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My experiences of Valve's VR on Linux

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As the proud and excited owner of a shiny new Valve Index kit to go with my almost-new all-AMD rig, I thought I’d outline the journey to getting it all working, exclusively on Linux.

Now bear in mind that I’m not amazingly Linux-savvy. I’ve been using it since the early 2000’s, sure, and full time, exclusively, since 2013, but I’m not very interested in learning the guts of this stuff. I’m extremely technical as a network nerd, but my O/S is just a tool to let me run cool things. I want to be a “normal” consumer of that O/S and if things don’t work out of the box, I take a dim view of it and I don’t have a lot of patience for terminal hacks or “compiling my own kernel”.

Why is that important? Because  when it comes to the Valve Index on Linux, absolutely nothing works out of the box... and yet it’s still (mostly) a success story. Here are some of the hoops I had to jump through to get this stuff working (again, mostly).

My system:

  • Distribution: Mint 19.3
  • Desktop Environment: Cinnamon
  • RAM: 32GB
  • CPU Model: AMD 3900X
  • GPU Model: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

You can also see my specs in my profile or by clicking “View PC info” under my avatar in any of my comments, but I’ve listed them here so that this article notes them statically as those during my experience with the Index.

Edit: I'm also using Kernel 5.7.8 from Mainline here, which is important given the hardware I'm using. Also, the OIBAF PPA puts me on Mesa 20.2 at the time of writing.

Unboxing

It’s so pretty! The presentation and unboxing experience is very Apple-like or Google Pixel-like in that it tries to get your buy in just from opening the box! There’s a real wow-factor at play here. It’s a HUGE box, bigger than it needs to be probably, but the presentation is great.

(The HMD visor is so shiny and new that you can see me taking the photo in the third shot!)

There’s not many pictures from here on out, because trying to capture a VR experience with a screenshot (or even a video) is like trying to taste food with your nose pinched.

So, let’s get started!

First Attempt

The “Getting Started” card is pretty basic actually. In summary:

  • Basestations are plugged into a power outlet, front and back of room - check
  • Headset (HMD) is plugged into Displayport and USB3, and powered - check
  • Controllers are on - check
  • Enabled the Steam beta - check
  • SteamVR is downloaded - check

Let’s do this! In Steam, I change my “games” filter to “games and tools”, then run SteamVR. Nothing happens. But wait! I see a light from the HMD. Putting it on, I can see a basic, default, VR environment - a grid on the floor, with mountains in the distance, stars overhead and a moon hanging directly above me. Head tracking is fine, and everything is nice and clear, but I can’t actually do anything and I certainly haven’t defined my “play area”, so I’m reluctant to actually launch a VR game at this point, for fear of walking into a table, wall, or through the french windows while they’re closed!

Taking the HMD off, I can see that I have a bunch of errors on my Steam client about how “SteamVR failed to initialize”. Okay then.

The errors must have taken a few seconds to pop up, or they did so as a result of my putting the HMD on. Hmmm.

So… to Google!

Second Attempt

Well, it looks like SteamVR also has a beta branch, which you activate like any game. Go to SteamVR, right click and choose Properties, then hit the Betas tab:

Which to choose though? Well, I’m on Linux, so the answer is pretty obvious! The “temp” worries me, but it’s the only Linux entry, so I choose it anyway. It downloads, I run SteamVR again, it asks for my sudo password (surprising!), and off we go.

Much better!

Now, I get a pop up on the desktop screen asking me to step through a set up process, including defining my play area. Basically, you stand in the centre of your “space”, point your controller at the screen and pull the trigger, then lay both controllers on the ground, then finally you move the controller around the edges of your space, holding down the trigger, to form a virtual box. This box must be at least 1.5m wide and about 2m in length, otherwise the program complains that it’s too small. I had to rejig my room a bit to accommodate that! I think there’s supposed to be a way around that minimum size, but this version of SteamVR literally won’t you press the “next” button unless you hit the minimum, so that’s what I did.

Having done so, I could put on the HMD and I was back at the default landscape. But now there’s an option in the bottom bar called “SteamVR Home”. I click on it with my emulated laser-pointer controller and finally got my first taste of how absolutely incredible VR can be when it’s “done right”.

