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Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming 768

dartttt writes "In a presentation at Ubuntu Developer Summit currently going on in Denmark, Drew Bliss from Valve said that Linux is more viable than Windows 8 for gaming. Windows 8 ships with its own app store and it is not an open platform anymore and Linux has everything they need: good OpenGL, pulseaudio, OpenAL and input support."
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Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming

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  • Fear... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rwven ( 663186 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:51AM (#41805213)

    What I fear is that Valve will dive deep into Linux, and then suddenly realize that supporting software like steam and games on Linux may be a bit more challenging than they thought it would.

    The myriad hardware types out there with myriad sets of less-than-optimal drivers might present myriad problems, even if Valve does master the video-card/opengl end of things. I know I get vastly different experiences with Ubuntu depending on if I install it on one desktop versus another versus my laptop. They all have their own sets of issues, and none of them are remotely perfect.

    This whole affair with valve just reminds me of some computer user adopting a new platform with vim and vigor...and then realizing it's not all it's cracked up to be a few weeks or months later. I myself did this with mac, but it took a couple years for me to come to my senses, unfortunately.

    There are MANY legitimate reasons why Linux on the desktop has not taken off. I fear that Valve just hasn't encountered the right set of those reasons yet.

  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:56AM (#41805311)
    Because "better for games" doesn't mean "viable for games" or "good for games".

    My TI82 is better for games than my typewriter.
  • Re:Fear... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by second_coming ( 2014346 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:56AM (#41805321)
    SteamOS... the next logical step.
  • by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:56AM (#41805329) Homepage
    You make a good point, but Valve has the clout to pull this off and negate your argument.
  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:59AM (#41805373)

    The problem with Windows 8 is that it isn't the best choice for anything anymore. Want to run old Windows apps? Want to run old games? Want to develop new games (as in TFA)? Want to run current Windows apps? Want a tested, stable Windows platform? Want a minimal hardware Windows platform? Whatever your question, there are better alternatives than Windows 8. Microsoft has really dug themselves into a deep hole at the moment...and the implications for the future are breathtaking.

  • Re:Fear... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zrbyte ( 1666979 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:59AM (#41805389)

    This may work if the real plan of Valve is to release a Linux based console having Steam. From there supporting Linux is a no brainer.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:00PM (#41805423) Homepage

    Roll another Debian-a-like, tailor it to games, market it through Steam to Windows users and say "Why update to Windows 8? Here's a free OS. Live boot it and see if you like it."

    Disclaimer: the author is tired of keeping a creaking XP partition going just for Steam, and would bite their hand off to get in on a beta and help out.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:09PM (#41805573)
    I installed Windows 8 RC on my work PC today, purely because we'll either be upgrading to Win7 or Win8 come summer 2013, and I thought I'd best at least give it a go before dismissing it entirely. If you've not used it, try it; Metro is not bad. In fact, i'd say it's almost exactly like Win7 Start Menu, only it has more information on it.

    The only reason I can see for hating Metro (besides the "walled garden" thing, which is a MAJOR turn-off) is that you're still navigating the start menu folders with your mouse. After about 5 minutes, I thought I'd try hitting the Start key and typing a program name, as you can in Win7; It worked exactly as I expected; List of apps with the same name, then other shortcuts in other areas, then files.

    If your biggest issue with Windows 8 is the UI, then at least have a good go at using it. It took me around an hour to get used to it, and I've been a point-and-click Windows user since MSDOS 4. I reserve judgement about the rest of the "features".
  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:25PM (#41805877)

    If a 3.8% advantage is "massive", what words do you reserve for things that have advantages/improvements on the order of 50%+?

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KugelKurt ( 908765 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:32PM (#41806011)

    The only thing tying a lot of people (myself included) to Windows is gaming.

    A lot? According to this interview with Ubisoft representatives, only 7% of Ubi's 2011 revenue was generated on PC and 5% of Activision's revenue: []

    That means that >90% of gaming happens on other platforms anyway (consoles, smartphones) and for those users gaming is not what's keeping them on Windows.
    From my experience with Windows users, many have a completely irrational attachment to Windows. They use it because they "know" it and they don't want Linux because they "don't know" it, even though their Windows installations are full of crapware and they could be fooled by any random Linux distribution with a Windows-themed splash screen.

  • by wmac1 ( 2478314 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:37PM (#41806101)

    Anyone remembers Kylix (Borland Delphi for Linux)?

    It was a great project but almost no one obtained or used it. It cost perhaps millions for Borland to develop and the cost (along with the unsuccessful Borland Java Builder) made Borland almost bankrupt.

    I had the pleasure of using Kylix, but who else cares?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:39PM (#41806139)

    Linux users will embrace this but as a Windows user I know a little bit about other more novice users. Does anyone know if Valve would contemplate making a "console"/computer? e.g. sell a Ubuntu PC setup for gaming?

  • Re:Fear... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:47PM (#41806271) Homepage

    What I hope is that Valve expects this, and is taking a chance at martyrdom for the greater good of gamers.

