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Is Valve's Steam antithetical to Linux and the very core of the open source spirit?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by brosis View Post
    So, you confirmed that iOS is opensource enemy. Linux does not admit being walled garden, because its not walled garden. If you have proof otherwise, be my guest to post.
    No, iOS is not the enemy. iOS is a beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use, but it is not a bastion of open source, non coercive tech freedom and never claims to be. Linux does claim to be that bastion of non-coercive freedom. I wasn't accusing it of failing to meet this as you suggest, I am saying that that is what the community has generally agreed that Linux should be about and what we should push it towards. And Steam really seems counter to this ideal.

    Originally posted by brosis View Post
    Just another proprietary distribution platform, NDAs are usually always required when working for closed source. The difference to others is that it does not require exclusivity (like W8 marketplace or other garbage), and is not GPL-enemy.
    Sure, if you work for a proprietary company and they are paying you a salary, it's standard to sign an NDA. With an app store, the apps store is not providing investment money or taking on financial risk, so it is much less reasonable for them to ask for an NDA and secret contract terms.

    Originally posted by brosis View Post
    It also started to actively help Linux and opensource. If you donīt want it, donīt use. If you are developer, publish also standalone version.
    My main point is that if the community supports the Linux ideals of choice, tech freedom, public source code, public details, and minimal coercion, then you should not advocate in favor of Steam.

    ok, people should only use it if they want to. The corollary to that is that there shouldn't be coercion to use it. Devs shouldn't be pressured into providing a Steam option and users shouldn't be pressured into installing Steam if they don't want it or paying prices that are set by Valve on products that Valve played no role in development of.

    Originally posted by brosis View Post
    Steam drove a lot of gaming industry attention to Linux. For that alone, it gets standing ovations from me. I personally donīt care about windows *anything.
    It helped with attention. You know what helped in a much more substantial way? Mac/iOS/Android breaking the Windows client monopoly and giving devs a strong reason to use more platform neutral programming practices.

    What will help way more: More high quality Linux native game clients. Also: high quality and performance game dev apis which let serious game shops easily write platform neutral code and ship high quality native Linux clients.

    Originally posted by brosis View Post
    They say that the enemy of an enemy is our friend. Who is your friend, friend? Windows or steam?
    The Linux community should focus on pushing towards its ideals of non-coercive, decentralized, technical freedom. That is much more productive than pursuing "enemy of an enemy is our friend" type battles.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Gps4l View Post
      How about better graphics drivers for Linux ?

      Which is already happening, but certainly on the amd side moving slow.
      If they submit graphics drivers improvements, that helps everyone in the community and is worthy of praise.

      But if Steam is coercive and requires devs to sign secret contracts, those things still contradict the core principles of Linux and Steam should not receive praise from the Linux community.

      Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        No, iOS is not the enemy. iOS is a beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use, but it is not a bastion of open source, non coercive tech freedom and never claims to be. Linux does claim to be that bastion of non-coercive freedom. I wasn't accusing it of failing to meet this as you suggest, I am saying that that is what the community has generally agreed that Linux should be about and what we should push it towards. And Steam really seems counter to this ideal.
        I doubt you actually have a clue what you are talking about.
        Apple is tied to iTunes and all Apple OSes are heavily DRMed.
        It is a closed source company, that when gaining huge marketshare in Smartphone times, started to behave no less microsoft way.

        "Beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use"
        It used BSD, nearly formed another monopoly, sued everyone, DRMed everything, prohibited GPL.
        And you were talking about Steam offering new games for Linux bad?.. Ideals?... Sorry?..

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        Sure, if you work for a proprietary company and they are paying you a salary, it's standard to sign an NDA. With an app store, the apps store is not providing investment money or taking on financial risk, so it is much less reasonable for them to ask for an NDA and secret contract terms.
        When using Steam, you are offered access to its infrastructure, which may expose attack and misuse vectors, hence you need to sign NDA.
        Just another proprietary framework.

