A better idea would be instead of going against the grain of the world, intelligently build cultures that promote at least some of your ideals. The whole gaming world is going F2P/MMO/Walled garden. I'm sure Nintendo, Sony and MS are chomping at the bit to make every game 'online only' eventually after the smashing success of diablo 3 in terms of sales (the march of gaming morons continues).

A better idea would be to fund and protect those people who are at least selling products to have a compelling reason to use software you own. Steam won because it added a huge tonne of features sits like GOG.COM lack (Friends list, etc). It has all you gaming in one place, you can see when you friends are online, what game they are playing, can message them, etc.

The moral crusaders never got the message that they need to act more rationally and intelligently if they want any of their values to survive the onslaught of greed.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215475)

"...who can afford to maintain/update applications which more often then not require a serious amount of time and hard work...

more often THAN not... I don't know why this bothers me so fuckin' much, but GODDAMMIT get it right!!!!!!!

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215533)

I like the idea of prizes to motivate would-be free software programmers.

Nowadays, there are dozens of million-dollar prizes scattered about for scientists and hobbyists. Why not offer $250,000 for a decent Linux alternative to Photoshop, for example? GIMP is so far behind, yet so entrenched, that I'm sure people will be shrugging their shoulders 20 years from now and saying "GIMP is the best we have".

Ongoing maintenance could be covered by donations to pay for a few salaried programmers.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (1)

vurian (645456) | about a year ago | (#45215983)

250k would pay for about fifty man-months of development. For Gimp, the problem is that they basically decided that money isnt going to help, when they messed up when Mark Shuttleworth promised them a stiffish bounty for getting high bit depth images working. But I agree, and if you can help me setup a way to get 250k, that would definitely accelerate Krita's development in a very significant way. We've already got quite a bit of experience with sponsored, full-time development.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Insightful)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year ago | (#45215597)

The counter-argument to your point about The reason many free programs suck is because no sane programmer in their right mind can produce and maintain a project of non-trivial size that doesn't have a sizable community of tinkerers and paid experts from which to draw from like linux has. is that many people - in fact, most of humanity - can't afford the technologically superior or more user-friendly proprietary alternatives.

The GIMP doesn't match up in features or usability to Adobe Photoshop. But if you don't have the money for Photoshop, GIMP is much better than nothing. Developing software for Windows on Visual Studio beats using Mingw - but that only makes sense if you're a professional developer planning to make a living by writing software for Windows. If you're trying to teach yourself software development, or you're a kid, or you just don't have $500 or $800 or whatever the hell it costs, then Mingw is the only thing that lets you even try. Most of our planet, most of humanity, are poor people. The successful IT professional can buy any proprietary program he or she needs - but we are not the typical human being. If they're going to reach our level, they have to do it through extremely cheap tools.

In the realm of encryption, it is increasingly difficult to trust proprietary products. With the Linux kernel, or Truecrypt, or any of the OpenPGP implementations, you can read the code yourself or hope that someone else trustworthy and skilled enough to detect backdoors has read it. With proprietary security products, how do you know?

But maybe most important of all, the competition against open source products continually forces the proprietary vendors to compete on features and price. If Linux didn't exist, maybe a copy of Windows 7 would be $600 instead of $200 and a cohttp://linux.slashdot.org/story/13/10/23/184236/torvalds-steamos-will-really-help-linux-on-the-desktop#py of Windows 2012 Server Standard Edition would be $8000 instead of $800 and Solaris or AIX would be $100,000 per core instead of whatever it is now. They keep the prices where they are for fear that people will decide an inferior free alternative and the extra work it involves is more cost-effective than their closed alternative.

Even if you only ever use proprietary software, you benefit tremendously from the existence of free software and its moral crusaders.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215791)

If you're trying to teach yourself software development, or you're a kid, or you just don't have $500 or $800 or whatever the hell it costs, then Mingw is the only thing that lets you even try. .

Visual Studio Express is free.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215873)

Shhh, let them spew their decades-old FUD that was never accurate in the first place.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#45215883)

"Even if you only ever use proprietary software, you benefit tremendously from the existence of free software and its moral crusaders."

There's nothing wrong with being a moral crusader. But if you want you values to proliferate, you have to offer something better then the alternatives. Let's be honest, Free software movement hasn't been a success for the average gamer. Steam is totally closed platform and so are all the big console players.

