back to article IN YOUR FACE, Linux and Apple fans! Oculus is Windows-only for now

Facebook's Oculus division has published the tech specs of its Rift virtual reality headset, and it would seem that Apple and Linux fans are out of luck. "Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and …

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  1. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    Windows only? Well that's Okay Facebook.

    I'm glad Microsoft has such good friends.

    I'm sure Bill Gates and his Microsoft will reciprocate.

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: Windows only? Well that's Okay Facebook.

      Someone will code a driver to make it work with Linux or Mac once it's released IN 2016.

      Or will this have DRM preventing that?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Windows only? Well that's Okay Facebook.

        >>"Or will this have DRM preventing that?"

        Not unless they've gone stark raving mad. They want to sell as many of these as possible and build up community support. You use DRM for protecting your content, not so much for limiting sales. The lack of support for OS/X and Linux is just saving development effort, not trying to exclude people.

        That said, I have had little interest in Oculus Rift myself but always figured it would probably do quote well. But now that I've seen the hardware requirements I think there is serious risk. Even when this comes out next year, there will only be a small fraction of gamers who have the capability to use it. And that means game studios have little incentive to support it if it takes a lot of effort.

        It's success is largely going to come down to how much resource it takes to add OR support to a game you're already making. If it's low, this thing could succeed enough to continue. If it's high, I suspect it will fail and replaced by a successor later on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows only? Well that's Okay Facebook.

      It needs cutting edge graphics performance so DX12 on Windows is likely the only option for at least a year...

  2. Grifter

    Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

    Fuck you, and fuck all your friends. Thank fuck for Valve.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

      Don't thank them TOO much. I've seen Steam's Mac and Linux catalog. They are PALE imitations of the Windows catalog; even now, plenty of new titles are appearing Windows-only when you'd think Valve would be in a position to push for multiplatform releases.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

        Charles 9

        I can only guess that you are the best ever game player and can beat a game hollow in a week or two or the games you play aren't worth the money. There are a lifetime of games for Linux , perhaps not the one your mates make you play but thats life for you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

          And I can only guess that you can be satisfied with any game on the market. Listen, I've personally tried Linux AND Steam on Linux (as I was using Xubuntu), and I found the whole experience to be, like I said, a pale imitation of what's available on Windows. Many of the games I happen to like either work better in Windows or simply aren't available anywhere else. Yes, there's WINE, but compatibility is not a given. Like I said, if Valve really, REALLY wants people to leave Windows as a gaming platform, they need to really, REALLY push the games there, even if it means taking WINE and using it as a compatibility layer (Note: They do this already with DOSBox for games like the original Doom) and setting it up so that all the compatibility bits are in place so you can just install and play. Until that and my video card behaves better (another reason I left was random spontaneous reboots attributed to my up-to-date graphics driver), I'm sticking with what works. Then there's the increasing push to DirectX 11 in games like Bioshock Infinite, which TTBOMK WINE does not properly support.

          1. Grifter

            Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

            Like Tom said before you, if you don't like the games available that's fine, if you have a crappy time running Linux that's also fine, noone is going to sneak into your house and reinstall your computers with it. Valve is #1 in my book, it doesn't matter if they don't get all new titles to Linux, it doesn't matter that the older games might never be ported, because what HAS been released, and what CONTINUES to be released, is so awesome to last me a lifetime.

          2. Sotorro
            Alert

            Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

            It has nothing to do with Wine that it can not run DX11, and everything with OpenGL.

            OpenGL simply doesn't support all the DX11 instructions, and there for there is no 100% conversion from DX11 to OpenGL possible. How ever normally all games have fall backs to DX10 & DX9.

            So if you write your game to run on DX11 only, your basically saying, we don't support OpenGL.

            By the way what is this Facebrick people are talking about, can you eat it ?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

              And now there's DX12 to consider. Then again, DX12 seems more of a software evolution than a hardware one (from what I've read, DX12 seems more about getting closer to metal to maximize GPU performance because it's now the driving force in gaming graphics), which is why nVidia's claiming to be able to make the last few generations of its GPUs DX12-compatible.

              But just on a side, I JUST found out about the port of Bioshock Infinite to Linux (which went beta a couple months back). You would think stuff written on older engines like UE would be easier to port since they're more likely to have the cross-platform support you need, but perhaps all the other stuff besides the engine makes things more difficult.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

          "There are a lifetime of games for Linux "

          There are a lifetime of games for a ZX Spectrum too...doesn't mean I want to be playing on it.

          1. Grifter

            Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

            Then I have some excellent news for you! Noone is ever going to make you! =)

            What was your point again?

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

        Valve are the only only ones who really care at this point, though I think we've all noticed the commercial vendors locking down to "no updates or addons unless it comes through my store."

