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Valve are committed to Linux and Linux gaming with Steam, that much is currently clear. They're working with so many contractors on various things, and it seems not everything is as people think.

Recently, Collabora, one of the companies they're contracting with went over a bunch of details like their upcoming Linux Kernel work coming to Linux 5.11 and then a quick overview of everything. Many people thought that a lot of the ongoing work, like the Kernel work was to help things like anti-cheat with Steam Play Proton and it was mentioned by Collabora however it seems that's not exactly the case. Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais commented on Reddit to clear up on some speculation, mentioning that Collabora did some speculating of their own. 

Griffais mentioned the Kernel work is "nothing to do with anti-cheat" and is instead for anti-tamper and DRM to function properly while also mentioning proper anti-cheat support "is still a long ways out and will need vendor support". That alone is going to be a sore spot for a long time for multiplayer titles run through the Proton compatibility layer, which is why we have an FAQ entry for Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye (the most popular) on our dedicated Proton site.

Other points mentioned are that the Steam Linux Runtime Container has nothing to do with security, OpenXR for SteamVR was done by Valve directly (Collabora's own VR work like Monado is unrelated), and the "image-based updater work" is actually towards improving live USB media to update them without losing user data.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Misc, Valve
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38 comments
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Eike 15 Nov
(While I'm not optimistic about Linux gaming...)

Quoting: 1xokI think there is a positive attitude and curiosity at Valve. They don't sell insurance and do pure profit maximization. Life must also be fun and have some meaning.

Termy 15 Nov
Quoting: fagnerln
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI still want to know what the mission is with all of this. Not technically, but from a business perspective.

I get it, Linux customers are paying customers, but Valve have contracted several companies, individuals, fulltime employees, contact with GPU vendors etc. This seems like way more financial and time investment than what our meagre 1-2% is worth.

I don't think that it's something big incoming, this is just a signal to Microsoft that's a bad idea to close Windows to their store. Valve have a lot of money,even if it don't recover the investiment, I don't think that's a problem

and thats the good thing in valve not being a stock corporation but privately owned - they can do things that are "right" in the long run instead of only looking at ROI.

And while i'm not really fond of the kernel work being towards DRM, i guess we live in a reality where many people won't boycott things they don't want. So it kinda is another step towards bringing Linux to the needed marketshare...
tmtvl 15 Nov
Quoting: 1xokI think there is a positive attitude and curiosity at Valve. They don't sell insurance and do pure profit maximization. Life must also be fun and have some meaning.

Like good old Interplay Black Isle: "we want to make games, to make games we need money." compared to EA Bioware: "we want money, to get money we need to make games."
The_Aquabat 15 Nov
I think developing for Linux makes sense because of the open AMD Drivers, if it not were for them, we would never know of some games that have graphics bugs for using out of spec drivers specifications or simply hacks. With proprietary drivers you never know who's fault is ... the driver or the game? Just another check box for developing on open source.
Dunc 15 Nov
Quoting: fagnerlnValve have a lot of money,even if it don't recover the investiment, I don't think that's a problem
It may not directly cover the investment (although, as amatai says, it probably does), but if it keeps Microsoft honest and off Valve's turf, it has a greater value, affecting the entire Steam business.
mirv 15 Nov
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Quoting: Termy
Quoting: fagnerln
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI still want to know what the mission is with all of this. Not technically, but from a business perspective.

I get it, Linux customers are paying customers, but Valve have contracted several companies, individuals, fulltime employees, contact with GPU vendors etc. This seems like way more financial and time investment than what our meagre 1-2% is worth.

I don't think that it's something big incoming, this is just a signal to Microsoft that's a bad idea to close Windows to their store. Valve have a lot of money,even if it don't recover the investiment, I don't think that's a problem

and thats the good thing in valve not being a stock corporation but privately owned - they can do things that are "right" in the long run instead of only looking at ROI.

And while i'm not really fond of the kernel work being towards DRM, i guess we live in a reality where many people won't boycott things they don't want. So it kinda is another step towards bringing Linux to the needed marketshare...

I'm pretty against tailoring Linux (kernel) towards DRM (digital rights management) because that seems to me against the entire ideal of it. Even worse, it's so that _Windows_ DRM can be handled. I mean, Valve are free to investigate this of course (kernel is open & all), but I can't help but be concerned where this is headed. I'd rather GNU/Linux marketshare grow by being GNU/Linux, not trying to emulate Windows.

Still, at least GNU/Linux allows (for now) the freedom for people to do as they wish - so long as gaming with drm isn't forced on everyone, that's fine.
Quoting: LibertyPaulMI have said all along that the anti cheat issue was going to need the involvement of the anti cheat vendors so I am uttlerly unsurprised that this kernel work has nothing to do with making anti cheat systems work.
Mind you, it seems pretty clear that whether that's what they say it's for or not, it should help with those efforts. So although it's reasonable for them to not want people to get up hopes that Anti-cheat will suddenly turn up tomorrow because of this, I think maybe they protest too much when they say it has no relationship. In the end, it probably will.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 15 November 2020 at 6:03 pm UTC
CatKiller 15 Nov
Quoting: mirvI'm pretty against tailoring Linux (kernel) towards DRM (digital rights management) because that seems to me against the entire ideal of it.

This isn't really that, though. This is changing the kernel to help Wine. Sure, anti-tamper in Windows applications is a likely source for Windows syscalls being issued directly rather than going through Windows/Wine libraries, but equally some devs just suck. These changes stop those Windows applications messing up your system with their suckiness, by bouncing it back to Wine.

Kernel changes to allow DRM already happened: HDCP support, secure enclaves, and the like.
It may be that they themselves don't exactly know why they're working on upgrading Linux and Linux gaming. It might be more like, they know it's the only major OS that nobody else controls, they know it's good technology that can be used for a whole lot of different purposes, so they figure it's bound to be good for something.
So they may be thinking of it partly as a hedge against Microsoft, but also partly they may be hoping for Linux market share to increase on its own, and also partly they may be thinking about using it in some kind of hardware, and specifically they may think that one day if they can get Proton etc really reliable they might try again on Steam Machines, or do some kind of streaming thing using it, or . . . Linux is very much a Swiss army knife, you can use it for a lot of stuff. So they might just be thinking that they're not sure quite what they'll end up using it for, but there are a lot of possibilities if they make sure the technology is solid.
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI still want to know what the mission is with all of this. Not technically, but from a business perspective.

I get it, Linux customers are paying customers, but Valve have contracted several companies, individuals, fulltime employees, contact with GPU vendors etc. This seems like way more financial and time investment than what our meagre 1-2% is worth.

Someone on Reddit crunched some numbers a while back to answer this question:

https://www.reddit.com/r/linux_gaming/comments/dgvmkk/crazy_idea_what_if_valve_is_supporting_linux/
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