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Debian Graphics Operating Systems Software Games

Under the Hood of SteamOS 201 201

jones_supa writes "SteamOS has been further inspected to see what kind of technical solutions it uses. The Debian-based OS uses Linux 3.10, shipping with a heap of patches applied, with the most focus being on real-time-like features. The kernel is also using aufs and they seem to be sitting on some bug fixes for upstream on top of that. The kernel is not using the new Intel P-State driver, with the reported reason being, 'it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.' SteamOS is using SysVinit as its init system. The desktop is backed by X.Org server 1.12.4 and a custom desktop compositor which seems to be a 4,200-line patch on xcompmgr. Catalyst and Mesa components can be found on the system, but so far only NVIDIA is officially supported. The system boots into Big Picture Mode, but the user can drop into a GNOME desktop. Responsible for a great deal of the kernel changes, SteamOS compositor work, and other SteamOS code is Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, a.k.a. 'Plagman'. He was a NVIDIA employee dealing with their Linux support. Another Valve employee doing lots of the SteamOS system-level work is John Vert, who up until last year was a Microsoft employee since 1991. There's also other former Microsoft employees on Valve's Linux team, like Mike Sartain."
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Under the Hood of SteamOS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @08:45PM (#45692093)

    Forking/Fragmenting is good when it solves a problem. Not when the differences are between using different conventions.

    So... "A Linux-based gaming console" is a problem best solved by stock Ubuntu/Debian, rather than fine-tuning aspects of the OS to handle gaming demands that a desktop or server machine doesn't have? What are you getting at? Of course you fork something if you have a new use case.

    Seriously, the iThingamajig audience has already taught me to hear "fragmentation" in the same tone of voice and significance as a Fox News pundit saying "destroying America" (voice: "whiny, desperate, and entitled"; significance: "zero"). You're not helping.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @08:45PM (#45692097)

    Wow...slightly different toolbars.

    such doom
    horrible fragmentation
    can't use

  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @08:56PM (#45692145)

    They are not fragmenting, they are deriving. As long as they offer their patches back to Debian or the upstream from there, everything is fine.

  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @09:23PM (#45692247)
    uefi is not "restrictive". In fact, it provides quite a bit of additional functionality that never existed in BIOS. The only thing that has come from it that has been "restrictive" is a permissive feature called SecureBoot, also known as allowing for code signing to take place. Valve does not have code signing turned on in SteamOS, so that doesn't even impact you at all.

    Or are you saying restrictive in the sense that it only shipped by default on x86-64 computers for the past 4 years?
  • this is idiotic. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markhahn (122033) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @10:40PM (#45692513)

    the proliferation of distros is just stupid - people don't seem to understand what "distro" means, or why they should be offering addons to an existing distro, rather than pretending that they are building a new OS.

    the ONLY value a distro offers is in establishing a particular set of versions, with a modicum of consistency of config and hopefully some testing. none of them offer anything significant that is also distinctive - just slightly different versions of the same packages maintained by others and used by all the other distros. yes, apt vs rpm, so what? they're functionally equivalent.

    the real point is really a matter of software engineering: forking a distro is bad, since it increases the friction experienced by source-code changes. streamOS (sic) people may be dilligent and honestly propagate their changes upstream, but fundamentally, they should really just be running an apt repo containing their trivially modded packages. sure, that may mean a different kernel, big whoopie (very little of user-space is sensitive to anything but huge kernel changes.)

    but yeah: it wouldn't be very sexy to say "I've got a repo of 37 tweaked packages I call a brand new whizzy *OS*".

  • by Zynder (2773551) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:07AM (#45693421)
    Speaking of........
    FOR THE LOVE OF [insert deity], do NOT buy your significant other a Sybian. I don't care if you are hung like a mule and fuck like a pornstar on a kilo of meth, you absolutely CAN NOT compete with the power of the Sybian. Hit up xhamster sometime and watch some of those videos. Some of those ladies are having a damned seizure, fall off of the things like a drunken cat on the back of a couch, forget how to speak English and break out into some kind of demon language, and some even appear to end up with some kind of amnesia and are cross-eyed. If you were barely ranking in the "mediocre" category, this will ruin your sex life forever because it'll really put just how bad you actually are right in a big ol WW2 air raid spotlight. Some of us just can't cope with that reality....is it dusty in here? *sob*

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