Steam Coming to Linux Soon

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This. Is. Huge.

This possibly could lead to the biggest shift in PC gaming since devs mainly stopped supporting MacOS back in the mid to late 90's. Except this is expanding. This is evolution. The brilliant possibility here is that game developers could end up contributing to the operating system they are building games for because they have access to the source code to sort out issues they run into. A game industry on Linux could earn millions of dollars for the open source movement to continue expanding and improving products.

They only problem I see is OpenGL is rather far behind DirectX. It has been playing catchup for years now. Hopefully a larger market will help OpenGL improve faster.

This may cause me to switch operating systems in the long run.

Eh. I have a Linux partition, and I really only use it if my Windows OS crashes and needs to be reinstalled, which isn't very often. I guess Linux getting Steam is a pretty big leap. Now two thirds of the PC market can get robbed of all their cash :D

Bhaalspawn:
Now two thirds of the PC market can get robbed of all their cash :D

What would that last third be? OSX has had Steam for quite a while now.

SpAc3man:

Bhaalspawn:
Now two thirds of the PC market can get robbed of all their cash :D

What would that last third be? OSX has had Steam for quite a while now.

Yeah, but buying a Mac or Macbook gets you robbed of all your cash already, so Apple did Valve's job for them.

More choices for more people. Always a good thing.

medv4380:

Treblaine:

medv4380:
Maybe my PC gaming will finally get out of Wine and Minecraft
Do we know if it will support 64-bit binaries?

Well, it IS 2012... not 1996. They bloody well should.

As far as I know the only reason 32 bit is so common is because Microsoft operating systems have stuck to it for so long. WHY? I don't know. Anyway, almost every chipset made in the past half decade has been 64-bit compliant and on the system memory front we have most definitely hit that wall (4096 MiB of memory addresses) I'd be really surprised if 64 bit wasn't comprehensively supported.

Actually there is another reason. A lot of programmers who use C and C++ use Pointer Arithmetic, and in a lot of code instead of using a 64bit int (long) they cast it into a 32 bit int. As long as they don't have over 2 gigs that works. If they have 4 gigs hopefully they used an Unsigned 32 bit int, and anything over 4 gigs will break. That's actually what caused Skyrim to crash to the desktop whenever it hit the 2 gig limit, and their fix was enabling up to 4 gigs with the unsigned int.

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that, but that is just coding a game in 32-bit. That 32 bit program can still run fine in a 64-bit operating system (on 64bit hardware of course) and interacting with other 64-bit programs like Steam Client.

i.e. there is no reason Steam on Linux shouldn't fully support and encourage 64 bit processing? Would skyrim have to run within some sort of 64->32 bit emulation? Other than it being remade for Open GL

Evil Smurf:

living_brain:
definitely agree with gabe Windows 8 SUCKS! From a technical point of view, it looks flimsy, unreliable; it doesn't look like it's a great release. it looks worse than the transition from XP to Vista-Looks better(not really) but probably has bugs. Not ever switching to windows 8. not if they pay ME.

"Then you will die" - The Emperor

People said that about Vista

But Vista was a commercial failure because so many people hated it. Even this late in the game XP has a significant market share. I believe Win7/8 will mirror XP/Vista, at least when it comes to core gaming/business desktops and laptops. Even when it comes to tablets Apple and Android have a comanding lead and they both work well enough with windows for there to be a compatability issue, even for corporate clients.

Honestly, I don't see this having any significant impact on the "future of computing" for two reasons:

1. Developing for wide-distribution across different linux distributions is a complete pain in the butt - I know, I've done it - because by their very nature, different linux distros have different things in them. Yes, you could only support certain distros or go for a lowest common denominator, but then you're not really seeing the full benefits of trying to "go linux", methinks. Thus, I think many developers simply wouldn't bother - especially imagine the support calls! Most technical support departments don't even understand how windows works, so good luck getting any help when the game crashes with a random error on your linux box! Evidence: All Introversion games are released with Linux versions, and I have never once managed to get them to run on any of my Linux boxes, and I wasn't even using obscure distros.

