Penguindows Alternative: Steam For Linux Beta Kicks Off

By Nathan Grayson on November 7th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

By way of careful study and hundreds of hours of naturalistic observation, I’ve ascertained that some PC gamers actually don’t like Windows 8 all that much. Which – in retrospect – seems like a pretty tremendous waste of my time, because it was punch-me-in-the-eyeball obvious all along. But while everyone else becomes vocally enraged, outraged, and other directions of rage, Valve’s actually trying to do something about it. The king of swing (and also PC gaming) is pushing to build Linux into a viable gaming platform with Steam for Linux, and now, it’s taken the oh-so-crucial step of, you know, letting said masses use it.

Well, OK, I wouldn’t exactly describe them as “masses” at this point. Currently, the beta’s limited to a handful of those who preregistered, but Valve plans to pick and choose more survey respondents before ultimately opening the test to all Steam users. Also, while this first version is Ubuntu-based,Valve says additional popular distros will get support in the future.

The initial game selection, meanwhile, is short but rather sweet. Team Fortress 2 is leading the charge, with two dozen other, less spectacularly hatted alternatives backing it up – including World of Goo, Sword and Sworcery, Amnesia, SpaceChem, Dungeons of Dredmor, and Serious Sam 3. Lastly, Steam Big Picture Mode’s rounding out the package.

Right then, it’s Steam! Just, you know, for Linux. I’m not really sure what else it could be, but I needed a transition. So anyway, is anyone in the beta? If so, how’s it working out for you? Have you already hurled a brick through some windows (not your own, of course; that’d be crazy) in a symbolic act of victory? Or is Valve’s small step for PC gamer kind not quite the giant leap Newell and co envisioned?

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88 Comments »

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  1. Talkar says:

    Nvidia has also launched some new drivers for Linux, in collaboration with Valve and other Linux developers:
    http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/Releases/NVIDIA-Delivers-Massive-Performance-Boost-to-Linux-Gaming-8ac.aspx

    • eks says:

      This is really good. I mean, even if you are 100% anti-Valve/Steam, this has got to be good for the whole Linux Desktop eco-system.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    Those games are basically a list of games I keep telling myself I should go back and finish. Soon I can’t even excuse myself with not bothering booting out of Linux.

  3. TheMrSolaris says:

    I am not in the beta (yet) but I am excited for this because anything that can break the Microsoft’s dominance over PC gaming, that is a step forward for a open platform that benefits both developers and gamers alike.

  4. SuperMatt says:

    An addendum to this, it looks like the beta doesn’t manage to keep the unlucky thousands that didn’t get a key from using it. I won’t go in to how on here, but suffice to say, I think there are 60,000 very happy linux users out there today.

    • Nikolaos says:

      Problem is that if you bypass the check very few of the games work.

      • SuperMatt says:

        I have been made aware of this.

        Personally I’m going to hold back installing it until I’ve seen something from Valve saying “oops, you caught us out there, just do your thing and I promise we won’t ban you.”

      • Valvarexart says:

        Not true. I can get Amnesia, Aquaria, Cogs, Darwinia, DEFCON, Dungeons of Dredmor, Frozen Synapse, Multiwinia, Steel Storm, Sword & Sorcery, Trine 2, Uplink and World of Goo running, on Arch Linux. I’m working on And Yet It Moves and SpaceChem, but I should be able to get them working as soon as I have all the required libs.
        TF2 servers are too busy to hande my request, though.

  5. Askeladd says:

    Go, Linux go! Linux is super effective!

  6. mongpong says:

    May be I’m missing something (or more likely don’t understand the workings of Linux) but will we have to re-buy the games if we want to us them on Linux?

    I used Ubuntu for a while and enjoyed it and thought that if a decent Linux interface could be designed that works well with PC games it would, potentially, make a great gaming machine due to the lightweight and fast nature of Linux (based on my experience with Ubuntu). The problem is I simply cannot be bothered with all the command line nonsense and faffing around with drivers so basically it would take all developers and software/hardware developers to get behind it to make is as painless an experience as it is with playing games in Windows (with the exception of Windows Live games!) – or alternatively for a Linux developer to create an interface that doesn’t require you to search round the internet looking for command prompts to make things work. So basically they need to Windows up Linux! Hold on…

    • Premium User Badge

      AmateurScience says:

      If it’s anything like the Mac client then – broadly – no. Issues arise when the game was ported by a third party (quite common up until recently for Mac) which brings licensing issues but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for Linux ports.

    • bluebomberman says:

      Congratulations. You’ve stumbled upon why Linux has little chance of ever becoming mainstream.

      Before I get poked by pitchforks let me unequivocally state that it’s a very good thing that Linux users have access to more games. But let’s not delude ourselves into betting on Linux making an appreciable dent into Windows’s user base.