SteamVR Home is like BigPicture mode, but for VR. It emulates a room which has a balcony space outside overlooking a distant mountain range. Butterflies flutter by, and you can customise the room and the balcony/garden area in a variety of ways. You also have an “avatar” and can invite friends to your room for chat, or as a party set up for games.

I customised my avatar, drew weird shapes with my painting tool, threw the Portal companion cube around a bit, watching it bounce around. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Steam Home seems to have a problem saving environments, which is a shame. Frankly, until that’s fixed, there’s literally no point in using Home at all. Later on, I’ll end up disabling it completely, which is pretty disappointing.

But I’m here for now, so I tried to launch a game. Any game. But no dice. I could “view details” of games, but there was no launch button. So what’s going on?

Taking off the headset, I see more errors on the desktop. Sheesh. This looks serious.

So… to Google!

Third Attempt

Looked like I already had a lot of these installed, but as the error notes, it’s the 32-bit versions I need. So after a bit of searching on the web and via Synaptic, I get this to go away with a series of apt commands. In summary:

sudo apt install libva-x11-2:i386 libva2:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386 libxtst6:i386 libgtk2.0-0:i386 libbz2-1.0:i386 libvdpau1:i386

And for good measure, I also do:

sudo apt install libvulkan1:i386 mesa-vulkan-drivers:i386 vulkan-utils:i386

After all that, I’m not getting any errors anymore, which is great. And I have a “Launch game” option in SteamVR Home now! Which does… nothing. At all.

So… (surprise!) to Google!

Fourth Attempt

I’m going to quickly summarise about an hour of frustrating googling/launching/killing/launching/googling here, but ultimately, I resorted to the tried and tested “have you tried switching it off and back on again” method of nerd troubleshooting.

And it almost, kind of, worked.

I start Moss from inside SteamVR Home, and my launch button now fades the Home environment away, and I’m now in the default environment, with a floating banner that says “Up Next: Moss”.

However, after a disappointing couple of minutes, it’s clearly not doing anything.

So… (you know the drill by now) to Google!

Fifth Attempt

Okay, so it looks like the main issue is that a lot of the games I’m trying to launch are Windows only and perhaps they have to be launched directly from Steam? It looks like SteamVR on Linux doesn’t know how to handle Proton titles from “within” the SteamVR environment.

So, I fire up SteamVR, leaving it in the default environment (not SteamVR Home), then I hit the “play” button on Moss on my desktop.

It works! Almost. No sound! But the game launched and it’s my first “real” VR gaming experience. I don’t spend long with Moss though, as it’s clear that it’s a narrative-driven experience and I don’t want to ruin it by playing without sound.

So why are my Index speakers not working?

So… to Google!

Sixth Attempt

Well, this was over an hour of trying various things - mainly running

tail -f /var/log/kern.log

... and then unplugging the USB3 connector and plugging it back in, and watching the output in the terminal. It’s definitely recognising all the devices - the HMD, the twin cameras on the HMD, the microphone, the speakers… but for some reason that's not translating to an actual device in my sound control panel.

Long (really, really long, another hour or two maybe) story short - it looks like my multi-monitor set up was interfering here. I noticed that the speakers’ description is “HDMI / DP 5”, which is the same port number my second screen uses.  When I unplugged my second monitor, the Index speakers appeared in my sound’s control panel. I have sound!

Perhaps this issue is related to https://github.com/ValveSoftware/SteamVR-for-Linux/issues/348

Who knows? Who cares! They work!

Kind of… they’re actually crackling and hissing on certain channels. I notice this in Moss when certain music plays, on the sound effect when you push/pull objects, and most annoying of all, when the narrator speaks.

So… to Google!

Seventh Attempt

Okay, quicker fix for this one. A weird fix, but it works. All you have to do after starting SteamVR, is start the PulseAudio Volume Control (I had to install it first, of course, it’s rarely included by default, at least on Ubuntu derivatives). And, that’s it. That’s all you do. You go from hissing/crackling sound to crystal clear sound on your Index… by opening that app. I have no words.

Later on, I’ll discover that by changing my primary, now singular monitor from HDMI to DisplayPort, I seem to get pretty consistent, crystal-clear sound without resorting to opening the Pulse Audio volume control. But for now, I’m just delighted it works.

