DasFox 8 гру 2012 о 23:26
STEAM DRM - Other Nasties & Linux - What Are Your Thoughts?
I know a topic like this can really be a mixed can of worms!

I want to make this clear, this post is not a rant, there are a lot of facts and history to this world regarding DRM, not only from Steam, but Microsoft & Apple and many others too...

Anyone who has been into computing for any length of time should of seen by now the positive and negative this brings.

Ask yourself why are you using Linux and did you ever really consider the ROOTS of Linux for providing to the world a FREE Open Sourced Platform and what that means for you today?

A lot of users in Linux over the years I've seen don't really consider this and I don't mean to be harsh, rude or flaming towards any distro of users, but the truth is, for all the good Ubuntu has done, it's also hurting the world of Linux too.

1. Do you as a Linux user think the world of Linux revolves around Ubuntu?
2. Do you think Ubuntu is really used by more users than any other distro?
3. Do you really think more users in Linux don't really care about open source?

I can tell you right now that you will not find any statistical facts for those questions above, knowing them is just something that comes with time in Linux and experience, but if you've been using Linux for any length of time then you should know there are a little over 300 Linux versions.


Sure Ubuntu is still considered one of the most popular versions, but there are no FACTS as to how many users world wide use it.

To name a few others, Debian, Redhat, Suse and Fedora, also command a very large world share and usage, on personal and business levels.

7-10 years ago Linux was not a world with many users showing a lack of concern over their OpenSource freedom, it was very much the concerns of the day, being free and different, and a lot of it is still very much alive in most Linux users world wide today. But the problem is for the small market of users that think Ubuntu is everything, now this world is being twisted, that makes, or for a lack of words, trys to make Linux into a non caring world of Windows users that have all jumped ship and are only on the Ubuntu wagon and it's not true.

Look at the start of Valve, in the beginning it only aimed towards Ubuntu, why? I'll tell you, the same illusion everyone is following, thinking Canonical rules the Linux world, or that it's the best at whatever everyone seems to think it's doing so special.

So now that I've given what some might appear as a rant, let me again make this very clear, no rants intended, I just happen to know this world very good and if you don't think so, then compare Mint, Suse, Fedora to the above situation and what can you tell us?

The only thing that must be going on is Canonical & Valve have some monetary arrangements going on, because if anyone is going to sit here and take claim to saying that Mint can't handle this situation as well, then you've fooled yourself! Why because who is Ubuntu based off of? --> Debian and who is Mint based off of --> Ubuntu!

Sure there are Pros & Cons here, but eventually everything that will work in Ubuntu will in Mint and vice versa...

Here's the problem the new users of Linux don't know! Linux is Linux, what one version does, they can all do, so with experience they all work the same and equally as well, but what we have here now in the world of Linux are the lazy wannabe Linux users, who jumped the Windows ship and now the world of Linux has slowing being getting polluted!

Now I'm sorry I didn't mean to be rude calling anyone lazy, but the truth is, in the past 7-10 years there's been a greater in flux into the Linux world of non-caring Linux users, that don't really get what's at stake here.

Today we seem to be getting more into ranges of users that don't really care and this is not a good thing for Linux if you like using Linux.

I'll be the first to admit if a proprietary piece of software is better than open source I might end up using it, but as a Linux user I will certainly try to consider any open source alternatives FIRST and consider if I stick with proprietary what that outcome might bring.

Everyone is sitting here at Steam as gamers, so this brings up one VERY VALID POINT!
Gaming in Linux with Nvidia & AMD has never been as good as Windows and do you know why that is? ---> Proprietary

Now consider what I just said above as it RELATES to this ENTIRE post, because it's all related!

If Nvidia & AMD would open source their drivers gaming would GREATLY improve in Linux, but it doesn't because they won't give the Tux the source! So what does all this have to do with DRM? Well some of it falls along the same lines, lack of freedom for improvement like drivers are stuck in this world, closing us out to options, and by taking away those options you loose choices, therefore you loose freedom. Now if you didn't get any of this that was just mentioned, then you've not used an 'OpenSource Platform' for very long, or you really don't care, or see the harm, or what the big picture is!

FLASH is another big problem to this picture as well! Just thought I'd thrown that in there for anyone interested, to see how that Adobe world relates!