2. Different OSes are good for different things and different people.
Linux is an amazing OS, incrediably flexible and powerful, and the sheer level of control that it places on the user is astounding - you can do pretty much anything you want to it, and this is reflected in the quantity of different distros, or make your own! But, this has a drawback: Average PC users are thick. They like Windows because it is familiar, and it tends not to explode too often. Mac users are often an extension of this, Macs are completely locked down: consequently there is no real ability to tinker like in Linux or to a lesser extent Windows, but this also means the less tech-savvy are physically prevented from mucking it up. I guarentee you that if you put most average PC users (even gamers!) infront of a linux box, they'll find a way to screw it up. Again, I am basing this on experience. I had a very nice box running Ubuntu 6.06 (some time ago now), and then I went away for a bit. My father needed a computer temporarily, so I said he could use it and gave him the passwords. When I came back, he'd completely bricked it - he tried to install Windows 95 on it because he couldn't fathom this "linux" thing.
Linux - Techies and Servers. Windows - Average PC users. Mac - Artists and people with too much money.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Linux, I use it most every day. But I also use Windows, and I love it to. As I see it, they both have their strengths, and I wouldn't want it any other way. I don't -want- a Linux desktop because in my experience, that's simply not what they're good at. Windows is, but as a server system it is rubbish because it's far too locked down and vulnerable.

P.S. Regards the debate on Windows 8, no, I'm not particularly looking forward to it either. They're trying to kill two birds with one stone but will fail to capture either; they need to offer something absolutely amazing to have any impact in the tablet market, which they inveitably won't, and the "Metro" screen will completely ruin the experience on ordinary PCs - and that's even if you DO happen to have a touchscreen hooked up to your PC or Laptop. Chances are you won't, and it'll just be awful. I don't mind them trying to capture tablet market share if they want, but for God's sake leave the "classic" start menu as an option, or I will never, ever buy Windows 8. Period. I would probably even go so far as to wipe it off a new computer and install Windows 7 in it's place if "Metro" couldn't be disabled.

</long-ramble>

Treblaine:
Would skyrim have to run within some sort of 64->32 bit emulation? Other than it being remade for Open GL

Skyrim already has an OpenGL version running on the PS3 so I would imagine they wouldn't have to do much there.

STEAM supporting Linux;

About Time

YAY! Soon ubuntu geeks will be talking about crowbars instead of what they would do if sudo worked in real life!

Greg Tito:
Crap, I might just convert to running Ubuntu myself.

Arch Linux or Mandriva or bust IMO.

Umm, just one problem. Phoronix is the same site that reported this last time, when VALVE flat out denied it. Just because they say "okay, we're serious this time" doesn't mean they should be trusted as a source.

If it turns out to be true, I'll be that much happier for it, and might finally switch to Linux (depending on if graphics card manufacturers get their act together in terms of Linux drivers), but for now I don't believe these guys.

P.S. Thanks

I can have steam chat on my netbook possibly? THIS IS GOOD!

SpAc3man:

Treblaine:
Would skyrim have to run within some sort of 64->32 bit emulation? Other than it being remade for Open GL

Skyrim already has an OpenGL version running on the PS3 so I would imagine they wouldn't have to do much there.

Wasn't the PS3 version of Skyrim the derpy version? Or was that more down to the PS3's specific hardware design issues, like how there is only 256MB of system memory, pitifully small for 2012 where 4GB of dedicated system memory is almost ubiquitous on PC, 16x as much memory.

But interesting none-the-less. If open-GL versions are made for every game that gets a PS3 release, then it's no huge leap to also release a Linux version as well. There are already 533 Mac games on Steam store (UK), I imagine most of them could easily be ported from there to Linux.

Interesting times. This is the shot in the arm that Linux needs, we all wanted it to succeed, now it has the chance. The plucky underdog, not controlled by a corporation with conflicts-of-interest.

Treblaine:

medv4380:

Treblaine:
...

...

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that, but that is just coding a game in 32-bit. That 32 bit program can still run fine in a 64-bit operating system (on 64bit hardware of course) and interacting with other 64-bit programs like Steam Client.

i.e. there is no reason Steam on Linux shouldn't fully support and encourage 64 bit processing? Would skyrim have to run within some sort of 64->32 bit emulation? Other than it being remade for Open GL

A 32 bit app should still run on the 64 bit hardware as long as the 32bit libraries are installed. If programmers would just stop casting the pointers into 32bits when they should be 64 bits then from the programming side it's a single line change in the compiler and it'll output a 64 bit binary.

Talking between 32bit and 64bit apps can be an issue though. As an example, if I were to write some Native code in 32 bit and use it in Java I would need 32bit Java if I use 64bit Java when it goes to the 32bit code it will error out and demand 64bit version of the native code. The reason is the code needed to make 32 bit and 64 bit talk on the same system is a little tricky and can slow down the application, and be a mess to maintain. The developers of Java decided to avoid the issue entirely.

Personally, I'd prefer 64bit since most of the new and improved architecture is built around the 64bit code, and I always feel a little cheated when I have to use a lot of 32bit apps and games on my 64bit Quad with 8 gigs of Ram.