It’s time to go big. It’s time to try Half Life Alyx.

Or not. Starting the game fails almost immediately with a vriniterror_init_interfacenotfound error. You know what that means? Yep.

So… to Google!

Eighth Attempt

At this point, I’ve probably had the VR set up for around 10 hours, most of which is actually with the HMD sat on my desk as I troubleshoot what the bloody hell is wrong with it. So I’m properly gutted that one of the biggest reasons I bought a VR kit, Half-Life Alyx, doesn’t even start.

After googling for about 20 minutes, all I’ve really found is a Steam Forums post noting that they had to update SteamVR before Alyx would launch. My SteamVR is already up to date though, albeit I’m still on the Linux_Temp build.

I’m desperate though. I can force an update if I change beta tabs! I switch back to SteamVR_beta, wait for the 500Mb download to complete, restart my PC to give it a clean slate, enter my sudo password again (yeah, that’s still weird) and finally start Alyx.

It works.

Indeed, not only does Alyx now work, but my SteamVR “settings” app works too. In fact, so does the desktop reprojection option! So does “reset seating/standing position”! In fact, everything seems to be working now (except the volume slider for some reason)!

Arrival: VR

I’ve now spent around 20 hours in VR, which is a crucial tipping point for me - it took me around 10 hours of soul-destroying googling to get this far. I can’t stress enough the weird dichotomy of running VR on Linux. On one hand, I paid £900 for the full kit, only to spend over a full working day wrestling with awful, incomprehensible issues for which I had little to no context.

On the other hand, now that it’s largely up and running, it’s easily the best money I’ve spent in a long time, because when you use a high quality HMD on a powerful PC and run “built-for-VR” games and software… it’s mind blowing. Truly, literally, game changing.

It’s not perfect, by a long way. The whole “getting started” experience is, as you can see, appalling. Especially on Linux. And even then there’s stuff that just doesn’t work, either well, or at all:

  • The cameras don’t work, as they’re tied to a D3D11 interface which fails on start up. Ironically, you can run guvcview and play about with them there - they’re just standard v4l2 cameras after all! Hopefully they get this fixed soon, but they'd have to rewrite that D3D11 dependency, so I don't expect that to happen quickly.
  • The volume slider on the “Dashboard” does nothing. You have to modify the volume setting on your desktop.
  • You can’t turn off the basestations yet, so make sure you can reach a plug/switch for them.
  • Steam Home doesn’t save any settings/changes you make within it, rendering it largely useless.
  • You can’t launch games from Steam Home, because it doesn’t seem to understand Proton.
  • Two of “The Lab” experiences crash out - “Robot Repair” and “Secret Lab”. They just fail, no idea why. All the others work though. This is also common on Windows, but none of the Windows fixes seem to work on Linux.
  • I can’t use my second monitor any more. This is probably my biggest gripe right now.
  • The Index head phones crackle until you launch pavucontrol (although this appears to be fixed by not using any HDMI on my system at all).
  • Finally, when you run SteamVR, the sound device appears in your sound panel, but it doesn’t switch to that output. Pulseaudio does has an option to auto-switch to “newly detected devices”, but something about the way that SteamVR creates the output channel seems to bypass this. After starting SteamVR, you have to switch the sound output manually.

But in the grand scheme of things, I’m finally really pleased with the overall result. In fact, there’s only one thing that still annoys me (other than losing my multi-monitor set up), and it’s the noise the basestations make when they’re on. It’s a high pitch, and apparently not everyone can hear it, but I appear to be one of the “lucky” few who not only hears it, but can easily hear it from about 3m away. For me it’s not subtle and only starting a game would distract you from the noise they make. So, basestations definitely off while not in use, sadly, which is a bit of a pain given the lack of remote power options on Linux. I have to literally unplug them.

Do I have any regrets? None at all now that I’m “here”. But good god, Valve have a long, long road before this stuff is mainstream. I’m thinking years, given their rate of progress so far. The out of box experience is just simply diabolically poor.

