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The Solus distribution [Official Site] developers are a clever bunch, with their Linux Steam Integration [GitHub] software package and snaps, they are hoping to "relieve the pressure on distributions for supporting gaming".

When I say snaps, I'm talking the snap package system, specifically from version 2.28 onwards which supports something called "base" snaps. You can read more about the idea behind base snaps here.

Here's why they're doing it:

It's time to relieve the pressure on distributions for supporting gaming, by doing so through a single point of entry. A snapped LSI will ensure that the Steam/LSI combo would work identically on every distribution, *even if they don't support multilib*. It also ensures we can provide a "perfect" runtime, but ensure its up to date, optimised, and configured explicitly to support LSI & Steam.

If you're after an explanation in the most simple of terms, they have you covered:

TLDR: Single Steam/LSI image that takes all of the Solus gaming/Steam work, and provides it for everyone, on any distro.

They're also building a tool to debug the runtime, so they can ensure "ABI compatibility" with Steam and games themselves.

I certainly appreciate what they're doing, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of this. Perhaps in future this might help Valve directly with Steam, who knows what will happen.

On top of that, they recently released a new version of their Linux Steam Integration, which includes a new "vendor offender" mode, which can help games on open source drivers.

You can see the full post on G+ here. What do you think to this?

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Zlopez 13 October 2017 at 1:34 pm UTC
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As far as I know the snap is only supported by Ubuntu, other distributions wants to use Flatpak. And the Flatpak package for Steam is already worked on GitHub

I wonder why Canonical always wants to have something special that is not used in nowhere else (See: Unity, Mir ...)


Last edited by Zlopez at 13 October 2017 at 1:34 pm UTC
ikey 13 October 2017 at 1:39 pm UTC
ZlopezAs far as I know the snap is only supported by Ubuntu, other distributions wants to use Flatpak.

Many distributions support snap, including Fedora, Solus, etc. (Solus has full support for it.)

ZlopezAnd the Flatpak package for Steam is already worked on GitHub

Yeah that still uses the Steam runtime and doesn't actually solve anything, it still suffers its own distro incompatibilities.
Brisse 13 October 2017 at 1:43 pm UTC
I've tried a few programs as snaps on my Ubuntu install but none of them have worked and they take up ten times as much storage space as the equivalent deb package.

However, I do really like the idea of snap and flatpack, especially for proprietary stuff like Steam.

ZlopezAs far as I know the snap is only supported by Ubuntu

There are logos for quite a bunch of distros on the snap website: https://snapcraft.io/
berillions 13 October 2017 at 2:30 pm UTC
With snap Steam, it's possible to install a full 64-bits system ?
How Steam and Steam games will work if there are not 32-bits libraries on the system ?
MagicMyth 13 October 2017 at 2:32 pm UTC
BrisseI've tried a few programs as snaps on my Ubuntu install but none of them have worked and they take up ten times as much storage space as the equivalent deb package.

Yeah unfortunately I don't think Snapd uses anything like ostree with Flatpak. Flatpak's can look large but thanks to the de-duplication of ostree binary data is shared between runtimes and apps.

I'm surprised at Solus doing this though as they seemed to initially be more in favour of Flatpak. Does anyone know if they have listed the technically reasons for why they have done this (UPDATE: Seems at least some of the reasoning is in the G+ post)? Maybe they are being practical and trying to push both options right now and see which one holds up under actual trial of fire? I recall earlier in the year they were aiming to get Steam going in Flatpak but as Endless seems to have beat them to the punch did they think let's see how Snapd fairs?

ikey
ZlopezAs far as I know the snap is only supported by Ubuntu, other distributions wants to use Flatpak.


Many distributions support snap, including Fedora, Solus, etc. (Solus has full support for it.)

I'm quite sure Fedora does not "support" snapd. And my past test failed at running Snap on any non-ubuntu based distro where Flatpak has worked flawlessly for me (including Ubuntu) but I would not be surprised if the kinks have been fixed by now. Getting myself more up-to-date on the latest snapd development (don't you love how quick you can fall behind on tech) it seems snapd has fixed its requirements linked specifically to Ubuntu and does no longer require a Ubuntu One account (hurray!) so now the Flatpak vs Snapd battle looks interesting to me again


Last edited by MagicMyth at 13 October 2017 at 2:57 pm UTC
johndoe86x 13 October 2017 at 2:49 pm UTC
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ikey
ZlopezAs far as I know the snap is only supported by Ubuntu, other distributions wants to use Flatpak.

Many distributions support snap, including Fedora, Solus, etc. (Solus has full support for it.)

ZlopezAnd the Flatpak package for Steam is already worked on GitHub

Yeah that still uses the Steam runtime and doesn't actually solve anything, it still suffers its own distro incompatibilities.

Ikey Doherty? Is that you? For those who don't know he's the founder of Solus!
Brisse 13 October 2017 at 2:51 pm UTC
berillionsWith snap Steam, it's possible to install a full 64-bits system ?
How Steam and Steam games will work if there are not 32-bits libraries on the system ?

Every application you install as a snap will come with it's own set of libraries. That's why it takes up more disk space. It's also why you won't need 32-bit shared system libraries. A snap application runs in a sandboxed environment, so it doesn't have access to the system libraries anyway. Good security feature, since it hinders malicious apps from tampering with your system.

That's how I understand it anyway. I'm no expert though so I could be wrong.
mcphail 13 October 2017 at 3:12 pm UTC
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Things are changing all the time in the snap world. From my understanding, all "application" snaps to date have had a dependency on the Ubuntu Core snap, which provides almost a mini Ubuntu distro with all the needed runtime elements. The plan is for other distros to be able to provide alternative core snaps to ship their own runtimes. As I understand it, this is ikey's attempt to ship a suitable runtime environment for Steam and other gaming platforms. They'll be the "application" snaps and will depend on ikey's core snap. So all distros which support snaps will get to benefit from the work done in Solus to get gaming running smoothly. This is A Good Thing.
Duckeenie 13 October 2017 at 3:39 pm UTC
Solus is one of the most important Distros around right now. An amazing achievement for such a small team.
Ananace 13 October 2017 at 4:05 pm UTC
ZlopezAnd the Flatpak package for Steam is already worked on GitHub
There's actually a Steam package available from flathub as well, been using that myself since it appeared.

I'm still interested to hear about what Valve were planning when they talked about using something alike Flatpak for their own package handling on Linux.
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