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

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  • #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?


    • #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.


      • #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; 03 April 2013, 08:54 PM.


        • #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.


          • #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.


            • #26
              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?


              • #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.


                • #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.


                  • #29

                    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 can?t 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. Don?t 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 Ethereal; 05 April 2013, 10:33 AM.


                    • #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?


                      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.