Valve joins Linux Foundation as part of its SteamOS push

Valve's upcoming SteamOS is based on the open source Linux kernel but modified by Valve to, in theory, become a better gaming and multimedia operating system. So it should come as no surprise that Valve has now joined the Linux Foundation, which is dedicated to expanding the use of the OS in all areas of technology.

The non-profit organization reports that Valve will be a "silver" tier member of the Linux Foundation, paying between $5,000 and $20,000 per year. Valve's Mike Sartain stated:

Joining the Linux Foundation is one of many ways Valve is investing in the advancement of Linux gaming. Through these efforts, we hope to contribute tools for developers building new experiences on Linux, compel hardware manufacturers to prioritize support for Linux, and ultimately deliver an elegant and open platform for Linux users.

Valve's Steam client now has over 200 games that run on Linux. A year ago a Valve employee, Drew Bliss, stated during a Ubuntu developer summit that Linux was a more viable game OS than Microsoft's Windows 8. However, both Windows 8 and 8.1 are currently more popular than any Linux-based OS on Steam, according to Valve's most recent hardware survey.

Valve will release SteamOS to developers in 2014 and a number of third-party companies will release Steam Machines that will be based on SteamOS next year as well.

Source: Linux Foundation

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Lord Method Man said,
Yep. This is all part of Gabe Newell's Windows 8 temper tantrum.

This comment brought to you by Steve Ballmer's Chair Throwing association.

Lord Method Man said,
Yep. This is all part of Gabe Newell's Windows 8 temper tantrum.

More accurately, Gabe's misunderstanding or purposeful misdirection of understanding of Windows App Store, it intent and long term goals.

Right now there are other 'Game Distribution' companies listing Desktop Apps on the Windows Store, essentially for free that just redirects uses to their game download and management client. There is NO reason Steam couldn't be doing this too, except once Gabe stuck his foot in his mouth, his pride won't let him repair the damage he did.

Mobius Enigma said,

More accurately, Gabe's misunderstanding or purposeful misdirection of understanding of Windows App Store, it intent and long term goals.

Right now there are other 'Game Distribution' companies listing Desktop Apps on the Windows Store, essentially for free that just redirects uses to their game download and management client. There is NO reason Steam couldn't be doing this too, except once Gabe stuck his foot in his mouth, his pride won't let him repair the damage he did.

I realise you guys love to have your silly little conspiracy theories about Gabe ruling Valve with an iron fist, but you really couldn't be further from the truth.

Easily proved by the precedent of Portal 2 on the PS3 even after Gabe's comments on developing for Cell.

Athernar said,

I realise you guys love to have your silly little conspiracy theories about Gabe ruling Valve with an iron fist, but you really couldn't be further from the truth.

Easily proved by the precedent of Portal 2 on the PS3 even after Gabe's comments on developing for Cell.

wait...

Your assumption is completely wrong. Gabe DOES NOT rule Valve, nor with an iron first.

However, his perversion of ideals has influenced their direction, at their own potential peril.

He hates Microsoft for very personal reasons. This isn't about an ideological debate of technology or gaming. Right now this anti-Microsoft position is helping Steam and Valve, which is why you see Valve going as far to risk their reputation by releasing false benchmarks to support their position.


To gain a historical perspective, go back to ID Software in the 90s/early 00s. At this time, John Carmack was very outspoken against DirectX for very specific technical reasons.

This became bigger than him, and it led ID Software from the top to the bottom, as they got caught up in the anti-Microsoft crowd by making decisions to please their anti-Microsoft fans instead of what was actually best for themselves and their gamers.

This hurt their engine work and release schedule for Doom 3, and even later hurt Quake 4 because of the anti-Microsoft direction that led them too far away from the new set of technologies introduced on the Xbox 360 and the PC world.
(Quake 4 was considered to be one of the worst Xbox 360 console ports in history.)