I have no problem with free software advocates principles. The problem they are not seeing is that projects people want are hugely non-trivial. To create something like steam requires resources no person like stallman and company has. While they give good speeches, without funds and some self-sustaining income base those values are being driven out by the corporate world because the naive moralists refuse to see the writing on the wall. There is nothing wrong with being a moralist, but there is something wrong with being naive about what it takes to get people to use your software.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45215625)

RedHat's done pretty well for itself selling little more than support contracts, as have many other server distro vendors. A sticker price isn't the only way to make money from providing software. And given that Ubuntu embraced advertising a long time ago, it's a bit of a strawman (or at least quaintly archaic) to argue with the GNU Foundation's core principles.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Insightful)

twocows (1216842) | about a year ago | (#45215693)

The problem with stallman is that he doesn't grasp that anything requiring years of education and basically amounts to a time commitment of a full time job needs to get paid for.

I hear this myth perpetuated a lot and it's not really true. Stallman has said on several occasions he believes developers can and should be compensated for their work and he believes this is perfectly feasible within a free software ecosystem. The problem is that many traditional methods of monetization don't hold up in a free software world and it would require people to rethink how they plan to monetize. That said, I don't think a lot of large scale development (especially from big devs who have been doing things with the normal model for years) can switch over without a lot of effort (and effort means money), especially when the end result may very likely lead to less income. Businesses don't work that way.

Stallman (and the FSF in general) also believes that any proprietary software is immoral and it should be shunned and not used ever. I agree that this is the right ideal, but I think the long road to it may require some sacrifices along the way. If SteamOS leads to a significant trend away from current ingrained non-free systems (like Windows), that in turn makes devs (like Nvidia's) play nicer with free software devs and creates a positive feedback loop. I believe that's a good thing, even if the fact that SteamOS is closed is not. I think the correct course of action is to urge Valve to try and free the software or to develop a fully free alternative rather than simply urging people not to use it at all, and I think this applies to other parts of a mixed-freedom environment. For instance, the FSF encourages the use of what it deems fully free GNU/Linux distributions, which are often just forks of popular distributions with any non-free software removed. I don't like this approach; I think a better one would be to make it transparent what parts are non-free and simply make it a top priority to free or rewrite these portions.

Stallman and the FSF are very interesting and make a lot of good points (if you read the literature they put out, it really does make a lot of sense), but it's always best to think for yourself and not blindly adhere to any ideology. What Stallman thinks and says is often interesting and insightful, but it shouldn't be the only metric you use to make a decision. I don't disagree with the FSF very often, but in this case, I do think SteamOS is good for the long-term prospects of GNU/Linux and free software primarily because of the politics involved.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#45215809)

This isn't a problem. We need Stallman, and his extreme view on the subject. If he went pragmatic, the pragmatic view would be considered the extreme. The center would shift farther towards lock down and rent seeking. It is Torvalds that plays the part you would place Stallman in. We need both types.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215393)

Excuse me, who the fuck cares what Stallman thinks?

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215753)

A lot of people; he's the public face of the Free Software Foundation and the man who made the initial GNU system that represents the most significant portion of any GNU/Linux system. Whether you agree with him or not, a lot of people pay attention to what he says.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215535)

Here's RMS on the subject http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/nonfree-games.html [gnu.org]

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (4, Informative)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#45215571)

The FSF was mixed [gnu.org] about Steam for GNU/Linux. Since most of the issues remain the same with SteamOS, I'm guessing that their opinion on it will be similar.

For obvious reasons, they're never going to endorse anything that's partly proprietary, but it it moves people away from dependence on completely proprietary systems, in there view it's possible that there might be some benefit. The FSF isn't so hardline that they refuse to acknowledge the distinction between software that's mostly free versus software that's completely proprietary.

From the article I linked:

However, if you're going to use these games, you're better off using them on GNU/Linux rather than on Microsoft Windows. At least you avoid the harm to your freedom that Windows would do.

Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (2)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#45215863)

It will only lure people into using non-free programs distributed through Steam.

It will also allow you to run free programs. I can't imagine that the SteamOS will only run signed executables. So as soon as you finish your clone of GTA V, with even a larger and more detailed world, you should be able to share it for free with everyone. I will definitely download it and say my thanks to you for a lifetime of labor that you spent for my entertainment.

I know that there is a free flight simulator out there that comes with extensive maps, so this is possible. However as soon as the labor that goes into the software becomes nontrivial I see nothing wrong in sending the developers some money, so that they can eat, live, and work on another game. RMS has his vision, and perhaps the formulas that define the software ought to be free... but games require an inordinate amount of handcrafted graphics. Nobody says that maps should be free too - they are not science, they are art.

