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Ubuntu Games Linux

Valve Begins Listing Linux Requirements For Certain Games On Steam 332

Deathspawner writes "Perhaps hinting at the fact that the official Steam for Linux launch isn't too far off, Valve has begun updating some game pages to include Linux system requirements. Some games don't list only Ubuntu as the main supported distro, with some listing Linux Mint and Fedora as well. A common theme is that Valve recommends you always use a 'fully updated' OS, regardless of which distro you use. And based on the system requirements laid out so far, it's safe to say that Serious Sam 3: BFE will undoubtedly be the most system-intensive game released at launch."
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Valve Begins Listing Linux Requirements For Certain Games On Steam

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  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:32PM (#42217929)

    While I know of the advantages that Linked libraries give, such as being to update a huge set of programs at once, Allowing us coders to change how programs operate by changing the library source. However in the terms of Distributing software for different distributions it becomes a nightmare for the author. Because they can only really test a small percentage of these distributions, and who know if that unknown distribution uses that library or has the library requires to install it...

    Systems like APT do a wonderful job of solving the problem for us. But not all distributions use APT and/or they may have a different set of repositories.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:34PM (#42217967)

      So you promise to update your application forever whenever a problem with such a library is found?

      • That's the main reason Debian is against applications shipping their own static versions of libraries instead of using the system library, because it requires everyone be on top of updating, especially for security issues. If everyone links with the Debian libfoo, then if there's a security issue they can just update it. But if some projects have their own local copy of libfoo in their git tree, then you're hoping the upstream maintainer is going to promptly re-sync it. Often that doesn't happen: projects sometimes ship ancient internal versions of libraries where they just did a cp -r into their own project tree years ago and never kept up with updates. So Debian expends considerable effort ripping out these local forks.

      • So you promise to personally fix problems for developers every time shared linking is the cause?
      • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:32PM (#42218749)

        So you promise to update your application forever whenever a problem with such a library is found?

        Do you promise not to complain when an update to the library breaks the game? Or when the game fails to run on your favored niche distro?

        • Do you promise not to complain when an update to the library breaks the game?

          It behooves the platform vendor to not break the platform for software that is dependent on it. That is, presumably, the purpose of an LTS release. Not that this is impossible, Microsoft updates have broken software on Windows, but it is unlikely to happen in a way that doesn't blow up a lot of other stuff.

          Or when the game fails to run on your favored niche distro?

          That's your problem and no one else's.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:42PM (#42218095) Homepage

      Then simply tell the user to run ldd against the game binary and then fend for themselves.

      If you run something that doesn't hold your hand, then that's a conscious choice that you've made. It's completely reasonable for Valve to treat you accordingly and assume that you can fend for yourself and understand the related instructions.

      Or you could just go the "windows style installer" route and stop acting like a stupid hysterical ninny pretending that these kinds of tools for Linux haven't existed for years and years already.

    • by mrvan ( 973822 )

      Totally off topic, but actually I think the main problem with APT is not the linking, they do solve that wonderfully; and the few times that I need something that is not (yet) available from apt I can just compile myself.

      What I do find problematic is the interface of apt with language-specific library repositories. Eg pip for python, cran for R. I generally want to use those repositories since they are the de facto standard in those communities, but (1) that gives clashes if some other apt package requires

      • by wed128 ( 722152 )

        you could in theory make .debs that just contain scripts to pip or cran or cpan or whatever...

        that's one solution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:40PM (#42218061)

    I just got my beta invite yesterday -after specifying I was on Debian Sid (I never expected an invite since I'm not using Ubuntu). Will fiddle with it and get it running today, I'll definitely buy a few games just because.

    Seems like they are close to releasing.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:41PM (#42218071)

    ... what "fully updated" means. It certainly sounds like the author thinks that the latest distro and kernel is what's recommended.

    It's not.

    >Ubuntu 12.04

    Valve is recommending the LTS and not 12.10, as well they should. Recommending the latest kernel and distro is asking for nothing but pain for everybody involved.