      • Nikolaos says:

        Except that what he’s saying has no basis in fact.

        Been running Linux Mint full time for 3 months now and have not once touched the command line or had any driver issues.

        Linux has changed a lot in recent years.

      • frightlever says:

        You might need to use the CLI if you want to install PC games on WINE but not otherwise. The idea is that more devs will be encouraged to automatically work on a Linux port side by side with their PC and Mac versions. Might happen. Kinda doubt it myself.

        Macs are turning into really big iPhones (Apple mulling a move away from Intel chips towards ARM architecture – not so crazy as you might think) and Chrome/Android is probably not too far away from being viable on the desktop. So Microsoft turning Windows into a glorified phone interface isn’t so surprising. The problem is Linux still falls between the cracks.

        Steam on Linux could have hundreds of thousands of users with access to a handful of AAA and hundreds of indie games. Steam on Android could have millions of users with access to thousands of games.

        Why care about Linux? Just wait around until Android or Chrome matures into a AAA gaming platform – unless you play your games in a Window, what’s the difference?

        • ludde says:

          Both Android and Chrome are variants of Linux.

          • Aaarrrggghhh says:

            Android is based on the Linux kernel but I doubt all too much people would call it Linux or a Linux variant. Android is largely different from a Linux OS, especially on the application layer and that is what counts for most users as applications can not be ported from Linux to Android and/or vice versa easily.
            Android has moved away from what binds all other Linux OS’ quiet a lot, it’s more of it’s own thing now.

          • Valvarexart says:

            It’s still running a modified version of the Linux kernel. If you open up a command prompt you can use all the coreutils.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        I use Ubuntu for work and once I got rid of Wubi (shudders) it was fine. I appreciate arguments for it not replacing Windows or OSX, though. I also use the command line all the time (out of choice) so I forget if I had to use it to fix the OS recently. Might have been an annoying wifi bug, I think.

      • BigRedS says:

        It’s all down to familiarity. I _hate_ reinstalling or maintaining Windows on my PC or laptop for gaming because I find the process of finding and installing drivers to be annoying, convoluted and time consuming; it’s the sort of tedium I think the computer should be doing. I don’t know that this is because WIndows is *worse* than anything else, but it’s that I’m not familiar enough with the process to find it as easy as I’d like, or as easy as I find the process elsewhere.

        My laptop just went a month without ethernet support in the WIndows boot because I couldn’t bring myself to spend enough time finding the right driver.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          What version of Windows are you even running? Unless you have some truly strange hardware, Windows installs all the drivers you need and Windows Update takes care of the rest. I haven’t had to install an ethernet driver since XP. With Win 7 or Vista you shouldn’t be having that problem.

          • BigRedS says:

            Hah, yeah, that’s what I was expecting. But that’s also what I always tell people that Ubuntu/Fedora/whatever does, and I still keep hearing of them having problems – that’s why I think this is all about familiarity. Obviously this isn’t a massive problem for Windows users, and this, on Linux, isn’t a problem for Linux users.

            It’s Windows 7 on a Thinkpad X201; both Ethernet and WiFi needed drivers, so Windows couldn’t just wander off and get them (though I did find it odd that it used about half a DVD and still didn’t support Pro/100 chipsets… Hardware’s here, if you’re really interested: http://avi.co/s/latptop-net

        • Leiaz says:

          Yes, I agree it’s a question of familiarity. Windows users are used to Windows’ quirks, especially gamers : hunting for dlls, editing the registry, modding games, editing manually their config files because some options aren’t present in the GUI (and aren’t documented anywhere, someone had to dissect the game to find them) … I find it weird that those same users don’t want to approach a command line or plain text config file (when they are documented and made to be usable). I don’t like using GUI configuration tools unless they really make the task easier. It’s trivial on the command line to have my computer install a list of packages, or put all older files in another directory … Some things don’t translate well in a GUI.

          The last Windows I really used myself was 2000, then I had XP in dual boot for a while, mostly for games. I use Archlinux now (and Gentoo before, not because of supposed “performances”, but because it didn’t come with any “default” software installed). Something that seem completely natural to Windows users is a “desktop” with launcher icons that are most of the time hidden under the windows of running programs, so that you have to move/minimize your windows if you want to use them. That’s also a weird habit if you think about it. I don’t use such a desktop, as a bonus it discourages people to use my “weird” computer.

          • enobayram says:

            I view command-line vs. GUI as a novel vs. a children’s picture book. Some things are better described with pictures, but most things are better of with text.

          • Emeraude says:

            Some things are better described with pictures, but most things are better of with text.

            Actually, I seem to remember the most efficient way to impart information is one that uses both.

    • SuperMatt says:

      The good news is that Ubuntu rarely needs the command line any more. Canonical have taken great strides to ensure that only in extreme cases will you need the command line.

