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 …

Anonymous Coward

how could they do this?

Seriously, don't they realise how much whinging we're going to have to listen to?

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And PC users will need a big rig to power virty specs

They already need a big rig to power Windows.

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Makes sense really, show me a Mac that has an upgradable graphics card.

On the other hand, why would anyone want an occulus rift on their phone/server? Linux support will be a while off me thinks.

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Wht is rationale for article?

This should not be a story of any consequence, since (a) the product will not be released for some time, and there are similar products due to be released in late 2015/earl 2016. (b) Most - probably about 85% - of Linux use is in enterprise, government and Internet/Cloud Computing anf massive super computer infrastructure and there are other products being developed at this time that "do" dsupport Apple OS X and GNU/Linux.

Therefore what is the article purpose, except strong probability of article writer being a Microsoft dupe, eagerly putting forth Redmond propaganda?

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Gold badge

Re: What is rationale for article?

If you take the view that VR headsets might be a big thing in the next decade, then being the brand leader is probably going to be important (and lucrative -- think "SoundBlaster compatible"). One strategy is to hitch your VR wagon to a single software platform and try to own all the developers by keeping everything under wraps.

Another strategy might be to open up the specs for your hardware (since the headset is effectively a gigantic dongle, so you don't really care about software piracy) and let the most imaginative software developers create the killer apps that make VR go mainstream.

Oculus appear to have jumped one way, which is noteworthy. Others may choose to jump the other way, and that will be noteworthy when it happens, too.

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Silver badge
Happy

Re: Wht is rationale for article?

Aside from being prime click-bait? It's interesting to see one possible technological future from an economic standpoint. It's extremely interesting from the engineering perspective. And Hell, ignoring Hover-boards, it'll probably put the tickmark next to SciFi essentials.

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Silver badge

Re: Wht is rationale for article?

And if you combine it with IoT, you are looking at the mother of all hypelodes. It might open a Rift in spacetime.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wht is rationale for article?

Please, VR is going to be massive and we are all interested in it and / or are going to be affected by it.

And whatever type of fanboi you are, apple / linux / windows / sony, it is interesting and relevant to know what the first version will run on.

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FAIL

Re: Wht is rationale for article?

Is it going to be the same smashing hit as 3D TV/film with colored or shutter glasses ?

Nobody really wants to put more gear on their head, just so they can play a game.

The VR sets, sound to me just like a new 3D-glasses project, that is fun to use as a novelty, but not really that fun in casual gaming to relax with.

Most games are played on tiny telephone screens, with 1980 style flapping birds and the like. Specially with the current VR system specs, this will be only used by uber geeks, playing the latest geek fantasy game, with zombie eating scientists like Half Life, which can then be marveled at in full 360 degree 3D gore, what a joy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wht is rationale for article?

Alright granddad..

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I wonder how much M$ is paying to have them focus entirely on Windows. W8 is not increfibly popular, W10 isn't out yet, even intuit doesn't support XP so that can't be the target. I csnt ser them wanting W7 to be the desired platform because they want to push people to 10. Surely this bauble is not expected to drive W10 adoption, which means they (Duck & Co) are risking failure by having their eggs in one as yet non- existant platform. Smeone had better be compensating them for taking that risk.

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dunno...

maybe the 3 odd years of development from VC to kickstarter, to more VC and finally FB, all the trade shows and 1000's of devkits in the wild, all the conversations with developers...

Could be they have a vague idea where their market actually is.

From what I have heard of the guys at oculus it aint their first rodeo.

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Gold badge

Does anyone know what's going on?

Does anyone know what's going on here? I mean, if the video card is doing the 3D rendering work, and sending the result (via HDMI) to the Occulus, why does it need *2* USB3 ports - this is a lot of data! I wouldn't think motion and position info would push, well, even a USB1 port honestly. If the textures and triangles are being sent to the Occulus to render there, why the powerful video card requirement? I was thinking maybe power, but then why the requirement for USB3 instead of just two USB ports? If the work is truly being split, then how do you think this is being done -- every other line, left/right half, card and Occulus doing every other frame? Just curious.