Is this the future of gaming? Yes and no. Yes, once you’ve experienced VR first hand, you’ll realise how fundamentally important and immersive it is. But no, not at this price, and certainly not with this level of hassle from a technical perspective. Also, arguably headsets need to get lighter, and potentially lose the wires too, which is still the biggest restriction/annoyance you’ll face in VR.

The jury is still out on whether VR could be good in an FPS environment too. Apparently Killing Floor 2 has VR support? I’ll maybe give that a shot. Or Dying Light, perhaps? I haven’t tried anything in VR that features traditional movement yet - it’s all jump-based movement, which isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But I suspect that traditional movement might cause motion sickness, so we’ll see.

But other games work amazingly well in VR. Moss, for example, is just spellbinding. And Elite Dangerous feels like a completely different game in VR.

I just can’t stress it enough, the difference VR makes. You know when you start an FPS game it’s stuck on 1024x768, 70 FOV and with motion blur? Then you figure out how to get 1920x1080, 100 FOV with no motion blur and you’ve gone from a game you literally can’t play to a really beautiful, engaging experience?

Imagine that, but multiplied by a hundred. The idea of playing “flat” Elite Dangerous is now utterly laughable. Like, why would you restrict yourself so needlessly?? I’m being facetious to hammer home the point, because it’s hard to put into words otherwise. It’s THAT spectacular a jump.

To sum up, if you:

  1. Have the money
  2. Have the PC
  3. Have the technical skill
  4. Have the patience

...then VR is a fantastic experience when it’s all working. But you have to have all four, I think, before it’s a sure fire recommendation.
 

Appendix
Here's the games I've tried that work near-enough perfectly:

  • Half-life: Alyx
  • Beat Saber
  • Moss
  • Smashbox Arena
  • The Lab (although noting that two experiments crash)
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Space Pirate Trainer
  • Superhot VR
  • Gorn
  • Waltz of the Wizard
  • Sheaf - Together EP

And a couple of games that don't work:

  • Project Cars 2 doesn't recognise the HMD at all.
  • Overload doesn't recognise the HMD at all.
Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I'm a Scottish Ubuntu user since 2006 and an Ubuntu-only gamer since 2013. I used to contribute to GOL's Funding Crowd articles, but now contribute the odd article directly, most recently the Play It Now series.

I also dabble a bit in Python, I do Internet Security for a living and finally, I'm a big fan of Neil Degrasse Tyson. And not just because he has a cool first name.
See more from me
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tuubi 24 Jul
Quoting: ValsoSteam installs with a click but that installs only Steam - not the relevant libraries needed for gaming, those you have to install manually.
The package brings in all of its own direct dependencies. Game developers are responsible for their own dependencies and testing, and that's how it's supposed to be. If a native game on Steam needs you to manually install something on a supported distribution, that warrants a bug report to the developer. Or are you saying the Steam package should depend on every single library some game or app on Steam might want to make use of as well?

Quoting: ValsoWhen I was that inexperienced user I had exactly the same thoughts several times but fortunately I had a very patient friend to help me deal with all of the Mint problems, so that I didn't have to go back to Windows. :)
I'm pretty sure you'd have had the same amount of trouble on any distribution due to your inexperience. Unless you assume those four years taught you nothing about Linux and you'd have had no trouble at all on Arch (as it was years ago) as a newbie.

In the past, there have been a bunch of games that needed workarounds on Arch but ran perfectly out of the box on Ubuntu (and Mint), often due to developers only testing on Ubuntu's latest LTS as recommended by Valve among others. Dying Light comes to mind as an example.

Things have been getting better though, and I don't see these kinds of discussions and articles as often these days.
scaine 24 Jul
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Quoting: ValsoYou would have saved the most of the troubles you had, if you had used Arch instead of Mint. Ubuntu, Mint and Debian need an enema in order to make them run any game, not just the VR. All of the missing libraries you show on the screenshot in the article are available and installed by default in Arch - I didn't even know I had them until I manually searched for them.

This comment is dripping with ignorance, sadly. Yes, some small portion of the problems I experienced were due to Mint 19 being based on the older 18.04 architecture, correct. That's on me. So yeah, I had to install a couple of dependencies to get it working.

But no problem on Pop_OS 21.04, which is what I'm running right now.

