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back to article Valve shows Linux love with SteamOS for gamers

Games publishing house Valve is making three announcements this week about plans to expand its gaming business, and the first piece of news is that it's launching a royalty-free flavor of Linux that can be used by hardware vendors for console systems. "As we've been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the …

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orly

SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience

A gaming experience on linux. With all nine available games and WINE crashing all decent games every twenty-two minutes. Can't wait.

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Re: orly

Obviously you've not used Steam on Linux. It works a treat, and there are a great number of games. Maybe not the ones you specifically want to play, but there's a tonne that I and many others do, and more and more studios are starting to release on Linux.

Add to that, that if a company like Valve are behind it, others will follow suit.

Also, the Wine comment is pure trolling. Valve aren't pushing windows VMing/emulation they're pushing native Linux gaming, and streaming from a local Windows/Mac machine - think OnLive for the LAN - Genius move! So now you can have one super powerful gaming rig in the den/office/ManCave and stream to the living room giant screen after the wife has gone to bed.

I thoroughly look forward to taking this SteamOS for a spin.

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Re: orly

As much as I enjoy taking the piss out of Linux on anything that isn't meant for sysadmins, if Valve port the games to Linux anywhere nearly as well as they do on Mac, it's going to be a very good experience.

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Re: orly

They do. Half Life 2 runs fucking perfectly, is rock solid with excellent frame rates.

If they can make my machine upstairs (Ubuntu/Steam) run HL2 on my telly downstairs through a USB-esque dongle mit BT keyboard and mouse, I'd buy that for a dollar (or thirty, you know, a reasonable price).

Steven R

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Re: orly

"if Valve port the games to Linux"

Where have you been for the past year?

http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/

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Re: orly

@Steven Raith - "If they can make my machine upstairs (Ubuntu/Steam) run HL2 on my telly downstairs through a USB-esque dongle mit BT keyboard and mouse, I'd buy that for a dollar (or thirty, you know, a reasonable price)."

They're aiming at $100 for that one. I'm in at that rate.

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@DRendar

I imagine the only thumbs down you got was because you bought up WINE followed by saying Emulator.

Wine Is Not and Emulator.

Even though it kinda technically is, just not in the classic sense.

More on topic however, I too look forward to SteamOS. I called it years back when Windows Vista came out, kept sayiing how it'd be great to have an OS which is dedicated to gaming, rather than having all this excess bloat floading it. Or heck even a 'gaming mode' for windows that lets you boot in with nothing bar the services and processes needed to run your games. Looks like Steam finally got there :P And I'm glad of it too.

A lot of game publishers are afraid of steam, it's something they don't understand fully "It's a free OS? Free? But... money?" And they like many others are hung of of linux of the past "It's slow / buggy / hard to sue / people will never use it so why support it?"

But Steam is a known name, a known name related to quality. And although we know it's built on Linux, I imagine steam is pushing it to publishers just as "SteamOS" making as few references to Linux as possible.

I mean heck, the more people who get behind SteamOS the better in my mind. One of the only reasons I haven't gone full Linux is the lack of mainstream games (mostly my absurdly large steam library of which I've played maybe 10% of the games) so this to me might be what is needed to finally ditch the bloated beast for good. And if I can ditch it and get my OS knowledge up to scratch, to a similar level as my windows knowledge (enough understanding for basic tech support to family) I might actually start migrating my family away too.

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Re: orly

198 games according to Gabe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Gzn6E2m3otg

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Re: orly

Yeah, I had similar experience when I tried to run tux racer on cygwin/x on my Windows. Can't wait for more...

Or I just could have played with games *made for* windows (or linux, if you see the point)...

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Re: orly

And if you dare use games outside Steam, you have more. Just type "linux games" to big G...

Most are indie games, which makes them no worse or better than megabuck productions, chance is that you might find actually interesting games.

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Re: orly

They do port them allright. I play on Linux, and the games work flawlessly. Even Left 4 Dead 2 - still beta - is running very well.

Natural Selection is, as far as I know, perfect. As Team Fortress 2 and many others.

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Re: @DRendar

"One of the only reasons I haven't gone full Linux is the lack of mainstream games (mostly my absurdly large steam library of which I've played maybe 10% of the games) so this to me might be what is needed to finally ditch the bloated beast for good."

You are not alone...

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so you can either stream a game or play limited titles? Why not just use a long HDMI lead and wireless peripherals instead? Less clunky and will work better overall.

Seems pointless really.

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Pint

If you mean that consoles are pointless, I'd probably agree with you. They are usually built on obsolescent hardware, and due to their cost+ model for games pricing, it is usually only the triple-A games that are ported.