    As far as the hardware recommendations go, they're not outrageous either.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm the author. I take "fully updated" as meaning A) take one of the listed supported distros and then B) keep it updated. I'm really not sure how else you could take it.
  • by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:43PM (#42218109)
    The way I see it, this entire situation is hilarious. Us Linux people have been wanting something like this to happen for, well, forever, and it is finally happening. The lack of serious gaming on Linux has been one of the things holding it back on the desktop market. Now that we're finally getting that, and a serious contender to the Windows gaming hegemony is present, all anyone can do is cry and scream "not good enough dammit not good enough" because not every Steam title ever made will be available on release. I bet if the year of the linux desktop ever happens /. will be the first one to criticize it.
  • by mrvan ( 973822 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:43PM (#42218111)

    The linked article shows how Amnesia (which is an excellent game, btw, at least part 1 is) will be supported on different platforms, but I'm pretty sure Amnesia already runs on those platforms. So it seems to me that Valve is supporting ubuntu, but will list other OS'es that happen to be supported by the (original) publisher?

    Of course this is all deduction from rumors and two screenshots, so take cum grano salis....

  • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:46PM (#42218157) Homepage
    I surely hope Linux Mint catches on,, it is basically Ubuntu minus the bad decisions Canonical has made recently.
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:51PM (#42218211) Journal

    More choices typically work out better for consumers. Sure, you can game on your WinPC, or OSX, or your Dreamcast or XBox or whatever, but arguing that enabling Linux gaming is a bad idea is terribly short sighted. More choices = more competition = better value for consumers.

    I, for one, will likely sign up for steam/Linux and make sure to buy a game or three to see how it goes as I support this development. I sincerely hope Valve gets plenty rich doing this as it finally proves a business model that Loki Games (remember them?) couldn't do a decade or so ago. (I bought all their games)

  • Or is the Debian open philosophy just too incompatible with the idea of Linux gaming?

  • by a-zarkon! ( 1030790 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:55PM (#42218279)

    Maybe this is how it already works - but if it isn't here's an avenue I would investigate:

    Shouldn't it be possible for Steam to build a hypervisor type environment? If they have a common hypervisor they port the game once to run in that environment. Then all they need to do is get their hypervisor running on Windows, *NIX, MAC, whatever.

    There's definitely some additional processing overhead on this, but it seems that it would be a very efficient model once you have the hypervisor built. I would think you could probably push the specs/API/etc to the game publishers and have the game developer team adopt their game to the platform.

    I don't know anything about how Steam works under the covers so maybe they're already doing this. I'm curious, but not enough to do the legwork.

    • by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:02PM (#42218367)
      This technology already exists in the form of Java. Java solved this exact problem in 1997 but despite massive improvements Java is still about 1.5x to 2x slower than native code (it used to be 5-10x slower, so they've really done some work!) which doesn't hurt most applications but the overhead makes it less attractive for game development.
      • *slaps head* Yep. Java should do it, but you're also dead on with respect to the slowness.
    • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:24PM (#42218641)
      The only thing Valve does with other people's games is make sure the code gets from their servers to your box. That's all. They don't port, and they don't patch until and unless the publisher provides them with a patch to download from Steam's servers too.

      Publishers are not going to bite at something that demands they keep specific-distributor-only builds around just so Valve can build some clunky hypervisor. The only segment of PC gaming that might be worth the effort are sports titles, and EA pretty much has those sewn up tighter than a drum.

  • by hduff ( 570443 )

    Sad to see that they are not being distro-agnostic and standards-compliant. That would solve many, many problems.

    • standards-compliant

      Which standards? That's always the problem with standards, there are so many of them.

      If you're going to pick the Linux Standard Base [linuxbase.org], the problem there is that it's decidedly not distro-agnostic, but specifically demands RPM-based package management.

  • They opened up the trial and invited more people yesterday. I got my invite.
    I have been playing games on Linux for years.

  • Out of curiosity, is there a list of games that are expected to be released on Linux? Is it everything that says "SteamPlay" or some subset therein?
  • by juancn ( 596002 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:32PM (#42221135) Homepage

    Since I heard they were doing Steam for Linux I can't get it out of my head that they should build their own distro. They should probably pursue a similar strategy than the one Google did with Android.

    They could partner with hardware manufacturers and certify PCs or console-like devices that they are compliant with the distribution hardware requirements, maybe setting several levels of hardware support. So you can buy a 'level 3' Steam PC, and be sure that a certain number of games run on it without issues.

    I would probably buy something like that if the experience was hassle-free enough.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun