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Steam Link app now available for the Linux desktop

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Valve along with their partners at open source consulting firm Collabora have ported over the standalone Steam Link application to the traditional Linux desktop.

Originally available as the Steam Link hardware that was discontinued in 2018, which Valve then replaced with the standalone application. The idea is that it allows you to stream content from Steam on one PC to another, or to a different device like an Android phone. Previously the app was only supported for Windows, iOS, Android, or a Raspberry Pi but that ends now with the official announcement today adding traditional Linux desktops to the mix.

So why now? Well, Valve only just recently announced Remote Play Together - Invite Anyone, which uses the Steam Link to allow people without a Steam account to join a game hosted by someone else. So you could host a game of your favourite co-op or multiplayer experience, let's say Stardew Valley, and someone only needs the Steam Link installed on whatever device they have available to join your game with a link you send over.

You can grab the Steam Link for Linux from Flathub and you can see the reference files on GitHub. Looks like this is Valve's first official release as a Flatpak package.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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52 comments
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MagicMyth 26 Mar, 2021
Quoting: Creak
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Cyba.Cowboy
Quoting: CreakEDIT: looking at Flatpak's wikipedia page, the support out-of-the-box seems as important if not more than for Snap:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatpak#Support

Quoting: slaapliedjeWhere flatpaks and AppImages are open.

Well I have repeatedly stated above that this is the reason I think FlatPak is the superior "next-generation" package manager... I find that Snaps have noticeably better performance and they have certain technical advantages over FlatPak; but at the end of the day, being more "open" is more usually more important in the Grand Scheme of Things (at least in my opinion, anyway).
Which is weird, as everyone I have read says that snaps have terrible performance. The main reason I don't like Flatpaks is that they seem to use a lot more space than normally packaged software. I mean sure, part of that is that they don't use linked libraries, but it's large amounts, to the point where I've had to remove all flatpaks so I had disk space...

It does indeed take some disk space (especially the runtimes which are the base for every other packages).

I ran some test using `flatpak info APP_ID`:

Runtimes:
* org.freedesktop.Platform: 736.8 MB
* org.gnome.Platform: 948.8 MB
* org.kde.Platform: 992.1 MB

Applications:
* com.transmissionbt.Transmission: 3.9 MB
* com.obsproject.Studio: 49.3 MB
* org.inkscape.Inkscape: 238.9 MB
* com.valvesoftware.Steam: 40.6 MB
* org.pitivi.Pitivi: 197.3 MB
* org.videolan.VLC: 81.8 MB

But it's the price to pay to have sandboxed applications (I know it's not perfect yet, not completely sandboxed bla bla bla... some pieces of the puzzle need to settle down so that access right will be easier to manage and, overall, the system is rather new, but it has improved drastically in just a couple of years).

And also, I'd rather use Flatpak to run the closed source applications such as Steam, Teams, Slack, Unity Hub, etc..

You may not be checking the true file size correctly there. Flatpak uses OStree and it de-duplicates files. Most runtimes only add a few files ontop of the core freedesktop runtime. To get the correct size you have to do something like:
 
du -sh "org.gnome.Platform/x86_64/3.38" "org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/20.08"

You should see then that the first folder is roughly as you said but the next will be much smaller (would be good if flatpak info could do that for you). An app plus its runtime should not use much more space than a native package when you add up all the native system components it depends on. Especially once you have many flatpak apps using the same runtime. Also don't forget to run `flatpak uninstall --unused` from time to time to remove old unused runtimes.

I think I remember reading at some point that SNAPS' developers intend to add similar de-duplication features. No idea where I might have read that though!
Creak 28 Mar, 2021
Quoting: MagicMyth
Quoting: Creak
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Cyba.Cowboy
Quoting: CreakEDIT: looking at Flatpak's wikipedia page, the support out-of-the-box seems as important if not more than for Snap:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatpak#Support

Quoting: slaapliedjeWhere flatpaks and AppImages are open.

Well I have repeatedly stated above that this is the reason I think FlatPak is the superior "next-generation" package manager... I find that Snaps have noticeably better performance and they have certain technical advantages over FlatPak; but at the end of the day, being more "open" is more usually more important in the Grand Scheme of Things (at least in my opinion, anyway).
Which is weird, as everyone I have read says that snaps have terrible performance. The main reason I don't like Flatpaks is that they seem to use a lot more space than normally packaged software. I mean sure, part of that is that they don't use linked libraries, but it's large amounts, to the point where I've had to remove all flatpaks so I had disk space...

It does indeed take some disk space (especially the runtimes which are the base for every other packages).

I ran some test using `flatpak info APP_ID`:

Runtimes:
* org.freedesktop.Platform: 736.8 MB
* org.gnome.Platform: 948.8 MB
* org.kde.Platform: 992.1 MB

Applications:
* com.transmissionbt.Transmission: 3.9 MB
* com.obsproject.Studio: 49.3 MB
* org.inkscape.Inkscape: 238.9 MB
* com.valvesoftware.Steam: 40.6 MB
* org.pitivi.Pitivi: 197.3 MB
* org.videolan.VLC: 81.8 MB

But it's the price to pay to have sandboxed applications (I know it's not perfect yet, not completely sandboxed bla bla bla... some pieces of the puzzle need to settle down so that access right will be easier to manage and, overall, the system is rather new, but it has improved drastically in just a couple of years).

And also, I'd rather use Flatpak to run the closed source applications such as Steam, Teams, Slack, Unity Hub, etc..

You may not be checking the true file size correctly there. Flatpak uses OStree and it de-duplicates files. Most runtimes only add a few files ontop of the core freedesktop runtime. To get the correct size you have to do something like:
 
du -sh "org.gnome.Platform/x86_64/3.38" "org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/20.08"

You should see then that the first folder is roughly as you said but the next will be much smaller (would be good if flatpak info could do that for you). An app plus its runtime should not use much more space than a native package when you add up all the native system components it depends on. Especially once you have many flatpak apps using the same runtime. Also don't forget to run `flatpak uninstall --unused` from time to time to remove old unused runtimes.

I think I remember reading at some point that SNAPS' developers intend to add similar de-duplication features. No idea where I might have read that though!

Thank you! I also thought at first that de-duplication would give smaller figures, but as I watched the `flatpak info` outputs, I figured it wasn't what I expected, and instead of tweaking the numbers to fit my theory, I preferred to tell my discovery as it is.

I didn't think about using `du -hs` though, but it would makes sense, so I tried it and here are the results:

$ cd /var/lib/flatpak
$ du -hs runtime/org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/20.08/ runtime/org.gnome.Platform/x86_64/3.38 runtime/org.kde.Platform/x86_64/5.15/
672M runtime/org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/20.08/
265M runtime/org.gnome.Platform/x86_64/3.38
308M runtime/org.kde.Platform/x86_64/5.15/
$ du -hs app/com.transmissionbt.Transmission/ app/com.obsproject.Studio app/org.inkscape.Inkscape app/com.valvesoftware.Steam app/org.pitivi.Pitivi/ app/org.videolan.VLC 
4.4M app/com.transmissionbt.Transmission/
51M app/com.obsproject.Studio
236M app/org.inkscape.Inkscape
40M app/com.valvesoftware.Steam
182M app/org.pitivi.Pitivi/
80M app/org.videolan.VLC


As you can see, except for the GNOME and KDE runtimes where sizes are indeed smaller, the sizes of the Freedesktop runtime and of all the apps are pretty much the same.


Last edited by Creak on 28 March 2021 at 4:33 pm UTC
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