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

  1. #11
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    @OP

    It is legally prohibited to publish any GPL application in Apple market.

    Android market has a lot of apps that are literally garbage or malware and for example only now "ODF" reader surfaced (where .docx editors were long available).
    Talks miles about opensource spirit support on android.

    And Steam does not hinder you to publish your application standalone! You can publish with Steam, without Steam or parallel to Steam.
    Steam brought a lot of titles to Linux and resulted in much better graphical drivers.
    As long as Steam is an "option" and seriously supports the OS (which it does), its always welcome.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    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.
    You have a good point in that there are some real positives, but there are valid reasons to oppose it's adoption. Specifically, I suspect both users and developers will be coerced to use it. And secondly, Valve as a proprietary privately held company would have various undisclosed legal rights over games involved and their pricing and revenue streams.

    If Steam operates as this completely optional, opt-in only service, and developers and customers aren't overtly pressured to use it, and we can see the terms of the contracts, ok, that's fine. But I don't think that would ever survive. Many Steam users argue that it only makes sense when you can consume *all* of your games through Steam, thus justifying coercion.

    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    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*
    There is complete coercion of Apple with iOS, heavy coercion to use Google Play within Android, and lighter, but significant coercion of Steam on Windows. Many prominent Windows games developed completely outside of Valve have been Steam only, which is obvious coercion of users. Secondly, many Windows gaming sites and communities have organized to coerce Windows developers to support Steam.

    It is a gray area, but I would argue that Valve doesn't deserve a toll collecting ownership position over Windows/Linux like Apple/Google have with iOS/Android.

    iOS openly admits that it is a more controlled walled garden. Linux makes strong claims to both user/developer choice and a lack of coercion and the community should support those principles and minimize coercion with services like Steam.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    It is legally prohibited to publish any GPL application in Apple market.
    iOS openly admits to being a walled garden. Linux does not.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    Android market has a lot of apps that are literally garbage or malware
    The issues of signal:noise ratio and malware/adware affect all app stores and repos. The Linux repos have tons of garbage, have had a great record for preventing malware, and are widely appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    And Steam does not hinder you to publish your application standalone! You can publish with Steam, without Steam or parallel to Steam.
    This is true, but Steam is coercive. The contracts developers must sign are legally hidden, and that by itself suggests coercion.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    As long as Steam is an "option" and seriously supports the OS (which it does), its always welcome.
    The way you say "option", you suggest minimal coercion. I would claim that Steam on Windows is coercive, Steam is inherently coercive, and Steam wouldn't be successful without coercion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    iOS openly admits to being a walled garden. Linux does not.
    So, you confirmed that iOS is opensource enemy. Linux does not admit being walled garden, because its not walled garden. If you have proof otherwise, be my guest to post.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The issues of signal:noise ratio and malware/adware affect all app stores and repos. The Linux repos have tons of garbage, have had a great record for preventing malware, and are widely appreciated.
    Debian is malware free.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    This is true, but Steam is coercive. The contracts developers must sign are legally hidden, and that by itself suggests coercion.
    Just another proprietary distribution platform, NDAs are usually always required when working for closed source. The difference to others is that it does not require exclusivity (like W8 marketplace or other garbage), and is not GPL-enemy. It also started to actively help Linux and opensource. If you donīt want it, donīt use. If you are developer, publish also standalone version.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The way you say "option", you suggest minimal coercion. I would claim that Steam on Windows is coercive, Steam is inherently coercive, and Steam wouldn't be successful without coercion.
    Just another proprietary content distribution platform with relaxed conditions and good customer support...
    Steam drove a lot of gaming industry attention to Linux.
    For that alone, it gets standing ovations from me. I personally donīt care about windows *anything.

    Ofc, its not "Opensource Gaming Platform", with all games Opensource, open communication framework, active community to create new opensource games kick-start-like way. But even these two could co-exist just fine...

    They say that the enemy of an enemy is our friend. Who is your friend, friend? Windows or steam?

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    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.
    How about better graphics drivers for Linux ?

    Which is already happening, but certainly on the amd side moving slow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    So, you confirmed that iOS is opensource enemy. Linux does not admit being walled garden, because its not walled garden. If you have proof otherwise, be my guest to post.
    No, iOS is not the enemy. iOS is a beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use, but it is not a bastion of open source, non coercive tech freedom and never claims to be. Linux does claim to be that bastion of non-coercive freedom. I wasn't accusing it of failing to meet this as you suggest, I am saying that that is what the community has generally agreed that Linux should be about and what we should push it towards. And Steam really seems counter to this ideal.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    Just another proprietary distribution platform, NDAs are usually always required when working for closed source. The difference to others is that it does not require exclusivity (like W8 marketplace or other garbage), and is not GPL-enemy.
    Sure, if you work for a proprietary company and they are paying you a salary, it's standard to sign an NDA. With an app store, the apps store is not providing investment money or taking on financial risk, so it is much less reasonable for them to ask for an NDA and secret contract terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    It also started to actively help Linux and opensource. If you donīt want it, donīt use. If you are developer, publish also standalone version.
    My main point is that if the community supports the Linux ideals of choice, tech freedom, public source code, public details, and minimal coercion, then you should not advocate in favor of Steam.