        My Linux Steam library is around 1/3 of my Windows one, but I've got lots of old games from before Valve started pushing things and before OSX was common. The so-called "AAA" games might be windows-only, but I suspect that's because they are minimising investment and using old engines; regardless, I don't enjoy the twitch-shooters so much, so I don't really care. Indie stuff is usually more fun, *nix friendly and a whole lot cheaper too. I'm still a bit bitter about my BlackOps purchase so I'm not going near AAA anyway. Give me Frozen Synapse any day, I found PoE 1.3 runs well on wine now and Invisible,Inc looks rather good too. Then there's Limbo, Metro 2013, Bioshock Infinite, the Valve games, Serious Sam, Witcher 2, StrikeSuiteZero, Penubmra, Red Orchestra, Killing Floor, DOTA, Civ.

        I don't run only Linux, I dual-boot with windows, but I use Linux all the time and rarely bother to boot Windows apart from to update the OS every few months. There's plenty on Linux to keep me occupied.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows only? Well that's not Okay Facebook.

      It's OK by me, windows users can have the facebook spyware.

  3. Chairo

    Oculus is PC-only for now

    Isn't it long overdue, that we stop counting a Microsoft OS as part of the PC definition? Plenty of Linux and MacOS PCs out there.

    1. PleebSmash
      WTF?

      Re: Oculus is PC-only for now

      Something that isn't out until Q1 2016 doesn't run on Linux or Mac "yet"?

      No timeline? The thing is a glorified face-strapped monitor. Perhaps these pesky Linux and Mac (and SteamOS?) users will make it work by themselves.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Oculus is PC-only for now

      Yes, particularly since Microsoft and Ubuntu are working hard at turning the PC into glorified mobile phones.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Oculus is PC-only for now

        > Yes, particularly since Microsoft and Ubuntu??? are working hard at turning the PC into glorified mobile phones.

        I can only surmise you have only the vaguest idea what Canonical are planning with Unity8, I personally I have only the vaguest idea what microsoft are planning with their 'convergence'.

        Unless you regard Gnome-shell and KDE plasma as attempts to turn the pc into a glorified mobile phone, as Unity8 will not be that different to Unity7 when in desktop mode.

  4. Mage Silver badge

    2 x USB 3.0

    That and the other specs sort of rules out a lot of official Apple Hardware and older Linux boxes.

    I can see why they think no laptop works:

    Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics card or better,

    Intel i5-4590 processor,

    8GB RAM.

    Two USB 3.0 ports

    HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via direct output architecture

    This is for very high end gamers, not average consumers. Does Apple's round rubbish can meet the spec?

    Traditionally lag is huge problem for graphics that tracks rapid head movement. Essentially changing camera angle / view port almost at frame rate and ideally synchronised to frame rate. Really it needs a custom designed graphics card with on board low latency interface to the headset and also to main CPU via USB, graphics card I/O or usb slave port on graphics card.

    There are good reasons why VR headsets have been poor in terms of realism. It's not a software problem.

    1. David Webb

      Re: 2 x USB 3.0

      From what I gather, laptops which meet the specs won't work because the HDMI output goes through the onboard VGA rather than the more powerful NVidia/AMD card and they haven't figured out a way to make it work.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 x USB 3.0

      Is that really true? If you calculate the third conjugation of the cross product of the competing product's alpha growth, you'll quickly realize that HDMI at 297MHz is just not going to happen. We're looking at 250MHz tops if you want to maintain the 2 dimensional asymmetric resonant response time people are accustomed to.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 2 x USB 3.0

        maintain the 2 dimensional asymmetric resonant response time people are accustomed to

        But these cables will need some additional oxygen-depleted copper.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: 2 x USB 3.0

          Also if you plug em in the wrong way round you're fucked

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 2 x USB 3.0

            Color me curious, but exactly how DOES one manage to plug in backwards a plug designed to only fit one way?

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
              Coat

              With perseverance.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                drunk, only time I managed it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Admirable..

    Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows

    Well, I do admire people that tackle the biggest problems first, though. Coding for any of the *nix platforms will be a lot easier :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Admirable..

      "Coding for any of the *nix platforms will be a lot easier"

      Advanced graphics will generally be a lot easier to code for on Windows / Direct-X 12 and Microsoft's Visual Studio, than for a multitude of Linux platforms that have less advanced development environments, an outdated Open GL based API and lots more compatibility issues...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Admirable..

        I don't know about outdated since one of the goals of the Khronos Group has been to streamline the interface, which they've been doing since 3.0. Also, coding to OpenGL supposedly makes your code more platform-neutral, as even Windows supports OpenGL and OpenCL, meaning targets like the PS4 are open to you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Admirable..