        Would freedom software framework be better than Steam for everyone? YES.
        Does Steam make it not happen? No.
        Does Steam prohibit it, damage ecosystem or restrict options? No.

        Steam is as endangering to freedom software, like salted peanuts to popcorn.
        You sure have money/effort to support one or another sometimes, sometimes you can support both, and they get alone just fine.

        So go ahead, write freedom equivalent of Steam. Who holds you off,.. Steam?

        Instead, you are attacking a HUGE provider with large marketshare by questioning its ethics, who is very loyal to Linux.
        Yes, Linux.
        Not iOS or whatever crap, which is just an attempt to replace one monopoly with another.

        Steam does not prohibit developer to publish its standalone version. What was your problem again?

        I question whether you are ethical yourself?

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        My main point is that if the community supports the Linux ideals of choice, tech freedom, public source code, public details, and minimal coercion, then you should not advocate in favor of Steam.
        Sure.
        But if its about playing specific game that is only available on windows ... or on Steam in Linux, ONLY because Steam started supporting Linux.
        Where is problem again? Was that bad that you can play specific games on Linux, instead of dualbooting? It it unethical?

        I think its unethical for GAME DEVELOPER to publish ONLY Steam version AND DOING IT PROPRIETARY.
        As easy as that.

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        ok, people should only use it if they want to. The corollary to that is that there shouldn't be coercion to use it. Devs shouldn't be pressured into providing a Steam option and users shouldn't be pressured into installing Steam if they don't want it or paying prices that are set by Valve on products that Valve played no role in development of.
        Look, I still did not install Steam, nor I am pressured to. For real.

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        It helped with attention.
        You know that hardware does not run on "attention", right?
        Linux had its attention since birth, and changed what marketshare or what? Birds don't feed on songs.

        Hardware runs software, software is created by investment - either monetary or human effort, whatever the motivation behind that was.

        So lets come to reality and say Steam has helped Linux with money, marketshare, trust and fairness. And that without demanding or banning anything. I think it was quite ethical of Gaben to offer his services to other platform free of charge, without obligations and even with priority support/offers.

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        You know what helped in a much more substantial way? Mac/iOS/Android breaking the Windows client monopoly and giving devs a strong reason to use more platform neutral programming practices.
        Mac was here for ages. Didn't innovate ANYTHING. Actually, it just tried to produce the exclusive (mac-only) titles instead, the same way windows tried hard to preinstall and push own standards into computing.

        iOS is nothing more than taking OpenMoko, but with BSD kernel instead and pushing several billions of corporate investment into it. All for the attempt to form another monopoly.

        Android - yes. And no. Thats root of the problem actually. Showed what Linux is capable of, while being more/less neutral platform. Google gave a bunch of technologies to freedom and opensource communities, so hats of to them. But while showing off and revolutionizing the mobile segment, it failed to revolutionize the way software is looked and developed, staying proprietary model instead. But with opensource source code. So, its balanced and ethical in the end.

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        What will help way more: More high quality Linux native game clients. Also: high quality and performance game dev apis which let serious game shops easily write platform neutral code and ship high quality native Linux clients.
        Okay, you want more native Linux game clients.
        They were already here with Linux Game Publishing. Ofc proprietary, but standalone (except for DRM).

        But they did not sell well. Why?
        Because in order to push more game clients, the publisher must be absolutely sure that there will be high ROI. And that means a lot of purchases should happen. And that only comes if platform is popular, or has large userbase. Linux was not popular prior to Steam, Steam brought large userbase. Now there are a lot of new native clients. You could almost say, it is GOOD that Steam has bound so much users! Because they came all to see and read Linux-related news, try, discover Linux etc.

        Instead LGP was selling outdated or same titles for a platform with had much less userbase. In a proprietary way. Being a smaller company, they did not supported a lot of patches (correct me if I am wrong), so many Linux users actually dualbooted windows and purchased officially supported windows versions instead.