    ok, people should only use it if they want to. The corollary to that is that there shouldn't be coercion to use it. Devs shouldn't be pressured into providing a Steam option and users shouldn't be pressured into installing Steam if they don't want it or paying prices that are set by Valve on products that Valve played no role in development of.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    Steam drove a lot of gaming industry attention to Linux. For that alone, it gets standing ovations from me. I personally donīt care about windows *anything.
    It helped with attention. You know what helped in a much more substantial way? Mac/iOS/Android breaking the Windows client monopoly and giving devs a strong reason to use more platform neutral programming practices.

    What will help way more: More high quality Linux native game clients. Also: high quality and performance game dev apis which let serious game shops easily write platform neutral code and ship high quality native Linux clients.

    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    They say that the enemy of an enemy is our friend. Who is your friend, friend? Windows or steam?
    The Linux community should focus on pushing towards its ideals of non-coercive, decentralized, technical freedom. That is much more productive than pursuing "enemy of an enemy is our friend" type battles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gps4l View Post
    How about better graphics drivers for Linux ?

    Which is already happening, but certainly on the amd side moving slow.
    If they submit graphics drivers improvements, that helps everyone in the community and is worthy of praise.

    But if Steam is coercive and requires devs to sign secret contracts, those things still contradict the core principles of Linux and Steam should not receive praise from the Linux community.

    Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    No, iOS is not the enemy. iOS is a beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use, but it is not a bastion of open source, non coercive tech freedom and never claims to be. Linux does claim to be that bastion of non-coercive freedom. I wasn't accusing it of failing to meet this as you suggest, I am saying that that is what the community has generally agreed that Linux should be about and what we should push it towards. And Steam really seems counter to this ideal.
    I doubt you actually have a clue what you are talking about.
    Apple is tied to iTunes and all Apple OSes are heavily DRMed.
    It is a closed source company, that when gaining huge marketshare in Smartphone times, started to behave no less microsoft way.

    "Beautiful product and is amazing for consumer use"
    It used BSD, nearly formed another monopoly, sued everyone, DRMed everything, prohibited GPL.
    And you were talking about Steam offering new games for Linux bad?.. Ideals?... Sorry?..

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Sure, if you work for a proprietary company and they are paying you a salary, it's standard to sign an NDA. With an app store, the apps store is not providing investment money or taking on financial risk, so it is much less reasonable for them to ask for an NDA and secret contract terms.
    When using Steam, you are offered access to its infrastructure, which may expose attack and misuse vectors, hence you need to sign NDA.
    Just another proprietary framework.

    Would freedom software framework be better than Steam for everyone? YES.
    Does Steam make it not happen? No.
    Does Steam prohibit it, damage ecosystem or restrict options? No.

    Steam is as endangering to freedom software, like salted peanuts to popcorn.
    You sure have money/effort to support one or another sometimes, sometimes you can support both, and they get alone just fine.

    So go ahead, write freedom equivalent of Steam. Who holds you off,.. Steam?

    Instead, you are attacking a HUGE provider with large marketshare by questioning its ethics, who is very loyal to Linux.
    Yes, Linux.
    Not iOS or whatever crap, which is just an attempt to replace one monopoly with another.

    Steam does not prohibit developer to publish its standalone version. What was your problem again?

    I question whether you are ethical yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    My main point is that if the community supports the Linux ideals of choice, tech freedom, public source code, public details, and minimal coercion, then you should not advocate in favor of Steam.
    Sure.
    But if its about playing specific game that is only available on windows ... or on Steam in Linux, ONLY because Steam started supporting Linux.
    Where is problem again? Was that bad that you can play specific games on Linux, instead of dualbooting? It it unethical?

    I think its unethical for GAME DEVELOPER to publish ONLY Steam version AND DOING IT PROPRIETARY.
    As easy as that.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    ok, people should only use it if they want to. The corollary to that is that there shouldn't be coercion to use it. Devs shouldn't be pressured into providing a Steam option and users shouldn't be pressured into installing Steam if they don't want it or paying prices that are set by Valve on products that Valve played no role in development of.
    Look, I still did not install Steam, nor I am pressured to. For real.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    It helped with attention.
    You know that hardware does not run on "attention", right?
    Linux had its attention since birth, and changed what marketshare or what? Birds don't feed on songs.