I have Windows on my box, I dual boot with Linux but I hardly ever start Windows. Linux is my world and I like my freedom in it, hopefully as much as you do and I really hope if you've never considered any of this and you really love your Linux box, that you start considering it now for the future of Linux to keep on going as it has been doing in the past!

So with all that's been said, how can Steam bring harm? Well to put this simply said, if you've been around you'll know all the rumble going on over the years, if not start going out there and educate yourself now to this world before it is to late!

For those of you who dont't know Richard Stallman is a man that is really the forefront for Linux Freedom!

I will be the first to admit Richard Stallman can be a man of extremes, BUT for all the exteme, the FSF, and for those that don't know those initials; "Free Software Foundation", there is MAJOR good for what Richard Stallman and that site stands for and does for Linux, and if you don't know the FSF then you better get your butt over there if you like/love using Linux!

All Linux users owe a bit of gratitude to Richard Stallman, the FSF & GNU for what it stands for! I know, some of the hard core geeks might reject some gratitude towards Richard, LOL... but really he has helped!

Free Software Foundation

GNU founder Stallman calls DRM’d Steam for Linux games "unethical"

Nonfree DRM'd Games on GNU/Linux: Good or Bad?

Steam, Linux, and DRM: How Much is Too Much?

If Steam is going to be DRM Ware, take away our control, automated background processes, updates and who knows what else going on behind our backs, then I hope you as a Linux user will sit up and say; VALVE this is not what I want in my Linux box!

I really think the Valve Developers owe it to the Linux community to step forward and express themselves here, or at least show Linux users if this has been discussed for the Linux platform somewhere else, where that might be so the community can read it.

Cheers & Long Live The Tux!


P.S. Please keep this bumped, especially for new computer or Linux users, they deserve to know!
Автор останньої редакції: DasFox; 9 гру 2012 о 20:44
Показані коментарі 115 із 58
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TunnelWicht 9 гру 2012 о 1:16 
The operating system and the software i run, that are my decisions. When steam for Linux brings DRM-software to linux, then i have two options: To use it - with DRM, or to don't use it. I'm a software developer, and i know how important DRM can be.

I love free software, i love the whole linux ecosystem and beeing a part of that (help people, report bugs, write small patches, etc), but i do not hate closed software. And i guess it is important to find a accept the decision of the developers.

Oh, and by the way, there are company who are filling their pockets with linux: RedHat, Suse GmbH, Intel, IBM, Google... and a lot more. But: They're helping Linux to grow, they provide patches and drivers to the kernel, they give donate to the Linux Foundation - which helps to pay some kernel hackers.

IMHO, it is totally legit that Valve wants to make money with the linux-business. But valve should respect the free ecosystem. The day Valve wants to change the system of steam-users to a more closed system, i'll quit my account. But DRM... DRM is no issue. DRM is fine for closed software, as long as the rest of my system is still free and under my control.

I have only one suggestion: Valve should use /var/games for steam, so that root-access isn't necessary for updates.
kigucdoshu 9 гру 2012 о 1:36 
Цитата допису TunnelWicht:
I have only one suggestion: Valve should use /var/games for steam, so that root-access isn't necessary for updates.

/var should only contain variable data. The vast majority of game data is static, and therefore unsuitable for placement in /var/games.
Hellmark 9 гру 2012 о 3:29 
Personally, I think the games should be installed under ~, similar to how it is on OS X. No root access needed. Two users on same system with the same games might have to have two separate installs for those games if they have different accounts on the system, but that's a minor issue compared to the headache it would save otherwise.

I have been a linux user for 12 years now, and I really don't have a problem with it. I prefer open source, and DRM free, but logging in to steam before I can play a game, I don't have a big problem with. If Linux is to make any headway in expanding, we cannot be zealots about making everything open source. Also, compared to the DRM that many PC games have, having to log into steam is a painless solution. Would you prefer something like SecuROM or Star ROM?
blackout24 9 гру 2012 о 3:32 
Valve has already said they evaluate ideas on how to get around not using root for steam updates. http://steamcommunity.com/app/221410/discussions/1/846938350743245322/
paulguy119 9 гру 2012 о 3:56 
While the OP makes some good points, I think it has a bit too much tinfoil hat and fear-mongering.

