Desktop Linux – Steam as a new Chance

I enjoy running my Desktop  under Linux. And while I am a long-term KDE supporter, my desktop diverges from the standard KDE setup quite drastically: There are no “Activities”, no noticeable Plasmoids  and nothing on the desktop except one folder view. This flexibility is exactly Linux greatest strength, but the average users neither needs nor want this. Wikipedia claims 1.19% desktop market share – a stagnation at best. I do not want it to go down. So who will give Linux Desktop a new push?

Canonical has recently started diverging drastically from other distributions – no KDE, no Gnome, just Unity including intentional AdWare and privacy issues and a built-in Software Shop. This un-unifying does not help Linux.

Now Valve has entered the Scene – providing Steam, developing the Linux based Steam Box, and doing native ports of their game engines and games. While at beta, Valve is already doing things the Linux way: You have desktop files, it integrates into the package system, installs requirements like 32-bit libs  and so forth. Valves investment is a good thing. They are tackling many issues that bring Linux forward, for example pushing hardware vendors like NVidia or providing a better fullscreen mode [1].
So I will be positive and count Valve’s work as a second chance for Linux Desktop and Multimedia. Users are more likely considering Linux if there are well-known games around.

KMix in Half Life 1

Half Life under Linux requires PulseAudio. In the middle: KMix OSD.

[1] Fullscreen mode has sometimes quirks:

  • Unexpectedly leaving fullscreen. For example some Flashplayer  applications or “Trine 2″ may leave fullscreen when you press KMix volume buttons (even w/o OSD)
  • Problems with global keyboard shortcuts. Apps can sometimes take away keys from fullscreen applications
  • Popups showing up. The image above shows the KMix OSD in Half Life.
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12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Trail on January 28, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I thought having KMix OSD showing up on games and other fullscreen applications was intentional…

    Since I am usually physically hitting the respective laptop/keyboard buttons, I figured it was a nice thought to have it being displayed, so I can tell for example when I reach the maximum sound limit. Seemed more like a job well done than a bug, to me, is what I’m saying.

    Reply

    • It is neither wanted nor unwanted. Currently it is rather unobtrusive in most cases. But it takes away keyboard control from the fullscreen application, which is sometimes undesirable. And when fullscreen ends by hitting “volume up”, this is just not what one wants.

      Reply

      • Posted by Trail on January 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

        Hmm… Well, it wouldn’t end fullscreen and wouldn’t take away keyboard control, in my case.

        YMMV and all that.

  2. Posted by logic on January 28, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Are you saying that proprietary closed-source Steam with adaware and own built-in shop (not to mention of DRM) is more good thing than Canonical with opensource Ubuntu?

    Reply

    • You must have misread my article. I am not promoting Steam. If you follow my post, you will see that I am simply hoping on positive side effects of Valve’s efforts. Issues that should have been fixed since several years.

      Reply

  3. Posted by nowardev on January 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

    http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/steamd-penguins/ here it says that they have choosen ubuntu for some reasons .

    -so ubuntu it’s not the evil , they did some choice and it worked in some aspects.

    -ubuntu is designed for unity but you can download and install kde.

    -focusing in a DE is NOT a bad thing i would be focused on kde btw.

    for me that i used a lots of distros :

    opensuse failed on the hardware.
    archlinux hahaha i should read the manual for an intel ? are you crazy?
    gentoo bah compiling ? wtf i don’t care
    etc etc

    ubuntu is a good distro no so much problem in hardware no too much to read.

    for me distros are like religions , they make divisions so …

    Reply

    • Well, probably my post was a bit too harsh on Ubuntu. Ubuntu is nice, and I am using it, even though it fails on several of my soundcards (that work under OpenSUSE, BTW :). But this does not mean following blindly their every move: Canonical got correctly criticised by the EFF and Richard Stallmann (FSF) as producing Spyware and AdWare. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/10/privacy-ubuntu-1210-amazon-ads-and-data-leaks , http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do

      Reply

      • Posted by nowardev on January 29, 2013 at 9:37 am

        hey mate I do not want to be argumentative, I mean I use kde on ubuntu kernel so I do not worry so much about ubuntu. you should consider my post as a discussion of pub:

        welll stallman is not the guru , sometimes he is too much extremist for me . i don’t accept the truth of gurus .i have a brain and i use it

        for me the only stuff that they should do it’s ask to user if they wanted amazon lens enabled at the first login .

        if you don’t leave the freedom to do what they like it’s still freedom ? or a regime ?

        btw amazon lens can be disabled on the system settings .

        for the privacy stuff, well you should not trust even the ubuntu’s kernel .. you should not trust even unity in toto…

        btw canonical has said that informations about users are elabored on canical servers anonimally …. (shuttleworht website is down now but search for amzon lens shuttleworth. and you should find it when it will be up )

        but let me show you a thinking :

        if you don’t trust unity , you can always use lxde xfce gnome2 gnome3 and of course what i use that is kde.

        canonical is not evil cuz has forked de facto gnome , if you think this this means that , you should say that xfce mate gnome2 are the evil cuz gnome3 it’s the real desktop the the others are just fake desktop.

        what i think it’s that gnome3 devs has done a great mistake chosing to upset gnome desktop instead to integrate it. so people did not liked it . and because there is freedom unity mate were born. and this is because there were integralist cuz their rule was : communication? cooperation? this is gnome design

        so the true evil thing here it is the point of view of gnome3 devs well sintetized here

        http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/24813181.jpg

        why i use kde ? cuz kde’s mind is open

  4. Posted by Coward anonymous on January 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Not a chance, unfortunately, unless opensource developers change their mindset http://bit.ly/gBOiz6

    Reply

  5. Posted by librarian on January 28, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I don’t share this common enthusiasm for Valve bringing the worst kind of DRM to Linux. I have a Windows box for gaming, but I ditched Steam long time ago, when they updated their policy so that they don’t offer games but subscribtions. Steam represents the worst trend in consumer computing – taking away the product (which can be given, resold, inherited) in return for a limited “service”.

    So how does this affect me? Well, there is increasing number of Windows download-only games that can only be bought on Steam and I fear same will happen on Linux. Several indie developers are defaulting to Steam, but they prepare Linux packages knowing there’s no Steam on that platform… Well not anymore. Goodbye, freedom!

    Reply

    • I am not promoting Steam. I am promoting the side-effects, that might have positive effects. Yes, Valve and Steam are an easy and popular target. But neither was DRM invented by Valve, nor were software (or game) licenses.
      Your arguments when calling “Goodbye, freedom!” are just plain wrong. What do you gain if you get the package directly from the indie developers? Definitely not more freedom! You are seriously mistaken if you believe that you buy the product when you buy a Linux package. I bought several Linux games directly from the game developers, and the licenses are all non-free (e.g. no resale). Here is an excerpt from Amnesia, it explicitly states “non-transferable license”:

      Frictional Games HB (the “Vendor”) grants to the user (the “Licensee”) a non-exclusive and non-transferable license (the “License”) to use the software.

      Reply

  6. [...] Desktop Linux – Steam as a new Chance [...]

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