Well, no issues apart from the common issues that affect all Linux VR users. Come join the Discord and chat in the #VR-Gaming channel to get a glimpse into what they are. But they're not specific to a distro. Liam is running Endevour, based on Arch and went through pretty much an identical set of challenges.

So, please don't bash other distros. I could share my extremely negative experiences of Arch, Manajaro and Endeavour, but why would I? Use what you're comfortable with and sing its praises. But don't sing them by knocking others.

Even slaapliedje's comment about Canonical having NIH syndrome mildly riles me. NIH is literally the basis for Linux. It's why we have 100+ media players, 20+ desktop environments, 10+ package mangers.... Frankly, it's why we have 2000+ distributions. But for some reason when Canonical do it, they're the bad guy? Why? In fact, make that a rhetorical question - I don't care why anyone thinks they're the bad guy, but please just don't spill your vitriol in this community. We're (hopefully) better than that.

"Need an enema to play a game"?? Jesus. Really? smh
slaapliedje 24 Jul
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Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Valso
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: ValsoYou would have saved the most of the troubles you had, if you had used Arch instead of Mint. Ubuntu, Mint and Debian need an enema in order to make them run any game, not just the VR.
You're skating awfully close to this (excellent) GOL rule:
QuoteDistribution wars that have plagued the Linux community are not welcome here. Bans will occur for people who engage in them or talk down to anyone for their choice.
You can find a link to the rules above the comment box.

Also, you're commenting on a year-old article about problems that by all accounts have since been solved. Just in case you didn't notice.
It wasn't my intention to start any war. I used Mint for almost 4 years, so what I said was based on my experience with it.
Each distribution has it's own quirks, and benefits and disadvantages. I've never really used Mint as it's Ubuntu based, and well I've just had issues with Ubuntu, both technical and their NIH syndrome. But you're in correct in stating that they need an enema. I can't even remember the last time I had to do anything on a debian based system (that includes Ubuntu/Pop_OS) to get SteamVR working besides enabling the 32bit architecture repo, enabling the repos for the nvidia drivers (contrib and non-free in Debian) and then installing Steam. Games work perfectly fine after that, as does SteamVR.
Just for the record, I use Mint and I've never had any problems with any of that stuff. F'rinstance, Steam installs from the Software Manager with a click. Maybe if you can't even remember the last time you had anything to do with a debian based system, and have never used Mint ever, you should consider your opinions on the subject might lack authority or relevance and, you know, not give them.
Did I bash Mint? I only said I don't use it as it is based on Ubuntu... I don't like Ubuntu either, though assuredly I would prefer Mint / Pop_OS, as both are not attempting to shove Snap packs down everyone's throat. I only use Pop_OS because it seems to treat Optimus the best I've seen out of any distribution out there.

And yes, if I really want to use the software store, I can do that too, I just prefer using apt, as it's faster, and well I've been using Linux for close to 25 years now, and have distro hopped many times, and always end up back in Debian's loving arms. Also get irritated when people pronounce it wrong... Deborah and Ian Murdock... Deb-Ian. I've heard it pronounced Deb-EYE-an, and I know the Gamers Nexus guy on Youtube was saying Dee-bian..

Then again, I was watching a video on Valheim and heard the word Hearth pronounced as Hear-th... I say it occasionally to a friend who also watched that video and we both laugh. Granted we all have words we've read and never heard spoken that we were hearing in our heads wrong. English language is kind of stupid :P
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Valso
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: ValsoYou would have saved the most of the troubles you had, if you had used Arch instead of Mint. Ubuntu, Mint and Debian need an enema in order to make them run any game, not just the VR.
You're skating awfully close to this (excellent) GOL rule:
QuoteDistribution wars that have plagued the Linux community are not welcome here. Bans will occur for people who engage in them or talk down to anyone for their choice.
You can find a link to the rules above the comment box.