Not happening (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45214861)

Sorry not happening. Desktop Linux != SteamOS.

At best it will force the hand of Intel, nVidia and AMD to make it so their drivers work on Linux, but everyone else, unlikely.

Nobody is going to ditch Windows for Steam OS and then only play games on it. There is already 3 expensive toys that do this. No nobody is going to buy steam OS and then use Open Office on it... unless Steam somehow starts being the "app store" as well, and cloud-saving extended to it.

Re:Not happening (2)

FictionPimp (712802) | about a year ago | (#45214973)

I only have windows to play games on....So if your telling me my next PC can play all the games I want and not require me to play for a operating system I'm all excited!

Re:Not happening (1, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45214991)

No, it doesn't count as a linux desktop, but it makes certain that linux will be a target platform for PC developers. It pleases me, becaues games were pretty much all that keep me on windows.

Re:Not happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215723)

it makes certain that linux will be a target platform for PC developers

Entirely wishful thinking from the Linux Fanboy crowd.

SteamBox has FAIL written all over it. It's too expensive for the console crowd and doesn't have the AAA game support. It's not interesting to PC gamers who obviously already have a PC. Who exactly is going to buy this thing?

When it comes down to it, not even Linux fanboys will buy a SteamBox either -- the hardware will be too expensive and limited for them.

Once the hype dies down and the lousy sales figures come in, game developers will go right back to ignoring.Linux.

Re:Not happening (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215867)

Maybe, maybe not. Who cares? Let it play out. If you think it's going to fail, don't bother with it. Maybe you'll be right, and you can celebrate your rightness with another post on a /. story about it. If you're wrong, I think you'll probably agree that's also a victory of sorts.

Re:Not happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45216043)

Half the people in this thread are already running the victory lap over some half-assed product announcement -- they are the ones who should "let it play out".

Re:Not happening (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#45215007)

Why mod Troll?

AC is dead on on this one. If you have an Xbox a PS3 and a desktop (Windows) why on earth would you want to run Linux on your Desktop just so you can game?

And to the mod that scored Troll on this, he's dead on for drivers as well. What always steered me clear of ditching Windows for good was the lack of driver support for Linux, Wine always ran my games worse than on Windows.

Re:Not happening (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#45215445)

and that's why he was marked troll. Simply put, the problem that Linux has is a lack of open source support from Nvidia and other companies in regards to drivers. If the Steambox is what finally got Nvidia off the fucking fence about opening any of their information (at least in regards to the Nouveua project) it's a win for us. Hell look at the quality of the Nouveua driver - it certainly works almost as well as the god damn binary blob crap from Nvidia while not puking each and every time you update the system.

Anthing that Valve does to get the hardware working in Linux is a win for the community as that's what'll finally get some of the hardware vendors off their asses. As to your comment about the XBOne and PS4 - they'll run Linux but Valve isn't pushing Linux other then as an OS. They're going to offer an IDE and set of API's that leverage STEAM's DRM to the max while running that on Windows, Linux and what ever other OS they feel like. The advantage to them is that if ARM takes off like it could, they'll already have invested the time/effort to ensure they're STEAM application runs on that hardware instead of being dependent on Microsoft to continue selling games. In that case, it's simply CYA (covering yon ass) in case MS goes under or what pisses off their OEM computer makes badly enough that no one sells Windows based systems anymore. Could it happen? Maybe if Balmer gets out of the fucking way. Corporations wouldn't have an issue as MS would be like Apple then - providing the entire eco-system from desktops through Servers. What IBM tried to do.

Re:Not happening (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45215655)

Simply put, the problem that Linux has is a lack of open source support from Nvidia and other companies in regards to drivers

While it's true that drivers are a problem, you won't get Linux on the desktop until AAA titles are released simultaneously on Linux.

When CoD:Ghosts comes out on Windows and consoles in a month, you'll know what kept Linux off the desktop.

The OP isn't trolling, despite the moderation. Nobody likes his truth.

Re:Not happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215891)

Simply put, the problem that Linux has is a lack of open source support from Nvidia and other companies in regards to drivers.

Now you're the one who's trolling. Drivers are ONE of the problems with Linux.

As to your comment about the XBOne and PS4 - they'll run Linux but Valve isn't pushing Linux other then as an OS.

Read this carefully: PEOPLE DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT RUNNING LINUX ON GAME SYSTEMS. You do, and so do a lot of other zealots, but guess what? You're in the minority.