BTW, if the work's being split that's probably why there are no OSX or Linux drivers. I know Linux *does* support this kind of usage -- recently - but a) Since it's recent support, I don't know if it's got a reasonably good design, or if it's some kind of sloppy kludge that got the existing configurations to work. b) nvidia driver, at least, bypasses a portion of the Xorg internals -- which is not necesarily a bad thing, nvidia's implementation is fast and well-behaved.. but it does mean it's possible Xorg supports splitting OpenGL up between cards in the way the Rift needs, but the nvidia driver bypasses the part of the stack that suports this (and the "nv" driver probably doesn't support new enough cards.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does anyone know what's going on?

Concerning the USB3, perhaps the Oculus needs 900mA per screen. USB3 can go up to 900mA per port compared to the 500mA of USB1-2. So two ports, one for each screen. There may also be the need for the dedicated full-duplex lines added with USB3, maybe for reasons of timing.

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Silver badge

Smug Rating 11/10

Windows users shouldn't get too smug, however. Binstock warned that a devoted rig was needed to run the Oculus at the kind of frame rates required to get a smooth experience, and that no current laptop can handle it. Instead, you'll need a high-end graphics card and a fast processor.

Given this is a gaming device first/foremost (and I understand it'll be used for other things) - that's going to be true regardless. Speaking as a 4K gamer this is no problem.

Think we're in a position to be smug here.

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Anonymous Coward

New delay imminent

They will delay the release another year with the hopes of the enough people's upgrade cycles catching up with the requirements.

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And you're all missing the loody obvious...

...Which is that in order to make a successfully viable product, you release it for a market that has the largest user-base for said product. There are more users running Windows that would consider buying something like this than there are running desktop Linux or MacOS, so it comes down to a simple question of economics. There is no sinister conspiracy to stop it being released on other OSes, merely the view to getting a higher volume of initial sales.

Unless Apple release a mac with the right specs from the get-go, or the average Linux machine stops being 2-3 generations behind current tech, those platforms will simply not be a priority due to the likelihood that they won't have the required hardware. Drivers will appear, but when, is up to them.

Until then, just be patient and wait your turn. You really want v1 of a product anyway?

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Silver badge

Re: And you're all missing the loody obvious...

What exactly is a get-go ?

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Silver badge

Re: And you're all missing the loody obvious...

Type of lizard.

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Re: And you're all missing the loody obvious...

"What exactly is a get-go ?" It's old fart talk. Nothing to see here, you young'ins please move around the old geeze until he gets moving again. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Kickstarter

I feel sorry for all those who pledged on Kickstarter back in 2012: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game/description

It sports huge logos for Linux, Android, iOS, Mac, Unity and Unreal engine. More than $2m were pledged. Three years ago. And in the meantime all those generous people learned that privacy is no longer valued (when Facebook bought it) and that the majority of the operating system logos turned out to be mere decoration...

I'd be pissed off if I had given them any money. On the other hand, only a small fraction of kickstarters produce anything useful...

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Linux

Re: Kickstarter

and it might turn out this is the "progress by PR" part of Oculus, as Samsung and Sony and a few others have got an interest.

Can anyone give a solid *technical* reason games are ported to Windows rather than OpenGL/*nix?

Is it simply M$ throws loads of cash at the API glue?

P.

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FAIL

Re: Kickstarter

2 downvotes no response?

Seriously, with all the hype in this area, some nice firm technical information would really help....

P.

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I was in the main Malaysian IT mall yesterday and didn't see a single desktop PC for sale. These high end gaming machines are only found in the networked gaming shops, so the market could be very limited. PS4s etc have got people out of the habit of buying PCs for gaming at home

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How big is that market anyway?

There are lots of specialized use-cases (also mentioned in the comments above) - but is that really a market worth betting billions on?

While the gaming-scene is very vocal (and visual), the market in itself isn't that large, AFAIK.

