Steam Coming to Linux Soon

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Smerf:

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

by the standard definition or by stalmans?

\

But of course. Free as in freedom baby.

nickpy:

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.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this shouldn't be a problem. I've never played Introversion, so I don't know much about that, but I have installed UT2004, Doom 3, Quake 4, and other games on my Gentoo box and they worked fine.

Developers should take one of two paths:

1. Dynamically link everything, and let the distributions handle the dependencies.

Let's say Valve were to port Team Fortress 2 to Linux, and lets say the TF2 binary depends on libCEGUICore.so, libAL.so, libOgre.so, and libOIS.so. If Valve were to dynamically link the executables, they should let the distributions handle the odd's and end's of the shared libraries.

For example, Debian might have named their OpenAL library libAL.so.0.1, and Red Hat might have named it libAL.so.0.1.0. If TF2 depends on libAL.so.0.1.0, that's great for Red Hat and its forks, but Debian will have to add some additional symbolic links in their packages to have TF2 point to the right OpenAL version.

And that's not all. Red Hat might be a couple versions behind on their Ogre implementation, and Debian might have removed the old CEGUI library TF2 depends on. So they would have to bring back that old version just to get TF2 running.

However, the good news is that Valve doesn't have to do that. That's exactly what distributions are here for. Bundling together all these shared libraries and getting them to work correctly with each other. Developers for an application shouldn't worry about these things, let the distributions worry about it.

Or you could...

2. Statically link everything right up until the GCC runtime library.

This is the approach I would personally take. You don't have to worry about any quirky shared library misnaming schemes, broken shared library API's/ABI's because of a new version, or any of that other stuff. All the libraries your binary depends on are all inside your executable. No need to load any shared libraries besides the GCC runtime.

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".

If you need any assistance, I can help out. Just shoot me a PM and we can get started!

Since the steam client isn't available now, you can still do a live-cd and test it out without actually installing a single thing!

Ubuntu is fairly easy to set up (You can run into issues, but the community is fantastic, even to newbies)

A-lot of people have issues with the massive amount of choice. Suddenly there are these completely free programs available at the click of a mouse.

Eh. Windows has worked just fine for me; I've never come across a program or game I want that can't run on it and I've yet to come across any bugs or side-effects that one would expect in something that's open source and in a constant state of communal tampering. I've got no reason to ever switch.

All my money is belong to Microsoft.

CAPTCHA: "do more sit-ups"--how rude.

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 was my first Linux distribution. Usually it's the first one you get, because of:
1. User friendlyness
2. Focus on the end-user (Software-Center and such have really much effort put in to be easy)
3. Support

I switched to Fedora some time ago, switched back to Ubuntu and now I'm Fedora-User again. Its focus lies on being up to date. The support is good, but not quite as good as Ubuntu's. "Bleeding Edge" is the keyword. It means that software isn't tested so heavily (like Debian does; Ubuntu to a smaller degree too) so that you get the latest updates very quick.
It's good and bad. On the one hand bugs finding the way onto your desktop is more common, on the other hand they also get fixed faster.

As someone who has experience with different distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, L/X/K-ubuntu, BackTrack (:D),...) I'd recommend you, as someone who has no experience yet, Ubuntu.

What problems could you have?
Drivers, but only if you have some really strange hardware. Ubuntu has an application preinstalled called "jockey". It checks for missing drivers and installs them automaticly if you wish. Other than that google will help you.

If you have some questions, let me know. I'd be glad to help you.

crap I just got another reason to switch OS,s

SpAc3man:

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.

no personal experiences here, I just heard vehement (but still anecdotal) accounts of how the PS3 version can quickly become totally unplayable and they are forced to start again on 360 or PC. I'm no expert but I am getting a picture that PS3 is in many ways at significant disadvantage to Xbox 360 in certain aspects of it's architecture.

So - assuming there is a will - there is a way to bring all these games that have been getting Mac-ports on Steam. But I guess while Mac is an untapped market for gaming, Linux is very much one to grow. I find it so hard when recommending a PC build how you always have to tack on an extra $100 for the Windows OS. This could be the step towards making Linux a serious option for PC gamers without missing out on too much.

Of course, Windows will always be more comprehensive as is runs Open Gl and DirectX and no one else can run DirectX, and DirectX 11 I hear is very strong right now jsut from the ease of use part.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Eh. Windows has worked just fine for me; I've never come across a program or game I want that can't run on it and I've yet to come across any bugs or side-effects that one would expect in something that's open source and in a constant state of communal tampering. I've got no reason to ever switch.

All my money is belong to Microsoft.

CAPTCHA: "do more sit-ups"--how rude.

