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Windows 10 S might alarm Valve into boosting SteamOS again

Posted by , | Views: 35,663

You might have heard of Microsoft's latest plans (source) to keep people on their own store, with a locked down Windows 10 S mode to be available on all versions of Windows. This is easily a first step towards Windows 10 S being the first version of Windows that users see.

Windows 10 S is essentially a version of Windows 10 that's locked into the Windows Store with Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, so you can't really run traditional applications like Steam and so on.

This goes directly back to how Gabe Newell of Valve and plenty of other developers felt about Windows 8. With Newell saying "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.". There's also Croteam CTO Alen Ladavac who wasn't too pleased with it either, he's now tweeted about this latest issue from Microsoft to say " 'I told you so' doesn't quite cut it. :P". Ladavac also said in a reply "Think about it - if apps need to be adapted for UWP, it might be wiser to just adapt them for OSX/Linux instead.".

It makes sense too, if Microsoft is determined to make Windows more locked-down over time, that's not really good for anyone. Actually investing into Linux gaming, where you have far more control opens you up to many more opportunities.

Apparently, Windows 10 S can be upgraded to a "normal" version of Windows 10 Home for free, but the problem is that Microsoft has said around 60% don't even bother to do the upgrade keeping them locked into the Windows Store.

I hope Valve is keeping an eye on this, and it should certainly make Linux and SteamOS quite attractive again for them. There's good reasons why Valve has kept SteamOS around and plans like this from Microsoft (even if they fall through) will happen again and again. If Microsoft fail, they will wait a while and try it another way.

How long will it be until you have to pay to upgrade to Windows 10 Home, how long before the Home edition doesn't exist? Many questions—questions which should probably alarm people.

Thanks for the tip kellerkindt. Note: Article intro updated after publishing to better reflect my own point.

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127 comments
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BlackBloodRum 9 February 2018 at 5:45 pm UTC
pete910Agreed, To me it looks like MS are going to make a Win distro basically.

Drop the NT kernel, insert GNU/Linux kernel, drop the company that owns it (Microsoft), insert Linux Foundation as owners, replace the UI with XFCE, open source it and you got a new user!
appetrosyan 9 February 2018 at 10:49 pm UTC
julespetrikov
webcreatureI disagree! When the propriator of the one OS that is pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC, decides to pre configure this OS to a default that makes Steam incompatible, and when the user has to change that configuration against warnings that tell him this step might be dangerous, then a big percentage of mostly new users will not do that. And that will shrink the user-base potential for Steam, not actual numbers of course.
OR.. people decide to use an alternate OS instead, which I'd like very much of course.. Do you believe in it?

"pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC"

That's the case, they can't do that. That's bad business. That's exactly why Windows 10 S is not the choice for gaming or production, because it's not intended to run all the games and it's not commercialised as one. Same goes for ChromeOS, Android etc. It's much like how people were asking "How the hell SteamOS will replace Windows" in the early days and got the most obvious answer: It's not intended to do that. S Mode itself is not a profitable way of selling gaming ready PCs, since consumer is not always the idiot, but it's a good way of ripping off people.

There's absolutely no possible future in which Microsoft won the gaming industry by such a move. It's just plain dumb. You can't just force an incompatible OS in a market that demands a compatible OS. That won't force people to buy things from their Stores, it will force consumer away from Microsoft and Windows. To Mac and Linux, mainly.

I'm not trying to justify their point here. Just telling people: SteamOS and Windows 10 S or Windows 10 S Mode or whatever stupid thing they could put forward has no relevance at all.

Spoken like someone who knows business. Seriously though, they won't go that route, as they'd be shooting themselves in the foot. And Valve are still not pushing Steam OS, as they're likely waiting for the Wayland Conundrum to finally wear down and get to work.
appetrosyan 9 February 2018 at 11:12 pm UTC
qptain Nemo
appetrosyanWayland is not complete, we still need to do plenty of under-the-hood improvements, before the aggressive marketing will even have a chance. Right now, we'd only make the task even harder.

