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Linux Format issue 267 went out today (not affiliated) and in it there's a rather wonderful interview with Simon McVittie, a software engineer at Collabora who also works on things for Valve to do with Steam on Linux.

In the latest interview, McVittie talks a little about all the work they do including being a Debian contributor and for GNOME too. If you're interested in learning more about the people working behind the scenes, it's quite an interesting interview. Especially so, if you're a Linux gamer. McVittie has also been working on Pressure Vessel, a container system for Steam on Linux to run games inside and hopefully ensure they work pretty much everywhere. For regular readers here at GOL, this hopefully won't be brand new news, as we've written about it a few times (#1, #2) before.

Here's just a small teaser slice of the interview:

Part of the idea is that a game developer can do their QA against Pressure Vessel, which is a really quite strict system. If it works on that then it’s much more likely to work everywhere. Whereas if they did their QA on the Steam runtime with, say, the latest Ubuntu LTS, will it work on Arch Linux? Who can say? Will it work on older Ubuntu? It might, but probably won’t though. Having a giant test matrix of all the distributions isn’t really feasible. So now, of course, we have a giant test matrix for Pressure Vessel on all the distributions, but at least we only have to do that once.

Simon McVittie, Linux Format issue 267

Want to read the whole interview? You can read just that interview here on Scribd, or buy a full copy of Linux Format issue 267 over here.

The whole idea behind Pressure Vessel is great! Giving developers a properly stable environment to QA their Linux builds and just as importantly it gives users a container to put games in to ensure they work on whatever distribution they happen to have hopped on over to.

Want to try out the container system? It works with Linux builds on Steam. Right click on a game in your Steam Library, go to Properties and at the bottom look for the Steam Play section. Remember, Steam Play is just a feature of Steam to run other things inside (like the Wine fork Proton, Roberta, Boxtron and so on). In the drop-down box, simply pick "Steam Linux Runtime" for the container like so:

Handy tip: if a game releases a Linux version, which you previously used Proton for, selecting this container can help things reset so you get the Linux version downloaded. I've seen a few people stuck with that at times.

If you do have issues, you can report them to Valve's GitHub tracker.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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23 comments
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Hori 26 Aug
Quotewill it work on Arch Linux?
This used to be a problem sometimes but lately it's been pretty good and I had to tweak things very rarely.

Which is nice because I love my Arch and I ain't gonna leave it.


Last edited by Hori on 26 August 2020 at 8:56 pm UTC
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Getting the contents of the container updated is still a bit of a problem though. For example: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-runtime/issues/55
gardotd426 27 Aug
So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
mphuZ 27 Aug
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
It's not bad. The main goal is to switch to native games. Proton is only a temporary workaround.
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
Seems to me it's not so much only possible for native games as only relevant for native games. I mean, how/why would someone developing for Windows and not Linux, care what Linux environment they weren't developing for?

"Yeah, before it was tough because we weren't targeting the whole range of different Linux distributions and environments. But now, we can simply not target Valve's 'Pressure Vessel', it saves a huge amount of not-work and non-effort!"
gardotd426 27 Aug
Quoting: mphuZ
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
It's not bad. The main goal is to switch to native games. Proton is only a temporary workaround.

Proton is a temporary workaround until we actually start getting native games. That's not happening yet. So Proton is still VERY much needed.
gardotd426 27 Aug
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
Seems to me it's not so much only possible for native games as only relevant for native games. I mean, how/why would someone developing for Windows and not Linux, care what Linux environment they weren't developing for?

"Yeah, before it was tough because we weren't targeting the whole range of different Linux distributions and environments. But now, we can simply not target Valve's 'Pressure Vessel', it saves a huge amount of not-work and non-effort!"

Um.... they wouldn't. Did you miss this part of the article?

Quotejust as importantly it gives users a container to put games in to ensure they work on whatever distribution they happen to have hopped on over to.

It's just as important for users, too. And I never mentioned devs.
kokoko3k 27 Aug
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.
Makes little sense otherwise, since wine/proton is a runtime by itself.
if you have trouble with an updated proton, switch to the previous.
wintermute 27 Aug
Quoting: gardotd426So this sounds like it's only possible for native games, too bad.

Proton games already run in a similar container, that's why this works the same way as selecting a different Proton runtime.
F.Ultra 27 Aug
Quoting: pentarctagonGetting the contents of the container updated is still a bit of a problem though. For example: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-runtime/issues/55

Well that is the nature of being a container, the whole idea is that everything in it remains unchanged. Upgrading gcc for C++ will just break things as the ABI changes when you do that.
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