This only applies to certain distros fedora for example that i use daily can have bugs but is the most cutting edge OS I use. on the other hand my media server runs debian because its incredibly stable much more than windows or even OSX but lacks many bells and whistles and has a bland functional look but for some things like servers that is perfect.

Ubuntu is the sort of all rounder user friendly version that is best for typical desktop.

Well, that should reduce the number of times I'll have to reboot my PC into Windows just to play a game. It will probably still take quite a while before most PC game makers will put in the effort to make their games cross-platform, although there are quite some Windows games that work very well under Wine.

Unfortunately the Linux drivers for my graphics card are pretty awful (I can't even run games like Minecraft or VVVVV in full screen, for instance), and because of that I will probably have to stick to Windows for most games after all.

It seems we are one step closer to Linux Direct X. TO THE DOWNFALL OF WINDOWS! YAAAARRRRR!!!

I don't why I turned into a pirate at the end there...

hmmmm, may have to d/l another Unbuntu install disk n see how the OS has changed

mrF00bar:
It seems we are one step closer to Linux Direct X. TO THE DOWNFALL OF WINDOWS! YAAAARRRRR!!!

I don't why I turned into a pirate at the end there...

Sorry to spoil your fun, but Direct3D will never leave Windows or the Xbox for other systems. Direct3D is Microsoft's proprietary specification/implementation. Now, Linux does have a Direct3D 10 STATE TRACKER, but there's no compiler to turn Direct3D commands into GPU instructions.

Aardvark Soup:
Well, that should reduce the number of times I'll have to reboot my PC into Windows just to play a game. It will probably still take quite a while before most PC game makers will put in the effort to make their games cross-platform, although there are quite some Windows games that work very well under Wine.

Unfortunately the Linux drivers for my graphics card are pretty awful (I can't even run games like Minecraft or VVVVV in full screen, for instance), and because of that I will probably have to stick to Windows for most games after all.

What's your GPU? Are you using the kernel's built-in drivers or nVidia's/AMD's proprietary drivers?

Woohooooo........ I have no more reason to run windows if this comes through. Most of my games were bought through humble bundles so they are linux compatible. Time to jump ship!

Awesome! Best thing to read this on is my ubuntu laptop, because Windows melted itself.

Yay! now I won't need to partition my hard drive and install Windows on it again.

I'm sure the 10 Gamers that use Linux will be happy.

Just kidding

mrF00bar:
It seems we are one step closer to Linux Direct X. TO THE DOWNFALL OF WINDOWS! YAAAARRRRR!!!

I don't why I turned into a pirate at the end there...

Not-Going-To-Happen.
Will use OpenGL.

Captcha: "lets roll"
HELL YES!

Treblaine:
...

no personal experiences here, I just heard vehement (but still anecdotal) accounts of how the PS3 version can quickly become totally unplayable and they are forced to start again on 360 or PC. I'm no expert but I am getting a picture that PS3 is in many ways at significant disadvantage to Xbox 360 in certain aspects of it's architecture.

So - assuming there is a will - there is a way to bring all these games that have been getting Mac-ports on Steam. But I guess while Mac is an untapped market for gaming, Linux is very much one to grow. I find it so hard when recommending a PC build how you always have to tack on an extra $100 for the Windows OS. This could be the step towards making Linux a serious option for PC gamers without missing out on too much.

Of course, Windows will always be more comprehensive as is runs Open Gl and DirectX and no one else can run DirectX, and DirectX 11 I hear is very strong right now jsut from the ease of use part.

The issue is actually kinda weird and unless you're a programmer or tech it's hard to explain.
The PC version has the issue but because people have 2 gigs or more of RAM the issue usually is crash to desktop when the limit is reached. On the 360 its watered down textures because the System RAM starts stealing Video RAM resources.

On the PS3 the 256MB of System memory is very fast, and makes most PC and 360 RAM look Hellishly slow. However, as the game starts to demand more and more RAM the PS3 starts utilizing Virtual Memory which is just the Hard Drive. Depending on your model of Hard Drive that came with your PS3 your experience will vary greatly. Cheaper slower hard drives will make the game unplayable fairly quickly. Non Stock Solid State Drives make the game playable for longer up until it hits the 2 Gig Virtual Memory Limit. Which results in the Crashing issue. The reason for the High Memory usage varies but If you read up on it when it was in the news at the time they had weird things like 7 dragons all active on the world map that the player wasn't anywhere near. Those dragons take up a lot of memory and the more fights they get in with the NPCs the more memory it uses. Then their were a number of other issues dealing with corpse clean up and other Memory eating things. Basically it came down to poor programming and weak memory management, but because of different hardware setups the problem expressed itself differently.

medv4380:

Treblaine:
...

no personal experiences here, I just heard vehement (but still anecdotal) accounts of how the PS3 version can quickly become totally unplayable and they are forced to start again on 360 or PC. I'm no expert but I am getting a picture that PS3 is in many ways at significant disadvantage to Xbox 360 in certain aspects of it's architecture.