Re:Not happening (1)

Nos. (179609) | about a year ago | (#45215513)

Because the Troll is missing the entire point of the story.

If Intel, Nvidia and AMD start releasing they're top tier drivers for Linux, it makes Linux as a desktop more viable for more people. That's what Torvalds is saying.

Not everyone is going to go and replace their Windows desktop with a Linux right away, but when it's time to buy their next PC, and they can get one for $100 cheaper (same specs) that will play their games, run their office suite, etc. That's where Linux can take a bigger bite out of the home desktop market.

Re:Not happening (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45215529)

The driver improvements are actually what Linus is talking about if you RTFA. That's how desktop Linux will benefit.

As for why SteamOS: about a year ago (I think) Valve demonstrated that you could get superior performance on Linux because the code was open. It's a lot easier to do optimizations on a platform when you have comprehensive documentation on how it works—and where the bugs are. Valve's devs were also greatly elated to discover that they could actually fix said bugs instead of just working around them, like they had to do on Windows.

Re:Not happening (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45215573)

Why mod Troll?

AC is dead on on this one. If you have an Xbox a PS3 and a desktop (Windows) why on earth would you want to run Linux on your Desktop just so you can game?

You wouldn't.

HOWEVER, if you didn't want to have to pay almost $200 for a proprietary OS that's so locked down and filled with trash it makes the Georgia State prison system look like an all-inclusive Hawaiian resort, then the fact that gaming on Linux is finally getting some respect would be a very good thing for you.

Re:Not happening (3, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | about a year ago | (#45215041)

Nobody is going to ditch Windows for Steam OS and then only play games on it

Well, the folks who only play games on Windows might. Or they might dual boot, and use Steam on Linux. And a lot of people cite the absence of Triple-A games on Linux as being the big thing stopping them from migrating.

Certainly, it isn't going to hurt anything :)

unless Steam somehow starts being the "app store" as well, and cloud-saving extended to it.

Seems to me that Steam is already an "app store". Distributing non game software through it shouldn't be a problem, really.

Re:Not happening (4, Informative)

crashcy (2839507) | about a year ago | (#45215121)

Steam already does sell non-game software: Steam Software [steampowered.com]

Reading Comprehension Failure? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#45215117)

Linus specifically stated (RTFS idiots) that this may have been what pushed Nvidia to finally begin supporting the Nouveua project (open source) and that helps Linux on the Desktop as we gain more traction for stable drivers - be them video, audio or networking.

Re:Not happening (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#45215163)

nobody is going to buy steam OS

Well, considering Steam OS itself will be free...

Re:Not happening (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45215297)

At best it will force the hand of Intel, nVidia and AMD to make it so their drivers work on Linux, but everyone else, unlikely.

Well Intel and AMD are much better community players than is nVidia.

With the focus of Windows slowly shifting to tablets, and web based versions of their Cash Cow Office, and with Ubuntu's minimalist desktop or KDE's robust one covering just about anyone's needs for home computing, and small business computing.

IBM and Intel seem to have a different opinion of OpenOffice and OfficeLibre than you do.

The last thing holding home users to windows is TurboTax Quickbooks.

Re:Not happening (0)

t4ng* (1092951) | about a year ago | (#45215975)

Not trying to flamebait here, and I admit I stopped following Linux kernel development about 10 years ago. It seemed to me, at least in the past, that a major roadblock to Linux being useful for audio, video, or real-time applications was that kernel-mode execution was non-interruptable. I remember there were some forks that made Linux more of a real-time OS, but I never heard of any of that being incorporated into any of the major distributions. When I asked a Linux apologist about this he acted like I was crazy and said, "Of course you can't interrupt the kernel, it's in kernel mode!" Funny, because Windows has been doing it since Windows NT.

Is this still the case with Linux? If it is, how can an application guarantee that audio and video won't experience hiccups? Just by throwing lots of CPUs and processor power at the problem? Better drivers would not solve this problem.

Re:Not happening (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year ago | (#45216005)

Don't forget that they have also gotten Steam running on more traditional distros (well, Ubuntu) as well. SteamOS could help them to iron out the kinks, generate greater driver availability get more game binaries made for Linux. With all of that worked out, you could start playing these games smoothly on your distro of choice.

