If this is your first visit, be sure to
check out the FAQ by clicking the
link above. You may have to register
before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages,
select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Looks like no one has stated the obvious, which makes me think if I'm missing something...
What worries me is the hardware support. Think about this: what hurts linux usage in the desktop is new users trying to use linux and failing to install/configure/run the distro, their programs and/or their (new) hardware. Let's say you download SteamOS and find out that it doesn't work as it should, what would you do? what do you think basic users/gamers will think, and say, about SteamOS and Linux? What do you think PC enthusiasts would think when their latest hardware doesn't even work?
Now, if SteamOS is based on Ubuntu 12.04... what would the hardware support be? How many bugs (persistent) you have had coming from, say, video drivers, or audio, or...? Have you seen the state of fglrx and the F/OS radeon driver? For me, fglrx has been a mess (it's good until you find one of those annoying bugs), and the F/OS driver is still being developed, it lacks optimizations, testing, features, ... and this is for the old architecture. Have you looked at GCN+ GPUs support? it's just recently started, kernel 3.12 still doesn't have complete support, AFAIK, and there is NO distro shipping 3.12 as official kernel.
I don't think a customized, downloadable distro is a good idea for Steam, or for anyone else wanting to have a product with good support.
I really hope I'm wrong about this all, though.
New users will not need to install SteamOS, they just need to buy a SteamBox which will have SteamOS preinstalled and configured with the proper drivers. And, any manufacturer can take SteamOS and build its own SteamBox and it's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure the drivers are configured correctly, not the user's responsibility. This is exactly what happens on the Windows side. In short, you are wrong.
The Steam Box is exciting, but what is the current legal situation around shipping BLOBs linked to the Kernel?
I thought that the reason that the ATI/NVidia drivers were "ok" was that effectively the end user downloads and installs them (i.e. the bits that link to GPL code/headers aren't supplied in binary form)?
Can Valve actually ship a Linux kernel including pre-built kernel modules for ATI/NVidia? I know that the standard Distros don't (at least by default - you have to enable an iffy non-free repo)...
One thing that I may have missed with all the excitement about the Steam Box is "how does the NVidia/ATI BLOB work with the GPL"?
My understanding was that the *end user* has to download the BLOB, compile the wrapper that references the GPL headers, and install it. If someone were to compile the module (and thus include links to the GPL symbols) and try to ship that, it would be considered a derivative work of the GPL bits.
Can Valve ship an OS that includes the kernel module-link BLOBs? Or are they going to make the user download and install them? I know that Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora don't ship with the BLOBs for this reason...
Can I just say "Hmm... Could I have the source code for everything that you ship linked to GPL licensed code?"
Valve can distribute the blobs just fine with their distro if they wish however to avoid a bunch of stink being made they can just do like many other distros do for binary packages and point the system to a link away from the distribution media. openSUSE for example points nvidia and amd users to nvidia's and amd's own hosted repositories.
What do you think PC enthusiasts would think when their latest hardware doesn't even work?
I pretty much agree with your post, but this, I need to point out, is a contradiction. A PC enthusiast that doesn't bother reading before testing anything (this means, you should actually check support for your hardware, and have a basic understanding of its situation) is either not really an enthusiast, or severely stupid.
Which is why I think the game streaming client, will be release under free license, so OEM can compile it for their different consumer device embedded OS, for I easily see smart TV and Apple TV like box manufacturer, except maybe for Sony, integrating that service.
The server on the other hand will be proprietary, due to been integrated in the steam client.
That is a great point. Valve would have much to gain from that approach. Would Valve be concerned that this may lead to incompatible fragmentation through modifications introduced by equipment vendors? Google's solution to this problem in Android has been a proprietary runtime that only Google-approved vendors are allowed access to, which in my opinion is an absolutely horrible solution. I hope that this mode of thinking does not influence Valve.
Even though I don't play games personally, I would love to see an open source Steam client that distributions can distribute through their repositories, using their own packaging and distribution techniques. I believe something like that would strengthen the existing concepts of centralized package management, which I have always felt was one of the key practical advantages of the Linux world over proprietary OSes.
I think SteamOS is a good idea because this way gaming on most Linux distros will be easily supported via automatically set up SteamOS chroots (delivered as a package through existing package management), suddenly making many Linux distros viable choices for gamers and giving developers a single build target for near universal Linux support... hopefully.