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Gaming and Linux graphics talks at FOSDEM 2019

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Hello fellow penguin enthusiasts. I spent the last weekend in Brussels, Belgium attending the FOSDEM conference -- a free event focused on free open-source software, and a place where free-software developers can meet, share idea and collaborate. There was no shortage of Linux-related content, and it was really exciting to meet and listen to people working on software that you directly or indirectly rely on every day.

Gaming was not the main focus, but there were several talks that I thought you may find interesting. I selected 4 talks that I wanted to highlight. The first two are more high-level focused on gaming directly, while the last 2 are more technical dealing with the Linux graphics stack in general.

Hope you find these interesting. And checkout FOSDEM and many other talks they had.

Godot Engine

 

Juan Linietsky, the main author and development lead of Godot Engine, talked about Godot and how they created a third person shooter demo using tools like Blender, Gimp, Krita and of course Godot Engine. He gave the presentation and ran the demo on a Linux machine. Source

 

0 A.D., a libre real-time strategy game

 

Nicolas Auvray, the project leader of 0 A.D., talked about the features of the game itself, and integration of the modding service https://mod.io/ into the game. Source

 

Virgil 3D GPU

 

Elie Tournier talked about the Virgil 3D GPU project, a virtual GPU implementation for QEMU. He showed a demo of the Heaven benchmark running pretty smoothly. The project still has a long way to go. It currently lacks support for Vulkan, Windows guests, and Direct3D, so it is limited in usefulness for a Linux gamer wanting to run games in the virtual machine. But quite impressive nonetheless. Source

 

Mesa memory usage

 

Ian Romanick, a software developer for Intel's open-source OpenGL driver, and Intel’s representative to the Khronos Board, talked about the nitty-gritty details of inner workings of Mesa, and how they managed to substantially reduce the memory usage of shaders. It is basically a talk about optimization, and how he approached the problem. Source

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27 comments
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Purple Library Guy 12 February 2019 at 7:35 pm UTC
Brisse
LinasI guess the point is that just being better is not enough. We also need to win their hearts. Somehow.

There is one thing that Apple has plenty of and Linux barely has any of, and that is marketing and advertising. Apple has somehow managed to create a cult that will follow Apple through ice and fire while also for some reason defending Apple's anti-consumer behaviour. To people in this cult, it doesn't matter if Apple puts out shitty products for insane prices and provide terrible support. The cult followers will still keep buying Apple.

GNU/Linux isn't big in the consumer space because it has no marketing or advertising. Those who use it are usually IT professionals, tech enthusiast or similar that seek it out on their own terms. Average Jane and John Doe usually doesn't do that. In a way it can be a blessing for us since it creates this sense of a tight community, but on the other hand we have this issue with being too small of a market-share for commercial software to care about us.
This is the main reason I follow ChromeOS with some interest. I'm not really a Google enthusiast, but it's the only desktop Linux being marketed.
Brisse 12 February 2019 at 8:34 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
Brisse
LinasI guess the point is that just being better is not enough. We also need to win their hearts. Somehow.

There is one thing that Apple has plenty of and Linux barely has any of, and that is marketing and advertising. Apple has somehow managed to create a cult that will follow Apple through ice and fire while also for some reason defending Apple's anti-consumer behaviour. To people in this cult, it doesn't matter if Apple puts out shitty products for insane prices and provide terrible support. The cult followers will still keep buying Apple.

GNU/Linux isn't big in the consumer space because it has no marketing or advertising. Those who use it are usually IT professionals, tech enthusiast or similar that seek it out on their own terms. Average Jane and John Doe usually doesn't do that. In a way it can be a blessing for us since it creates this sense of a tight community, but on the other hand we have this issue with being too small of a market-share for commercial software to care about us.
This is the main reason I follow ChromeOS with some interest. I'm not really a Google enthusiast, but it's the only desktop Linux being marketed.

I don't know much about ChromeOS, but isn't it more like Android than a traditional GNU/Linux distribution? Android runs on Linux and it's the number one most widespread OS in the universe. That didn't seem to help the GNU/Linux desktop much except unintentionally closing Ubuntu bug #1.


Last edited by Brisse at 12 February 2019 at 8:38 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 12 February 2019 at 8:53 pm UTC
Brisse
Purple Library Guy
Brisse
LinasI guess the point is that just being better is not enough. We also need to win their hearts. Somehow.

