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Thread: Is Valve's Steam antithetical to Linux and the very core of the open source spirit?

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    Default 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.

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    I agree that too many products being only available through one distributor is a bad thing and the vendor-lockin should be removed (i.e. every time you buy something on steam you get a non-steam copy too.). On the other hand, as long as it is basically "entertainment software" that we can do without just fine, who really cares?

    I'd say, give it some time. For example
    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    - Has much more subjective say over which games they distribute and promote.
    I don't understand much of what all of that means but I think they want to make it more accessible:
    http://gamasutra.com/view/news/18616...Greenlight.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    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.
    1) Possibly. It's quite possible that the companies just have different ways of working.
    2) I think you need to justify it not being developer choice (i.e. provide evidence).
    3) Possibly.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    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.
    Without any evidence of the cut that valve take it's not fair to say that it's a large cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    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.
    Valve wrote steam, i.e. the software that supports the app's deployment.


    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    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.
    It reduces dependence on Windows, it makes it easier for people to use Linux as their only OS.

    Many of the problems you have mentioned stem from Steam being a proprietary piece of software. Whilst I'd definitely prefer it if Steam were open source, I think a certain amount of pragmatism is sensible here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    1) Possibly. It's quite possible that the companies just have different ways of working.
    2) I think you need to justify it not being developer choice (i.e. provide evidence).
    3) Possibly.
    Possibly. I don't have solid proof, but the very fact that they force all developers to sign an NDA and keep these contract details secret is a big, big warning.

    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    Valve wrote steam, i.e. the software that supports the app's deployment.
    Of course. subjectively, I would say that this provides extremely little value and that it's dramatically smaller investment than what Apple/Google makes into iOS/Android.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Possibly. I don't have solid proof, but the very fact that they force all developers to sign an NDA and keep these contract details secret is a big, big warning.
    For some businesses NDA's aren't because they're trying to keep dark secrets, but because that's what they've always done and they've yet to see any benefit to doing things differently. Please understand: I don't like them, but I don't think much can be read into their use.

    [QUOTE=DanLamb;323277]subjectively, I would say that this provides extremely little value and that it's dramatically smaller investment than what Apple/Google makes into iOS/Android.
    Respectfully, and subjectively, I would say that it provides me with the value of not having to worry about running the update function of every game I run: everything is kept fully-patched and providing it's now downloading *right now*, I can launch any game and not worry about whether I'm running the right version.

    It's certainly not as large an investment as iOS/Android, but it was nonetheless an investment that is capable of providing significant benefits (the more games you own the greater the benefit of it managing their updates).

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Possibly. I don't have solid proof, but the very fact that they force all developers to sign an NDA and keep these contract details secret is a big, big warning.
    For some businesses NDA's aren't because they're trying to keep dark secrets, but because that's what they've always done and they've yet to see any benefit to doing things differently. Please understand: I don't like them, but I don't think much can be read into their use.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    subjectively, I would say that this provides extremely little value and that it's dramatically smaller investment than what Apple/Google makes into iOS/Android.
    Respectfully, and subjectively, I would say that it provides me with the value of not having to worry about running the update function of every game I run: everything is kept fully-patched and providing it's now downloading *right now*, I can launch any game and not worry about whether I'm running the right version.

    It's certainly not as large an investment as iOS/Android, but it was nonetheless an investment that is capable of providing significant benefits (the more games you own the greater the benefit of it managing their updates).

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    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    For some businesses NDA's aren't because they're trying to keep dark secrets, but because that's what they've always done and they've yet to see any benefit to doing things differently. Please understand: I don't like them, but I don't think much can be read into their use.
    maybe there is some innocuous reason for the NDAs, but these are major important details of who owns what and who can do what. It's ridiculous to keep these details secret and require NDAs to see them and even pretend to be a part of the Linux community which is based on sharing your source, free software infrastructure, and this open collaborative community.

    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    Respectfully, and subjectively, I would say that it provides me with the value of not having to worry about running the update function of every game I run: everything is kept fully-patched and providing it's now downloading *right now*, I can launch any game and not worry about whether I'm running the right version.
    ok, this is awesome functionality over manually maintaining separate installs, but this is standard package manager functionality. There are many well established package management systems that are widely used and provide this service free to consumers and developers and generally license free and NDA free and completely open source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    If Linux wants good games
    Linux is not in a position to want anything. It's just a bunch of vaguely related companies and individuals all scratching their own itch.

    someone fix the issues
    Yeah, the anonymous hero to the rescue. Really? Corporations (like, well, Microsoft) invest hundreds of millions of dollars to make that stuff happen. And they know that they can do it since they have full control over their own platform.

    So yeah, find someone to pay this kind of money for the development costs. And when it's done, watch kernel and X.Org upstream reject the patches because Linus' analysis showed that they don't scale well to machines with two billion CPU cores and are slowing down PostgreSQL by half a pico second, and Keith wants to implement his own, better solution that will work perfectly in 40 years, since this one is "not modular enough" and "increases maintenance cost."

    Yes, Linux is like that. So, good luck to you, sir.
    Last edited by RealNC; 04-03-2013 at 02:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
    Yeah, the anonymous hero to the rescue. Really? Corporations (like, well, Microsoft) invest hundreds of millions of dollars to make that stuff happen. And they know that they can do it since they have full control over their own platform.

    So yeah, find someone to pay this kind of money for the development costs. And when it's done, watch kernel and X.Org upstream reject the patches because Linus' analysis showed that they don't scale well to machines with two billion CPU cores and are slowing down PostgreSQL by half a pico second, and Keith wants to implement his own, better solution that will work perfectly in 40 years, since this one is "not modular enough" and "increases maintenance cost."

    Yes, Linux is like that. So, good luck to you, sir.
    You mention real roadblocks, but come on: those are roadblocks to absolutely anything in Linux and great enhancements still happen anyway.

    I've heard Linux's OpenGL doesn't have parity with competing APIs in terms of speed/feature/simplicity. I don't think that issue is insurmountable and may not need full upstream patch acceptance.

    I think Ubuntu and many others could make a competitive storefront, DRM system, auto patch repo, and remote save game system.

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    Yes, to OP's headline. It's also malware and DRM.

    But I don't see why we should try to hinder its adoption any. It will bring users, money, and indirectly, advancements to common components, which will benefit us all.


    It may have downsides from a business sense, if you're a game developer. But you're not forced to distribute via Steam in that case, on any platform. In contrast, you are forced to distribute via Apple on iOS, or via Google on Android, if you want to reach non-unlocked devices*, or 99.9% of the market in either case.


    * Yes, many Android devices allow third-party stores without unlocking. It's a question of "installed by default" on those devices.

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