Bullshit (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45214871)

That Linux runs on smartphones and tablets, as well TVs and many other appliances, does not a damn thing for its desktop adoption. Neither will Steam's little toy. What will get Linux on desktops is if software shops man the fuck up and port something like Photoshop, or any big-name video game, for that matter. Come on, Linus...if you're gonna say something amusing, then at least belittle one of your developers -- and with a racial slur this time.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re: Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215053)

Wait, what? Of course Linux on smartphones doesn't boost its desktop adoption, but we are talking about Linux *on desktops*.

Re: Bullshit (1)

xvan (2935999) | about a year ago | (#45215229)

His point is people won't see the steambox as a desktop.

Re: Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215661)

His point is pointless. Also that's an obvious troll. The key is the signature.

You people never learn.

Re: Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215335)

Yes, a Linux that will be installed by only people who already have another flavor of Linux installed, as somebody above pointed out.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Bullshit (1)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about a year ago | (#45215509)

I'd just be happy to see some decent development suites on the Linux side. Given that eclipse is one of the biggest, and it's still terrible in terms of stability and speed, I'm convinced that 99% (1% is the Linux kernel) that "high quality open source" is really just an oxymoron.

Really huge (5, Insightful)

faragon (789704) | about a year ago | (#45214891)

I hope this mean not only first class graphics API porting (e.g. OpenGL), but also production-grade computing API (e.g. OpenCL) without vendor-specific crap (try to rebuild OpenCL stuff with the AMD """""SDK""""").

I don't think so (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#45214931)

I would be extremely surprised if anything but an infinitesimal minority of people who buy this are not favourably biased towards Linux already, and may similarly be already running it on a desktop anyways.

Re:I don't think so (5, Informative)

forkazoo (138186) | about a year ago | (#45215191)

Yeah, exactly like how Tivo buyers were all open source advocates, and Apple TV buyers are primarily interested in the fact that the kernel has posix API's. Though, there may be a small group of SteamBox buyers who buy it mainly because of playing games, and don't really care about what OS it runs.

Re:I don't think so (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#45215269)

Or... we could wait and see.

If I'm wrong, all I said was that I'd be surprised.

Re:I don't think so (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45215619)

Yeah, exactly like how Tivo buyers were all open source advocates, and Apple TV buyers are primarily interested in the fact that the kernel has posix API's. Though, there may be a small group of SteamBox buyers who buy it mainly because of playing games, and don't really care about what OS it runs.

Don't forget those of us who like to occasionally play PC games on the big TV in the living room, but don't want to have to deal with unhooking the tower, dragging it downstairs, then hooking it all back up again.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215719)

I think you missed the point a bit. If Valve is pushing game developers to build on Linux systems and SteamOS is really just Linux, then any improvements they make to Steam/Linux will apply to anyone running a Linux desktop. Suddenly that makes Linux a valid desktop platform for gamers, thus wider adoption of Linux on desktop systems.

I personally stopped using Windows completely about 5-6 years ago and my PC Gaming life suffered for it. Lately Steam has had a Linux section which I've enjoyed as I have access to classic games I played on Windows (Half-Life and all its mods).

I've been waiting for the day a video game producer sees that Linux is a better gaming platform than Windows, lighter weight, more easily customizable, no hassles for end users (I know plenty of Ubuntu users who are computer illiterate and manage better than computer illiterate Windows users since all the maintenance you do is "Yes, update" and you're done). I'm very happy that Valve was the one to start this move in the right direction and I can't wait for the corporate world to finally figure it out... some day...

Re:I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215761)

I say "I've been waiting for the day" because back in the days of Quake 3 PC Gamer did a test where they ran an emulator in Linux vs. native Windows (it MAY have been native on both) and Linux rocked considering it's disadvantages (back then graphics driver support was almost nil). It's only been a matter of time since then, IMHO.

Re:I don't think so (1)

dstyle5 (702493) | about a year ago | (#45215561)

Whats to buy? Its going to be free to download and install, like Steam is today. Yeah there will be SteamOS devices built by Valve or most likely other companies, but since its free alot of people will probably try it. My use case will be installing it on my older pc for a living room based gaming PC.

As for people adopting it, when the SteamOS and the hardware are released you know Valve is going to have a big carrot dangling to get people to try it out, something related to a game with a 3 in the title methinks.

Old African word meaning can't configure Debian (1)

conner_bw (120497) | about a year ago | (#45214945)

> It'll also force different distributors to realize if this is how Steam is going, they need to do the same

And! Force different *distributions* to support Unity! Because if this is how Steam is going (Ubuntu), they need to do the same. /me ducks

Re: Old African word meaning can't configure Debia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215155)

steam works pefect in GNOME shell in archlinux. unity is not a requeriment.