On one hand I certainly understand the risks you're talking about. I mean, look at Steam Machines. On the other hand, there is the risk of overpreparing and betting too much on one big reveal that is supposed to be perfect and coming way too late or not coming at all. I mean, look at Steam Machines, I bet Valve learned a lot of really useful things from their first attempt that would help them tremendously if they eventually follow up. The whole "release early" philosophy exists for goods reasons. But yeah, Wayland is even conceptually incomplete if you ask me (I consider the "you can't have a DE-agnostic screenshot / screen recording tool because security" approach a serious mistake). So I'd say it's a delicate question and I wouldn't insist on any one answer to it at the moment.

I understand what you mean by overpreparing, but in out particular case this isn't really a risk. Right now, Linux in the minds of the 75% of the Desktop market share is this obscure, hacker only OS, with little to accommodate anything beyond software development. Not advertising just leads to status quo, nothing lost nothing gained.

On the other hand, advertising it right now would be difficult: the average consumer would want to be able to do what they can do on pretty much any other device and right now all of those things are getting a facelift (getting, not got). Advertising now is like inviting people to a recital when you've just started playing an instrument.

We are just transitioning to Wayland: it's not feature complete, only one mainstream DE has workable support, almost no applications work under it and to top it all off, nVidia refuses to support it. And wayland would be huge for gaming. Making mainstream audiences switch now would create a bunch of myths about Linux that we can't easily shake off. It makes sense for Valve to wait until some of the dust has settled, and lay the groundwork in other areas.
qptain Nemo 10 February 2018 at 1:59 am UTC
appetrosyanI understand what you mean by overpreparing, but in out particular case this isn't really a risk. Right now, Linux in the minds of the 75% of the Desktop market share is this obscure, hacker only OS, with little to accommodate anything beyond software development. Not advertising just leads to status quo, nothing lost nothing gained.

On the other hand, advertising it right now would be difficult: the average consumer would want to be able to do what they can do on pretty much any other device and right now all of those things are getting a facelift (getting, not got). Advertising now is like inviting people to a recital when you've just started playing an instrument.

We are just transitioning to Wayland: it's not feature complete, only one mainstream DE has workable support, almost no applications work under it and to top it all off, nVidia refuses to support it. And wayland would be huge for gaming. Making mainstream audiences switch now would create a bunch of myths about Linux that we can't easily shake off. It makes sense for Valve to wait until some of the dust has settled, and lay the groundwork in other areas.
I see your point and I appreciate the fact that there are times when you have to patiently prepare but at the same time I don't agree with the current state being quite so hopelessly unappealing and rough. You actually can do everything you can on other platforms and have a pretty good time doing it. But oh well. I do wonder at which point would you start advertising it heavily? Like what marks that moment when the dust settles in your opinion? Flawless adoption of Wayland in mainstream distros like Ubuntu?
Salvatos 10 February 2018 at 4:21 am UTC
qptain NemoYou actually can do everything you can on other platforms and have a pretty good time doing it.
You and I clearly don't have the same needs
Guest 10 February 2018 at 10:39 am UTC
appetrosyan
julespetrikov
webcreatureI disagree! When the propriator of the one OS that is pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC, decides to pre configure this OS to a default that makes Steam incompatible, and when the user has to change that configuration against warnings that tell him this step might be dangerous, then a big percentage of mostly new users will not do that. And that will shrink the user-base potential for Steam, not actual numbers of course.
OR.. people decide to use an alternate OS instead, which I'd like very much of course.. Do you believe in it?

"pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC"

That's the case, they can't do that. That's bad business. That's exactly why Windows 10 S is not the choice for gaming or production, because it's not intended to run all the games and it's not commercialised as one. Same goes for ChromeOS, Android etc. It's much like how people were asking "How the hell SteamOS will replace Windows" in the early days and got the most obvious answer: It's not intended to do that. S Mode itself is not a profitable way of selling gaming ready PCs, since consumer is not always the idiot, but it's a good way of ripping off people.

There's absolutely no possible future in which Microsoft won the gaming industry by such a move. It's just plain dumb. You can't just force an incompatible OS in a market that demands a compatible OS. That won't force people to buy things from their Stores, it will force consumer away from Microsoft and Windows. To Mac and Linux, mainly.