Also, you're commenting on a year-old article about problems that by all accounts have since been solved. Just in case you didn't notice.
It wasn't my intention to start any war. I used Mint for almost 4 years, so what I said was based on my experience with it.
Each distribution has it's own quirks, and benefits and disadvantages. I've never really used Mint as it's Ubuntu based, and well I've just had issues with Ubuntu, both technical and their NIH syndrome. But you're in correct in stating that they need an enema. I can't even remember the last time I had to do anything on a debian based system (that includes Ubuntu/Pop_OS) to get SteamVR working besides enabling the 32bit architecture repo, enabling the repos for the nvidia drivers (contrib and non-free in Debian) and then installing Steam. Games work perfectly fine after that, as does SteamVR.
Just for the record, I use Mint and I've never had any problems with any of that stuff. F'rinstance, Steam installs from the Software Manager with a click. Maybe if you can't even remember the last time you had anything to do with a debian based system, and have never used Mint ever, you should consider your opinions on the subject might lack authority or relevance and, you know, not give them.
Did I bash Mint?
Yeah, I kind of think you did. And you know, I don't give much of a damn what that other person says, don't know them from a hole in the ground. But from you it kind of stings.
Just by the by, I've tried Ubuntu, not so long ago. The user experience of Mint is really quite a lot different, so saying that because you can't hack Ubuntu you presume Mint sucks by extension is somewhat off base.
It's true though that if you want/need to fiddle everything yourself and make sure you have all the latest and greatest and bleedingest edge all the time, Mint isn't really going to give you what you want. If you just want a nice desktop that works, though, it's very good. Every time I try another distro I find myself with little pain points that I'd forgotten tended to exist on Linux, until I give up and go back to Mint.

The English language is really stupid. But what you have to understand is, English isn't a language. It's two main languages plus chunks of a few others all smoorged together fairly violently. Old Anglo Saxon, French, Norse, Latin, scraps of Gaelic and Greek and who knows what. So there's bits and pieces of a bunch of different languages' pronunciations and grammar rules jammed uneasily side by side and falling off now and then. It's absurd--amazing the damn thing works at all. Means we have stacks of vocabulary, though, which is good for poetry.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 24 July 2021 at 4:48 pm UTC
Quoting: Valso
Quoting: Purple Library GuyJust for the record, I use Mint and I've never had any problems with any of that stuff. F'rinstance, Steam installs from the Software Manager with a click. Maybe if you can't even remember the last time you had anything to do with a debian based system, and have never used Mint ever, you should consider your opinions on the subject might lack authority or relevance and, you know, not give them.
Steam installs with a click but that installs only Steam - not the relevant libraries needed for gaming, those you have to install manually.
I have never manually installed any such thing and I have never had games not work.
slaapliedje 25 Jul
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Quoting: scaineEven slaapliedje's comment about Canonical having NIH syndrome mildly riles me. NIH is literally the basis for Linux. It's why we have 100+ media players, 20+ desktop environments, 10+ package mangers.... Frankly, it's why we have 2000+ distributions. But for some reason when Canonical do it, they're the bad guy? Why? In fact, make that a rhetorical question - I don't care why anyone thinks they're the bad guy, but please just don't spill your vitriol in this community. We're (hopefully) better than that.
The thing is, they try to do their own things that everyone else has established as the standard. One exception is they did have a new start up before systemd came along. Otherwise, Wayland.. Mir, Gnome... Unity.. Instead of helping out the projects and making them better, they decided they should do their own thing and waste resources and in the end give up and go with what everyone else is doing.

Hell, Microsoft contributes to the Linux kernel more than Canonical does. You know... maybe if people could work better together, we wouldn't have 100+ media players, we'd have one really kick ass one 'Killer App' that most operating systems have. Like Photoshop, etc. Anyhow, I was just giving my reasons for not using Ubuntu and preferring to use Debian. I was all for Ubuntu when their purpose was to just do a 6 month release of Debian with latest Gnome. They strayed far from that and now I'm just not interested in it.

Sorry for mildy riling you up.
slaapliedje 25 Jul
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Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Valso
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: ValsoYou would have saved the most of the troubles you had, if you had used Arch instead of Mint. Ubuntu, Mint and Debian need an enema in order to make them run any game, not just the VR.
You're skating awfully close to this (excellent) GOL rule:
QuoteDistribution wars that have plagued the Linux community are not welcome here. Bans will occur for people who engage in them or talk down to anyone for their choice.
You can find a link to the rules above the comment box.