YAY!!!! You have NO IDEA how long I have waited to hear this.... I have wanted to abandon windows for the longest time, but what kept me tethered was my beloved gaming pass time. Now if steam goes to LINUX and my library carries over, So will I. I will leave Microsoft in the dust, I mean I will probably keep a dual boot with Win 7 just on the off chance that I need it for something. But I just about screamed when I read the title of this thread.

Agayek:

Greg Tito:
Crap, I might just convert to running Ubuntu myself.

Arch Linux or Mandriva or bust IMO.

Debian I say. Although if they DO start developing games for linux, they would probably use Ubuntu because of its "User friendliness", but what do I know? No seriously, I don't know

I'm sorry to be such a dummy, but I just took the Unbuntu tour, and it looked amazing. Is it really that simple to get a new free OS? Or does Linux mean lots of coding and technical areas that I have to be trained in? I just built a new desktop (First time, no explosions!) and I was debating buying a new copy of Win 7 Ultimate, but this looks great!

So can anyone with experience guide me here? I didn't see any signs saying "Not for dummies, must understand A+ and other types of code, or your computer will explode".

"Perhaps Gabe should just create his own Steam OS. A gaming OS designed specifically for web browsing and gaming... Hell yes please!" - quote from facebook

Anyone think that just maybe this is what the "steam box" actually will end up being. A STEAM Linux distro, I mean I can't think of anything cooler. Okay maybe this:

Treblaine:
Wasn't the PS3 version of Skyrim the derpy version? Or was that more down to the PS3's specific hardware design issues, like how there is only 256MB of system memory, pitifully small for 2012 where 4GB of dedicated system memory is almost ubiquitous on PC, 16x as much memory.

But interesting none-the-less. If open-GL versions are made for every game that gets a PS3 release, then it's no huge leap to also release a Linux version as well. There are already 533 Mac games on Steam store (UK), I imagine most of them could easily be ported from there to Linux.

I'm pretty sure it was down to memory limitations. Skyrim worked in a way where it loaded any changes made by the player (stored on the save file) into memory. The PS3 has two lots of 256MB with one dedicated to graphics. The 360 has 512MB shared over system and graphics. Both had issues but I think PS3 might have been affected slightly more. Don't take that as absolute truth. Both suffered the same memory issue but I don't have hard evidence suggesting one was worse.

OSX is a Unix-like OS. In my experience in writing C/C++ on Linux I have definitely found it easier to go between Linux and OSX rather than Windows and Linux. Mostly due to the fact Windows uses a different indicator to signal a new line in plain text (source code) where Linux and OSX use the same system. All my Linux written source code appears as one line when opened in Windows.

It is pretty simple to install but you'll want to make sure your motherboard supports booting from usb and that your wireless card is supported(the reason I am not currently running it). If you use a hardwire for internet you shouldn't have a problem. Also i would recommend keeping a separate working pc to help look up any problems you run into. You don't need to code anything but you probablly will need to use a few console commands.

Waaghpowa:
Debian I say. Although if they DO start developing games for linux, they would probably use Ubuntu because of its "User friendliness", but what do I know? No seriously, I don't know

Oh almost certainly. Ubuntu is "Baby's First Linux" after all. Doesn't mean I can't dream :P

Bradeck:
I'm sorry to be such a dummy, but I just took the Unbuntu tour, and it looked amazing. Is it really that simple to get a new free OS? Or does Linux mean lots of coding and technical areas that I have to be trained in? I just built a new desktop (First time, no explosions!) and I was debating buying a new copy of Win 7 Ultimate, but this looks great!

So can anyone with experience guide me here? I didn't see any signs saying "Not for dummies, must understand A+ and other types of code, or your computer will explode".

Ubuntu is, as the above post says, "babies first linux". For the most part it's fairly simple. You MIGHT run into issues installing drivers. I just installed Nvidia drivers on my Ubuntu partition, not by downloading and installing it like normal, but using the command terminal to get the files and installing them directly.

The great thing is that there's a huge community for linux in generall, meaning if you have an issue, a quick google search will give you a step by step to solving the issue.

This pleases me immensely. It would be nice to be able to chat with my Steam friends while doing my homework on Linux.

Now the only question is. Will Steam be free software?

Waaghpowa:

Bradeck:
I'm sorry to be such a dummy, but I just took the Unbuntu tour, and it looked amazing. Is it really that simple to get a new free OS? Or does Linux mean lots of coding and technical areas that I have to be trained in? I just built a new desktop (First time, no explosions!) and I was debating buying a new copy of Win 7 Ultimate, but this looks great!

So can anyone with experience guide me here? I didn't see any signs saying "Not for dummies, must understand A+ and other types of code, or your computer will explode".