And only a fraction of actual gamers will want to deal with this thing.

The "want"-factor is much larger than the "put-to-use"-factor, I'm afraid.

That and no Facebook, thanks, no.

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Silver badge

Re: How big is that market anyway?

Quote: "While the gaming-scene is very vocal (and visual), the market in itself isn't that large, AFAIK."

What definition of 'isn't that large' are you using here?

The current worldwide gaming market is around $90 billion US dollars. (PC, Consoles, Phones, Tablets, web games etc etc).

Around 30% (and growing) of that market is PC gamers, and that figure doesn't include the casual type gamers (web based games etc), this is your AAA title and MMO type players.

So that's around a US $27 billion per year marker for PC gamers currently.

For a market comparison, global recorded music sales for 2014, was around US $15 billion, in total.

So no, the gaming market is not small, not by a long way, and not even if you only looked at the PC market.

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They won't tell you why, let me commit suicide by guessing it

Windows have DirectX 12 which is said to provide performance increase on same old hardware just by being there, most mature OpenGL drivers provided by vendors and Microsoft's good developer support.

I used Apple as my only system for everything before bootcamp&Intel thing happened, I know couple of things about its OpenGL support. It is always behind the curve, Apple has horrible developer support compared to Microsoft. Ask any die-hard Apple gamer who runs same game on both OS X and Windows and you will be surprised about the performance difference.

This "protype sold to consumers" type thing requires perfect performance by host operating system. Especially Graphics performance. Think it like a game.

I am not saying anything about Linux but I bet Steam will change things in future, I thought I better target Apple since they make money selling software&hardware.

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Re: They won't tell you why, let me commit suicide by guessing it

@ilgaz: Thank you for some information.

My bias is the following - I have 2 GTX980's doing molecular dynamics calculations. I use VMD for viz but CLEARLY an OR would be brilliant for molecular system analysis.

Not to mention a whole host of other clinical applications.

So by declaring support for the de facto monopoly (Windoze), Oculus is killing other platforms.

P.

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Wrong title

Surely it should be "Not in your face"

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What's the problem?

PC Gamers use Windows. DirectX wins. I use Linux at work for all my servers, wouldn't consider Windows for a second. And I would never install Linux on the desktop. Why kill yourself for nothing? The only thing you ever want to work is WINE. And if I need Linux, why hello Virtual Machine...

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Re: What's the problem?

And I would never install Linux on the desktop. Why kill yourself for nothing? The only thing you ever want to work is WINE. And if I need Linux, why hello Virtual Machine..."

I haven't used Windows since Win95. I use only nvidia hardware and nvidia drivers. I only play games that support Linux. No wine here. I haven't looked back.

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Bronze badge

Is the underlying message here that they have given up trying to make a proper VR headset, and instead have cobbled together a couple of displays and few accelerometers, with a Windows programme to do all the actual work?

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Meh

EVE Valkyrie

I need to pop around a friends house to have a go on his headset. He won it at the EvE Valkyrie tournament in Iceland a couple of months back.

I know his rig can use it, he has 2x970's in there. I know that because I built the thing.

He was also the only one there to win one that had a machine that could use it.

Also, Oculus is counting on games like EvE Valkyrie being moderately successful to keep the sales up.

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Anonymous Coward

Why so much cynicism?

The cost of the required hardware will come down over time, and if there is enough interest in new VR tech it will push manufacturers of dependent hardware to innovate, which is nice at a time where many things tech seem to be slumping into mass market mediocrity. Better sales of higher end GPU's will also lower prices for consumers both uninterested and interested in the VR - a win-win as I see it. Consumers won't necessarily upgrade just to run Oculus Rift, but for some like me, it will be a factor taken into consideration if it looks interesting (and I haven't been interested in much since the first iPhone), secondary to requirements for other applications. As a Mac user I'm also looking forward to getting rid of the damn thing and returning to PC - of all the players, Apple seem to have taken the biggest dip into aforesaid mediocrity in recent years..

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