Re: Old African word meaning can't configure Debia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215255)

http://nooooooooooooooo.com/ [nooooooooooooooo.com]

Re: Old African word meaning can't configure Debia (2)

neuro88 (674248) | about a year ago | (#45215765)

steam works pefect in GNOME shell in archlinux. unity is not a requeriment.

To add to this, I don't think SteamOS will use unity period. I suspect they'll use a custom window manager or perhaps full screen mode for steam os will be the window manager. I personally run steam in KDE without issues.

This won't do anything for Linux on desktops (0)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#45214965)

Drivers isn't the main reason behind low rates of adoption. Valve's move won't do anything for getting non-SteamOS Linux flavors on desktops since there still huge "RTFM noob" problem that is in my opinion main obstacle to general adoption of Linux.

Re:This won't do anything for Linux on desktops (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45215271)

If Valve can help resolve whatever problems you think still require documentation, then that will yield a positive result for distributions that aren't SteamOS.

If there isn't any need to consult the M, then there won't be any motivation to tell people to RTFM.

Although if Microsoft was dependent on people installing Windows on their own they would have been dead a long time ago.

Re:This won't do anything for Linux on desktops (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45215385)

I'm guessing you haven't tried a Fresh install of any version of Linux lately.
Its no harder than windows. There is actually less tinkering required than with windows.
Especially for those distributions that have aimed their packaging at the new users.

The obstacle is that it was difficult to buy a pre-configured Linux machine. Nobody installs windows these days either. They buy it pre-installed.

Re:This won't do anything for Linux on desktops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215787)

Everyone keeps talking about the "main obstacle" or some magic bullet. It's not just one thing people.

There is a market for a server which does one thing really well, but the desktop has to do everything well. It must be the entire package. Getting one more piece of the package is a step in the right direction, but at the same time that's all it is.

Re:This won't do anything for Linux on desktops (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#45215925)

Perhaps drivers have little to do with low rates of adoption, but they -- specifically graphics drivers -- are 99% of my frustrations as a linux user (it's not just when there is no driver or getting the proprietary driver installed, it's little random bugs like the whole OS freezing on maximizing a konsole window that happen to be due to graphics driver bugs). I couldn't care less whether it draws more people to desktop linux as long as it makes my life easier.

Morally bankrupt jerk (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45214981)

Torvalds is ESR with half a brain. If all he cares about is driver support why doesn't he just install Cygwin on a Windows 8 tablet and be done with it.

Re:Morally bankrupt jerk (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45215437)

Half a brain?
ESR is a pontificating whack job, who's only contribution to opensource was an open mouth and a single program so horribly written it was virtually unmaintainable.

Re:Morally bankrupt jerk (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45215637)

Torvalds is ESR with half a brain. If all he cares about is driver support why doesn't he just install Cygwin on a Windows 8 tablet and be done with it.

Um... because that's not all he cares about?

hah (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about a year ago | (#45214995)

Gaming driving the serious train.....wooooowooooo.

Yeah, OK. Sure Linus. (1)

laxr5rs (2658895) | about a year ago | (#45215037)

THIS will be the thing that will really help Linux on the Desktop as desktops slowly disappear. It's always something, and it so far hasn't happened.

Re:Yeah, OK. Sure Linus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215289)

Maybe he means cloud-computing. Maybe most cloud servers (are they called cloud servers?) are going to run Linux...

Re:Yeah, OK. Sure Linus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215639)

Yes, desktops are disappearing slowly. In favor of phones and tablets.

The latest figures are that almost 80% of smartphones are now shipping with Android. Linux. You are a tool, sir.

Re:Yeah, OK. Sure Linus. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215981)

I don't think you understand basic consumer economics. There is an increase in mobile computing because it works better for several very popular use cases. That doesn't mean desktops are going to go away. Desktops have their own use cases and core gaming is one of the more significant of these. That's something that's not going to end up trending to mobile anytime soon for several reasons, including but not limited to less screen real-estate, poorer input apparatus, and significantly less computational power. If Valve can move a non-trivial amount of that market segment to GNU/Linux, that is indeed a big thing for GNU/Linux on the desktop.

Pretty log in screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215051)


Another reason Linux hasn't done well on desktop, according to Torvalds, is because developers focus on useless UX features.
"Linux is doing wonderfully well in so many different areas, but I still am somewhat disappointed about the fact that Linux desktop is this morass of in-fighting and people who do bad things," he said.

