Valve May Be Crafting a Way to Play Windows Steam Games on Linux

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kenjitamura

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It's be kind of nice if Valve did make their own alternative to WINE for use with their platform but I highly doubt they'd be able to so easily surpass the decades long work put into it. Though I'm not sure if anything is preventing them from forking it.

The one advantage they'd have is that WINE developers insist on making everything from scratch so that games will work well on both Mac and Linux; that's why USB support and such is a complete mess in WINE as they refuse to use Linux or Mac's existing drivers and build their own platform agnostic USB drivers.

I feel like passthrough technology will be what is needed for playing Windows games on Linux without a noticeable performance hit. There is software that allows virtualized graphics passthrough to play Windows games natively on linux however it still requires most systems to have two graphics cards which isn't realistic if we want people to adopt it.

That's actually kind of why I'm looking forward to Intel's discrete GPU's. Their SR-IOV implementation, GVT-g, will probably be supported by their new GPU which allows graphics pass through with only one graphics card. You will still need Windows installed, and a Windows license, however most people will never again have to boot into the Windows installation while still getting access to all of Windows gaming titles and played at near identical performance.
 

salgado18

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If I have a Windows license, why would I install Linux in the first place?
 

kenjitamura

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It's really just a matter of preference. It's the same as "If they have all the exact same PC hardware why would I pay twice the cost of a Windows PC for a PC with MacOS?"

Linux has some things going for it. If someone becomes code savvy enough and decides there's something wrong with the underlying source code they can hack together changes and contribute to the kernel themselves; though the bar for being able to do something like that is extremely high on the knowledge side.

It doesn't need antivirus software, has a ton of different aesthetic choices in desktop managers (elementary OS is gorgeous), and can be rewarding to be able to do some things for yourself in the bash shell.

There's also the point that its future isn't entirely determined by a single conglomerate and there isn't automatic data collection happening in the background that can't be turned off. But that probably shouldn't be a concern to most users though it did concern Valve enough to start investing in linux.







 

shpankey

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Whatever or however it's done, it won't come without a penalty... and therefore, unlikely to swing many over from Windows. Great for Linux only users though!
 

Apple Troll Master

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I feel this type of article comes out ever few years with no fruit at the end. We'll hear about this again in 2 more years. I would switch over to linux if they could get it to work as good as nvidia drivers crashing on Windows.
 

jimmysmitty

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The biggest issue with Linux is the support end. Yes there is a community built around it but there is a difference between having a community help and people who are paid professionals with the full resources and tools to help.

If Linux can provide that same level of support instead of it being a community only support system it could be more.
 

Apple Troll Master

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I really dislike when people assume there is no support other than community support for Linux. Free versions of Linux, yes you'll be reaching out to the community. But Red Hat Enterprise has support if not better than Windows. Also if you have an issue on Windows you're going to some form of community support, either its Office support, Steam support, Nvidia support, they're all 'community' forums and I'll tell you right now that Microsoft doesn't have the best support staff either. I don't know anyone that has called Microsoft Support for a Windows 7,8,10 issue relating to Steam/Nvidia/etc as its not their product to support. The vast majority of Windows users reach out to a community forum of a sort or google it..its funny same thing happens for Linux users. Now only if Microsoft made free OS's like Linux does.
 

termathor

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"Also if you have an issue on Windows you're going to some form of community support, either its Office support, Steam support, Nvidia support, they're all 'community' forums and I'll tell you right now that Microsoft doesn't have the best support staff either. I don't know anyone that has called Microsoft Support for a Windows 7,8,10 issue relating to Steam/Nvidia/etc as its not their product to support."

Exactly, no-one calls MS support and get a magic solution to a buggy update, no-one. If you're lucky enough to get anyone on the phone, they'll just read the usual script of re-install everything ...
 

jimmysmitty

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Oh I'm sorry. I didn't know we were talking about an Enterprise class version of Linux. Because sure. Everyone who wants to game will be on that version that is specifically designed for and used in Enterprise solutions.

By support I mean patches, drivers etc. The consumers, not enterprise, level of Linux rarely has this and even still have some driver issues. Any user can install Windows 10 on most any system and Microsoft will have the majority of drivers. Most used to be generic but even the GPU drivers are, older, official drivers from vendors.

And yes people do call into Microsoft. They also have multiple official forums and places people can go for help and support. They provide multiple free resources and tools to troubleshoot and fix issues.

Again consumer is not enterprise. Thats where I was going with it.

Now if you want to talk enterprise thats a whole different scenario as RHE has its uses as does Windows and other versions of Linux.
 

nibir2011

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As a Billion Dollar company i think Steam should grow some backbone. They are only focused on making more and more money. Now that microsoft has opened store they are trying to bash miscrosoft. As a memebr of Linux community i do not want this kind of selfish company. My most probable guess is they will just wrap the already existing DXVK, wine and other community built stuff and claim it for themselves(in a prestige sense, as they will market it). If they respect themselves they should write a good emulator or write a nice DX to Vulcan wrapper. These things are difficult and will take time. I suspect they wont do this as these are difficult. The moment they abandoned game making made it clear to me that they want to be shitty money making company rather than trying to innovate. There are some rumors about some new games which i think wont be as innovative as before. They have lost it. I dont like steam.
 

mlee 2500

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Well, turns out that's what companies do. Try and make money. At least the ones that last for more then a few years, or respect their obligations to ownership and/or shareholders. Not to mention employees, who like to get paid and feed their kids.