I don't think John ever intended to become the icon of the 'we hate Microsoft' club, but his technical concerns of DirectX, which were valid at the time, shoved him into that role.

He also wasn't ruling anything with an 'iron fist' either, but just as is happening to Valve now, ID got caught up in the spin that they inadvertently had partially created.


If you look back and history, you will see Valve and Steam making the same mistakes that ID Software made. (The wave and fans created the buzz that ID would save Linux and making Linux THE gaming platform, and destroy Windows gaming, and finally kill off DirectX, etc.)

Mobius Enigma said,
<snip>

You still haven't explained Portal 2 on the PS3.

Just to enlighten you by the way, the whole "gabe personally hates Microsoft" narrative is an invention by the media in order to clickbait people (fanboys), into getting all wound-up in comment sections to maximum ad-impressions.

Really, your grand theories are nothing more than deluded byproducts of a business model that monetises controversy. Hot topics generate more controversy, and guess what - Windows 8 was a hot topic at the time, just like the PS3's architecture was even earlier.

Athernar said,

You still haven't explained Portal 2 on the PS3.

Just to enlighten you by the way, the whole "gabe personally hates Microsoft" narrative is an invention by the media in order to clickbait people (fanboys), into getting all wound-up in comment sections to maximum ad-impressions.

Really, your grand theories are nothing more than deluded byproducts of a business model that monetises controversy. Hot topics generate more controversy, and guess what - Windows 8 was a hot topic at the time, just like the PS3's architecture was even earlier.

You keep conflating me and my posts with other people.

I never said Gabe hates Microsoft. I said he made comments that got him caught up in the new anti-Microsoft movement, whether he wanted it or not. This momentum is pushing him and his company, which could be disastrous if he doesn't stop it.

As for Portal 2 on the PS3, it was NOT relevant to what I was saying. It may be in context to another person's post, but not mine.

Free OS = more profit for Valve.
Sure it's nice to see a push for Linux but what is Valve's game here?

SK[ said,]Free OS = more profit for Valve.
Sure it's nice to see a push for Linux but what is Valve's game here?

well not necessarily, all good games will stay at windows. look at linux share of steam right now. less than a percent.

When computer are more an appliance in your home vs having a "PC", the OS it runs on is not as important. It has to do what you want it to do.

I can also see Steam boxes, in particular, complimenting your windows gaming machine that's hooked to your tv so you can stream your games to it. If they succeed in that, it's only a matter of time before more games run native on the steam box vs running on your windows pc.

Perception of what a device is important, when you ask a normal consumer what's the difference between a game console vs a computer, most people think of them as different objects, with different expectations.

Bring it on ! With a nice interface, proper driver support, ironed bugs, cash investments, a big game developer to propell this OS with a big title, lots of marketing, frequent updates it will surely meet succes.

Not a title. You'd need many big titles and billions to sink into it. Look what it cost Microsoft to break into the market and they already were a major game developer and had the biggest gaming OS on the market.

As much as I would LOVE to see Linux to become a mainstream gaming platform.. I don't think it's going to happen..

Edited by fusi0n, Dec 5 2013, 1:52pm :

fusi0n said,
As much as I would LOVE to see Linux to become a mainstream Linux platform.. I don't think it's going to happen..

You never know, if computers with this become more known, a cost of a windows seat license is about $79 or so, and that may sway people to switch from windows to linux, seeing as office live isn't constrained to just windows now.

fusi0n said,
As much as I would LOVE to see Linux to become a mainstream Linux platform.. I don't think it's going to happen..

Probably not in the near future. Windows has a massive amount of inertia behind it by the fact that it's the defacto pre-installed OS, and it's been so for the last 20 or so years.