        Being themselve unpopular, the best bet they could do, is to secure exclusive priority rights for some good games and try to make a lot of noise about it, slowly unfolding what Linux is, what freedom software is etc.

        Steam is already popular rolling ball - huge userbase, big amount of platforms, security and anti-cheat, communications, support, exclusive titles. Its like a celebrity. Sure its profitable for Linux to become support from celebrity without one-way obligations.

        And regarding open gaming, they too need userbase, buzz etc. They build binaries that need mature environiment - kernel and drivers. They have unique development model, so they can't collide with proprietary in ANY way, except gamer play time. This is where they have to compete on quality, so whats the problem?

        Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
        The Linux community should focus on pushing towards its ideals of non-coercive, decentralized, technical freedom. That is much more productive than pursuing "enemy of an enemy is our friend" type battles.
        They say that an enemy of your enemy is your friend. Windows called Linux many times cancer and enemy. Steam has directly challenged windows, by offering full support to an OS that runs on same hardware that windows is preinstalled - SINCE MSDOS. Its called personal computer, as in "personal" computing device. So its ultimately fair and legal to place ANY OS on personal machine. Steam officially removed exclusivity from windows being the only OS supported on x86. As such Steam Linux movement is enemy of Windows. Supporting Steam will support pro-Linux movement and ensure more userbase for Linux.

        That said, decentralized technical freedom software is not affected by Steam at all. Its up to developers to choose the right development model and installing steam does not hinder ability to play Xonotic.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.
          Thats a patent bomb. And they WILL remove GPL. Even if they used GCC to build MacOSX.

          There is no patent bombs in steam.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
            If they submit graphics drivers improvements, that helps everyone in the community and is worthy of praise.

            But if Steam is coercive and requires devs to sign secret contracts, those things still contradict the core principles of Linux and Steam should not receive praise from the Linux community.

            Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.

            To quote the guys from Croteam ( serious sam 3 )
            With steam coming to Linux, all our problems are solved, and we will make a Linux version of our game.

            Before steam both nvidia and amd were not interested in making rely good Linux drivers.

            Unlike some of the free software guys ( movie revolution OS) I prefer good software over free software.

            One of the reasons why I am so happy with Valve, is that they want the games to run as good on Linux as on windows.
            No compromise.
            To achieve this, they need amd and nvidia and intel too.

            its only since steam I suddenly see the amd drivers improve.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by brosis View Post
              Because in order to push more game clients, the publisher must be absolutely sure that there will be high ROI. And that means a lot of purchases should happen. And that only comes if platform is popular, or has large userbase. Linux was not popular prior to Steam, Steam brought large userbase.
              I suspect most people use Win/Mac/Linux systems for work/school reasons first and games are an afterthought. Anecdotally, almost all the programmers I know used to use Windows exclusively and have gradually migrated to Linux or Mac and many of them don't play games or that is a distant consideration. I'm skeptical that Steam has brought a large user base to Linux.

              Publishers investing in game projects need to see a high ROI to support a Linux client. This means some combination of increasing revenue or reducing cost/effort of multiplatform development.

              Developers often run more on passion and interest than accountant like calculations; I think making multiplatform development easy is key to winning over support from smaller programmer run shops.

              Originally posted by brosis View Post
              I think its unethical for GAME DEVELOPER to publish ONLY Steam version AND DOING IT PROPRIETARY.
              As easy as that.

              Look, I still did not install Steam, nor I am pressured to. For real.
              Lots of games are exclusively distributed through Steam. When I was on Windows, many games I wanted to play were on Steam, and users are required to install Steam and setup an account to play.

              I also suspect that developers are limited in how they can price their game when distributed elsewhere. I don't have proof, and the contracts are kept secret, but why else don't developers price their non-Steam games at a lower price to reflect the savings of omitting the middle man?

