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What Should Valve Do For Linux & Open-Source?

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  • #11
    I agree with Pickle in that open sourcing their back catalogue, such as Half Life, would be awesome. Also, improving Linux game development tools would also really help things. Anything that makes game development easier and fast. As an example, a Linux port, or an open source release, of the Valve Hammer Editor would be really helpful for game devs.

    Sometimes I look at Unity3D and wish we had a Linux equivlanet. Unity3d's strength isn't is power, but how conducive it is to rapid iteration, of getting something up and running really quickly, and supporting fast changes (I guess Panda3d is a bit like it, but you see what I mean). There are a lot of development tools for Linux, but ones that make game development easier and faster would always be apprecaited (look at what Ren'Py has done, to give an example).

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    • #12
      Open source the steam client (everything but the DRM bit)

      Open source the steam client (everything but the DRM bit)

      Ala Desurium and Dropbox.

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      • #13
        I fired them off an email about this earlier today, but let me say it here as well: There are noticeable performance issues when it comes to gaming on a stock Ubuntu system.

        Here's a quick look at some of the results of the tests I've conducted earlier this year: A comparison of different desktop environments, when playing a game on wine 1.4.0:

        Desktop Average FPS (more is better):
        Unity (3D) 66,24 fps
        Unity 2D 71,38 fps
        openbox 75,04 fps
        Here's a more in-depth (Phoronix) comparison from February and an updated look from June.

        What we're seeing is that the Unity 3D desktop, which is the one that's used by the masses, yields noticeably poorer framerates than its (soon-defunct) 2D sibling or more lightweight desktop alternatives. I believe we all agree that something must be done.

        Now, I don't have technical knowledge here, but would it be possible to come up with a solution where the desktop environment in a way "goes to sleep" when a full-screen application is running, having little or no impact on gaming performance? This is definitely something that both the Ubuntu developers and Valve should be investigating, especially if they want to deliver a level of performance on par with the other operating system.
        Last edited by M1kkko; 07-17-2012, 09:51 AM.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by M1kkko View Post
          Now, I don't have technical knowledge here, but would it be possible to come up with a solution where the desktop environment in a way "goes to sleep" when a full-screen application is running, having little or no impact on gaming performance? This is definitely something that both the Ubuntu developers and Valve should be investigating, especially if they want to deliver a level of performance on par with the other operating system.
          Yea, it's called unredirecting fullscreen windows.

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          • #15
            2 words

            Jaw dropping!

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            • #16
              What should Valve be doing for Linux and open-source software?

              "Write Games"

              That is all.

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              • #17
                Be visible within the community

                It might sound odd, but just being visible can reduce friction and potential problems.
                It's really frustrating when people run into the FOSS community, do something amazing, then disappear.
                Maybe send a guy to some of the larger FOSS conferences (LinuxCon, OSCON, etc.)

                It also reassuring to know that you're aware of the next couple of evolutionary iterations.
                Windows has traditionally been very slow to evolve (haven't used windows in some 10+ years, so ignore this if not applicable anymore), with long periods (years) of stagnation then a sudden, large jerk forward.
                Linux is much more iterative, with lots of smaller changes over much shorter time-scales, and may require a different mind-set.
                This is particularly apt for closed source software where we can't just recompile against the latest libraries.

                Picking a project out-the-air just as an example; Wayland.
                Knowing that you're aware of it (because you're visible in that community) is very reassuring to those who wonder how Valve's software will evolve over time.

                Open-sourcing as much as possible is also a good way of ensuring your project stays on top of future advancements.
                I realise that maintaining control over the platform is important, but also understand that the more open a "closed" project is the less of a burden it'll be to support everyone.
                It should be possible for your project to be completely agnostic on a lot of plumbing infrastructure.
                Eg. Display managers, as mentioned above, but also sound, distro packaging or any other plumbing piece that can be swapped out for something else.
                It should be perfectly doable for example, to get the project into a state where any distro maintainer can create a package for Steam, or any of it's games.
                Then the burden of packaging is not Valve's concern, but that of the individual distributions.

                And lastly, communicate.
                The last thing you want is to get into a situation like nVidia is now or xFree86-of-old where the only way people seem to be able to get things changed is to scream to high-heaven until they're hoarse in the throat and frustrated enough to usurp you in favour of a grass-roots alternative.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by Michael View Post
                  That's somewhat of a misconception... I put Valve in contact with Nouveau [Mupuf] months ago, but that they don't really need/want money. Their developers are currently still at university (and don't want to quit) or are happily employed elsewhere, so first they magically need to find some qualified developers. It's also somewhat also the case for Radeon; I tried to get Marek to talk to Valve, but alas he wants to go to university for another year.
                  Offer them graduate positions?
                  *cough* Steambox *cough*

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                  • #19
                    Keep the steam-client as open and flexible as possible, use sane library loading not locking it to the ubuntu/debian style and pointless version requirements like we see in many half-closed projects.

                    pq

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                    • #20
                      Valve, use your influence to make AMD improving their open source drivers to an extend, that they're usable for modern and demanding games.

                      ... Besides having the games, this is last thing I miss

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