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It's always interesting to read about what happens inside of Valve. Rich Geldreich, who previously worked at Valve has blogged about his experience inside Valve during Valve's push towards Linux.

It seems Rich was a rather important member of the team and one of the influential people in getting OpenGL + Linux support up to scratch.

He was responsible for speaking to external driver teams and their managers/execs, and he helped present to external game developers about how to get good performance out of OpenGL.

I fondly remember reading the Valve blog post about getting Left 4 Dead 2 running faster on Linux than it did on Windows. I remember feeling so happy about everything that was happening. Rich Geldreich was the one feeding the information to Gabe Newell himself (the owner of Valve) who wrote the blog post.

It seems Valve's plans well and truly scared Microsoft too:
Rich GeldreichA few weeks after this post went out, some very senior developers from Microsoft came by for a discrete visit. They loved our post, because it lit a fire underneath Microsoft's executives to get their act together and keep supporting Direct3D development. (Remember, at this point it was years since the last DirectX SDK release. The DirectX team was on life support.) Linux is obviously extremely influential.

That's very interesting to read about. I had no idea Valve pushing OpenGL and Linux was this serious a threat that Microsoft visited Valve directly.

It sounds like we have a lot to thank Rich for. He even shares what a lot of other people believe, that Linux was/is a safeguard for Valve against Microsoft:
Rich GeldreichIt's perhaps hard to believe, but the Steam Linux effort made a significant impact inside of multiple corporations. It was a surprisingly influential project. Valve being deeply involved with Linux also gives the company a "worse case scenario" hedge vs. Microsoft. It's like a club held over MS's heads. They just need to keep spending the resources to keep their in-house Linux expertise in a healthy state.

Sadly, it seems when Valve let a bunch of people go back in 2013, the Linux team suffered due to this.

Check out the blog post here. Article taken from
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mirv 4 Jan, 2017
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I'm not really that surprised by the info given, though I will admit to being surprised that someone actually wrote about it in public. Interesting read though, and I do hope that Valve's GNU/Linux efforts pick up again - it'd be a shame to waste all the effort people have put in.
natewardawg 4 Jan, 2017
Nice, not that I was worried about anything, but this was a very encouraging read! :)
calvin 4 Jan, 2017
Microsoft might have dropped the walled garden, but they're pushing harder than ever to become the leader of PC gaming. Valve can't just sit on their laurels; they take action and keep their crown, or they idle by, too focused on other tasks, and let Microsoft win, possibly even fairly.
Leopard 4 Jan, 2017
pete910 4 Jan, 2017
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It was Mantle the mainly lit the fire tbh, Scared the crap out of them when handed to kronos. I admit this also would have sparked a little movement
Liam Dawe 4 Jan, 2017
With Microsoft trying to improve their Windows Store or whatever it's called, Valve still needs SteamOS. Imagine if more and more people started actually buying from it eating into Valve's pocket, they need us.
calvin 4 Jan, 2017
Yeah. Microsoft takes Valve seriously as a threat, but they don't see SteamOS as one, with little followthrough and usage. Desktop GNU/Linux is improving, but it's still not high on their radar.
neowiz73 4 Jan, 2017
since sales are moving away from PCs MS seems more concerned about their cloud based services, mobile software and xbox moving forward. I'm sure they will continue to do what is necessary to maintain their PC market-share as long as it stays profitable, although it only accounts for 10% of their overall revenue.
Corben 4 Jan, 2017
QuoteThey just need to keep spending the resources to keep their in-house Linux expertise in a healthy state.
This little word "just" has such a big meaning...
I'm afraid, now that Microsoft has picked up DirectX again, improved Windows 10 as a gaming platform (with new features probably coming with the next big update), Linux is losing in the long run.
We are mostly late with releases, latest big thing were the Steam Dev Days showing VR on Linux. And everything else was shown on Linux/SteamOS Machines too, that was quite cool and impressive. But Valve isn't showing anything new or upcoming to us. So I'm wondering what do they have in their pipeline, if anything at all... and when.
2016 was a great year for Linux gaming in general, with a lot of big releases. Some of them finally released after being announced a long time ago. But what's coming next? I'm missing big announcements to get hyped for and to look forward to.
There are some kickstarter projects like System Shock or Everspace, but that can't be all. My concern is, publishers and devs might turn their back on us and go for Windows and maybe Mac only again. Even the Feral Radar is pretty empty (except for two upcoming mac only titles) at the moment.

Atm I'm using wine again for a lot of games, like No Man's Sky or Doom. Luckily OpenGL and Vulkan make this possible. But I want more native ports! I'm really afraid of 2017 after 2016 had such a great pace.

Last edited by Corben on 4 January 2017 at 11:59 pm UTC
Shmerl 4 Jan, 2017
Interesting read. The situation with 3D graphics on Linux only improved since then and continues moving in the right direction, and I'm sure MS views Vulkan as even a bigger threat than OpenGL. I expect the trend is going to continue.

Valve's major effort in Vulkan and recently hiring engineers to work on AMD driver in Mesa shows that they view this seriously and are invested in Linux gaming. I'd say, those are more important for success of Linux than SteamOS.

Last edited by Shmerl on 5 January 2017 at 12:00 am UTC
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