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
                Lots of games are exclusively distributed through Steam. When I was on Windows, many games I wanted to play were on Steam, and users are required to install Steam and setup an account to play.
                Yes, but they are exclusively distributed through Steam because it's the only form of DRM that PC gamers have generally decided is acceptable. If they sell it outside of Steam, they either go DRM-free, or they don't; cheap, DRM-free indie games might garner enough goodwill purchases to make up for any piracy, but a DRM-free $60 game is just going to be pirated left and right, especially if they try to lock it down with trash like SecuROM. Subverting Steam's de facto monopoly just isn't viable except for indies like Mojang and for absolutely titanic, must-have games like Blizzard's. Valve doesn't need to actively lock out their competition in the DRM business, because the closed-mindedness inherent in the human nature does that for them already; they just need to keep providing an excellent service to keep gamers enthralled.

                Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
                I also suspect that developers are limited in how they can price their game when distributed elsewhere. I don't have proof, and the contracts are kept secret, but why else don't developers price their non-Steam games at a lower price to reflect the savings of omitting the middle man?
                It does not follow, because Steam is not just a middle man. If a developer chooses against Steam, they still need to find a way to advertise their game, provide the infrastructure to distribute it, and protect it from piracy. Steam does, in fact, offer a valuable service to developers in exchange for their cut of the sale. Besides, even if we were to ignore that...why would they cut the price, when they can charge just as much and keep a greater share of the profit? People buy from developer stores to support them, after all.

                Comment


                • #23
                  If you don't like it, don't use it.
                  I use mostly free software, but it's my choice.

                  I'd also like to point out that nowhere does Steam stop game developers from releasing their games opensource or through other distribution methods.
                  Last edited by peppercats; 04-03-2013, 08:54 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    The Humble Indie Bundle comes to mind...which has contained (and/or contains) various games which are also included in Steam, and on consoles. There is no set price for the Humble Bundles, and prices for games which are sold on (for instance) the Wii store (e.g. Cave Story+) have even less flexability in pricing than on Steam...but they're still available on Steam, if that's what you're in to.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Kite View Post
                      but a DRM-free $60 game is just going to be pirated left and right
                      DRM dosn't prevent that in any way.

                      I googled "assassins creed 3 torrent" and found 5.210.000 results.
                      I googled "crysis 3 torrent" and found 7.490.000 results.
                      I googled "bioshock infinite torrent" and found 5.190.000 results.

                      I don't get the argument how DRM is supposed to prevent piracy. It's maybe a day and you can just google it with the obvious keywords. Not hard to find at all, not hard to download at all and not hard to install at all.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        @DanLamb
                        My main point is that if the community supports the Linux ideals of choice, tech freedom, public source code, public details, and minimal coercion, then you should not advocate in favor of Steam.
                        so if i choose to use linux then i'm forbiden from having ETQW or UT2004, doom3, quake3TA installed on my linux box just because those games are close source? You did use windows, right? what made you use it? were you forbidden from using open source software on windows?

                        Valve by porting steam to linux and release many of their games with linux support had direct impact on gfx drivers specially on Intel's Open source drivers (openGL 3.x almost complete in 2~3 years), should we send a open letter to intel to stop what they are doing and still be dependent of Nvidia's blob or AMD's blob? is that what you are saying?

                        Sorry but linux is about freedom of choice and use, only its code is copyleft. You are ignoring other people choice and rights. I use crossover, from code weaver which happens to be the main company that maintains Wine, using crossover and paying for it, i contribute in an open source project that helps to run some dark and closed source softwares (that includes games and countless apps). Should code weaver stop contributing to open source?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Setlec View Post
                          so if i choose to use linux then i'm forbiden from having ETQW or UT2004, doom3, quake3TA installed on my linux box just because those games are close source?
                          No, I never even thought that.