So - assuming there is a will - there is a way to bring all these games that have been getting Mac-ports on Steam. But I guess while Mac is an untapped market for gaming, Linux is very much one to grow. I find it so hard when recommending a PC build how you always have to tack on an extra $100 for the Windows OS. This could be the step towards making Linux a serious option for PC gamers without missing out on too much.

Of course, Windows will always be more comprehensive as is runs Open Gl and DirectX and no one else can run DirectX, and DirectX 11 I hear is very strong right now jsut from the ease of use part.

The issue is actually kinda weird and unless you're a programmer or tech it's hard to explain.
The PC version has the issue but because people have 2 gigs or more of RAM the issue usually is crash to desktop when the limit is reached. On the 360 its watered down textures because the System RAM starts stealing Video RAM resources.

On the PS3 the 256MB of System memory is very fast, and makes most PC and 360 RAM look Hellishly slow. However, as the game starts to demand more and more RAM the PS3 starts utilizing Virtual Memory which is just the Hard Drive. Depending on your model of Hard Drive that came with your PS3 your experience will vary greatly. Cheaper slower hard drives will make the game unplayable fairly quickly. Non Stock Solid State Drives make the game playable for longer up until it hits the 2 Gig Virtual Memory Limit. Which results in the Crashing issue. The reason for the High Memory usage varies but If you read up on it when it was in the news at the time they had weird things like 7 dragons all active on the world map that the player wasn't anywhere near. Those dragons take up a lot of memory and the more fights they get in with the NPCs the more memory it uses. Then their were a number of other issues dealing with corpse clean up and other Memory eating things. Basically it came down to poor programming and weak memory management, but because of different hardware setups the problem expressed itself differently.

Hmm, I'm so used to games where if you drop an item, walk round a corner then back again then the item has disappeared. The game seems to have "forgotten" about how it changed from default.

I got pretty good at exploiting this in GTA4. I found an SMG spawn point in an alley behind a building and if I had a different SMG type then running over will not pick up the weapon, just add 30+ round to my SMG ammo (which was very expensive to buy). I could stand on top of the smg for ages and it wouldn't give me any more ammo. But I found that if I ran around the large building by the time I got around again I could pick up another 30 rounds, it seems wherever in the memory that records if a weapon drop has had ammo taken from it was purged from memory after travelling a certain distance from it.

So, without cheats, I was able to max my valuable SMG ammo after running around the building for a few minutes. And same with other weapons.

I don't know why everyone's getting excited, yes steam will now support Linux along with probably all valve games but your more than likely just going to get what the mac people have (a few old titles converted to mac along with a load of cheap indie games).

Until someone like NVIDA or ATi come up with something better than DirectX all the triple A games will be for Windows because lets face it Microsoft will never give DirectX to the rivals.

Theres also the fact that until third party software becomes compatible with Linux it will never be taken seriously as an operating system for home users, it's fine for web browsing and yes it does have software out there that does the same as the big names like office but most people don't want to have to relearn how to use the equivalent software just cause it's free (I for one remember trying openoffice...never again).

octafish:

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.

Exactly what I said, but explained. Unless w8 does something truly great and is actually an improvement over w7, but as i made clear, doubtful.

SpAc3man:

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.

Could you quantify and qualify the speed of PS3's memory.

I mean, exactly how fast is it in comparison to RAM you can buy today for PC and the qualification is what does this mean, what can you do with this memory.

PS3 has such varying HDD speeds and I hear blu-ray actually has inferior data transfer-rate and scan time than DVD, so what difference does such high-speed memory mean for PS3?

Evil Smurf:
"Then you will die" - The Emperor

People said that about Vista

And I haven't. Still happily using windows XP here.

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

I loved Vista from the beginning.

Nimzar:

Evil Smurf:
"Then you will die" - The Emperor

People said that about Vista

And I haven't. Still happily using windows XP here.

Happily? I'm stuck with it and I hate it. The only reason i still have it is that it uses less RAM.

Hopefully people aren't getting the impression that having a linux client for steam will allow them to play steam games that they couldn't before. The client's all you're getting here boys

*Though I expect anyone using this operating system for more than web browsing and word will know this anyway, it's the possible converters I'm worried about*

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