I still think that SteamOS could go places. It's certainly not going to make an impact on the desktop market in the near future. Many have tried and failed to topple Windows, but in the living room, it certainly has an opportunity at becoming a good media centre/console OS.

n_K said,

You never know, if computers with this become more known, a cost of a windows seat license is about $79 or so, and that may sway people to switch from windows to linux, seeing as office live isn't constrained to just windows now.
Office live isn't on linux. Windows doesn't cost $79 on OEM computers.

chrisj1968 said,
I'm not so sure but, sure seems like a HUGE dev like Valve doing this adds to the legitimacy of Linux as an OS.

Yeah, that and the countless servers running it and the Mobile phones using it's kernel?

Sorry I'm not following you on that comment. at any rate, Linux getting a good push from Valve..

alot of Linux hate. but this IS a pro windows forum.

chrisj1968 said,
Sorry I'm not following you on that comment. at any rate, Linux getting a good push from Valve..

alot of Linux hate. but this IS a pro windows forum.

Well you say that SteamOS is making Linux look like a legitimate OS, but it's already the dominant OS in most other markets either on it's own (server OS's) or as part of a different OS (e.g. Android, Meego, etc). The desktop market is the only one where it really struggles for adoption.

chrisj1968 said,
I agree. I'm wondering what it would take to break through these barriers?

the biggest problem is the drivers, Linux has always been using crappy drivers. They just don't have a standars support as windows does and best hardware has their own proprietary driver which is against linux religion. and fragmentation which is killing linux. Its like a society without rule. If android is successful because google makes you think its open but google owns and runs android just like what Microsoft did for windows.

MrHumpty said,
Office live isn't on linux. Windows doesn't cost $79 on OEM computers.

True, it's not on windows either, it's browser based hence why platform is no longer a constrainght

Majesticmerc said,

Probably not in the near future. Windows has a massive amount of inertia behind it by the fact that it's the defacto pre-installed OS, and it's been so for the last 20 or so years.

I still think that SteamOS could go places. It's certainly not going to make an impact on the desktop market in the near future. Many have tried and failed to topple Windows, but in the living room, it certainly has an opportunity at becoming a good media centre/console OS.

If you wanna topple Windows, you have to go through Apple first. If people aren't buying PC's, they're buying Apple.

fusi0n said,
As much as I would LOVE to see Linux to become a mainstream Linux platform.. I don't think it's going to happen..

Not with that attitude.

chrisj1968 said,
I'm not so sure but, sure seems like a HUGE dev like Valve doing this adds to the legitimacy of Linux as an OS.

You do realize much bigger companies have put a lot more weight behind Linux in the past than Valve, right?

This happens time and time again, and even if it has some success, the fights and fragmentation begins with a maybe one or two ok distributions and one or two ok pieces of software left in the aftermath.


trojan_market said,

the biggest problem is the drivers, Linux has always been using crappy drivers. They just don't have a standars support as windows does and best hardware has their own proprietary driver which is against linux religion. and fragmentation which is killing linux. Its like a society without rule. If android is successful because google makes you think its open but google owns and runs android just like what Microsoft did for windows.

It is deeper than drivers, it is the architectural model of the Linux kernel that is the root of the problem. This isn't something that can just be fixed without replacing Linux entirely.

If Android is a success, I'm sure Valve has a chance. Sony made BSD a mainstream gaming platform and it is much more specialized than Linux.

I hope you all realize this isn't meant to supplant windows, it's meant to complement it. Most of what the steam box will be doing is acting as an extender for your Windows PC. One step at a time. Maybe in the future they can move towards that, but I doubt it is the immediate goal.

Mobius Enigma said,

It is deeper than drivers, it is the architectural model of the Linux kernel that is the root of the problem. This isn't something that can just be fixed without replacing Linux entirely.

Your move:

"I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why." http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=74

Majesticmerc said,

Probably not in the near future. Windows has a massive amount of inertia behind it by the fact that it's the defacto pre-installed OS, and it's been so for the last 20 or so years.

I still think that SteamOS could go places. It's certainly not going to make an impact on the desktop market in the near future. Many have tried and failed to topple Windows, but in the living room, it certainly has an opportunity at becoming a good media centre/console OS.