      I work as a Linux Systems Administrator, which means I use the command line for a large number of servers. But when I use Ubuntu on my desktop, I am able to steer clear of it.

      Installing drivers now is a lot easier too. Ubuntu has an app in which you just select which driver you want to install, reboot and everything is working. It is now on par with windows in this respect.

      There is no reason, beyond the fear of installing it (which is just as simple as windows), why anyone can’t make the switch and use linux for their games.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Oh yeah, packages on Ubuntu are great. Miles better than the broken shit Apple pumps out.

      • MrLebanon says:

        im glad to see this. I’ve tried ubuntu 2-3 times in the past and failed miserably

        I need to stop by the local PC shop and get a SATA cable to hook up an old hard drive for a dual boot and see what I can muster

  7. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Good timing, we were thinking about sharing all our old parts and building a gaming PC for the living room in our house, the other use for it would be as a XBMC PC running on Ubuntu, so having both on the same OS would be handy…

    *edit, Darwinia and Uplink, but no Defcon on linux? Shame, that would look right good on our big telly in the lounge.

  8. Col Sanders says:

    The thing is IF they manage to make steam work on linux and get a decent selection of games available then they could be onto a winner. That said the next stage from this I feel would be their own distro that would be “idiot proof” and as such not require the command line for installation. And with them adding big picture mode and all the rumors about Steam making their own pc, one has to wonder if maybe (and I know I am taking two and two and making 15) they are considering a Steam “console”.

    • aeon says:

      Ubuntu is fairly idiot proof from what I hear recently.

      • Chalky says:

        This is correct, and I’m sure there are plenty of other distros that are simple to install. I’m no big user of linux but I’ve installed Ubuntu a few times and it’s very straight forward and the centralised app repository system for installing additional software is fantastic – something that windows doesn’t really match at all.

    • cunningmunki says:

      What do you mean “IF they manage to make steam work on linux and get a decent selection of games available”? Did you read the story? It’s going into beta, it’s happening.

      Also, don’t think along the lines of a Steam console, think more along the lines of a Steam OS. That’s going to be the upshot of this. Sure, they may partner with someone to put out an optimised PC, like Google do with their smartphone makers, but the end-goal has to be an alternative PC operating system.

      • egg-zoo-bear-ant will e 91 says:

        Oh like android? I think they’ll want it to be one fluid install, integrating/running in with all kinds of linux, but also an option like overall option like ubunru, of steam linux. Steamux, if you will.

        Warning: Long speculation ahead.

        Obviously still keeping it an open platform where impulse etc game service clients could run. (Valve aren’t into monopolies apparently, although its strange the steam interface itself isn’t super moddable or more aggregate in delivery style, and they should really start certifying everything that isn’t illegal that is submitted to them for just server etc costs to the developer, but just hide them through a bit that isnt really advertising and is just an outside the walled garden bit)

        They’ll want it to be a better upgrade than windows 8 for the masses, so might skin linux to be more windows-like, with classic feeling start menu and a neater integration of a touchy tablet mode (it was the monopolizing through certification of apps you can do in metro gabe seemed to take against- not touch as a whole), and neat integrated driver and maintenance tools.

        A super easy steamux way of installing it so it automatically partitions the hard drive, so you can pick at boot and switch easily later, would be a great way to encourage people to try it out. And itd be free. And with comparable quality Office programs, media player etc installing free with it too.

        Won’t games run better on linux with direct to metal? And steam box, if that is the hardware, will just be a pc, still upgradeable but one standard yearly release (you could buy the components separately when you upgrade, and who knows maybe they’d officiate industry standard quotas, like DVD, so there’d be competing boxes by different brands- panasonic, amd, intel, eventually Sony XD) like iphones so developers can optimize games to run well on each particular level, that can fit snugly in your living room, stream accross the house, and generally be the mothership computer of the home. And with ultimate input devices packed in. (All the bio heart beat iris direction and motion sensing options tied cohesively together. With half life 3 taking advantage. And being free. But hats.

        What could possibly go wrong? And how much do you think the first big bundle will go for, if it does, in a few years time? £400?

  9. Chris says:

    Probably the best bet for gamers is to stay Windows 7 until the OS Rebel Alliance produces an open platform alternative.

    I’m looking at you Google.

  10. rfa says:

    PowerPC? Because Steam belongs on PS3. I claim this is the real reason “Other OS” was removed from PS3

    • frightlever says:

      I didn’t understand what the hell you meant but I stuck at it. You mean bringing Steam for Linux to the PowerPC architecture used on the PS3, for users who are running linux on them. I’m sure the literally dozens of people running their PS3s inside a walled garden that can barely access the graphics sub-systems would welcome that, but a 4 year old laptop can be picked up for peanuts with more grunt than a PS3 under such strictures, so it hardly seems worth the bother.