                          Originally posted by Setlec View Post
                          Sorry but linux is about freedom of choice and use, only its code is copyleft. You are ignoring other people choice and rights.
                          My main point is advocating minimal coercion. This is precisely about respecting others choices and rights. If devs and customers want to use Steam and are comfortable with the costs and rights that requires, that's great.

                          The community should not pressure or coerce developers to support Steam against their will.

                          Developers should not require gamers use Steam and not subject them to Valve's pricing restrictions if they have opted out of Valve's product. I understand Valve doesn't require exclusivity, but I have a suspicion that in their contract terms that they hide, that they make it difficult for say, devs to price their non-Steam version at one price, and pass along the cost of Valve's revenue sharing demands with a higher priced Steam version.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by peppercats View Post
                            I'd also like to point out that nowhere does Steam stop game developers from releasing their games opensource or through other distribution methods.
                            But there may be other restrictions and forms of coercion in the contracts that Valve keeps private and forbids devs to speak about. The mere fact that devs aren't allowed to publically speak about their terms suggests of deeper problems.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              GPL

                              Open source is not GPL. This is Stallmans own words. Instead I think what has grown forth as Open Source is much less obscure.

                              Releasing software as "open source" means to make sure that the code stays open-source and the works based on it, says open-source, so it becomes a collaborative effort, available everywhere, without having to do R&D again, and again with companies, and even several companies doing the same, not sharing progress.

                              GPL has become something obscure. People say Nvidia canīt interface with some GPL code. Now "steam" is counterintuitive to open-source. How can what is not open-source be counterintutitive to open-source. These are two different things. If YOU want to release something as open-source, then do so, and let others do what they want. Donīt go all "religious" as they call it, with regards to the licence. It pests like a salafi, or trinitarian, the environment. Just as someone would force a hijab on you, or cut you in the penis. Instead RATIONAL religion, that is ok. Law principles of Lex Naturalis. There must be one force, and it must be the force in ourselves aswell. So natural behaviour. Is natural behaviour that of behaving obstinate and requiring the other to release his software as open-source? No. Let natural roles form. And this aspect of GPL is ugly.

                              Instead: The Beneficient Open-Source Licence.

                              This licence is about the "spirit of Open-source". Where you can release something as open-source, and have it be open-source, and benefit the world, and respect the positive intentions of this, without all the idolaterous religion of Stallman, of strange concepts to human nature. Nobody likes that. Our society has evolved from "trinitarian" structures in the west, to more greek-monotheistic philosophy. This because, it is about ourselves. Sense, decency. In the east unfortunately the salafis are still singing the trinitarian song, of the 8-headed salafi-god.

                              And in the linux-community, people have "zeal", over interfaces and even major mainstream actors getting involved on linux.

                              That just is .. very salafi-like.

                              This, I think is so much better. No compulsive thought, strange slogans, or hijabs.

                              "This program, plugin or function is licenced under
                              The Beneficient Open-Source Licence.

                              That means that its source is released
                              and shall stay available openly,
                              to benefit humankind, in the path of God.
                              And that shall apply to developments,
                              modifications, derivations, and branches.

                              The licence may not be changed, but modifications
                              between program, plugin and function may be done,
                              and used alongside software of other licences.

                              Peace Be With You."

                              With this you can release your stuff, and protect the intent of releasing it as "open-source" with a minimal of obscurity, and interpretation. And who knows what GPL is about anymore.

                              Open-source has obviously been formed by what people believe it is. And maybe become much better than what it originally was.

                              Peace Be With You.
                              Last edited by Paradox Uncreated; 04-05-2013, 10:33 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
                                The first give away is that developers who sign up with Steam must legally agree to not discuss the details of their contracts.
                                Really? So, the fact you don't let me in your house to watch you, is a giveaway that you must molest your kids and beat your wife? My friend Bill Androidl has invited me to his house and he posts
                                videos of him and his wife to gonewild on reddit, so by comparison, you must be evil because you hide all this stuff, right?