"I do hope the desktop people will try to work together, and work more on the technology than trying to make the login screen look really nice," he added.

This exactly.

I Just pulled gnome 3.8.x from Debian Sid the other day. There are a ton of regressions and removed features (nautilus no longer remembers view settings on a per folder basis). Apparently the devs (Bastien) is really proud of the 'screen curtain' though, essentially a screen you have to dismiss before you can enter your password on the lock screen.

Sigh. I remember back in the day when I could proudly show off both useful and eye-candy features of my linux desktops to mac and windows users. That is no longer the case.

Re:Pretty log in screens (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45215537)

Still, let's not completely forget the pretty login screens either. They especially give a nice and professional experience to new users.

For example, when you restart a Windows computer, you get this smooth transition to a screen showing "Restarting" with the spinning pearls animation. In Linux, on restart you might get the distro logo screen, which is nice, but it might not work 100% smooth: the animation might not be playing, or the screen is going black and coming back...maybe you even see some lines of console text in a framebuffer.

Not crucial things, but not impossible to get right either. Wayland will probably help too. In my perfect vision of Linux, it would be nice if these kind of purely aesthetic things would feel good from begin to end. Of course, in some terms Ubuntu is ahead of Windows 8 already, as the graphics of its colorful desktop look quite pro, instead of the harsh puke of colors in Win8.

Re:Pretty log in screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215941)

This is why I steer clear of GNOME as much as I conveniently can. de Icaza might as well be a Microsoft plant, going by how awful GNOME is becoming.

More likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215083)

It will expose and highlight the multitude of faults that have kept most people from using Linux on the desktop, and give a lot more people a lasting negative impression.

Not so sure about SteamOS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215105)

I'm not so sure SteamOS is going to be such a good thing for Linux.

Yeah, you'll get AAA games on Linux (probably), but if they start tying everything to proprietary APIs and specific environments (say, Ubuntu/Unity/Mir, or worse, some entirely proprietary stack built from the ground up on top of the kernel), that's a loss for Linux. Your freedom is gone and it's Windows all over again.

Corporations don't care about Linux and free software. We already have Google tightening its grip on the "open" Android. SteamOS will probably be more of the same: a corporation using the argument of "Open-Source" to lock users into their closed-source solution.

ditch windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215127)

especially if game developers start to ditch Windows

not. gonna. happen. sorry linus.

Re:ditch windows? (4, Interesting)

ZackSchil (560462) | about a year ago | (#45215257)

Why not? Increasingly games are using standard APIs and getting multi-platform releases. They're not tied to an OS anymore. A Windows license is a huge, unnecessary expense for PC gamers. Gamers worship hardware and entertainment software, not operating systems. They're going to go with whatever has support for the hardware they have and the games they want to play. With Valve pushing Linux and GPU makers joining them, all the pieces are in place to dethrone Windows or at the very least drum up some competition.

Re:ditch windows? (1)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about a year ago | (#45215691)

One part of it is the gamers, but the other part of it is tools. The tools on windows are better. The only safety you have in the FOSS tools world is a potential to solve a tool bug yourself, which is not something people do on a practical level - it's hard to justify the time and cost to do so to an employer. This is actually a non-trivial hurdle: Why would companies build AAA titles for a platform with minimal adoption, all the while using a hodge-podge of tools with massive variation in quality to build it? Game devs are on windows because they generally don't have to fight the toolset to get things done. It's bad when you can say Emacs or Vim (with all the necessary plugins) is about the best "IDE" you can get on Linux. Anyone who thinks Eclipse is fantastic, I don't want to hear it - I've just had my workspace file corrupted - again - because Eclipse had an "error" while I modified some project settings. Fucking pile of garbage.

Re:ditch windows? (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year ago | (#45215923)

As much as I want to see this happen, I still can't imagine it. Even with Valve throwing it's weight behind Linux, it's the same chicken-and-egg problem that stopped Linux desktop from taking over the world for the last fifteen years:
1. Every time a person is looking to buy a Steam OS box, he's going to ask himself whether there's a game he really wants on the horizon that is currently Windows-only. The answer is always yes, so he won't buy.
2. Every time a company looks to port a game to Steam OS, they're going to check the market penetration of Steam OS to see if the port is worth the engineering effort. The answer is sometimes yes, but sometimes no - and that's all it takes to keep a handful of games most buyers want off the Steam OS list.