  11. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Can someone explain what’s wrong with windows 8?
    My mate has it and all games and steam work fine. That’s not me defending it, I genuinely want to know why people hate it and what it stops you doing.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Well, I am using Windows 8 for gaming and am finding it perfectly fine, too.

      Then again, I’ve also pledged to the Elite Kickstarter despite all the wailing in the RPS comments thread so hey, I am used to being a black sheep here.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        So brave.

        Really, being skeptical of a basically nonexistent pitch for a Kickstarter is wailing?

    • bluebomberman says:

      A good dose of fear, uncertainty and doubt generated by the bizarre amalgamation of:

      * a touch-based tablet OS with a closed-ecosystem app store
      * desktop-class mouse and keyboard OS with an open ecosystem

      The main fear is that eventually Microsoft will force all Windows software to be sold through their appstore and subject to their mercy.

      A secondary fear is that eventually the nerd-centric use of Windows today, such as mods, hacks, editing .ini files and registry, jury-rigging peripherals, even the mouse and KB, will eventually be depreciated.

      • Acorino says:

        The main fear is that eventually Microsoft will force all Windows software to be sold through their appstore and subject to their mercy.

        What makes you think it won’t happen? The question is if this would be a commercially wise decision. It might be. If it is, then it very likely will happen, at least for consumer editions, probably not for corporate ones. Personally, I don’t like to be told how to use my software, and I dunno why I should be told with Metro already.
        Well, I haven’t used Windows 8 yet, but it just seems like a worse deal to me. I don’t want to badmouth it since i never used it. But…why should I get it as a desktop user?

        • bluebomberman says:

          I added a few thoughts further down the comments section. I don’t know what’s Microsoft’s future moves regarding Windows and apps because I don’t think they have much of a clue themselves. To quote myself:

          I don’t even think they understand why they want a closed touch-based tablet OS installed on top of a more traditional desktop OS with a more open ecosystem, they just see Apple generating huge success with their app store and so they feel like they have to do something similar.

          As for what reason you have to upgrade, my two cents of advice is that if you have to ask why you should upgrade you prob should save your money. I’m eventually looking to upgrade because I’m on a problematic XP install. And sadly many new games are abandoning XP entirely. (Xcom, AssCreed III, Sleeping Dogs, to name a few.)

    • frightlever says:

      The problem isn’t Windows 8, so much as the direction Windows is being taken. For some people the Windows App marketplace, and the undue control Microsoft has over same, is prompting a line in the sand response.

      The worry is that eventually ALL software running on Windows will have to be certified, the same way it is on Xbox. That’s fine for business apps and mainstream entertainment media, but it’ll kill indie gaming on Windows. If it happens.

      From a purely business point of view it’s hard to see how Microsoft couldn’t profit by doing this, but it’ll be a bold move. They’d be reducing their customer base but stretching their profit margins. Some saw the Surface as being a move by MS towards an Apple-like model, where MS can control the hardware as well as the OS. The next potential step is complete control over what software you’re allowed to run.

      A tighter more controlled system with enhanced security will keep the corporate side happy, and will also be perfectly acceptable to the people who never spend a dime on software after buying their PC because they only browse and email on it.

      Or Microsoft being Microsoft, aimless and undirected, they’ll change their mind and chase butterflies until they trip over their next crackpot idea.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        Taking into account the thread as a whole and the news post that is a bizzare criticism.

        The Win8 app store is not the only way to get games on non-RT models but MS are being crucified over the possibility they may be going app store exclusive (and like the EU would agree to that) but at the same time are getting their hopes up for another company that does exactly that?

        Steam already is the “nightmare future” MS are accused of bringing about.

        Steam only lets you play Steam games via Steam.
        Even if you buy a game at retail such as Skyrim or XCOM you need to install and run the game via Steam.
        Steam requires you to log on before you can play your games.
        Steam can and does remove games from its service for things such as not selling DLC on the platform.
        Steam does not run all games from other services.
        Steam does not let you add all games bought from other suppliers even if its on the Steam store (Eg. Kingdoms of Amular)

        I personally don’t see how having an OS built around those limitations is any more open than MS making sales through their app store mandatory.

        • SentientNr6 says:

          This!

          I don’t get why people on RPS say Windows is closed.
          Hurray Steam is coming to Linux. Open Source Victory! How open is Steam?
          I don’t get it.

          That being said I like both steam and windows. I also don’t mind paying a bit for software.
          That being said I would like steam to follow the windows rules a bit better. eg. Steam doesn’t like multiple users logging on to one windows machine.

