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Seems Valve do intend to go back to SteamOS at some point

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SteamOS, the Valve-made Linux distribution that was originally for the failed Steam Machine initiative has gradually vanished into the sidelines but it seems it won't be forever.

A while ago, we did see indications that Valve would work on SteamOS 3.0 "Clockwerk" back in 2018 but they've still been very quiet on it since apart from a few minor package updates to SteamOS 2 "Brewmaster".

Valve have been extremely active on other fronts though of course. As a quick bit of history: for Linux they put out Steam Play Proton, the ACO shader compiler for AMD, this new Steam Linux Runtime container system, the micro-compositor Gamescope and there's more with people working on all sorts under contract for Valve to improve Linux.

Still, SteamOS though, what are Valve going to do with it? Sounds like when they go back to it eventually, it might not be Debian-based. In a GitHub issue on the SteamOS page about it "languishing", another user replied with an email from Valve developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais:

Yes, definitely lots of work still going on. Right now the focus is on core technology itself rather than distributing it, but we intend to get back to that in the future. I wouldn't expect much more movement on Debian-based Brewmaster at this point, however.

"Debian-based Brewmaster"—huh? Speculation here, but that sounds like they might be looking at a different base for whatever SteamOS 3.0 turns into.

One day then, we can clearly expect to see some movement on SteamOS once Valve get all the pieces of the Linux gaming puzzle into a state where they're truly happy with properly pushing it again. Perhaps, this will be after we finally find out what the heck Steam Cloud Gaming(#1, #2) turns out to be? Whenever we find out, we will of course let you know.

Thanks for the tag, mdeguzis.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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slaapliedje 26 March 2020 at 6:23 pm UTC
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WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.
Red Hat is indeed the industry standard... for enterprise level stuff. It's crap for home users. But that's not what it's intention is by a long shot!

It is even a decent workstation, but I still prefer Debian and it's derivatives as they package just about everything under the sun, and software is just an 'apt install' away.
slaapliedje 26 March 2020 at 6:24 pm UTC
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AllocBesides the issue of no security updates on SmartTVs it's also simply an issue of not getting new apps either. Our Panasonic will probably never support Disney+ as an example (actually I think it never received *any* updates for any part of it since we got it like 5 years ago ...).

I consider SmartTVs to be similar to iMacs. While it's nice in the beginning to have a good working combination (and thus integration of both parts) of the content provider and the display unit after some time you got an outdated content provider but the display unit will be just fine for years. So screens are one thing where I don't want anything else to be integrated. Just give me proper interfaces to the outside (A/V) and that's it.

So far as I've seen with my LG WebOS TV, it's actually pretty decent in getting updates, and did get the Disney+ app. Thanks for reminding me, I need to cancel that... haha
Purple Library Guy 26 March 2020 at 7:51 pm UTC
WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.
Welllll . . . certainly I get the impression that if someone in industry is going to pay for something Linux, it will be Red Hat. It's the Enterprise Linux Solution; suits buy it and its support contracts. But I also get the impression that if someone in industry is just going to get a server or something up and running to do a task which is not a big formal rollout with a ton of money involved, it is more likely to be Debian.
BrazilianGamer 26 March 2020 at 8:36 pm UTC
WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.

If you read my comment again, you'll see I was talking about applications. Not hegemony in servers. In servers there's no doubt Red hat wins by a landslide. But still, when companies or individuals think about creating any application, the first distro they know they have to support is Ubuntu or any other debian based distros in general. Simply because they are the most used therefore, popular and of course, there's a bigger chance of revenue if it is a paid software or just to have a bigger userbase.


Last edited by BrazilianGamer on 27 March 2020 at 3:15 am UTC
slaapliedje 27 March 2020 at 2:52 am UTC
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BrazilianGamer
WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.

If you read my comment again, you'll see I was talking about applications. Not hegemony in servers. In servers there's no doubt Red hat wins in a landslide. But still, when companies or individuals think about creating any application, the first distro they know they have to support is Ubuntu or any other debian based distros in general. Simply because they are the most used therefore, popular and of course, there's a bigger chance of revenue if it is a paid software or just to have a bigger userbase.
The crap thing about that is Ubuntu trying to move away from Debian packages, and instead to adopt their own Snap package management. I get that Ubuntu wants to try to make themselves special, but all that does is make them less stable, and less wanted. So many developers in the past have made excuses not to support Linux because of all the variations, but for years it has basically been Debian+RPM based systems. Any of the other distributions have people smart enough to convert packages from deb/rpm. But then Red Hat comes out with Flatpak, that everyone adopts... except Ubuntu, who decides to push snap...

Sorry, rant over. We will see how much the next few Ubuntu releases screw the pooch.
BrazilianGamer 27 March 2020 at 3:20 am UTC
slaapliedje
BrazilianGamer
WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.