    While forking and customization is the heart and soul of Linux, the fragmentation is also its weakness. With a target market of "only people who think like I do", each new standard sees only minimal adoption and leads to having whole branches of inheritance that are incompatible with each other. Consider, for example, the schism between RPM and dpkg packages. Effectively, a new project must be packaged twice, placing extra burden on the developer, or as (one format and) source, placing the extra burden on (some) users.

    What I see as being immensely useful to Linux overall is having a major altruistic push toward compatibility, and Valve appears to be positioning itself to help. Tongue-in-cheek, I'll call it the One True Platform. Certainly not the only option, but rather a lofty goal of certain compatibility standards to be met. Rather than having to support Linux in general, with the myriad variations, a developer can just offer support for "Steam on Linux", work through Steam (and, conveniently/profitably, Valve's engines) as a compatibility layer, and trust that everything will be fine.

    In large part, this process has already been begun by Ubuntu making a simple distro that usually just works (in some fashion), so it can be the baseline recommendation for users, reducing the burden on new users. With Steam as a baseline for game development, the burden on developers is also reduced. All together, that makes a single market for hardware vendors to target, with a fairly low support burden, hopefully leading to more cooperation from vendors in the long run.

    It's a tricky game for Valve, with only a few long-shot chances at major profits, but if it works, the benefit to the Linux community is enormous. In the mean time, Valve gets to play the knight in shining armor, saving FOSS-loving gamers from the tyranny of Microsoft, which also distracts from Steam's inherent nature as DRM.

  • by atlasdropperofworlds ( 888683 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:54PM (#41806417)

    install software will be through Microsoft's app store

    I've been hearing people say this, but it just makes no sense in any way whatsoever. Windows still has a desktop job to do, and it's a big enough market that there's no way they'll ignore it. Where is data to back up with mythical beast of a rumor?

  • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:59PM (#41806519)
    I had to comment on this.

    I've heard this "year of the Linux desktop" used quite a bit, but never really from actual Linux users boasting. Normally I hear it from people looking to mock Linux users. I have to say since I gave up using windows in 2010 and moved to Ubuntu and Linux Mint, I've notice a lot more people using variations of Linux. I mean since I've made the switch, my Wife and in-laws have made the switch at my suggestion over buying brand new computers. My father and several cousins and friends I can think of have also made the switch, but I had nothing to do with them switching.

    Maybe there won't be defined "This year is the year of the Linux desktop.", but I think it is and will continue to catch on.
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:03PM (#41806631)

    I doubt they will be moving solely to ARM anytime soon.

    I didn't say Windows RT, I said WinRT. If you're confused, it's because Microsoft is masterful at making stupidly confusing names for things.

    WinRT is the new API introduced with Windows 8 and Windows RT. It is available on both, and on Windows RT it is the only API available for 3rd party developers. It is locked down on both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

  • Re:Fear... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:18PM (#41806941)
    It is more likely that they will have a Steam compatible specification for Linux distros. If a Linux distros want to be compatible with Steam, they have to follow the specification. Steam will probably work closely with at least one distro in the beginning (probably Ubuntu) to make sure that at least one major distro supports the specification.
  • by ghostdoc ( 1235612 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:22PM (#41807035)

    No surprise there. The same applies to many different areas where Linux is way more efficient than Windows is. Everybody knows Windows is bloated beyond comprehension. I use Linux for my primary machine, and also use Windows machines daily and in comparison the Linux desktop smokes Windows. Everything from data processing, running virtual machines, LAN performance, you name it. Windows has a monopoly and since it has close to 90% of the market, software companies will continue to develop for it. If Linux had more market share, more companies would develop commercial software for it. So, even though Windows has a majority of the market share, it is definitely not the best OS. It's simply the most popular OS, for now.

    Until Linux stops all their internal bickering and decides on one native standard for all gaming they will never been seen as better. The reason Microsoft dominates is because they standardized the market on Directx. Write once, work on all. For Linux it's not that easy yet and 3% performance doesn't outweigh the headaches.

    Agree with both, but once Valve decides to bring Steam to the Linux party and get most of the games library working then two things happen:
    1: one of the major reasons (if not *the* major reason) for using Windows at home disappears: gaming.
    2: the Linux development community can go on bickering all they want, but unless their proposed solutions are compatible with what Valve are building Steam on they'll be irrelevant as no-one will use them. Steam will effectively create the standard.

    Linux is simply better code and a better architecture than Windows, as it should be; it's had developers calling the shots not commercial managers. So it's not at all surprising that it will run stuff faster than Windows. I suspect a LOT faster once there's been a few iterations.

    Interesting times :)

  • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:42PM (#41807417)
    Yeah, that's how I started out.

    Originally I bought a Windows XP laptop that came with a free Vista upgrade, I should have stuck with XP. After the upgrade I started having all kinds of issues with drivers and blue screens, despite the fact that my laptop had a "Vista Ready" sticker on it. So I duel booted with Ubuntu 9.xx for a while, then eventually put the Windows 7 developers preview on. After the preview ran out and MS locked the OS I switched to Linux Mint and just forced myself to use it. After a few months I really felt I had a handle on it and Linux Mint was working way better than windows ever had for me. Then my brother and sister convinced me to start a Minecraft server and I found I could run the server or actually use the machine, but not both. The laptop was going on five years old at that point so I bought a new laptop from System 76 that came preloaded Ubuntu 12.04. So now my old Linux Mint laptop is a Mincraft/Meda server and my new laptop is for work and games.