        • GSGregory says:

          1. You can launch any program or game through steam by “addng-non steam game to my library” I have even seen people get in game support with this.
          2.,3 Only for the games that choose to use steam’s drm. There are games you can download from steam that are still drm free.
          4. And? That sounds more like them saying they want to sell the whole product to their customers and not one piece of it. I mean how would you feel if wit borderlands you could buy the game but not the dlc?
          5. You mean like the ea games that ea refuses to sell on steam?
          6. You purposely bought a Non Steam version? But meh this is rare.

          Steam is more open than you think it is. Xbox store is a much more closed system and 10 times harmful to the consumer and pretty bad for indie devs and bringing that terrible service to windows is not a good thing for anyone.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            1. Maybe I should have been clearer, Steam lets you launch non-Steam games via Steam but you can’t add your game to Steam. If Steam does an OS what guarantee is there that they will supply a non-Steam method of playing your games the same way the Win8 app store doesn’t restrict the desktop view.

            2. Steam DRM free games are few and far between but the point still stands, people are up in arms over the possibility of MS forcing people into using the MS App store while Steam already forces consumers to use Steam whether they want to or not and if they don’t want to they cant play their non-Steam purchased games.

            4. No. These companies are willing to sell you the full product, it is Valve refusing to let them do it without getting a cut (DLC bought through an in-game store not using Steam gets Valve nothing, Valve forcing devs to put the DLC on Steam gets them 30% of the takings).

            5. And your evidence for this is? EA have stated that Valve took the games down, the games were taken down shortly after Valve changed the T&Cs to point 4. Valve have never denied it. Any new game that doesn’t require DLC such as the Crysis 2 GOTY edition is available on Steam. All signs point to Valve refusing to have the game on Steam until EA starts selling DLC via Steam and giving Valve a 30% cut.

            6. Not that rare. Not a single one of my EA games will activate on Steam, and these are ones that are still available on Steam. Also all of the games I own on Steam that are available on Origin no longer show my CD-Keys but strangely enough those that are not on Origin still show their CD-Keys in the library.

            I’m sorry but that last statement from you is just…weird. What evidence do you have to show one closed store is worse for customers than another closed store? And how is the Xbox store worse than Steam for Indies? Last I checked MS have a seperate indie section that doesn’t require the platform holder’s consent before putting items on the store.

        • Josh W says:

          Every now and again stuff like this makes me go “thank god I live in the eu!”, little things like safe harbour data protection, and the fact that whenever a massive corporation starts doing something obviously stupid we can go “don’t worry, the eu can fine them into submission for it if we get a big enough petition going, and those companies hopefully know that”.

      • egg-zoo-bear-ant will e 91 says:

        closed ecosystem ain’t fine for business apps. innovative stuff, such as the internet in its first browser, needed an open platform to explode upon.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      There is nothing wrong with Windows 8 really – it does some things a little differently to Windows 7 but it’s very easy to adjust to.

      This is basically a hedge against Microsoft deciding that in Windows 9 they won’t just control who can supply and install metro apps (as they do in Windows 8) but also control who can supply and install regular desktop applications as well, thus turning Windows into a similar ‘walled garden’ as IOS, controlled entirely by Microsoft.

      This is what Valve, and others, are afraid of – having to go through MS to get anything running on Windows – and why it would be good to have a decent alternative ready to go in case it happens.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Thanks for all the responses. So is it likely within the next year or two
      that the walled garden will come into effect? Will this affect all desktops and
      laptops or just those with certain hardware? I read something about ARM (?)
      type chips affording Microsoft xbox type lockdown ability. Are you safe on
      other chip types? Forgive my lack of tech savvy and funny formatting. Sent from mobile! …

      • Premium User Badge

        Nathan says:

        There is absolutely no chance that Windows 8 (RT aside) will become a walled garden within the next one or two years. It won’t happen to Windows 8 *at all*, and I would be on Microsoft never moving in that direction ever, because it will hinder their business far more than help it.

        Windows RT (the variant of Windows on ARM tablet devices) is, as you imply, somewhat different. But it also *isn’t* Windows 8, and that it’s a more closed eco-system isn’t any more an indication of Window’s future direction than Windows Phone being a closed ecosystem is.

      • Premium User Badge

        Naum says:

        The thing with ARM is that Windows requires all devices with those chips to use the Secure Boot hardware feature. This prevents boot loaders not certified by Microsoft from being executed, thereby potentially preventing free OSes from booting. It’s marketed as a security enhancement, creating an uninterrupted trust chain from certified boot loader to certified drivers to certified software, but I find it kind of hard to not suspect the next anti-competitive move from Microsoft.

        On non-ARM platforms, Microsoft allows manufacturers to include a possibility for the user to switch Secure Boot off, but even then it’s yet another hoop that users of open OSes have to jump through. (And not an insignificant one, since most people definitely won’t like having to tamper with their BIOS/EFI.)

      • Consumatopia says:

        If you buy an x86 Windows 8 machine, it won’t magically become a Windows-Store-only device.