If you read my comment again, you'll see I was talking about applications. Not hegemony in servers. In servers there's no doubt Red hat wins in a landslide. But still, when companies or individuals think about creating any application, the first distro they know they have to support is Ubuntu or any other debian based distros in general. Simply because they are the most used therefore, popular and of course, there's a bigger chance of revenue if it is a paid software or just to have a bigger userbase.
The crap thing about that is Ubuntu trying to move away from Debian packages, and instead to adopt their own Snap package management. I get that Ubuntu wants to try to make themselves special, but all that does is make them less stable, and less wanted. So many developers in the past have made excuses not to support Linux because of all the variations, but for years it has basically been Debian+RPM based systems. Any of the other distributions have people smart enough to convert packages from deb/rpm. But then Red Hat comes out with Flatpak, that everyone adopts... except Ubuntu, who decides to push snap...

Sorry, rant over. We will see how much the next few Ubuntu releases screw the pooch.

That's the good and bad of Linux. Fragmentation. It's always been that way and I don't see it changing in the short term. It's good for freedom of choice but not good for developers. That's why devs rather launch a game for Mac than for Linux. Maybe I'm a little biased here because I've always used Debian based distros, just Ubuntu actually. But, let's see how it plays out. May it is for the good of Linux gaming as a whole.


Last edited by BrazilianGamer on 27 March 2020 at 3:20 am UTC
Fredrik 27 March 2020 at 10:03 am UTC
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rustybroomhandleI think Arch-based would be the sensible option here. Arch-derived distros just seem way more stable and upgrade-fubar-proof than debian-derived ones.
Really? Debian is the gold standard for stability. The problem is that people want a stable OS with a "bleeding edge" graphics stack, and that's where the house of cards falls over.

Arch can provide the bleeding edge, but it requires that YOU (the end user) know what you're doing.

There are 2 vastly different things when we talk about "stability":

1) Stability in terms of software not crashing/freezing/bugging.

2) Stability in terms of software libraries/APIs/frameworks/software in general remaining the same (= stable) in order for app/game developers to know what to target for and not need to care about fixing incompatibilities with future upstream versions.

Debian is stable in terms of (2), not always in terms of (1). But people often seem to confuse the 2 and use them interchangeably in forums and discussions.

Arch derived distros are definitely stable in terms of (1). Following upstream means getting fixes for bugs and problems sooner. Yes it does break stuff that should work with earlier versions and it does require by devs to not rest on their laurels and support/maintain their code, but it is better than freezing the whole software base for 2 years just to make sure lazy devs can write their code and work without them having to modify it in the future.

Still, i don't know how feasible it would be for Valve to rebase SteamOS on something like Arch. Arch does not shy away from breaking compatibility with older versions of packages, it blindly follows upstream (as it should, being a mainly desktop oriented distro). Still, this will require SteamOS devs to learn to adopt to upstream changes faster while developing their own things. I don't believe the additional burden should be too much, it is not like they are changing everything every month. It would requires SteamOS to do constant updates though, as Arch philosophy is "update soon, update often", and this would be tiring for more casual users, even if it was trouble free and polished by Valve people.

I think the best solution would be for Valve to take pacman (a really good package manager) from Arch and create their own distro from the ground up. Since SteamOS should be a gaming oriented OS, it does not need a full blown Linux distro with all those packages and bloat. They can keep it small and simple, and control the rate at which they update their software. It should not be too much work, making a distro is not really that hard especially if that distro is use case specific.

Well GamerOS the arch based steamOS distro proves its very easy to port the packages to an arch base. GamerOS so far has been rock stable and with tweaks enabling 4k resolution and more games working out of the box then with proton alone its alot better then the current SteamOS. And using an Arch base has enabled way better performance. He even built in tools to install some programs like kodi Mediacenter and spotify.
slaapliedje 27 March 2020 at 5:14 pm UTC
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BrazilianGamer
slaapliedje
BrazilianGamer
WorMzy
BrazilianGamerDebian is the market standard.

What market are you talking about? Red Hat is the industry standard and has been for a long time. IBM didn't buy them for no good reason.

If you read my comment again, you'll see I was talking about applications. Not hegemony in servers. In servers there's no doubt Red hat wins in a landslide. But still, when companies or individuals think about creating any application, the first distro they know they have to support is Ubuntu or any other debian based distros in general. Simply because they are the most used therefore, popular and of course, there's a bigger chance of revenue if it is a paid software or just to have a bigger userbase.
The crap thing about that is Ubuntu trying to move away from Debian packages, and instead to adopt their own Snap package management. I get that Ubuntu wants to try to make themselves special, but all that does is make them less stable, and less wanted. So many developers in the past have made excuses not to support Linux because of all the variations, but for years it has basically been Debian+RPM based systems. Any of the other distributions have people smart enough to convert packages from deb/rpm. But then Red Hat comes out with Flatpak, that everyone adopts... except Ubuntu, who decides to push snap...

Sorry, rant over. We will see how much the next few Ubuntu releases screw the pooch.

That's the good and bad of Linux. Fragmentation. It's always been that way and I don't see it changing in the short term. It's good for freedom of choice but not good for developers. That's why devs rather launch a game for Mac than for Linux. Maybe I'm a little biased here because I've always used Debian based distros, just Ubuntu actually. But, let's see how it plays out. May it is for the good of Linux gaming as a whole.

Yeah, and Ubuntu is trying to fragment it even more...