I'm not trying to justify their point here. Just telling people: SteamOS and Windows 10 S or Windows 10 S Mode or whatever stupid thing they could put forward has no relevance at all.

Spoken like someone who knows business. Seriously though, they won't go that route, as they'd be shooting themselves in the foot. And Valve are still not pushing Steam OS, as they're likely waiting for the Wayland Conundrum to finally wear down and get to work.

MS definitely made Windows S for a reason. I think it comes close to what MS would find ideal for their future, and what they might try to achieve with Windows CoreOS. MS can't control Win32, but they definitely want to control things on Windows more.
On the other side no gamer in his right mind would buy S for gaming, and no gamer in his right mind would switch to S-Mode for gaming. Non gamers, or "not yet gamers" on the other hand might never even try out Steam or GOG or certain open source software because they're in S Mode and they don't want to switch for "security reasons" or because they even had to pay for it.
Even if MS had not gaming specifically in mind when they developed S, Win32 gaming conflicts with their interests. For them it would be best if gaming would come to UWP and let the rest be lagacy. They made UWP for a reason...
Now, of course I'm not saying the will succeed with it, I just say if they could choose, it would be that way, or something similar. Fortunately MS has a history of "wanting to much at once and p!ssing people of with it", so all of this could make some more people switch to Linux. If they do not succeed with it, as you say, I'd say they do have to change plans... again..
If it is in fact untrue, that they try to influence OEMs to pre-configure S-Mode on certain game capable devices, then all of the said things are irrelevant of course. We'll see..


Last edited by at 10 February 2018 at 10:44 am UTC
appetrosyan 10 February 2018 at 9:42 pm UTC
qptain Nemo
appetrosyanI understand what you mean by overpreparing, but in out particular case this isn't really a risk. Right now, Linux in the minds of the 75% of the Desktop market share is this obscure, hacker only OS, with little to accommodate anything beyond software development. Not advertising just leads to status quo, nothing lost nothing gained.

On the other hand, advertising it right now would be difficult: the average consumer would want to be able to do what they can do on pretty much any other device and right now all of those things are getting a facelift (getting, not got). Advertising now is like inviting people to a recital when you've just started playing an instrument.

We are just transitioning to Wayland: it's not feature complete, only one mainstream DE has workable support, almost no applications work under it and to top it all off, nVidia refuses to support it. And wayland would be huge for gaming. Making mainstream audiences switch now would create a bunch of myths about Linux that we can't easily shake off. It makes sense for Valve to wait until some of the dust has settled, and lay the groundwork in other areas.
I see your point and I appreciate the fact that there are times when you have to patiently prepare but at the same time I don't agree with the current state being quite so hopelessly unappealing and rough. You actually can do everything you can on other platforms and have a pretty good time doing it. But oh well. I do wonder at which point would you start advertising it heavily? Like what marks that moment when the dust settles in your opinion? Flawless adoption of Wayland in mainstream distros like Ubuntu?

When Wayland works. In my own experience, while it's way less versatile than x.org, where it works, it gives you a massive performance advantage. You will agree that the frame-rate is important for gaming, so it makes sense to advertise this gaming-specific OS when you actually can produce at your best.

I don't mind the dropped frames, and the extra work to make things run on Linux, but that doesn't mean that there aren't objective disadvantages to gaming on it. Right now the biggest one I face, is the fact that in a complex scene, the rendering speed drops. this all due to the way in which frames are buffered in X.org, and is one of the main reasons why the switch is being made.


Last edited by appetrosyan at 10 February 2018 at 9:42 pm UTC
Grazen 11 February 2018 at 4:37 am UTC
webcreature
appetrosyan
julespetrikov
webcreatureI disagree! When the propriator of the one OS that is pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC, decides to pre configure this OS to a default that makes Steam incompatible, and when the user has to change that configuration against warnings that tell him this step might be dangerous, then a big percentage of mostly new users will not do that. And that will shrink the user-base potential for Steam, not actual numbers of course.
OR.. people decide to use an alternate OS instead, which I'd like very much of course.. Do you believe in it?