        But software ecosystems are about network effects, and the better the Windows Store does–on any device–the more viable the Windows RT future becomes. By having the Windows Store on your open x86 Windows 8 device, you make the Windows Store a more appealing platform for developers, which makes future Windows RT development and sales more likely.

        Basically, anything that’s good for the Windows Store is bad for PC gaming as we know and love it.

    • vodka and cookies says:

      It’s faux rage, in fact the only place I’ve even observed it is here on RPS, most other well informed places lean towards the positive on it.

      As with every MS OS release, the haters come out of the closest (I still recall the Win98SE is best ever Win2k is the worst) and try to pimp others.

      There is also a particular anti-Microsoft trend in some circles of PC gaming hence the pushing of linux, these peculiar PC gamers are your typical self builders, hate Apple too so ignore that platform and want linux PC’s.

      There’s nothing really wrong with Windows 8 it is a lot better than Win 7 in many areas especially when it comes to explorer, the new start screen isn’t the major evil obstruction the FUD propagators make it out to be, if your a major mouse user it’s more convenient than the old start menu.

      It’s really a
      1) I hate change [get off my lawn]
      2) I not forcing myself to use Win 8 so instantly hate it & wont give it a chance.
      3) Microsoft did a poor job of supplying tutorials so people feel out of their depth.

      They other bogus argument used is that Win8 is evil DRM (remember that one used on Win Vista) and that Microsoft are moving to a locked down OS which is absolute horse crap of the highest degree, many of the fortune 500 companies rely on custom applications written for Windows OS and these companies would crap bricks and give birth to kittens if that ever happened (these are companies MS listen too and who line MS pockets with the big bucks). Also anti-trust regulators would descend on Microsoft like a tsunami.

      So there you go the usual fud and don’t take this post as some linux hate, I’d love to see Ubunutu prosper but I despise misinformation.

      • Premium User Badge

        Revisor says:

        Nice overview of rhetorical fallacies, sir. Straw man, ad hominem attack, appeal to authority etc.

        Thank you for this demonstration.

      • D3xter says:

        Let me sum up your and a few other posts:
        “Trust Microsoft everyone! They only have your best interest at heart!”
        http://www.ghacks.net/2012/11/07/microsoft-applies-for-big-brother-drm-patent/

        • D3xter says:

          It’s not like the last time they tried to “control gaming” on PC we got Games for Windows Live pushed down our throats and they wanted $50 a year for Online Play: http://kotaku.com/244045/games-for-windows-+-live-gold-to-cost-50 till one year later and a collective “fuck you” from most PC based gamers it suddenly went “free”, they dropped almost all support and tried to kill PC gaming henceforth by constantly repeating the “PC Gaming is dead” nonsense out there to get more people to buy their console instead, all the while buying out/paying off mainly PC developers for “Exclusives”.

          They’re also responsible for the DLC abomination with their XBox Live implementation and general business regulations and certification.

          Excuse me if I’m not as enthusiastic as you that they’re trying to screw people (this time not only gamers, but everyone) over yet again, the start of which everyone can see with their own eyes with Windows RT already locked down, them pushing an “App Store” in front of everything else in all versions of the new OS and Windows RT also using Secure Boot so you can’t even dual-boot anymore.

          There was a good article regarding Microsoft and their business strategies nowadays over here: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer

      • Acorino says:

        Sorry, I prefer to make use of my critical faculties instead of pretending that everything is heavenly sunshine, so no thanks. Just because critisizing Windows 8 is popular doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just as it wasn’t wrong with Vista. And lest we forget, Windows 7 was received very favorably. So no, this has nothing to do with general feelings against Windows or Microsoft, but everything to do with specifically expressed worries. So, there you go.

      • bluebomberman says:

        Just one point: you can load custom apps into iOS despite being a closed ecosystem. (Businesses wouldn’t use iPhones and iPads if they couldn’t.)

        So conceivably you can close off Windows and still give people/corporations the ability to roll their own.

        • Emeraude says:

          I seem to remember a recent SNAFU with an indie game being impossible to install on a MAC because it hadn’t gone through certification process and was automatically labeled as malware.

          Kudos to anyone who knows what I’m talking about and can supply a link; didn’t have time to read the whole paper at the time, and lost references.

      • frightlever says:

        New versions of windows tend to break customized business applications anyway. The point I was making above was that eg a VB script on your spreadsheet is going to be fine regardless – and that’s 99% of examples covered, but other business software will be able to afford certification from Microsoft and earn (and I do mean earn) a place in the marketplace.

        It’s highly unlikely Microsoft will go full walled-garden, and W8 won’t be in its lifetime (2 years mebbe), but IF Apple head in that direction, and it’s coming, then Microsoft will follow (following Apple is their primary Windows/phone strategy right now, insofar as they have one. Their Xbox strategy is far more clearly defined) because there’ll be no viable alternative for business anyway.