The landscape has changed hugely over the past few years, not many traditional desktop PC's selling these days, not compared to 10 years ago. Most people are buying devices with iOS, Android and Mac OS pre-installed...This news of Valve getting behind linux is just a sign of things to come.

Geezy said,
Bah. Athernar, I wouldn't bother responding to that guy, you'll only get hyperbole and rhetoric.

Oh I don't doubt it, it's more a case of making sure people who don't know better don't get suckered into such nonsense.

Athernar said,

Oh I don't doubt it, it's more a case of making sure people who don't know better don't get suckered into such nonsense.

Ahh that makes sense, like the time I tried to get my mom to use Ubuntu a couple years back...yeesh what a nightmare lol

?? My 'rents (and other family) have been on Ubuntu since 7.04... I think before that it was Fedora Core and before that Windows 2000. I haven't had to do tech support for anything other than replacing a PSU switch that would always hold 'on' and the computer would power off 4 seconds after being powered on. I actually get to enjoy family gatherings instead of getting served a meal in the den lol. Seriously I dreaded family get togethers for that reason!

Edited by Geezy, Dec 5 2013, 6:32am :

n_K said,

True, it's not on windows either, it's browser based hence why platform is no longer a constrainght
ah I mis-understood. I agree Office Live is an option, but frankly there's no real point in using that reduced featureset. Even OpenOffice/OfficeLibre or w/e it's morphed to these days would be more productive.

Athernar said,

Your move:

"I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why." http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=74

Did you actually read it?

Some of the things from the anonymous NT kernel 'contributor' have some technical validity, but only in a very myopic context.

Even if you want to buy into the second author's arguments, they have some technical credibility, but again, only in a myopic context.

Can Linux shove data around faster at times. Yep. Does it do it all the time. Nope. When dealing with more complex data is NT faster, Yep.

I'm not here to teach people about OS design, I get paid to do that other places.

Do yourself a favor and just keep this in the context of a 'gaming' OS. Go research how video and drivers work on Linux and how they interface with the kernel. Then go research how it works on NT, specifically the revised WDDM/WDM model.

After you get through with comparison take note of these things.
• NT was able to add the WDDM along side the XPDM seamlessly, which would be impossible on Linux due to both the Unix model and the kernel architecture.
• Drivers run natively faster on NT, as they do not need a translation layer between them and the kernel. (Even if every user wanted to do their on kernel compile, with modern Linux video drivers they cannot be compiled into the kernel and depend on the generic translation layer. - See below.)
• ATI/NVidia have created wrappers to go around the Linux video driver interface that depend, forcing them to a hybrid model to interact with Linux video interface separately.

I hope you take time to do some of the research.

Mobius Enigma said,

Can Linux shove data around faster at times. Yep. Does it do it all the time. Nope. When dealing with more complex data is NT faster, Yep.

Nope. NT is slower by nature and will always be slower, and that's by design.

Mobius Enigma said,

I'm not here to teach people about OS design, I get paid to do that other places.

Being paid by Microsoft to shill does not constitute "teaching".

Mobius Enigma said,

I hope you take time to do some of the research.

Nope, that's not my job since I'm not the one that initially started making accusations here. Especially with your reasoning being both vague and contradictory to the reality of the two design models.

Geezy said,
?? My 'rents (and other family) have been on Ubuntu since 7.04... I think before that it was Fedora Core and before that Windows 2000. I haven't had to do tech support for anything other than replacing a PSU switch that would always hold 'on' and the computer would power off 4 seconds after being powered on. I actually get to enjoy family gatherings instead of getting served a meal in the den lol. Seriously I dreaded family get togethers for that reason!

tell me more as i'm interested in your words. very encouraging and helpful.

Athernar said,
Nope. NT is slower by nature and will always be slower, and that's by design.

Got a source for that one? One being faster than the other is purely subjective to the task at hand. There are tests showing Linux being faster at some tasks, NT being faster in others.. depends on what its doing.