Ubuntu is, as the above post says, "babies first linux". For the most part it's fairly simple. You MIGHT run into issues installing drivers. I just installed Nvidia drivers on my Ubuntu partition, not by downloading and installing it like normal, but using the command terminal to get the files and installing them directly.

The great thing is that there's a huge community for linux in generall, meaning if you have an issue, a quick google search will give you a step by step to solving the issue.

Thanks for the advice, greatly appreciated! But what about coding, do I need to know any? Because I grew up on DOS, but aside from /CD I don't remember crap.

Captcha: White as snow (Captchas are racist!)

NLS:

Steve the Pocket:
Oh joy, another operating system to "support" by releasing about half their games and a buggy-as-hell client and then never touching it again. Seriously, I'm not holding out much hope that this will do anything worthwhile other than siphon off more employees who ought to be working on improving their existing products instead.

I'm pretty sure this won't be so bad after all. Nobody believed Steam would come to Mac OS X, but here we are 2 years later, with 245 games that run on OS X through Steam. Also, since all OS X games use OpenGL, all those games can be ported to Linux without much hassle. In addition, most of the Humble Indie Bundle and other indie games are released for Linux as well. And one final point, since they are hiring people specifically to do the work on the Linux port, it means they're not taking away any other developers from their work. I've used Steam on my gf's mac, and it worked fine, all updates are released for both platforms as well, how will it be any different with Linux?

While having other game developers release Mac ports on Steam is great, actual involvement from Valve pretty much stopped after the first few months. Like I said, half their own game library has never been ported over, and the client is still incredibly unstable for a lot of people, if the Steam forums are any indication. Also, apparently the one and only person they had working on developing the client for the Mac doesn't even work there anymore. Add to that the fact that they've never released any way to port mods over and the fact that every single AAA title that got a native-binary port on Steam has awful performance, worse than the half-emulated half-ports that companies like Asypr and Feral crank out.

And to top it all off, they still haven't made the Mac version of Doom III or Unreal Tournament 2004 available! The two AAA games on Steam that already had native Mac versions, and you can't actually get them on Steam.

I seriously hope I read that right.
Because if it's happening, I've got more reason to switch to Luinx.

Bradeck:
Thanks for the advice, greatly appreciated! But what about coding, do I need to know any? Because I grew up on DOS, but aside from /CD I don't remember crap.

Captcha: White as snow (Captchas are racist!)

It wouldn't hurt to know a little Unix, in fact cd is the directory command in Unix as well, but you could get away with not knowing anything when it comes to Ubuntu. My dad is in his mid 60's, has literally no programming skills and still uses Ubuntu. Like I said, if you have a problem, chances are there is a step by step with what commands to enter in the console, if you have to use it at all.

Waaghpowa:

Bradeck:
Thanks for the advice, greatly appreciated! But what about coding, do I need to know any? Because I grew up on DOS, but aside from /CD I don't remember crap.

Captcha: White as snow (Captchas are racist!)

It wouldn't hurt to know a little Unix, in fact cd is the directory command in Unix as well, but you could get away with not knowing anything when it comes to Ubuntu. My dad is in his mid 60's, has literally no programming skills and still uses Ubuntu. Like I said, if you have a problem, chances are there is a step by step with what commands to enter in the console, if you have to use it at all.

Most distros have their own GUI based repository these days. Using CLI is usually just faster.

robert01:
Most distros have their own GUI based repository these days. Using CLI is usually just faster.

Ubuntu has got that software "store" thing now, yes, but certain installations are a hassle to do without the terminal. Strange I know. Earlier tonight I installed Nvidia drivers on my Ubuntu partition, but the damn thing wouldn't install as is. I had to manually download and install them via the terminal, and it was much easier. Dafuq?

Waaghpowa:

robert01:
Most distros have their own GUI based repository these days. Using CLI is usually just faster.

Ubuntu has got that software "store" thing now, yes, but certain installations are a hassle to do without the terminal. Strange I know. Earlier tonight I installed Nvidia drivers on my Ubuntu partition, but the damn thing wouldn't install as is. I had to manually download and install them via the terminal, and it was much easier. Dafuq?

I have never had a hassle doing this. It was simply a matter of using the 'Additional Drivers' utility found in the Systems Settings page.

Also all Ubuntu based distros have the Synaptic Package manager which acts in the same fashion has the Ubuntu Store garbage.

Dear Gabe, Greg, and all the other linux fanboys.

What's wrong with using Windows 7 as a gaming platform? Plenty of Devs used WinXP LONG AFTER the launch of Vista.

robert01:
Now the only question is. Will Steam be free software?

by the standard definition or by stalmans?

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