I'm quite happy with Steam on Linux as it has the X-Universe games, Paradox Interactive strategy games and the Valve catalog ( about 10% of all games available on Steam have been ported to Linux). I probably won't get all the games I might like, but certainly enough to fill all the time I have available; plus I no longer need a Windows partition just to play games.

Consoles seem to be most favoured by younger players and casual gamers who are not really interested in PCs ( regardless of OS ), and just want something to work easily. Unfortunately, those same gamers also don't tend to care much for complex gameplay either, which has lead to most console-ported games getting simpler. I would hope that SteamOS consoles don't accentuate that trend.

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In addition to Steam it's also Linux

You know - the OS that runs all the supercomputers in the world? So of course it has 7 free Office suites, Blender, multitrack audio and video editing, bittorrent, all the popular browsers, virtual machines, fully supports more devices than any other device ever, has an app store with 30 years worth of free apps, can be used to build apps, games and new operating systems and so on.

What it doesn't have? Antivirus 2012 and 3.2 billion other forms of malware. Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and all of the other $100B/yr parasitic "cleanup after Windows failed" industry. IE. Bing. 37 links to websites you don't want. Crud installed by the OEM for pay. The requirement to log into a Microsoft online account to even fracking install it. Patch Tuesday. Rollback Wednesday. An utter lack of backup tools. Metro. And much, much more.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

*Cough*

"fully supports more devices than any other device ever," - Really? Supports more than windows?

"The requirement to log into a Microsoft online account to even fracking install it. " - Errr, show me one OS that you need to do that?

"Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and all of the other $100B/yr parasitic " - I take it you haven't looked at Android store lately

Ah rants, we love them, even when wildly inaccurate.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Depends on your definition of device I guess. If you mean peripheral, it's debatable (although Linux generally, in my experience, supports more hardware "out of the box" than Windows does - I have to dig around for device disks much more often with Windows, sometimes just to get the disk controller recognised). If you are talking about devices you can install the OS on, then, hell yes, Linux wipes the floor with Windows.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

> "The requirement to log into a Microsoft online account to even fracking install it. " - Errr, show me one OS that you need to do that?

Wasn't it mentioned in the Windows 8.1 preview on the Register that this was going to be the case? Even if it's not the case I'd agree that they're going to try and make it more and more unavoidable.

> "Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and all of the other $100B/yr parasitic " - I take it you haven't looked at Android store lately

Android isn't Linux - it uses a (modified) Linux kernel, but the App layers are completely different. So I'm not sure of the relevance of that.

> "fully supports more devices than any other device ever," - Really? Supports more than windows?

I suspect that's it does - if you take into account the fact that it's been ported to many chip architectures, many SoCs etc. I'd agree that it's less likely to work with an arbitrary peripheral you buy at PC World which comes with a windows only driver disk. However, in my experience more stuff works "out of the box" without the need to install drivers (which is good, since the drivers may not exist). A bit of research before buying is always advised.

> Ah rants, we love them, even when wildly inaccurate.

I'd have said although the OP was a bit ranty, it wasn't that far from the truth.

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Linux

Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

""fully supports more devices than any other device ever," - Really? Supports more than windows?" -- Is that Windows out-of-the-box or after you have hunted down your drivers ?

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Oh jesus, Is that rabies are you just pleased to be talking about Linux?

Linus - Yeah Linux was always a hack, BSD is what I should have used.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

You know - the OS that runs all the supercomputers in the world? So of course it has 7 free Office suites, Blender, multitrack audio and video editing, bittorrent, all the popular browsers, virtual machines, fully supports more devices than any other device ever, has an app store with 30 years worth of free apps, can be used to build apps, games and new operating systems and so on.

What it doesn't have? Antivirus 2012 and 3.2 billion other forms of malware. Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and all of the other $100B/yr parasitic "cleanup after Windows failed" industry. IE. Bing. 37 links to websites you don't want. Crud installed by the OEM for pay. The requirement to log into a Microsoft online account to even fracking install it. Patch Tuesday. Rollback Wednesday. An utter lack of backup tools. Metro. And much, much more.

Why does this read like a used car salesmans rant....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvHNNOLnCk

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

"37 links to websites you don't want."

Ubuntu

"Crud installed by the OEM for pay."

Ubuntu

"Metro."

Ubuntu

" And much, much more."

Ubuntu.

Between Unity, their replacement for X, the send all your local searches to Canonical, Amazon and god knows who else, etc I'd argue that Ubuntu is much worse than Windows these days. Also some of the claims you made against Windows are blatantly false.