There is one thing that Apple has plenty of and Linux barely has any of, and that is marketing and advertising. Apple has somehow managed to create a cult that will follow Apple through ice and fire while also for some reason defending Apple's anti-consumer behaviour. To people in this cult, it doesn't matter if Apple puts out shitty products for insane prices and provide terrible support. The cult followers will still keep buying Apple.

GNU/Linux isn't big in the consumer space because it has no marketing or advertising. Those who use it are usually IT professionals, tech enthusiast or similar that seek it out on their own terms. Average Jane and John Doe usually doesn't do that. In a way it can be a blessing for us since it creates this sense of a tight community, but on the other hand we have this issue with being too small of a market-share for commercial software to care about us.
This is the main reason I follow ChromeOS with some interest. I'm not really a Google enthusiast, but it's the only desktop Linux being marketed.

I don't know much about ChromeOS, but isn't it more like Android than a traditional GNU/Linux distribution?
Not as far as I can tell. I mean, Android genuinely isn't Gnu/Linux in the literal sense that it doesn't use GNU. ChromeOS is more like a Linux distribution with a weird, deliberately limited Desktop Environment. It's not that hard to get it to run normal Linux software, and lately I seem to recall Google making it officially possible (not, like, easy or obvious, but possible) and starting to move away from the whole "browser is everything" schtick, at the same time as they are coming out with less-wimpy Chromebooks. I get the impression they are starting to quietly try to move ChromeOS up the price tiers from their little niche in "disposable laptops", which would mean they'd need to be a bit more general purpose.
I wouldn't be surprised at some point to see beefy Chromebooks set up so you could play games on them, presumably involving Steam and some behind the scenes compatibility with the Steam runtime, although they might instead start by putting their game streaming service on 'em. Whatever the case, as far as I can tell yeah, unlike Android, ChromeOS is pretty much genuine Linux and it's a space worth watching as Google slowly tries to grow Chromebooks past their modestly successful little niche.
Linas 12 February 2019 at 8:59 pm UTC
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BrisseI don't know much about ChromeOS, but isn't it more like Android than a traditional GNU/Linux distribution?
Sort of. It is a minimal Linux system that boots directly into a modified Chrome browser. It is more like a desktop Linux than Android internally, but Google has intentionally locked everything down so that you cannot install anything not signed by Google.

There is also Crostini project from Google that sort of allows running desktop Linux applications on Chrome OS. I say sort of because it runs a full blown virtual machine on top of Chrome OS, including own Linux kernel and everything. This means that the integration is not seamless. For example there are problems with keyboard layouts, and you get no graphics acceleration, among others.

Google could easily allow installing stuff directly on Chrome OS, but they don't want to.
Purple Library Guy 12 February 2019 at 9:16 pm UTC
Linas
BrisseI don't know much about ChromeOS, but isn't it more like Android than a traditional GNU/Linux distribution?
Sort of. It is a minimal Linux system that boots directly into a modified Chrome browser.
While I guess that is true, I'd like to note that when you're using one it doesn't look like that. My wife has one. It looks like a minimal desktop, with wallpaper, a taskbar at the bottom and some of what look like applications on it (all of which happen to run on the browser--browser, mail, docs etc) and a couple of other options including searching for and adding in more apps. If Google wanted, they could add real applications and users wouldn't know the difference.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 12 February 2019 at 9:17 pm UTC
stretch611 12 February 2019 at 10:53 pm UTC
Purple Library GuyI'm happy to be able to tell you, yes it will. Buy something and play it on Proton and it shows as a Linux sale. Valve has been quite explicit about this.
Unfortunately, working on Proton is not a guarantee. Even if it works today, there is no guarantee that it will work tomorrow. Easy Anti Cheat has proven this situation. Also, any type of DRM like Denuvo is likely to give problems and also be a source of the bad situation of "works today, not tomorrow."

And unless it is on the whitelist from valve, Steam will not likely refund your money if you are outside the 2 weeks from purchase window, or over the 2 hours of gameplay when Proton no longer works for a game.

Also, even though proton sales count as linux, it is much more likely that a developer will see those sales as more money from no effort on their part, than it will to get them to support a different environment entirely.

Edit:typo


Last edited by stretch611 at 12 February 2019 at 11:06 pm UTC
Arthur 13 February 2019 at 9:45 am UTC
LinasI commented particularly on 0 A.D., which is open source. So they don't earn anything from supporting macOS as far as I know. And yet, people will go great lengths to make their software work on macOS, even when it's holding other platforms back.

From what I know, some of their contributors are on macOS, and it's historically (pun not intended) been a platform they've had a noticeable user base from.
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