Archive for January, 2013

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.