Has Valve helped Linux gaming?

In today's open source roundup: Valve's impact on Linux gaming. Plus: Why a tech journalist dumped Apple, Microsoft and Google for open source. And four music players for Linux

Valve and Linux gaming

Valve's decision to create its own Linux distribution called SteamOS electrified the world of Linux gaming. But after more than a year how have Valve's efforts really helped Linux gaming? Ars Technica took a look at where Linux gaming stands in light of Valve and SteamOS.

Kyle Orland reports for Ars Technica:

Now, more than a year into the SteamOS era (measuring from that beta launch), the nascent Linux gaming community is cautiously optimistic about the promise of a viable PC gaming market that doesn't rely on a Microsoft OS. Despite technical and business problems that continue to get in the way, Valve has already transformed gaming on Linux from "practically nothing" to "definitely something" and could be on the verge of making it much more than that.

If Valve can iron out the final technical and business problems with SteamOS and its attendant Steam Machine hardware, it could easily lead to many players becoming "accidental Linux gamers" in their living rooms, as Aspyr's Howard puts it.

For those already running Linux on their main machines, though, finally having significant gaming options on their platform of choice will continue to be a happy side effect of Valve's still-developing push into this new market. "I do know that in the absolute worst case, the chicken-and-egg problem is solved," Gordon said. "You get people to a platform with games, but games won't come until people are on a platform. Valve being there has clearly given developers the faith to stick their toes in the water right away."

More at Ars Technica

Linux redditors shared their thoughts about Valve's efforts:

Z33tec: "I can't wait til Valve officially releases the Steam box. Linux gaming has already come so far because of Valve's push for Linux. I don't care if the Linux desktop never fully takes over, I just dream of a world where I can choose Linux and not have to switch back to Windows to play certain games."

Mreiland: "I currently run Windows with Linux Guests (VMWare). I would be ecstatic if I could eventually flip that around and run Linux as the host with Windows Guest. One of the big hurdles for me is gaming (not the only hurdle, but if it were solved I could be bothered to try and solve the other hurdles)."

Seldinhio: "Now this is just my opinion. I know Steam is not perfect but gaming on Linux now is a way more pleasant experience then it was 3 years ago when I made the switch to Linux. Valve is in no way a perfect company but at this time they are one of the only ones out there that a sticking to Linux. Having a big player like that on our side cant be a negative. "

Buckwheat469: "I'm really happy now with Linux gaming but there will always be weird issues if the graphics drivers aren't fixed. For instance right now Dying Light won't even start for me on 64bit Ubuntu. It crashes as soon as it requests a screen resize, so I'm leaning toward a graphics driver issue. These small problems make you reconsider spending $60 on a game that has no return policy."

Patx35: "Thanks to this, it feels like I can easily switch to Linux in the future if Windows 10 crash and burns."

Loyyd: "For a lot of games, playing on Linux isn't a realistic option. Windows 10 will have a one year free upgrade period for all windows 7 and 8 owners so there's not much of a reason to not try it."

Two-Tone: "I just want to clarify something, and that is that you're not suppose to target SteamOS but the Steam Runtime. It's sorta like a mini distro that you chroot into and then build against. Honestly I think it's a brilliant solution to the issue."

More at Reddit

A tech journalist dumps Google, Microsoft and Apple for open source

Open source software has many advantages over its closed source counterparts. Technology columnist Dan Gillmor recently shared why he moved to open source and mostly away from products made by Google, Microsoft and Apple.

Dan Gillmor reports on Medium:

When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is — a tool — and use what works best.

So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android?

I’ve moved to these alternative platforms because I’ve changed my mind about the politics of technology. I now believe it’s essential to embed my instincts and values, to a greater and greater extent, in the technology I use.

Control is moving back to the center, where powerful companies and governments are creating choke points. They are using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often, we give them our permission—trading liberty for convenience—but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission.

More at Medium

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