Personally I use Windows where appropriate and non-Ubuntu flavours of Linux where appropriate. No need for the raving extreme fanboism.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

>> "Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and all of the other $100B/yr parasitic " - I take it you haven't looked at Android store lately

> Android isn't Linux - it uses a (modified) Linux kernel, but the App layers are completely different. So I'm not sure of the relevance of that.

Android's linux, for most reasons that matter. But the issue is 100% not about "whether antivirus has been written" and IS 100% about whether it's actually needful. I could write antivir for OpenBSD or System i too, and probably find a few morons to buy it, but is it going to protect anything really vulnerable from anything common enough to be an appreciable hazard? No.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Since XP I don't think I have had any significant driver problems for Windows, meanwhile I have never been able to get my laptop's built in card reader to work at all under Linux in spite of a few wasted evenings trying to figure out what it is and where to obtain drivers.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

" fully supports more devices than any other device ever"? Pull the other one - finding appropriate drivers for some pretty mainstream hardware is what puts me off pushing my family on to Linux. Granted, the fault generally lies with the manufacturers, but the fact is that an off the shelf printer/scanner will work fine on Windows/Mac, but I'll be lucky if I can print a wonky test page from my Mint install. I can forgive my TV tuner not working, given that it's from an obscure manufacturer, that appears to no longer exist (even if the chipset is listed as supported in some list I found), but the software required to use the PC as a TV looked pretty crappy in comparison with Media Centre.

Ranting aside, this SteamOS idea could well push Linux towards mainstream acceptance, which I would welcome (mainstream acceptance = recognition by device manufacturers).

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Windows 8.1 customer preview didn't require you to log onto a Microsoft account but the Technet subscribers using the 8.1 RTM say that one does, so it may be specific to Technet versions or they've changed it from the preview edition.

On 8.1 preview I use a Microsoft, google and Yahoo (Sky) account as individual log on accounts, of course though with the non-Microsoft accounts it won't autoaccess Microsoft products such as Skydrive, they'd have to be setup manually.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Personally I use Windows where appropriate and non-Ubuntu flavours of Linux where appropriate. No need for the raving extreme fanboism.

I use non-Unity flavours of Ubuntu. All of the benefits, none of the crap.

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Stop

Re: Pull the other one

You're talking about PC peripherals, the device support he's talking about is all the routers, set-top-boxes and other embedded devices that run some version of Linux as an OS, workstations like SPARC, Alpha, PPC, supercomputers. A few of those were supported by NT4, and MSFT still does some embedded stuff (don't mention Surface RT) but it doesn't really compare.

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Good old days.

"Consoles seem to be most favoured by younger players and casual gamers who are not really interested in PCs ( regardless of OS ), and just want something to work easily. Unfortunately, those same gamers also don't tend to care much for complex gameplay either, which has lead to most console-ported games getting simpler. I would hope that SteamOS consoles don't accentuate that trend."

Ah yes, the good old days when adventure games required you to remember a maze or create a map in a notebook next to your computer. Not like modern games where all dungeons are automapped and are only a straight line with no alternative route anyway. Also very basic puzzles confined to the room that you're currently in. (Looking at you Skyrim)

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

Between Unity, their replacement for X, the send all your local searches to Canonical, Amazon and god knows who else, etc I'd argue that Ubuntu is much worse than Windows these days.

Valid point, although the X replacement might just be something people eventually come round to. Most of the GFX libraries consist in turning all the marvellous things that X can do into the very few useful things people want it to do.

But for us mere mortals, Mint is the answer. Stable boring menus and clickable icons organised in a rational way to interface a mouse and keyboard rather than a sweaty thumb to a workstation to generate content rather than absorb it.

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Re: In addition to Steam it's also Linux

You may have some bizarre printer make or possibly an older or broken Mint install. Every printer I've connected to computers running Mint 13 & 14 has been detected, configured and ready for use within about 10 seconds, including scanner functionality. That would be a couple of HP's, a Canon and an Epson.

Same goes for other peripherals - I've recently had no issue setting up a Creative webcam and a Wacom tablet for my daughter on Mint 14. Both just literally plug and play and working with no fuss at all.

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Devices

@Pookietoo: consider me informed.

@Obvious Robert: my printer sits on a different router to my PC (don't ask!), so I don't expect Mint to detect it. Setting it up on Vista wasn't exactly smooth, but it works with full functionality, helped in no small part by the fact that Epson publish all the relevant drivers - if device manufacturers would pull their heads out of their arses and start publishing drivers, I think I'd be a lot happier!