Also, you're commenting on a year-old article about problems that by all accounts have since been solved. Just in case you didn't notice.
It wasn't my intention to start any war. I used Mint for almost 4 years, so what I said was based on my experience with it.
Each distribution has it's own quirks, and benefits and disadvantages. I've never really used Mint as it's Ubuntu based, and well I've just had issues with Ubuntu, both technical and their NIH syndrome. But you're in correct in stating that they need an enema. I can't even remember the last time I had to do anything on a debian based system (that includes Ubuntu/Pop_OS) to get SteamVR working besides enabling the 32bit architecture repo, enabling the repos for the nvidia drivers (contrib and non-free in Debian) and then installing Steam. Games work perfectly fine after that, as does SteamVR.
Just for the record, I use Mint and I've never had any problems with any of that stuff. F'rinstance, Steam installs from the Software Manager with a click. Maybe if you can't even remember the last time you had anything to do with a debian based system, and have never used Mint ever, you should consider your opinions on the subject might lack authority or relevance and, you know, not give them.
Did I bash Mint?
Yeah, I kind of think you did. And you know, I don't give much of a damn what that other person says, don't know them from a hole in the ground. But from you it kind of stings.
Just by the by, I've tried Ubuntu, not so long ago. The user experience of Mint is really quite a lot different, so saying that because you can't hack Ubuntu you presume Mint sucks by extension is somewhat off base.
It's true though that if you want/need to fiddle everything yourself and make sure you have all the latest and greatest and bleedingest edge all the time, Mint isn't really going to give you what you want. If you just want a nice desktop that works, though, it's very good. Every time I try another distro I find myself with little pain points that I'd forgotten tended to exist on Linux, until I give up and go back to Mint.

The English language is really stupid. But what you have to understand is, English isn't a language. It's two main languages plus chunks of a few others all smoorged together fairly violently. Old Anglo Saxon, French, Norse, Latin, scraps of Gaelic and Greek and who knows what. So there's bits and pieces of a bunch of different languages' pronunciations and grammar rules jammed uneasily side by side and falling off now and then. It's absurd--amazing the damn thing works at all. Means we have stacks of vocabulary, though, which is good for poetry.
Ha, all I said was I don't really use Mint as it is Ubuntu based (the funny thing is, even they admit that may have not been the best decision, so still keep a LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) in the works just in case Canonical decides to make things difficult.

My two desktops are Debian Sid and Arch Linux. I mostly use Gnome, and really play with Arch just to see how the bleeding edge looks. Reason I haven't really used Mint is I don't feel the need to, as Debian does what I need it to, and if I want to play with Cinnamon, Mate, etc, I can just apt install it and play with it in Debian. I feel their repositories are a bit more stable than Ubuntu's and as Mint pulls from Ubuntu... I do use Pop_OS, which is also Ubuntu based, and up until this latest release they didn't totally mess up Gnome (Like Ubuntu does), but now I'm kind of thinking of changing away from Pop because of it....

Totally didn't mean it as a slam against Mint. I just tend to not use Ubuntu based distributions. Mint is a good one, as they do realize that they may need to switch to Debian. I think if System76 had more resources, they may also consider switching to Debian.

I do find it hilarious that everyone things Debian just has old packages... they may have years and years ago, because when they release a stable version it stays that way for 2-3 years. But they mostly have been releasing new versions about 1.5-2 years now, and with the backports officially supported, you get plenty of modern backports. Ubuntu's development cycle is release, 5 months of testing, 1 month freeze, release... and they spend another month patching up the worse bugs... This is because they pull from Debian Sid and then freeze, which Sid is in flux... it's also kind of terrible when Debian goes into a freeze and new packages aren't tested very well, and Ubuntu pulls from that, and it gets messy. Better to just use Debian with your favorite desktop and either do rolling or stable, at least it has been for me for years.

Looks like I'll be upgrading my server in August sometime to Bullseye!

But no, I apologize if you thought I was trashing Mint, I literally said I don't really use it. I only use Pop_OS because they integrated the hybrid graphics crap the best that I've seen so far within the gnome power management stuff. If others would do similar I'd probably switch away from it as well. Mint and Pop_OS though both do not force snap packages on you. Another great thing they're doing. Canonical wants everyone to just use Snaps. This is what I meant by why I don't use Mint. And I also will probably move away from pop_os as soon as I can find time to clean up my laptop, and find a better way to deal with optimus crap. It isn't because they're bad NOW, but could potentially be messed up from a decision Canonical makes.