    Hardware runs software, software is created by investment - either monetary or human effort, whatever the motivation behind that was.

    So lets come to reality and say Steam has helped Linux with money, marketshare, trust and fairness. And that without demanding or banning anything. I think it was quite ethical of Gaben to offer his services to other platform free of charge, without obligations and even with priority support/offers.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    You know what helped in a much more substantial way? Mac/iOS/Android breaking the Windows client monopoly and giving devs a strong reason to use more platform neutral programming practices.
    Mac was here for ages. Didn't innovate ANYTHING. Actually, it just tried to produce the exclusive (mac-only) titles instead, the same way windows tried hard to preinstall and push own standards into computing.

    iOS is nothing more than taking OpenMoko, but with BSD kernel instead and pushing several billions of corporate investment into it. All for the attempt to form another monopoly.

    Android - yes. And no. Thats root of the problem actually. Showed what Linux is capable of, while being more/less neutral platform. Google gave a bunch of technologies to freedom and opensource communities, so hats of to them. But while showing off and revolutionizing the mobile segment, it failed to revolutionize the way software is looked and developed, staying proprietary model instead. But with opensource source code. So, its balanced and ethical in the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    What will help way more: More high quality Linux native game clients. Also: high quality and performance game dev apis which let serious game shops easily write platform neutral code and ship high quality native Linux clients.
    Okay, you want more native Linux game clients.
    They were already here with Linux Game Publishing. Ofc proprietary, but standalone (except for DRM).

    But they did not sell well. Why?
    Because in order to push more game clients, the publisher must be absolutely sure that there will be high ROI. And that means a lot of purchases should happen. And that only comes if platform is popular, or has large userbase. Linux was not popular prior to Steam, Steam brought large userbase. Now there are a lot of new native clients. You could almost say, it is GOOD that Steam has bound so much users! Because they came all to see and read Linux-related news, try, discover Linux etc.

    Instead LGP was selling outdated or same titles for a platform with had much less userbase. In a proprietary way. Being a smaller company, they did not supported a lot of patches (correct me if I am wrong), so many Linux users actually dualbooted windows and purchased officially supported windows versions instead.

    Being themselve unpopular, the best bet they could do, is to secure exclusive priority rights for some good games and try to make a lot of noise about it, slowly unfolding what Linux is, what freedom software is etc.

    Steam is already popular rolling ball - huge userbase, big amount of platforms, security and anti-cheat, communications, support, exclusive titles. Its like a celebrity. Sure its profitable for Linux to become support from celebrity without one-way obligations.

    And regarding open gaming, they too need userbase, buzz etc. They build binaries that need mature environiment - kernel and drivers. They have unique development model, so they can't collide with proprietary in ANY way, except gamer play time. This is where they have to compete on quality, so whats the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The Linux community should focus on pushing towards its ideals of non-coercive, decentralized, technical freedom. That is much more productive than pursuing "enemy of an enemy is our friend" type battles.
    They say that an enemy of your enemy is your friend. Windows called Linux many times cancer and enemy. Steam has directly challenged windows, by offering full support to an OS that runs on same hardware that windows is preinstalled - SINCE MSDOS. Its called personal computer, as in "personal" computing device. So its ultimately fair and legal to place ANY OS on personal machine. Steam officially removed exclusivity from windows being the only OS supported on x86. As such Steam Linux movement is enemy of Windows. Supporting Steam will support pro-Linux movement and ensure more userbase for Linux.

    That said, decentralized technical freedom software is not affected by Steam at all. Its up to developers to choose the right development model and installing steam does not hinder ability to play Xonotic.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.
    Thats a patent bomb. And they WILL remove GPL. Even if they used GCC to build MacOSX.

    There is no patent bombs in steam.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    If they submit graphics drivers improvements, that helps everyone in the community and is worthy of praise.

    But if Steam is coercive and requires devs to sign secret contracts, those things still contradict the core principles of Linux and Steam should not receive praise from the Linux community.

    Similarly, Apple has made some pretty substantial contributions to webkit and clang/llvm and those generally don't have strings attached, are non-coercive, are completely compatible with the open source spirit, and are worthy of praise, even if Apple's main interests are not so open source friendly.

    To quote the guys from Croteam ( serious sam 3 )
    With steam coming to Linux, all our problems are solved, and we will make a Linux version of our game.

    Before steam both nvidia and amd were not interested in making rely good Linux drivers.

    Unlike some of the free software guys ( movie revolution OS) I prefer good software over free software.

    One of the reasons why I am so happy with Valve, is that they want the games to run as good on Linux as on windows.
    No compromise.
    To achieve this, they need amd and nvidia and intel too.

    its only since steam I suddenly see the amd drivers improve.

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