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Re: Devices

@Lamont Cranston

Did you try giving mint the address? (I know, noob question). I would be surprised if the drivers were missing from mint, it supports every printer I have tried. Its a point and shoot exercise normally. As long as it can reach the printer it sets and configures itself easy enough with no need to find drivers.

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Joke

Surprise, surprise

"Not only do games run faster on (rock-solid) Linux"

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Re: Surprise, surprise

Actually, they do. And yes, it is rock solid. The only "surprise" is that Lars does not know this yet.

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Linux

Re: Surprise, surprise

@BobChip I suppose you did not understand my icon. I am a Linux user since 97.

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"SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience, as well as other oxymorons and contradictions. As soon as we find working drivers for proper hardware, it might actually become something people could possibly want, as soon as the Linux zealot community stop their fervant dribbling and putting off the normal people."

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Ah, hurrah, upvoting removes my accidental downvote because I didn't notice the JokeAlert icon at first!

Also, oopsy!

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Actually, this might bring about better Linux support for a lot of consumer gaming hardware faster than you realise.

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Yes. I've seen people use pure determination to pull out Windows drivers themselves for obsolete or unique hardware if it's still popular.

How much more so with drivers and support spring up when people see Linux as popular?

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It might also bring about a thriving linux malware scene.

linux is not secure by default. A great deal of its security is a factor of not existing on machines people do shopping and banking with. Every SteamOS install backed up by a credit card and Steam account will inevitably reduce the security of linux.

Enjoy.

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From my position of ignorance - this seems a fine idea.

I've been back in love with my gaming PC for the last few years (console exclusive of GTA V aside, whose purchase of which I'm still feeling a bit pissy over).

Downstairs I have my big TV, my surround sound, my Cable box, my Western Digital streamer etc - and my 360 I once loved with a lapsed Gold account and (GTA aside) a pile of plastic instruments as its only purpose to exist.

I look at the new consoles with a yawn and resolve I want a Steam box down there to replace them all.

...Just don't really want a Steam box as that's a pile of cash when I have my pride and joy sitting upstairs.

I was tempted by the nVidia Shield, but then finally twigged I'd only every use it to play games spooled off my PC, whilst I sprawled on my sofa (with my perfectly good TV and 360 pad sat around doing nothing).

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Re: From my position of ignorance - this seems a fine idea.

Again, a position of ignorance here...

Am I reading this correctly that the Steam Box would be essentially a dumb terminal streaming the game to the TV with all the computing, rendering, whatnot done on the big, ugly, hot gaming PC elsewhere in the house?

If so, I'm in.

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Re: From my position of ignorance - this seems a fine idea.

@goldcd

Very similar to myself. Was an avid PC player, then moved to console (360), got board of the console games (games being just clones of each other for the most part). So let Gold lapse and went back to the PC about 2 years back.

Now playing mostly strategy games, so not sure the Steam Box (i.e. TV and controller) will be all that good for me, other than the occasional casual game. I can see this replacing the 360 though. (and I'm waiting for GTA V on PC).

But I can see the Steam OS being used with the Linux ported games, as more get ported from Windows to Linux.

I feel a potential dual boot option becoming viable. My existing Win 7 for the none ported (and legacy games) and Linux/Steam OS for the new releases.

Anyone know if Steam OS will still function as a normal Linux install? i.e. can you still install 3rd party indy Linux games along side you're Steam games?

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Re: From my position of ignorance - this seems a fine idea.

I believe it's this, pulling games from the Steam accounts of a whole family if you so desire. Plus, it can also play locally anything that works natively on Linux and that the box connected to the TV is beefy enough to run.

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So how exactly does SteamOS bring me more value when it won't play 90% of my Steam collection ( my main PC is connected to the network via wall plugs, f&@k knows what the latency is going to be like) and 100% of my Origin, GoG, DRM free humble bundle and GfWL (they had a 7p sale) games?

I don't care if its on Linux, having a OS built around a closed, proprietary DRM masquerading as a store means it's not open.

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When the Windows App store is the only way to get your apps and your legacy games aren't supported, you will come over anyway.

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@Mikel

No. He won't. Neither will I. Neither will a host of others who refuse to hand over control of our machines to megalomaniac corporations who think they have the right to claim ownership of our lives.

There are always alternatives. Always have been, always will be.

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only 10%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ummmmm dont most new consoles only launch with a teeny weeny handful of decent titles?

10% of Steams current collection equates to a pretty hefty number of decent launch titles in my eyes.

More and more games are being added to the Linux section of Steam all of the time. I believe that Steam are helping by providing conversion tools to developers to help speed up the process too.

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Re: @Mikel

...and when, as no doubt they will, Valve/Steam games become SteamOS only, what will you do ?

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