          "Also, coding to OpenGL"

          OpenGL is at least a year behind DX12 in terms of low latency near direct access to the hardware is the point being made I think. It is going to be much harder to get the performance required in OpenGL versus using Direct-X 12.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Admirable..

            And like I said, OpenGL diversifies your profile meaning a larger target audience since a Linux target pretty much means a PS4 target, and PS4 is currently leading over the Xbox One (where DX12 would be of benefit). Plus there'd the bonus of a multiplat Steam target.

            Besides, it seems Khronos seems to be catching up. Bioshock Infinite is approaching performance parity with the Windows version on Linux, and Khronos and Apple don't seem to be taking the challenge of DX12 sitting with with plans for Vulkan (aka OpenGL Next) and Metal, respectively.

            http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/200265-khronos-targets-directx-12-with-next-generation-vulkan-api

  6. Terje

    The hardware requirements should not really come as a surprise to anyone considering the need to render at a high frame rate.

    The windows only release is not really surprising either considering that a vast majority of the customer base especially if you factor in the hardware requirements, will be on windows.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      I give them some measure of respect for getting the technical requirements out now rather than near or at release. Not much, it being Facebook and all, but some.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Serious question ...

    ... is there any adult on the planet that gives a rat's ass?

    1. ADJB

      Re: Serious question ...

      Yes.

      If the quality is good enough I can see a lot of opportunities for non gaming uses especially when used with high end CAD kit (which has more or less the same hardware requirements) in training and general design work.

      There isn't a massive difference between running round the industrial level in Mega Blaster XXX and using the same ideas to train people on a plant layout.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Serious question ...

        If you want plant layout training pop round mine - I've got experience in spades.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Serious question ...

        resolution will be an issue, from what I have heard it's impossible to read standard in game text in the devkit, so i would imagine the kind of crisp display cadders are used to will be out of the question for a few iterations. also there's motion sickness to consider, it's improving all the time, but still nowhere near the sort of thing you would want to (or most people would be able to) wear for 5 or 6 hours a day.

        I think HoloLens is more likely to achieve traction in design applications, at least to start with.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Serious question ...

      ... is there any adult on the planet that gives a rat's ass?

      Planet's going up in flames currently mon, and the gvnm't is crawling up people's collective arse. Better get your rocks off while you still can... and while your money still can buy an "Oculus Rift", whatever that is (sound suspiciously sexual, somehow?)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Serious question ...

      Pretty large number of adults as a lot of us play games, but I assume you're one of those "people" that live in a fantasy land that computer games are for children.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Serious question ...

        I know that they are not just for children, they are also for people with an amount of spare time that I can't even begin to imagine how they achieve it without some kind of time/space warping device.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Serious question ...

          Don't have kids, that's the main way. Go to work, go home, cook dinner, have bath, play games.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal Computer

    Since when did PC - Personal Computer - imply Windows-only? Since the Mactel started appearing, even the diluted Apple desktop machines and laptops are circuitwise identical to any Winblows machine - PCs all around, no hardware differences. Except that you can't upgrade the Mac.

    But I do understand that this rig won't run on my Linux toaster.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PS4?

    Hmm... Well, there are a lot of platforms they should be trying to support. Windows is only one of them. Oculus have really lost the first-mover-advantage. I suspect that Sony, HTC and Microsoft will release first now...

    ...IMO much like vacuum cleaners, the winner will be the one that doesn't charge the most for integrated barf-bags.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: PS4?

      considering the required specs, a PS4 isn't anywhere near powerful enough. None of the current generation of consoles are.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Personal Computer

      Errrr, it was actually Apple who created the "PC == Windows" falicy.

      Remember the "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" campaign?

  10. wolfetone Silver badge

    I'm OK With This

    I'm a Linux user, and I'd like something like the Oculus when playing Euro Truck Simulator 2.

    But, the fact that it's owned by Facebook who I wouldn't trust with my own week old piss, I can do without it.

  11. I Like Heckling

    Having just upgraded to an R9 280X it's great to know that my decent card isn't good enough... because I have no plans to upgrade it further anytime soon... I've just built this system to replace my old one, but opted for a mATX board from a friend (cost me £20) instead of the Xfire one I really wanted (£130). But I may upgrade the board at the end of the year, and may get another 280X and go Xfire again... Last time I did that the system lasted me 5yrs and could play anything at high res 1920x1080 without issues.

    But then again... I could give a rats ass about Oculus as anything more than a minor fad for elitists to crow about. The fact that it's owned by Farcebook is just another nail in it's coffin.

  12. Joey

    Headset

    When it can be done without a headset, I might be interested. Until then - meh!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Headset

      The only way you'll be able to do it without either a headset or a limited viewing range is to go volumetric, and that will involve technological and bandwidth leaps that are probably more than an order of magnitude greater than anything available now. If we go volumetric, it won't be anytime soon.

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