                                Sheesh.

                                Right there, heavy handed legal agreements that you aren't even allowed to discuss in public. If anything is opposite to the open, community nature and spirit of open source and Linux, this is it.
                                It's interesting that you haven't even considered that the contracts could be very competitive. Your assumption and assertion is that the contracts must be bad therefore hidden.

                                I can infer that Steam:
                                - Has much more subjective say over which games they distribute and promote.
                                This is, frankly, absurd given than you've mentioned Apple who are perhaps the most closed and restrictive platform out there.
                                Every vendor has the right to sell or not sell stuff on their site.

                                - Has much more controls over how games are priced than say iOS/Android, where it is pretty much completely a developer choice.
                                Please post proof. Not showing the contract does not mean Steam controls the price at all.

                                - Has much more leverage over game developers and reduces their rights.
                                Please post proof. Let's look at the limited evidence we do have. Lots of developers, both big and small seem to be tripping over themselves
                                to get their games on Steam.

                                Whereas, people like Notch have published their games on a simple website away from steam and made bazillions.

                                So, I don't see how you can claim Steam have any leverage over game developers or their rights.
                                It seems to me, whether you get your game on steam or not, it can be successful either way.

                                Again, you haven't even considered that the contracts may be hidden because they are good or better than the competition.

                                The code to Steam is not open source, not forkable, and the protocols are all completely proprietary. If you don't like the Steam client, you can't just write your own.
                                You can write your own. EA and many others have.
                                They are doing work towards opening up the store.

                                But it seems moot, this won't really affect anything in terms of Steam hosting and distributing games from their servers.

                                And there is a push to make games Steam exclusive to remove the choice from users to experience game content without Stream.
                                There is? Where?

                                Valve wants Stream to take away rights of Linux developers, control contract info and negotiations in secret, control the pricing, and take a large revenue cut.
                                So, without any knowledge at all of a steam contract or what cut they take you conclude this? Again, that you don't even consider that they might want
                                to hide the contracts because the cut could be competitive is telling. What a secret contract tells you is, nothing, because it's secret.

                                What you infer from knowing nothing tells us about you and the way your mind works.

                                Additionally, I can see a logical fairness to Apple claiming a 30% revenue cut on iOS apps since they built and drive that entire hardware and OS ecosystem. It's a similar story for Android apps. But what entitles Steam to a large cut of the revenue of a software product that some independent developer writes for Linux?
                                What entitles them to a cut is that they are putting the software on steam, distributing it and providing a bunch of software for those developers to use.
                                IIRC they are the in the top 5 bandwidth users on the internet. Steam is not Id software with an FTP server connected via a 56k modem in their spare office.

                                Valve are developing hardware - not that it matters. An android uses linux so it's rather disingenuous to suggest they have a similar story. Their story is
                                far more similar to Steam's big picture mode.

                                So, what steam provides is no small potatoes. There are plenty of websites and stores in the linux world that I've never bought anything from and never will - put your game on there if you like,
                                and get a 70% cut of fuck all. Or a 90% cut of sweet fanny adams if you can. It'll probably make no difference what cut you get. Then sit under your bedsheet, furiously masturbating to videos of Richard Stallman eating his feet.

                                Or put your game on steam under whatever deal Valve offer you. Or don't. The choice is yours.

                                But remember, the other guys furiously going at it to RMS's picture will probably point out that your game isn't open source and therefore you are bad.

                                If you've written a piece of open source software that you want to give away, there's not really a need to put it on steam nor to enter a contract with Valve.

                                OTOH, if you haven't, if your "linux software" costs money and is closed source you're frankly a bit of a dick to start complaining that Steam isn't open source and that they are taking away your rights
                                especially without any evidence to back it up.