Max Norris said,

Got a source for that one? One being faster than the other is purely subjective to the task at hand. There are tests showing Linux being faster at some tasks, NT being faster in others.. depends on what its doing.

Two things mainly, the basic design principles of Linux (Monolithic vs Micro/Hybrid) and configurability of the kernel.

Schedulers for example, maybe BFS gives your workload better performance than CFS. So bam, compile it in.

Athernar said,
Two things mainly, the basic design principles of Linux (Monolithic vs Micro/Hybrid) and configurability of the kernel.

So, just anecdotal evidence then. Because there's published benchmarks for both operating systems that show one being faster than the other, depending on the task.

Max Norris said,

So, just anecdotal evidence then. Because there's published benchmarks for both operating systems that show one being faster than the other, depending on the task.

We're not talking about operating systems, we're talking about kernels.

Athernar said,
We're not talking about operating systems, we're talking about kernels.

And it's still anecdotal as you can't have one without the other... real world tests say otherwise.

Athernar said,

We're not talking about operating systems, we're talking about kernels.


The kernel doesn't really have much to do with filesystems.
By your logic, NTFS-3G will be faster on linux that native support on windows because of linux's kernel? Err, no.

Max Norris said,

And it's still anecdotal as you can't have one without the other... real world tests say otherwise.

Maybe not, but pointing to benchmarks that are oriented around or heavily impacted by the userspace as evidence for the performance of the kernel is idiotic.

If GNU is slow and the kernel is fast, which would you want improved?

n_K said,

The kernel doesn't really have much to do with filesystems.
By your logic, NTFS-3G will be faster on linux that native support on windows because of linux's kernel? Err, no.

Of course not, since NTFS-3G uses FUSE. *snip*

Edited by Caleo, Dec 7 2013, 12:07am :

Max Norris said,

FUSE is a kernel module....

FUSE is a kernel module yes, but the derived filesystems are userspace. It's an abstraction layer, so comparing it to native kernelspace filesystems is asinine.

Athernar said,

Nope. NT is slower by nature and will always be slower, and that's by design.

Being paid by Microsoft to shill does not constitute "teaching".

Nope, that's not my job since I'm not the one that initially started making accusations here. Especially with your reasoning being both vague and contradictory to the reality of the two design models.

I'm glad you can offer your opinion as fact. In the online community, we call this trolling.

However, I will offer you this one final honest attempt to provide some information or concepts to consider for your edification.

Let's take this for example...
"Nope. NT is slower by nature and will always be slower, and that's by design"

By design NT has more overhead; however, this is not directly related to efficiency or performance.

As software and hardware complexity increase, it creates more code redundancies to manage the complexity.

However, if you have an OS model that inherently deals with the redundancies, not requiring additional code, an increase in hardware and upper layer software complexity no longer impacts overall performance.

It is analogous to writing code, and why developers use objects for better performance when dealing with complex software and hardware.

In 1993, NT was slower by design. However, as complexity increased, by 1996, the 'overhead' in NT was easily offset. This is why Microsoft was even surprised to see Win95 performing 25% slower than NT 4.0, as Win95 was far more simplistic with far less overhead. (Win95 - Fast monolithic kernel, no security, written in low level assembly, etc.)

The NT 'overhead' was big in 1993, in today's world of hardware and software, it is tiny.

Even take these concepts to hardware.
Research RISC vs CISC CPU designs. RISC can be simple and fast, but when it has to deal with the constructs for instructions to keep shoving through itself, its simplistic model starts to have a lot of redundant instructions. This is where a CISC design becomes more efficient as its 'overhead' becomes faster as it doesn't have to keep recreating instructions.

NT deals in objects so it doesn't need tons of redundant code to work with the objects in various contexts. The Unix model is simple, but when you add in all the contingency and redundant code to deal with hardware/software complexity, it gets slower, while being less functional.