Will Valve's SteamOS make Linux run games faster than Windows?

Today in Open Source: SteamOS versus Windows in gaming. Plus: The Fireweb phone, and WordPress 3.7 released

SteamOS Versus Windows in Gaming

Valve's SteamOS has everybody talking, but how well will it perform? Will Linux run games faster than Windows? ExtremeTech looks at this question, and examines the OpenGL versus DirectX comparison as well.

When you compare Linux and Windows, you aren’t actually comparing Linux and Windows. You’re comparing the relative strength of drivers and software support from Marvell, Intel, Broadcom, AMD, Nvidia, Asmedia, Samsung, and Realtek in two different operating environments.

The bigger issue here is that while Valve might squeeze better performance out of a Linux-based OS running on specific hardware, embracing broad compatibility makes this more difficult. SteamOS may run Linux, but it still has to adhere to the same hardware standards as Windows. The SATA, PCIe, DDR3, and USB subsystems don’t change just because the operating system does.

I was excited when Valve unveiled SteamOS, but I’m honestly uncertain what to make of the Steam Box. Building commodity hardware around the idea of a living room PC doesn’t sound much different than a business model companies have attempted, failed, and attempted again for over twenty years.

I’d feel better about the Steam Box’s chance of revolutionizing game performance if it was built around custom, specific hardware with low-latency networking gear, a dedicated software stack that leveraged Nvidia’s cloud gaming technology, and possibly AMD’s new low-level API — with a software development suite and a new Source engine all designed to function in concert. Right now, SteamOS and the Steam Box feel like initiatives Gabe Newell threw together because he really hates the Windows Store .

More at ExtremeTech

I think it's far too early to answer any of these questions. We need to wait until Valve has real hardware available to benchmark against comparable Windows systems before any definitive conclusions can be reached.

LG Releases Fireweb Phone

A new Firefox OS phone has been released, according to Linux Gizmos.

Telefonica announced the launch of Firefox OS 1.1 phones in Brazil, including the debut of LG’s first Firefox OS phone. The LG Fireweb offers a larger 4-inch screen and a more capable 5-megapixel camera than Telefonica’s current ZTE and Alcatel Firefox OS phones, but is limited to same 480 x 320 resolution.

More at Linux Gizmos

It's good to see Firefox OS growing, I'm hoping it will ultimately provide real competition to the current Android and iOS devices that rule the mobile marketplace. More choices are always better for consumers in the long run.

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