                                If Linux wants good games, someone fix the issues that have made it hard for developers to have platform neutral game clients. Most game developers require fairly standard functionality to build on: fast 3D graphics rendering, audio, keyboard/mouse input, and install/unistall.
                                Let's face reality. If you took all the closed source stuff away that nearly makes linux a good gaming platform (it isn't that yet - certainly not for AMD owners) then the platform would be shit for games. There are basically few, if any decent games that are not closed source too. So, if linux wants good games it seems clear that the open source community cannot deliver on that goal for whatever reason.
                                No doubt you have some evil corporations to blame for that. Whatever. It doesn't change reality.

                                Usually at this point someone wants to hit reply and start talking about some obscure game they like. Or wine.

                                But, games are a billion dollar business, with millions of gamers buying and playing them - these are the people that Steam on linux is aiming at - gamers. With new hardware at different tiers and price points, with whatever the steam box is hardware wise, and whatever similar things appear from other manufacturers. They seem to be looking at doing stuff that beams the picture from your PC to the TV as entry level, mid-range console-like gaming hardware that plugs into your TV and uses Steam's big picture mode at a middle level and your all-powerful, triple-sli overclocked PC +++, spend what you can afford, at the high end.

                                So, precisely the things you claim Apple do which entitles them to a cut. not the least because apple use a version of unix to build their OS with too, just like android did. Just like they all built their browsers (and steam at its heart is more or less a webkit browser, you can do 90% of steam on your own client, or use google chrome or safari, Internet explorer) on top of open source software.

                                A side effect is, we can stick it Steam linux on an otherwise ordinary linux distro too. This is because Valve want the platform to be open - but perhaps not in the sense you understand that. To Valve's eyes, the PC platform running windows 7 was open. Anyone could sell a windows program. They could put steam on windows. What they see as closed is things like Apple and, potentially windows 8, where you get one store to buy things from and an app like Steam isn't allowed.

                                But they aren't writing steam for linux to attract the kind of linux guy who fiddles while RMS eats. If that guy is you, you are not really the market. They want, I believe, gamers to buy and use the linux-based hardware and software. Gamers have, quite obviously now, embraced and accepted Steam. They went through all the wrangling and pitfalls years ago. As have a large number of game developers and publishers. Whether they will publish linux versions will be interesting to see. But I think you are wide of the mark with your inferences.

                                This is an awesome Linux coverage site, and the main writer has personal relations with Valve and is a big fan, but I don't seen any positives out of this for Linux.
                                Well, I suppose it depends what you see as positive and the POV you have. But I think you're missing the point of this.

                                When you look at the bazillions of people using android smart phones you may notice many of them don't even know they have linux or care.

                                They don't foam at the mouth when you shout "Windows 7" at them. (Although I suppose, ironically, they might get their knickers in a twist if you start comparing their phone to a windows phone or an iphone) Presumably the real people to foam at the mouth and argue with, if you buy some kind of Steam box, will be xbox 720 (or whatever it is called) and PS4 owners, rather than with other linux users.

                                As a linux user you will still be able to argue with people that use a different distro from you (the idiots!) and windows 7/8 users ('nuff said) as well as with BSD developers (what a dumb license!) and yourself. So you'll be busy without needing to fret about Steam on linux.

                                There are, however, far more Android users than there are linux desktop users. See? Google didn't need to worry about what linux desktop users, or even linux users thought at all. It didn't matter. They just built something for phone users. There may be some overlap, of course. Valve will build something for gamers. Something that has the kind of products and software features they feel will attract gamers - and you just have to accept that is something Valve appear to be very good at, both with their own games and with Steam.

                                Steam on linux might not sell the RMS swimsuit edition or a cut out keep Steve Ballmer print for your dartboard - because, it doesn't need to attract you - unless, that is, you happen to want to buy and play shedloads of computer games.

                                I suspect Steam on linux, in the main, will resemble that, a piece of hardware in front of my TV that looks like Steam. The fact it's running linux underneath or upsets you in some way won't really matter. No more than my router running some version of linux that presents a bunch of web pages.

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