Fredrik
Guest
WorMzy
rustybroomhandleI think Arch-based would be the sensible option here. Arch-derived distros just seem way more stable and upgrade-fubar-proof than debian-derived ones.
Really? Debian is the gold standard for stability. The problem is that people want a stable OS with a "bleeding edge" graphics stack, and that's where the house of cards falls over.

Arch can provide the bleeding edge, but it requires that YOU (the end user) know what you're doing.

There are 2 vastly different things when we talk about "stability":

1) Stability in terms of software not crashing/freezing/bugging.

2) Stability in terms of software libraries/APIs/frameworks/software in general remaining the same (= stable) in order for app/game developers to know what to target for and not need to care about fixing incompatibilities with future upstream versions.

Debian is stable in terms of (2), not always in terms of (1). But people often seem to confuse the 2 and use them interchangeably in forums and discussions.

Arch derived distros are definitely stable in terms of (1). Following upstream means getting fixes for bugs and problems sooner. Yes it does break stuff that should work with earlier versions and it does require by devs to not rest on their laurels and support/maintain their code, but it is better than freezing the whole software base for 2 years just to make sure lazy devs can write their code and work without them having to modify it in the future.

Still, i don't know how feasible it would be for Valve to rebase SteamOS on something like Arch. Arch does not shy away from breaking compatibility with older versions of packages, it blindly follows upstream (as it should, being a mainly desktop oriented distro). Still, this will require SteamOS devs to learn to adopt to upstream changes faster while developing their own things. I don't believe the additional burden should be too much, it is not like they are changing everything every month. It would requires SteamOS to do constant updates though, as Arch philosophy is "update soon, update often", and this would be tiring for more casual users, even if it was trouble free and polished by Valve people.

I think the best solution would be for Valve to take pacman (a really good package manager) from Arch and create their own distro from the ground up. Since SteamOS should be a gaming oriented OS, it does not need a full blown Linux distro with all those packages and bloat. They can keep it small and simple, and control the rate at which they update their software. It should not be too much work, making a distro is not really that hard especially if that distro is use case specific.

Well GamerOS the arch based steamOS distro proves its very easy to port the packages to an arch base. GamerOS so far has been rock stable and with tweaks enabling 4k resolution and more games working out of the box then with proton alone its alot better then the current SteamOS. And using an Arch base has enabled way better performance. He even built in tools to install some programs like kodi Mediacenter and spotify.

Arch (and any rolling distribution) would be much more difficult from a support position though. It's the same reason why people don't use Arch in the enterprise, sure it'd be great to have all the new things, but we want stability over new features there. The same would be if you're a company that is going to be supporting a 'console' operating system. It's also why historically open source operating systems have been locked down before becoming production consoles. Guess we'll see if the Atari VCS actually comes out and is fully Linux based, and how open it is... most of the little videos they've released basically just show it running Windows...
alkazar 28 March 2020 at 8:52 pm UTC
slaapliedjeArch (and any rolling distribution) would be much more difficult from a support position though. It's the same reason why people don't use Arch in the enterprise, sure it'd be great to have all the new things, but we want stability over new features there. The same would be if you're a company that is going to be supporting a 'console' operating system. It's also why historically open source operating systems have been locked down before becoming production consoles.

While GamerOS is technically based on Arch, it does not use pacman. GamerOS uses an independent image based atomic update system similar to ChromeOS or other embedded systems. We test each image before pushing it out and every install is bit-for-bit the same. The result is bleeding edge combined with stability. It is not a desktop distro, but essentially a locked-down OS purpose-built for couch gaming.

Yes, the underlying libraries included in the OS will change, but Steam games are supposed to use the Steam runtime. You can't keep things pinned down forever, SteamOS proves that. SteamOS is "stable" but has terrible game compatibility these days since new games come out and even old games get updated. Proton has lots of problems on SteamOS and recent versions of emulators can't even be compiled for it anymore. The argument for "stable" really doesn't hold up.

GamerOS includes a growing list of work arounds for any games that do end up having issues.
I am quite confident that GamerOS has the best out of the box game compatibility of any Linux distro by far and it will only get better.
dubigrasu 28 March 2020 at 10:34 pm UTC
alkazarYou can't keep things pinned down forever, SteamOS proves that. SteamOS is "stable" but has terrible game compatibility these days since new games come out and even old games get updated. Proton has lots of problems on SteamOS and recent versions of emulators can't even be compiled for it anymore. The argument for "stable" really doesn't hold up.

Sure, just that SteamOS is not a "stable" distro by far, but rather a practically abandoned distro.
During the time that it used to be active and updated periodically, it used to be a good champion of stability and performance combined. And that was a good time to bring SteamOS in a discussion about stability vs bleeding edge or whatever.

But now? Kernel 4.19 + Mesa 18? That is not stable, that's ancient crap lying in a heap of garbage level of "stable" (of course, talking about gaming here).
Is a wonder that some Proton games (or newer cards) still work with that.

What I mean is, if we want to discuss the advantages/disadvantages of a stable distro, SteamoS is unfortunately no longer relevant. Is just a distro that we used to know (ahem).
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