    What I found was when I was conformable doing things a certain way it was difficult to get away from Windows because I ended up having to relearn a bunch of stuff or just boot windows and get it done. Once I finally said, "Ok, no more Windows period" it was darker for awhile, but then everything got a lot easier. Now I use Linux for everything and find that windows doesn't have the tools in place to get things done.
  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:13PM (#41808053)

    Admittedly, I am not a lot of people, but more than 90+% of my gaming happens on a PC, and I game *a lot*. I don't so much refuse to buy a console as much as I really just don't like them and have never bothered with one since the original Nintendo. It may have something to do with how much I like FPS games. I do have some games on my tablet or phone, but those get played only when I'm bored or I can't get to my PC.

    I'm also a System Engineer who works 95% of the time in Linux. I don't have any irrational need to stick to Windows. I cannot play the games I want to play on Linux, and I refuse to bother with WINE just to make a point. I'm happy Valve is looking into this, but until there is some serious traction on Linux gaming and a few other areas on the desktop, I'm sticking with Windows for everything that doesn't require me to code or run a server on it. It's not great, but it's sufficient, whereas desktop Linux isn't even sufficient for my needs.

    And the applications... I swear, I must keep downloading The GIMP or Open/Libre/Whatever Office every six months or so hoping that trying to use it doesn't make me claw my eyes out. I get that I'm used to a lot of the Windows crap, so that's part of it, but I've been using office and image tools since I bought a toaster Mac, and I still don't understand why I can go from Mac to Windows seamlessly, but for some reason, the Linux version of everything needs to be different. And it's not that I just use MS or Adobe apps either.

    Anyway, still waiting anxiously for someone to figure out games and to a lesser extent, applications, so I can switch my Windows box to be a VM under my Linux box, instead of vice-versa.

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:34PM (#41808419)

    This says little about linux being better then windows.

    It says a lot about valve optimizing it's graphics engine.

  • by daver00 ( 1336845 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @08:07PM (#41812309)

    You know there are open and free licenses for software which had nothing to do with Stallman, right? Many people, myself included, find that these often unencumbered OSS licenses are even better than GNU.

    I think you just successfully demonstrated the viewpoint that the GP was referring to...

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:19AM (#41814129) Journal

    Notice I get labeled a fricking troll for pointing out what should be fucking obvious? For all those Linux zealots I'll spell it out...STEAM IS A DRM PLATFORM...

    Now do YOU believe that the FOSSie faction will allow a DRM PLATFORM to function and thrive on Linux Lukester? I don't, in fact I can look it to my magical obvious ball and tell you EXACTLY what will happen...6 months after Valve releases? Ooops. changes to some of the core files broke sound, well that wouldn't happen Gabe if you'd open up the code but as long as its closed...oh well, shit happens. 6 months later...Oops, well the X11 is fucked for Steam, and so is the networking, well that wouldn't happen Gabe If you just would open up your code but as long as its closed? Oh well, shit happens.

    If there is ANYONE that doesn't believe there are serious GPL zealots in the top ranks of the code devs you obviously haven't been paying attention. hell look at how VLC can't be offered on the iPad because a SINGLE dev refused to allow it to be anywhere that didn't "respect the GPL". Hell the very first fucking POST I MADE HERE had multiple responses that were basically "GPL will win, they can't stop us"...yeah but you know what they CAN do? They can NOT ALLOW THEIR GAMES ON YOUR SYSTEM because you refuse to quit breaking the DRM platform it runs on!

    Now as far as Tux Racer? Really not surprised, I've offered my "Hairyfeet challenge" here for years against those that believe Linux is truly a functional system, not ONE taker will to step up, not one. It simply doesn't work because too many of the devs treat critical internals as their own hobbyist playground, where they can just change what they want and if it breaks shit? Oh well you have the source so YOU can fix it...yeah, like Suzy the checkout girl is gonna spend 4 years in college learning C programming to fix YOUR messes, not likely Sparky.

    Mark my words, whether win 8 bombs or not Valve WILL end up abandoning Steam on Linux, because the low level system devs will make it impossible to keep it running, no different than how the games Loki released won't run on Linux but the Windows versions? Still run just fine. The ONLY chance valve has is if they "pull a Google" and simply take the system AWAY from the devs, something like a Steambox with hardware DRM, but of course that will cost tens of millions because they will have to go through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure no GPL V3 code is in it, then they will have to maintain the entire thing in house.

    Personally i think Gabe drank too much of the koolaid and thinks the Linux devs will be nice to him, when reality they are gonna fuck him HARD because Steam is DRM and they HATE DRM and anything not GPL. You watch, when valve refuses to open Steam they will have it broken constantly by the devs, its gonna be a fucking nightmare for them. They'd be better off crawling back to MSFT and trying to become the games part of the Windows appstore than they would trying to make money with DRM on Linux.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?