"pre-installed on almost every sold gaming ready PC"

That's the case, they can't do that. That's bad business. That's exactly why Windows 10 S is not the choice for gaming or production, because it's not intended to run all the games and it's not commercialised as one. Same goes for ChromeOS, Android etc. It's much like how people were asking "How the hell SteamOS will replace Windows" in the early days and got the most obvious answer: It's not intended to do that. S Mode itself is not a profitable way of selling gaming ready PCs, since consumer is not always the idiot, but it's a good way of ripping off people.

There's absolutely no possible future in which Microsoft won the gaming industry by such a move. It's just plain dumb. You can't just force an incompatible OS in a market that demands a compatible OS. That won't force people to buy things from their Stores, it will force consumer away from Microsoft and Windows. To Mac and Linux, mainly.

I'm not trying to justify their point here. Just telling people: SteamOS and Windows 10 S or Windows 10 S Mode or whatever stupid thing they could put forward has no relevance at all.

Spoken like someone who knows business. Seriously though, they won't go that route, as they'd be shooting themselves in the foot. And Valve are still not pushing Steam OS, as they're likely waiting for the Wayland Conundrum to finally wear down and get to work.

MS definitely made Windows S for a reason. I think it comes close to what MS would find ideal for their future, and what they might try to achieve with Windows CoreOS. MS can't control Win32, but they definitely want to control things on Windows more.
On the other side no gamer in his right mind would buy S for gaming, and no gamer in his right mind would switch to S-Mode for gaming. Non gamers, or "not yet gamers" on the other hand might never even try out Steam or GOG or certain open source software because they're in S Mode and they don't want to switch for "security reasons" or because they even had to pay for it.
Even if MS had not gaming specifically in mind when they developed S, Win32 gaming conflicts with their interests. For them it would be best if gaming would come to UWP and let the rest be lagacy. They made UWP for a reason...
Now, of course I'm not saying the will succeed with it, I just say if they could choose, it would be that way, or something similar. Fortunately MS has a history of "wanting to much at once and p!ssing people of with it", so all of this could make some more people switch to Linux. If they do not succeed with it, as you say, I'd say they do have to change plans... again..
If it is in fact untrue, that they try to influence OEMs to pre-configure S-Mode on certain game capable devices, then all of the said things are irrelevant of course. We'll see..

But isn't Microsoft alreadly making S-Mode or UWP games - pretty well everything they publish on the Xbox is cross compatible with UWP.
tuubi 11 February 2018 at 8:57 am UTC
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appetrosyanRight now the biggest one I face, is the fact that in a complex scene, the rendering speed drops. this all due to the way in which frames are buffered in X.org, and is one of the main reasons why the switch is being made.
OpenGL and Vulkan drivers on Linux make use of direct rendering, communicating directly with the hardware. Frames are not presented through an X.org buffer. What you said is mostly true, but it doesn't affect gaming that much.
Whitewolfe80 11 February 2018 at 9:56 am UTC
Samsai
nitroflow
Samsai
QuoteApparently, Windows 10 S can be upgraded to a "normal" version of Windows 10 Home for free, but the problem is that Microsoft has said around 60% don't even bother to do the upgrade keeping them locked into the Windows Store.
This stuff right here is just Microsoft preying on the ignorance of its users. Just like the free upgrades to Windows 10, the free upgrade to Windows 10 Home will be gone eventually and all of the people that didn't know to upgrade their OS by then have accidentally locked themselves into using a technically inferior product for no benefit.

Actually I took the opportunity to upgrade my parents POS from windows 7 pro to windows 10 pro for free because touch screen support is vastly superior but to each is own
You misunderstood my point. My point is not that Windows 10 is an inferior product but that the upgrade opportunity expired. And I predict the upgrade opportunity from S to Home will also expire and S is an objectively inferior product to Home.

If you wanted to the free option is still there all you need is a vaild win 7 key still they closed the web portal but downloading the iso and using a win7 key still works for free i did an install of it on a rig a friend wanted so he could play pubg.
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