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Looks like we may see Steam properly on Chrome OS by the end of 2021

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In a move that might help boost Linux gaming numbers, it seems Google are still moving forward with their plan to get Steam running properly native on Chrome OS during 2021. This is something we've talked about before, and again and now it appears to be moving a bit quicker.

The new report comes from Chrome Unboxed, who noticed some interesting commits landing talking about project Borealis, which appears to be the code name for this huge project which includes running Steam. I should note though, that Borealis isn't just about Steam but appears to be some wider Linux push for Chrome OS to get more working on it. Last we heard, Borealis itself was based on Ubuntu too. From the new info uncovered, what's been found even mentions a "Soft Launch":

I'd bump these a bit; we'll want them in place for at least a few months into Soft Launch, which is currently slated for no earlier than Q2/Q3 2021. I set Borealis.Stability to 2021-10-01 for this reason.

With more Chromebooks coming out through 2021 that will feature more powerful processors both from Intel and AMD (not ARM), backed up by more powerful graphics - this will open them up to some more gaming.

The question is: why is that relevant to Linux and Linux gaming overall? Well, Chromebooks run Chrome OS which is…Linux under the Google branded hood. The version of Steam they will get is the Linux version, so they will be adding directly to the numbers of Linux users already on Steam. Don't underestimate what that could do.

Once we hear any more on it we will let you know.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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23 comments
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Linas 11 Jan
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In case you are wondering why is this such a big task getting Steam to run on Chrome OS, it is because Google paranoidly insists that all Linux (non-Chrome OS) applications need to run inside a VM. They spent an enormous amount of effort just poking holes in their VM trying to get basic stuff like copy/paste between Chrome OS and guest Linux working. They don't even want Linux applications to talk to Chrome OS kernel directly.
Rooster 11 Jan
Quoting: LinasIn case you are wondering why is this such a big task getting Steam to run on Chrome OS, it is because Google paranoidly insists that all Linux (non-Chrome OS) applications need to run inside a VM. They spent an enormous amount of effort just poking holes in their VM trying to get basic stuff like copy/paste between Chrome OS and guest Linux working. They don't even want Linux applications to talk to Chrome OS kernel directly.

I would be interested to know, why don't they use a Docker-like container instead of VM? Seems to me like quite a big waste of resources to use a full fledged VM.
Grim85 11 Jan
Quoting: RoosterI would be interested to know, why don't they use a Docker-like container instead of VM? Seems to me like quite a big waste of resources to use a full fledged VM.

It is more akin to a docker container than a VM
Ilya 11 Jan
And when will Chrome-OS users receive freedom? Oh right, this is Google we're talking about, so never.
Hori 11 Jan
I came here excited thinking that Steam will become available for ARM... I'm disappointed :(
mylka 11 Jan
Quoting: HoriI came here excited thinking that Steam will become available for ARM... I'm disappointed :(

since apple makes ARM CPUs now i guess it wont take long
Linas 11 Jan
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Quoting: Grim85
Quoting: RoosterI would be interested to know, why don't they use a Docker-like container instead of VM? Seems to me like quite a big waste of resources to use a full fledged VM.
It is more akin to a docker container than a VM
Well, depends on the definition of a container. Docker runs a single isolated process, but still on the host kernel. Crostini runs a full-blown system, including a guest kernel. See this presentation at FOSDEM for more details.
The_Aquabat 11 Jan
that explains why Sony was so interested in getting the PS5 controller to work with Linux!it's a big market that they don't want to miss out, could represent an important chunk of sales of their controllers!
Rooster 11 Jan
Quoting: Linas
Quoting: Grim85
Quoting: RoosterI would be interested to know, why don't they use a Docker-like container instead of VM? Seems to me like quite a big waste of resources to use a full fledged VM.
It is more akin to a docker container than a VM
Well, depends on the definition of a container. Docker runs a single isolated process, but still on the host kernel. Crostini runs a full-blown system, including a guest kernel. See this presentation at FOSDEM for more details.

I had a quick look through the presentation. I now understand that Crostini is a KVM inspired light VM, but there is no doubt it is a VM, not a container. However, they use containers inside Crostini to run individual Linux processes.

Which makes me even more confused as to... Why? It's as if they want Chrome OS to run on server, not on user desktop. My best guess is that they want to ensure maximum security, so even if the user breaks something inside Crostini, Chrome OS stays unaffected. Which in my opinion is excessive and could be achieved more efficiently by other tools. And even if they want to be reaaaaly sure the user won't break the system, they could still just use containers instead of a VM which runs its processes inside containers. I really don't understand. They are achieving the same goal they would achieve with containers, but with a LOT more waste in resource usage.
Well, this at least is one good explanation of why Valve is investing so much in Linux gaming.
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