End of story. I think the real "Linux on the Desktop" will be Android on x86_64. Touch screen laptops and monitors are becoming more common and cheaper, and in turn Android is getting more and more desktop user interface features and an ever-growing selection of applications. I think if Linux will ever own a significant portion of the desktop, that will be the route - not through the gamers, but through casual users. My kids already know how to use Android better than they know how to use Windows 7. If, five years from now, I give them a choice between a Windows laptop or the ASUS Transformer Prime or Android equivalent of the day, I think they'd opt for Android.

Re:ditch windows? (1)

Nikker (749551) | about a year ago | (#45216007)

What this will do is encourage people to make their own HTPC. With Steam's new game pad and hopefully AAA game titles throwing something like XBMC along side it would make a pretty decent living room PC for a lot less than paying the Windows license. The drivers could be added to desktop distributions making those who already use Linux on the desktop happier and those sitting on the fence more likely to make the jump. Game developers already don't care about Windows but the PC game market is profitable and if Valve makes porting from console to SteamOS simple (which shouldn't be that bad since next gen consoles are x86 based) then more titles will show up on SteamOS before Windows. It's basically a role your own console. You can cheap out and put together an AMD APU setup with a couple GB RAM for a bit over $100 and play most games a mid to low res. When you consider that Xbox360 maxes out at 1080i/720p you could easily get that on AMDs next chips. Or you can just carry over all your Steam library and buy a card like the Radeon 7850 going for
TL;DR It will be better than you think.

Year of Linux on the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215225)

I hope this will help lower the integer $n$ in the sentence: "$n$ will be the year of Linux on the desktop"

Captcha:tracked

Oh look (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215243)

Another slashvertisement from Linux astroturfers. Time for another fanboy circle jerk.

It had to be said... (5, Funny)

nani popoki (594111) | about a year ago | (#45215253)

If Linux is gathering Steam then it can't just be vaporware.

O Sherlock, where art thou? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215303)

Linus: I like to say obvious fucking things!

I want to know what benefit it offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215333)

For someone who doesn't struggle with or strongly dislike Windows, I have a hard time seeing what would make SteamOS and Linux attractive.

Valve already includes Big Picture mode with the Steam desktop client and by sticking with Windows, I have access to all of the PC games library, which is much larger than just the Steam catalog.

one little issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215399)

Steam O.S. is really a thin client for windows and steam... that's why you can stream from windows P.C's

Taking Linux seriously (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45215403)

Taking the platform "seriously" really hasn't anything to do with it. The game industry has always been a chicken-or-the-egg problem with Linux: Games spur adoption, but adoption is abysmal without the games. I'm not quite sure how Steam figures they will work around this inherent problem.

Re:Taking Linux seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215701)

Investment??

After all, Valve / Steam knows where Microsoft-partners inevitably ends up.

Captcha: maiden

Sandbagging.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215423)

I really thought back in 2006 that Windows was doomed simply because at the time people were playing with something I can only imagine was squashed for political reasons.

Back when Para-virts and Xen was all the rage, Nvidia had produced a modified driver that would allow a virtual guest to *directly* use the video card. This basically meant full 3D acceleration *inside* a para-virt VM.

So you could have a linux box run windows inside a VM as a guest, and play all your favorite games. This special driver was discussed but never released. Then suddenly it just vanished. Never heard about any further efforts.

Considering this very feature would have snagged me away from Windows as my workstation, I can only imagine it was squashed to fulfill an agenda. I mean come on, start windows in a window just to play games without losing all the performance.

Ditch Windows? LOL!!! (-1, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#45215449)

especially if game developers start to ditch Windows

Hahahahahaha! Good joke! Ditch 99% of their customers in PC game market? Yeah, right. Even Valve doesn't even believe this nonsense otherwise it would have already gone Linux-only. Gabe is saber rattling because knows freetards can't sustain his business.

Re:Ditch Windows? LOL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215965)

Look at all the Linux users who say the only reason they have Windows is for gaming. How much of the gamer market would ditch Windows in the blink of an eye if they could play the same games on Linux?

captcha: rebate

Wishful Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215519)

Weren't we saying the same thing about Linux on the PS3? Sorry, but this is not the magic bullet.

Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45215935)

I want to play games. I do not want to use windows. Make it happen people.

Willian Wallace: FREEDOM!

Yahooo DRM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45216049)

Oh but it's the good kind of DRM, who needs to own software when they can rent it from Valve! Thanks Linus!

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