And I have many reasons why I don't really like them. I'm not trying to distro bash, I just don't like the way they are headed, and some of the things they've wanted to do (drop 32bit support for example).
scaine 26 Jul
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Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: scaineEven slaapliedje's comment about Canonical having NIH syndrome mildly riles me. NIH is literally the basis for Linux. It's why we have 100+ media players, 20+ desktop environments, 10+ package mangers.... Frankly, it's why we have 2000+ distributions. But for some reason when Canonical do it, they're the bad guy? Why? In fact, make that a rhetorical question - I don't care why anyone thinks they're the bad guy, but please just don't spill your vitriol in this community. We're (hopefully) better than that.
The thing is, they try to do their own things that everyone else has established as the standard. One exception is they did have a new start up before systemd came along. Otherwise, Wayland.. Mir, Gnome... Unity.. Instead of helping out the projects and making them better, they decided they should do their own thing and waste resources and in the end give up and go with what everyone else is doing.

Hell, Microsoft contributes to the Linux kernel more than Canonical does. You know... maybe if people could work better together, we wouldn't have 100+ media players, we'd have one really kick ass one 'Killer App' that most operating systems have. Like Photoshop, etc. Anyhow, I was just giving my reasons for not using Ubuntu and preferring to use Debian. I was all for Ubuntu when their purpose was to just do a 6 month release of Debian with latest Gnome. They strayed far from that and now I'm just not interested in it.

Sorry for mildy riling you up.

Standard? What standard? Linux doesn't have a standard. It has choice.

This is such weird mixed messages. Mint seems to get a pass, which does its own desktop (Cinnamon), but you don't like Ubuntu, because it did its own desktop (Unity)?

You don't like Ubuntu because it did Mir, but back when it did Mir, Wayland wasn't even a thing, and everyone was using X. In fact, Mir was announced three YEARS before any distribution ever tried to use it. In fact, outside of Fedora, the only other distributions to go near didn't do so until 2019.

Could Canonical have contributed to Wayland? Nope. They tried to, and their patches were rejected. What were they supposed to do?

I mean, why does Debian get a pass for using apt, when RPM was available the year before? Sounds like NIH syndrome to me, right? Hell, they went with Gnome instead of XFCE, which had been around for three years by that time.

Of course, such a ridiculous argument. But somehow Canonical aren't allowed to do it. Only everyone else.
Quoting: scaineOf course, such a ridiculous argument. But somehow Canonical aren't allowed to do it. Only everyone else.
Well, two things about that. First, I think it's the case that there are bits and bits, and some things it really is problematic if there's more than one of them, while others it really isn't. If half of Linux used Wayland and half used Mir, I think that would cause problems.
The other thing is that Canonical do have the tendency when they go with some alternate technology to be saying "This will now be the standard, replacing other existing things"--even when it comes to the stuff that everyone normally agrees it's OK if it comes in multiple flavours. The name "Unity" along with some of the rhetoric around it definitely gave people the impression that they wanted Unity to be the One Desktop To Rule Them All, that everyone should, well, Unite on. Cinnamon on the other hand was just "So, we don't like Gnome 3 much, we preferred for instance Gnome 2, we're gonna make a desktop that does things the way we like".

Quoting: scaineCould Canonical have contributed to Wayland? Nope. They tried to, and their patches were rejected. What were they supposed to do?
I dunno, not contribute to Wayland? There's plenty of stuff Canonical don't contribute to, what makes it corporate suicide in this case?
Or perhaps contribute different patches.
whizse 26 Jul
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Quoting: scaineI mean, why does Debian get a pass for using apt, when RPM was available the year before? Sounds like NIH syndrome to me, right? Hell, they went with Gnome instead of XFCE, which had been around for three years by that time.
I know you're ranting here and probably shooting from the hip but...

XFCE actually used a proprietary toolkit at the time (XForms), KDE was in a similar predicament with Qt. Hence the popularity of GTK.

Also, rpm probably predates the apt tool, but dpkg and the .deb format is older.

...I shall now hastily make my exit from the thread hoping to not get hit by the crossfire.
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