        You can think it’ll never happen all you want but never ever occurs a lot more often than most people would care to admit.

        The next Xbox will likely be a full on desktop replacement anyway, with the Notro UI that everyone will be familiar with by then.

      • GSGregory says:

        I do not want another version of games for windows live or any of the extreme closed manner of the xbox store and neither do some game devs. It is not good for the consumer or the game dev at all.

        • Emeraude says:

          One important thing to keep in mind is that, it is not good for both, but for different reasons. You could well end up with a situation that is good for developers/service providers but not so much for the customers co-opted in making the change happen.

          Which is what I’m fearing here given Valve’s track record (which, arguably is still leagues better than Microsoft’s).

    • cunningmunki says:

      It’s not Windows 8, as such, it’s the closed-source direction Microsoft are taking it in. It’s Windows 9 and 10 people are really worried about.

      • Kaira- says:

        Well, MS was never known for their friendliness of open-source. EEE probably rings some bells for some people. As well as threatening to sue Linux-developers for patent violations and so forth.

  12. KillahMate says:

    It’s worth noting that, as a few people already mentioned, the latest version of Ubuntu is *ridiculously* easy to install, by far the easiest OS installation on the market. To the point where I’d feel comfortable giving a DVD to my mom to install it. Almost everything works out of the box, and the Ubuntu Package Manager is the Original Gangsta and still the best OS app store on the market. Partially because almost all of the apps are free, and most of them are in fact really good.

  13. bluebomberman says:

    Because this is a PC gaming website whose community is likely to be geek-savvy, relatively comfortable with Windows, and often undaunted by software and hardware tinkering, I think most of the RPS crowd (staff and readers) seem to have overlooked why we’re going down this route.

    I don’t know if any of you have ever encountered other people who generally avoid installing stuff on their computer because their computers get all gunked up with stuff that they may or may not have consented to installing. This was a huge drag on software sales. People who weren’t tech savvy were essentially punished for trying to take advantage of the open ecosystem. Malware, crapware, driver issues, registry malfunctions, etc.

    Apple essentially changed this mentality through the iPhone through the success of their app, music, and movie sales. People were encouraged to go ahead and install stuff; the chances of it permanently borking everything up was near zero. Gold rush ensues. Now Apple pumps money faster than Exxon, lots of devs made good money selling iOS apps, and users continue to download in huge numbers.

    Microsoft obviously sees this going on and so they do what they do best: copy. I don’t even think they understand why they want a closed touch-based tablet OS installed on top of a more traditional desktop OS with a more open ecosystem, they just see Apple generating huge success with their app store and so they feel like they have to do something similar.

    I wonder how much of this will backfire on Microsoft. Valve might be the biggest seller of consumer software for Windows: their entire business is suddenly threatened. So that’s a major reason why we’re seeing Steam for Linux now despite years of demand for it. On the other side app makers are still not rushing to make quality touch apps for Windows 8 or for Windows Phones. So in trying to please everybody by grafting two different OSes into a FrankenWindows, they may end up pushing away both tech-savvy people (fears about closed ecosystem and app store restrictions) and non-techies (confusion about two different Windows interfaces, which apps work in which side of Windows, plus you still have all the old problems of the registry and malware) away from Windows.

    My guess right now is that Linux will not make a dent in Windows market share; instead, we’ll just see fewer people bother with Windows as more people spend their compy time on pure touch devices.

    • The Random One says:

      Well said. We’re at a point in which unless you do something on your computer that requires a lot of processing power (mostly games, but also some software such as 3D modeling) a tablet will do 95% of what you need done at a third of the cost. People will start to catch on.

    • Chaosed0 says:

      Thanks for that. You summarized everything I’m afraid of – and very likely will be – happening.
      I don’t want to be all “Casuals suck!” but that’s kind of what it’s getting to here… It just seems like not enough people care about the desktop platform to keep it alive. Sure, there will always be the core group, including those of the readership here, keeping the desktop going. What will it be like, though, with all studios moving to touch-based games due to declining playerbases?

      • xzalander says:

        @ Chaosed0 Its not even that the player base of Desktop users and such is declining of its own free will that bothers me.

        Its the kind of stupid-psychology Microsoft use to justify their actions. They have year after year pushed people away with random acts of stupidity then throw their hands up and say “See! No one wants [X] anymore”.

        The user base is still there, microsoft just doesn’t want it any more for some stupid and daft reasons.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nathan says:

        I don’t think the traditional PC Gaming audience /will/ decline, and neither will any possible adoption of tablet-Windows necessarily imply a touch-only future – the dual tablet/keyboard nature of the device is definitely a conceivable future for the desktop machine. (Jeff Atwood writes about his view on this form factor here: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/11/do-you-wanna-touch.html).

