Zacletus May 8, 2013 @ 12:43am
Steam Survey and Linux
This is a post I made on the WoW forums in reply to someone quoting Steam's survey as having less than 2% of people using Linux and saying that that's why big developers aren't likely to support Linux. Here's what I see wrong with that thinking, and also a possible solution to it:

There's something here that should be pointed out. That "less than 2%" is for people actually using Steam on Linux. There's three possible issues here.

1. This one might not be an issue, depending on how the survey works, but it may be possible that Steam running under WINE is misrepresented as a copy of windows. Here's a link that shows that it detects WINE, but it also lists OS as Windows XP: http://anonymousdimwit.blogspot.com/2012/08/steams-hardware-survey-detects-wine.html

2. There are people are daily Linux users, but have a Windows OS for things that don't work well on Linux, such as games. This people of course would be listed as Windows users by Steam.

3. There are people who would be willing to switch to Linux... if there was support. I don't use Windows because it's so wonderful, I use it because games (usually) work with it. *glares at Bioshock 1 sound issues and Bioshock 2 crashing for no apparent reason* I would gladly switch to Linux if I could. That would mean $100+ that wouldn't have to be spent on the OS. In most causes that probably means moving up a bracket with the CPU or graphics card.

The fact they have ANY Linux users listed is kind of amazing. Their selection of games is extremely small.

One thing Steam could do is to add another question or two in their survey.
Something like: What is your preferred OS?
Windows
Mac OSX
Linux

Or something like: If there was more support for Linux, would you use it?
Yes
No
Undecided/Maybe

The first question is a bit more fair, while the second question is more so fishing for answers in trying to support Linux. Either way, it may help give better answers to if supporting Linux is acceptable from a business standpoint.
Showing 1-9 of 9 comments
< >
Spawn of Totoro May 8, 2013 @ 6:24am 
It is less about fewer users and more about cost.

Most games are writen with DirectX in mind. In order to convert it, they have to re-write that part of the game from scratch to work with OpenGL.

Thye have to decide if porting it to Linux is worth the extra cost.

More games would be out for MAC and Linux if they were all made with OpenGL. The industry is already moving in that direction and we will see more "AAA" games for Linux down the road.

Another thing, I may be wrong, but I think Steam may detect WINE as a Windows OS (possibley due to it using windows files). That could mess up the survey too.
[GOP] John McCain May 9, 2013 @ 7:03pm 
Anything that runs WINE is detected as a Windows machine and not a Linux box FYI. And yes I know a good bit of people out there who dual boot Linux and Windows only really using Windows for certain games which skews surveys unfortunately for us. I think right now the Linux users just have to prove that the Linux market is viable by purchasing Linux games, so other developers can pay attention to us. That's pretty much our only bet.
Doc Holliday May 9, 2013 @ 8:56pm 
and few school's teach Linux and OpenGL classes making it hard to develop for
[Linux] hosefflatt May 9, 2013 @ 11:38pm 
The problem I see is that there is no reason to port if customers are willing to use WINE or dual boot. To give someone a financial incentive to port, you must completely refuse to use software(free or paid) that does not have a Liunx port. I have deleted my second partition on my laptop, removed all of my windows VMs, removed WINE. There is only native Linux software on my computer, because I think that is what it will take to convince devs to port stuff.
Info-High May 10, 2013 @ 1:04am 
I think it will be a lot of talk, regardless. The only hope Linux has as a gaming platform is for someone to absorb significant development hits until it catches on. Petitions and informal polling will not make a dent in Linux adoption by game devs or users; it never has. At this point the most we should hope is that it will endure as an indie game platform, and that if Valve releases more of its games on it it will at least get attention.
Last edited by Info-High; May 10, 2013 @ 1:06am
Saner than a coconut May 10, 2013 @ 1:24am 
Well, we can only see how it goes. But still, it's fascinating how many native linux games we already have at the moment, my steam for linux library has more games in it that I want to play, than I have time to play them. So, for me at least it's already sufficient, though I still would like some of the "bigger" games, like bioshocks etc. to be ported over.
John Noob doesn´t play ranked May 10, 2013 @ 5:03am 
Originally posted by Mathijs De Maersschalck:
Well, we can only see how it goes. But still, it's fascinating how many native linux games we already have at the moment, my steam for linux library has more games in it that I want to play, than I have time to play them. So, for me at least it's already sufficient, though I still would like some of the "bigger" games, like bioshocks etc. to be ported over.

Totally Agree. I´ve more games than I could play. Actually only play Guild Wars 2 under W8. :_D
rudeboyskunk May 10, 2013 @ 5:24am 
Originally posted by Linux hosefflatt:
The problem I see is that there is no reason to port if customers are willing to use WINE or dual boot. To give someone a financial incentive to port, you must completely refuse to use software(free or paid) that does not have a Liunx port. I have deleted my second partition on my laptop, removed all of my windows VMs, removed WINE. There is only native Linux software on my computer, because I think that is what it will take to convince devs to port stuff.

I absolutely agree. I have done the same (though my work computer unfortunately runs Windows due to software requirements and my apathy towards VMs) and will not purchase a game unless it has a Linux version (there are several games in my Steam library which have Linux versions but those versions have not been uploaded to Steam yet).

In regards to the OP, I think #3 is the most important. It's a chicken/egg scenario that has long been discussed over and over in the Linux community, and I think Valve recognized that. IMO the only thing really holding it back is lack of proper driver support from AMD/Nvidia (my AMD card worked fine under Windows7 but even the LEGACY driver doesn't support it anymore, and my computer is only 3 years old). Once those two companies put more work into supporting Linux, the rest (which is already falling into place) will be complete.
arc| Gps May 10, 2013 @ 5:41am 
The survey should have something about dual boot.
A few weeks back I was asked to do the survey. I was very happy to be on Linux.

But I do not like the fact that is seems to be a matter of chance if I get counted as windows or as Linux user.

One reason being, I spend most my time on Linux.
I only boot windows for a few games.
AvP ( 3 ) and aliens Colonial marines.
And sometimes to compare the performance, between the two os.
Showing 1-9 of 9 comments
< >
Per page: 15 30 50
Date Posted: May 8, 2013 @ 12:43am
Posts: 9