Steam and Linux

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indigoparadox
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Steam and Linux

Some of you might be aware of Steam, probably the most popular and successful online game store for Windows. Steam was popular before Apple, Google, or Microsoft were even thinking about "app stores".

While "the first and most successful app store" may be a dubious distinction in some circles, Valve (the company behind Steam) is relatively responsive to their customer base and Steam itself has helped indie game development grow quite a bit. At any rate, they're no Apple or Adobe.

Recently, Valve announced coming Linux support in the face of the Windows 8 lolocaust. More interestingly, Richard Stallman has decided to weigh in on this.

Quote:
Thus, in direct practical terms, this development can do both harm and good. It might encourage GNU/Linux users to install these games, and it might encourage users of the games to replace Windows with GNU/Linux. My guess is that the direct good effect will be bigger than the direct harm. But there is also an indirect effect: what does the use of these games teach people in our community?

Is it just me, or is that an incredibly moderate opinion coming from Richard Stallman? I seem to remember an essay on the GNU website a long time ago (though I can't find it now) discussing why it might be a bad idea to port Free software to Windows because it would encourage users to continue using a proprietary OS. In this case, the users would still be using proprietary software-- while there are some excellent Free games out there, they are relatively few and far between-- but they would be using these games on a Free OS.

Is Stallman becoming more moderate? Should we worry about the Overton Window shrinking in the future? Or are we expecting Free alternatives to Skyrim or DayZ soon?

Personally, I would prefer a world with only Free software, but I understand that's probably not going to happen completely. I do think strong advocacy for Free software is necessary, though, because it's a highly misunderstood and counter-intuitive issue. It's also one that a lot of people don't happen to take seriously, even though it affects them more than they realize.

Anyway, discuss! Or... don't!

asphere
asphere's picture
the M is for moderate

Interesting. What is the Win8 thing? Is Steam not going to run on it?!

Also, I've often wondered where RMS comes down on the proprietary first, then open source later as idgames has done.

indigoparadox
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Aside from the "Metro" (optim

Aside from the "Metro" (optimized for tablets because the PC is on its way out, right? /s) interface, Microsoft is adding an app store. I think the general fear is that they're basically just doing whatever Apple does now, and both companies are looking to capitalize on the "app store" model (and thus take a cut)-- and to do this, they'll want to lock out third party stores like Steam.

Most of this is just rumor and speculation, near as I can tell, only about the distant and possible future. I've also heard rumors about Apple already requiring developers to submit apps that use certain APIs through their app store but no ready citations.

Like the "ISPs are now actively sniffing your traffic for torrents," it seems like the result of a long and scared forum-based telephone game that started with a kernel of truth (Mountain Lion does seem to focus on their app store, and ISPs now have a new common system in place for handling complaints submitted by media companies).

Such is the way of tech forums! I can't see myself using Windows 8 for anything more than to make fun of any time soon, though. I can install it right alongside the latest Ubuntu VM.

I would imagine RMS doesn't like software to be proprietary at all, ever. That's just what I would imagine, though, and as you can see in the quoted passage above, my imagination about his thoughts might be rather more limited than the reality. He doesn't seem to have a general contact address on his website, so it might be worth holding on to that question until he has a talk near you (if you're feeling feisty, I guess).

asphere
asphere's picture
Hecklers

2600 field trip to the next RMS talk for sure!

indigoparadox
indigoparadox's picture
Just saw this and thought of

Just saw this and thought of this thread: Total Biscuit, a popular video game Let's Player/commentator, answered a similar question about "the Windows 8" thing very well in a recent edition of his mailbox.

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