        Apple has demonstrated with the iPad that a huge number of households that currently use a desktop/laptop will probably be able to replace it entirely with a tablet such as the iPad with absolutely no loss of functionality. A huge part of Microsoft’s drive with Windows 8 is to reposition their devices to capitalise on this market whilst also pushing it a bit closer to the traditional PC (using the smart keyboard is an integral parts of a Windows tablet in the way it will never be on an iPad).

        So yes, the desktop PC market will decline – but it *ought* to decline if there’s a better solution out there for a large part of its existing audience, it isn’t a form factor with some inalienable right to exist. But I still don’t think this will affect the number of PC gamers, who are for the most part a more specialist set amongst the group of people with a traditional PC and don’t have the same incentives to migrate to a tablet.

        There are definitely some awkward joins between the Modern UI and traditional desktop elements in WIndows 8 (though personally, I find the start screen a massive improvement over the UI disaster that was the Start Menu – the start menu has just been so long established that it’s long been accepted as good UI).

        I don’t especially understand the fears of Microsoft moving to a closed eco-system for Windows though. Sure, there are plenty of instances of them doing “evil” in the past, but as a large company any “evil” they’ve done explicitly provides for their needs or maximises their profits. I haven’t yet seen a convincing argument for MSFT having an incentive to move to a closed platform in these terms, rather than because they have a history of doing evil.

        • Consumatopia says:

          Sure, there are plenty of instances of them doing “evil” in the past, but as a large company any “evil” they’ve done explicitly provides for their needs or maximises their profits.

          Generally, I don’t buy this–Microsoft is too large and mismanaged to expect all of its components to be part of a coherent plan to maximize profits.

          But in this case, closure makes sense for MS. No, it’s unlikely Windows would ever be completely closed. But if we ended up in a world in which most consumers bought locked down WindowsRT tablet/keyboard things designed, branded, sold and controlled by Microsoft while (much smaller) third parties continued to make traditional Desktop PCs (with touchscreens) for business and professional users, that would likely be a very profitable world for Microsoft. Windows 8 won’t get them there–but 9 or 10?

          But I still don’t think this will affect the number of PC gamers, who are for the most part a more specialist set amongst the group of people with a traditional PC and don’t have the same incentives to migrate to a tablet.

          I don’t think you can divide up users like that, for a lot of reasons. If the Desktop PC is seen as an archaic throwback, that’s going to affect the way players perceive PC gaming. That’s especially the case if younger users start to see the desktop/mouse pointer interfaces as exotic relics from the past (like modern users see the command line).

          Furthermore, remember that any traditional gamer who installs Windows 8 will have access to the Windows Store. If the Windows Store and Windows RT takes off, it might become a more tempting developer target than the traditional desktop. Lazy tablet ports could replace lazy console ports.

  14. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    I can see why Valve are pushing this (as has been mentioned before) but as someone who really doesn’t care for Linux (I may be a bit geeky but really I’m not that geeky) I think I’ll continue my Windows usage. I don’t have any brand loyalty to Steam and will get my games wherever they are distributed – be it UPlay, Origin, GFL or the high street. What I do like about steam are the special offers – some great bargains. In the long run, I see Steam happily coexisting on both Windows and Linux.

    • KillahMate says:

      Windows, Linux, and Mac. That’s worth pointing out, especially since more and more games are becoming available on all three with a single purchase.

  15. RogB says:

    not one of the initial 60,000

    /sadWARFACE

  16. Emeraude says:

    Well good that people have the option. Hopefully gaming on the platform doesn’t end up limited to it.

  17. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    I figured Windows 8 was for touch screen monitors and in preparation for Heads Up Display technology.

  18. Zyzyx says:

    Binaries have been repackaged for Fedora over here, credit Tom Callaway:

    http://spot.fedorapeople.org/steam-1.0.0.14-2.fc17.i686.rpm
    http://spot.fedorapeople.org/steam-1.0.0.14-2.fc18.i686.rpm

    The F16 ones are there too but some dependency issues are still being worked out. This is still pretty early work. Don’t forget that your steam account needs to be activated by Valve to participate, merely installing these RPMs will not get you in.

  19. matveev.sergeev says:

    Good, good. Now all we need is to get rid of this terrible abomination called windows 8, and we are set!

    ad3ll4ida_parr@mail.ru

  20. Ronlaen says:

    Now all Valve has to do is make the Steam client on Android able to download APKs of games I bought and the circle will be complete. World of Goo bought once and available on Android, Linux, Mac, and PC or whatever else is available out there.

    • RogB says:

      world of goo is on every platform known to man

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      You want APKs of every single game you’ve bought on Steam? Valve will never allow that to happen. They’re in the business of making money, you know.

  21. ogre_bathyscaph says:

    meow !