Is Valve's Steam antithetical to Linux and the very core of the open source spirit?
The first give away is that developers who sign up with Steam must legally agree to not discuss the details of their contracts.
Right there, heavy handed legal agreements that you aren't even allowed to discuss in public. If anything is opposite to the open, community nature and spirit of open source and Linux, this is it.
The iOS/Android app stores have revenue split details and pricing info right on their public web sites. No NDAs, no secret deals: it's completely out in the open.
I can infer that Steam:
- Has much more subjective say over which games they distribute and promote.
- Has much more controls over how games are priced than say iOS/Android, where it is pretty much completely a developer choice.
- Has much more leverage over game developers and reduces their rights.
The code to Steam is not open source, not forkable, and the protocols are all completely proprietary. If you don't like the Steam client, you can't just write your own. And there is a push to make games Steam exclusive to remove the choice from users to experience game content without Stream.
Valve wants Stream to take away rights of Linux developers, control contract info and negotiations in secret, control the pricing, and take a large revenue cut.
Additionally, I can see a logical fairness to Apple claiming a 30% revenue cut on iOS apps since they built and drive that entire hardware and OS ecosystem. It's a similar story for Android apps. But what entitles Steam to a large cut of the revenue of a software product that some independent developer writes for Linux? Valve didn't help write the software, and played no part in the development of the OS or the hardware, what gives them any kind of reasonable claim to a cut of the revenue?
If Linux wants good games, someone fix the issues that have made it hard for developers to have platform neutral game clients. Most game developers require fairly standard functionality to build on: fast 3D graphics rendering, audio, keyboard/mouse input, and install/unistall.
This is an awesome Linux coverage site, and the main writer has personal relations with Valve and is a big fan, but I don't seen any positives out of this for Linux.