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Further evidence that Valve is here for the long-run, they've hired yet another developer to help improve open source graphics drivers on Linux.

Daniel Schürmann is the latest, confirmed by Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais on Twitter. So they have now hired Samuel "hakzsam" Pitoiset, Timothy Arceri (who previously crowdfunded his work to improve Linux drivers), Andres Rodriguez and more in addition to this latest. 

It's going to be interesting to see if Valve continue to bring in more Linux folk, and the fact that Valve is still hiring people to help Linux gaming through driver work, VR work and so on is quite telling on how they plan to continue pushing Linux gaming for some time. They might not be shouting from the rooftops about it, but the work they're doing is vitally important.

Something else that Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais shared recently, is that approximately 13% of Mesa contributions in 2017 were from Valve developers:

Fun fact: Valve contributions seem to make up about 13% of Mesa commits in 2017. (commit count isn't relevant to contribution significance, so this fact is not only fun, but also useless).

It's going to be interesting to see what kind of splash Valve make, when VR support is solid on Linux and what their plans are after then. Some form of Steam Machine with SteamOS and a VR headset bundle, along with some upgrades to SteamOS could be quite interesting.

43 Likes, Who?
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natewardawg 8 February 2018 at 3:53 pm UTC
I still believe Valve is playing the long game with quite a bit of patience. Linux is the best hedge Valve seems to have and I don't see them abandoning it unless it falls off a cliff... which is highly unlikely at this point.

Last edited by natewardawg at 8 February 2018 at 3:53 pm UTC
Ardje 8 February 2018 at 3:55 pm UTC
Hmmm, it is time I do some more donations to Valve by buying some games.
Exactly this is the reason I switched from GOG to Steam...
I know that on Steam a substantial part is used for linux development. And at the same time I get to play games too.
pete910 8 February 2018 at 3:58 pm UTC
Nice to see more support for us open source users !
mirv 8 February 2018 at 4:01 pm UTC
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I'll take the opportunity to thank all the contributors, developers, designers, and testers of the open source driver stack. No matter if they're paid or unpaid.
Kimyrielle 8 February 2018 at 4:23 pm UTC
No matter how many devs they throw at it: On the NVidia end, people always will have to use the proprietary drivers, unless some sanity returns to NVidia management (which is highly unlikely), no?
Dunc 8 February 2018 at 4:37 pm UTC
QuoteIt's going to be interesting to see what kind of splash Valve make
I don't think, at this stage, a splash is what they intend to make. As natewardawg says, I think this about the long game, quietly making Linux a more viable gaming platform as a hedge against Microsoft. Put another way, I see them as trying to gradually reduce Redmond's dominance over time rather than attack it head-on.

Hey, they're gamers. They know how this works. You don't attack an overwhelmingly superior enemy straight out of the box; you build your strength and gradually eat away at his defences until you've evened out the odds.

Valve are levelling Linux gaming up.
Kimyrielle 8 February 2018 at 6:38 pm UTC
It -is- a sound strategy, and I think a lesson learned from their failed attempt to push SteamOS-based SteamMachines at a time when the product wasn't yet ready to compete with established systems. If you want to gnaw away at Windows/XBox's market share, you need to present customers a fully functional system that's -at least- on par with what you're attacking. We still lack a convincing argument for gamers currently (more or less happily) using Windows for gaming to switch to Linux. Every single game available for Linux is also available for Windows, so we need to beat Windows as a -platform-.

We have some things going for us - Linux is free-as-in-beer (if you're a system builder that's something you obviously like), open (no danger of it getting locked down), and arguably the overall better operating system than Windows. But we're still lagging behind in a few aspects as a -gaming- platform. Vulkan filled the most glaring hole and finally gave us the well-performing graphics API that OpenGL never was (although it seems game devs are much less keen on low-level graphics APIs than most people thought - so far they seem to stay away from both DX12 and Vulkan and consider DX11 "good enough"). Graphics drivers are another problem, and it's good to see that Valve is determined to improve that area (even if their efforts largely affect AMD users only, while the NVidia end will still be a mess). Distro-fragmentation and resulting support nightmares is probably the biggest problem overall - and SteamOS seems to be in no small part meant to remedy that and establish THE Linux gaming distro.

The downside of playing the long game is that it takes...well...long. What I am personally afraid of is some of the larger studios currently supporting Linux with the few AAA games we have, will lose patience if they don't see at least -some- progress going on. We had some tremendous momentum when Valve entered the Linux market, but it -did- slow down a little. We're getting the odd AAA game, but it almost feels as if we're getting fewer overall and fewer meaningful ports than two years ago. And we didn't have a NEW larger studio starting to support us since...Square Enix, if I am not mistaken? And even they didn't throw anything our way lately (no Rise of the Tomb Raider, no FF game...). The last true blockbuster we got was...Civ 6, in early 2017? And Aspyr quietly faded away as a driving Linux factor since then. I don't want to be a Negative Nancy, but right now we're -losing- momentum, not gaining any.

In short, I appreciate what they are doing, but if they are still committed to establish SteamOS as a competitor to Windows/XBox and PS4 in a few years, they could and should be a bit bolder, IMHO. One developer more won't change the overall picture all that much. I don't know how many people are working on SteamOS, but I think they need to hire a few more if they want to keep this thing going in a meaningful fashion.
Kuduzkehpan 8 February 2018 at 7:24 pm UTC
Valve hero of the masses. Glad to see that post. I belive valve wont let us alone.
tonR 8 February 2018 at 7:25 pm UTC
Probably, Valve's most productive department right now.

Wonder what is our Polish/Cypriot friends plans for their and our future? Raise white flag to "benefactors"?
RussianNeuroMancer 8 February 2018 at 7:27 pm UTC
KimyrielleNo matter how many devs they throw at it: On the NVidia end, people always will have to use the proprietary drivers, unless some sanity returns to NVidia management (which is highly unlikely), no?
Or at least some sanity returns to people who use Nvidia's hardware, which is possible, in my opinion.
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