If you think a little harder it's also not difficult to see why Steam would want to do this to protect it's own interests, especially in an era where Microsoft is trying to make it's own App Store the go-to distribution point and cut entities like Steam out altogether.
 

mlee 2500

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Don't forget SLES (SUSE). Their Enterprise products, relied on by many large scale compute grids, has changed parent ownership a few times, but has nonetheless always offered outstanding product support. Not to mention a willingness to make modifications and enhancements as a direct result of specific customer requests (try and get that with Microsoft).
 

Onus

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Going for convenience has cost people a lot more privacy than they realize. As far as I know, Linux distros don't report my shopping habits to advertisers, ask to analyze every web site I visit, or otherwise invite third parties to stick their noses in my business. For a variety of reasons, I'm a stickler for staying legal, but that hasn't prevented any number of law-abiding citizens like me from having their lives screwed up by some self-important parasite or armed thug anyway, perhaps "just because they can;" so, I prefer to keep my personal details on a need-to-know basis.
 

jimmysmitty

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Actually a ton of the features and changes for Windows 10 are typically thanks to the Insider Program. And on the Enterprise end, its very different. Microsoft does work closely with its partners. Otherwise they wouldn't keep them very long. Its why Windows XP is still supported for some companies and not the mainstream, as in Microsoft will write updates for those companies for XP.



The problem is though with anything popular it eventually becomes like the others. Remember Google when it launched? Unlike the big search engines and offering such a different way to find stuff. Now they like everyone else sell data.

If Linux ever got that big, Microsoft big, in the consumer sphere it would eventually do the exact same thing. All it takes is one greedy bastard to start it and the others will see the money and say "Yes, more please".
 

mitch074

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I recently built a new computer; for the first time in years, I've done away with dual booting: no more Windows for me. My previous machine booted Windows once every couple months and it took ages for it to get up to speed (updates that take ages, Windows Search that hogs up HDD bandwidth etc.) so actually setting up a Windows version of Steam was comparatively fast: in less than an hour, I had already ported those Windows-only games I still wanted to play - and most ran flawlessly. The worst to get running was Doom 2016 in its latest update, due to a Virtual C redistributable (2015) that refused to install and the need for me to run it on Vulkan instead of OpenGL (I'm using open source AMD drivers) which forced me to install Wine-staging instead of Wine-stable.
Other games installed and ran straight away.
As for performance hit... Doom took a 5-20% performance hit at first, and this got smaller and smaller as soon as Vulkan driver fixes landed. DX9 games are all good, there's trouble with DX11 games... But those I own have native Linux+OpenGL/Vulkan ports, so I just run them natively.

Back to the OP, I wouldn't be surprised if Valve ended up shipping a fork of Wine (or eOn, or whatever) inside their non-Win32 clients, activating said compatibility layer on tested games. For one thing, this could actually allow older Windows games to keep running as one can actually run Wine on Windows, making old games (XP era) compatible with more recent versions of the OS.

A note on DOSbox: it is already used in many games for Windows too, as Windows is NOT compatible with DOS ever since XP came out - DOSbox is mandatory to run games like Descent, Duke Nukem 3D or Tomb Raider (original PC version) as Windows (XP+) isn't compatible with DOS/Windows (3.x-9x).
 

kenjitamura

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I don't know why you would assume this would be the case with linux; it uses a GPL license which was specifically crafted to avoid that exact scenario.

Linux is referring to a kernel only and to use and modify the kernel requires that you make your modified kernel available free of charge. What you're suggesting would happen on the distribution level and there are a ton of different distributions. If any of those distributions actually tried what you're suggesting it'd probably die off fast and even if it didn't it'd be simple to just fork the distribution and remove whatever they did to it.

 

jimmysmitty

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Well by Linux I mean the distros obviously. I know it is just the kernal.

However find me one company that started off small and became a major player that did not eventually become just like the others. I can't think of one TBH. As I mentioned, Google used to be a great company offering great products. Now they hoard and sell your data no matter how you feel about it.
 

mlee 2500

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Have to disagree with you there...RedHat or other Corporate Linux Distros would, as you say, almost certainly sell out their customers if they could make a buck, but unlike with Microsoft's proprietary owned code, other Linux Distros would NOT, and because a viable Linux alternative would be available, it would put pressure on RedHat to NOT engage in bad behavior so readily.

In fact, that's why owning RedHat stock hasn't made any typical investors rich (though I see the stock HAS been on a bit of a tear recently after being a total dog for nearly a decade).

 
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