It is true that accepting DRM and closed software on linux sets a bad precedent, but it's really nothing new, and nowadays it's just unavoidable. However the fear might be that it might spread to the rest of the linux software community, only releasing proprietary software for linux, possibly with DRM and while that might happen to a point, I'm thinking that there will still be interest from people for fully free (speech and cost) software. Let's just hope that interest doesn't wane too badly. An easy to use marketplace along the lines of the apple appstore or google play could easily kill free, open source software for the linux desktop, like it's basically hindered any possibility of on either of those platforms (yeah I know, there're some that are based on already open source projects and some small things that are open source and of course the android OS is open source, but there's PLENTY of proprietary software on Android and I'm pretty sure Apple disallows open source software.). Even then though, I would imagine there'd still be interest in free software on the desktop platform.

Another angle is how commercial and marketable desktop linux is trying to make itself. It's nice that it makes stuff simple for novices, but it does kind of suck that some stuff is getting buried under all kinds of abstractions and automation to the point that when all those fairly big and complex systems fail, manual configuration can be very annoying or completely impractical, or the error messages can be so dumbed down, with no real way to find out anything more about what happened. (The "Details..." button has disappeared from everything nowadays.)
Rocket Surgery 9 гру 2012 о 4:16 
The dream of Linux is a community-built operating system. That has been achieved and is still in development. What people want to run on that operating system is up to them. If you want to run a full system without licenses, you cannot play an MP3. You can not watch a DVD movie, at least in the United States. What you do with it is up to you, Linus Torvalds probably isn't going to mind, and in fact has generally been supportive of distros that give people the functionality that they want rather than forcing them to live in the wilderness in the name of 'freedom'.

The open source model has very obvious strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of a pool of community coders is probably not very relevant to Steam, barring security testing.

Your parents can use Ubuntu. But if Mom says "how do I look at this cat video" and you say "you can't because it was encoded in a proprietary format, ask for a GNU-approved codec" they're going to demand Windows again.

I'd also point out there's still useful open-source tools on Windows: 7zip, InfraRecorder, Firefox, etc.
Автор останньої редакції: Rocket Surgery; 9 гру 2012 о 4:20
mikeym 9 гру 2012 о 4:26 
Цитата допису DasFox:
I know a topic like this can really be a mixed can of worms!
For those of you who dont't know Richard Stallman is a man that is really the forefront for Linux Freedom!

Don't let Stallman catch you using the words Open Source when you mean FLOSS or Linux when you mean GNU/Linux!

Teasing aside, I actually agree with most - if not all - of what he has to say about Free software. He seem to me to be an idealist, but idealists help us see where we want to be. I would love to be running entirely FLOSS on Free & Open hardware, but at the moment that's not really possible (even on the raspberry pi for the meantime - which is the closest we have).

As it stands I am having to use closed graphics hardware which means that to get it to work properly I also need to be running closed drivers. I do not have the rights I would have under FLOSS to improve those things so I am reliant on the manufacturers to provide me with working hardware and drivers. The first seems to be no problem as hardware is the same no matter what software is in use (I guess there are caveats to this in terms of optimisations provided by the hardware). The second of those however seems to present a problem, the manufacturers just don't seem to feel any pressure to release fully functional drivers for Linux. I guess they just don't see it as a priority. But while as customers of hardware the Linux community appears to have little sway with the manufacturers, as consumers of games it appears we may have more clout (at least mediated through companies like Valve).

As long as we're in the less than satisfactory position of being reliant on graphics manufacturers I will take the positives that Valve and Steam are bringing to Linux. And I hope this development encourages the development of more free / open source solutions instead of stifling them.
blacke4dawn 9 гру 2012 о 4:47 
Since Stallman is not against limiting access to art in it's various forms (a.k.a game resources in this context) then this is NOT a question about DRM (or anti-cheat) in that way but rather if you can have access to the source code or not for the most basic piece(s) of that software, and many companies doesn't seem to want to share their progress in 3D-engines and such without a guarantied reimbursement. Releasing the the actual client code (NOT the game resources) freely would level the playing field between companies (and making it easier to port it between platforms) but it seems that this is also one of the major competition points instead of the actual game content, which to me looks sad.

Another thing is that many run "security by obscurity" when releasing it as closed source and that introduces it's own set of problems, but on the other hand making sure you have the latest client in an unmodified form is to get a checksum off of it and if you just compile it on your system then there is the risk of it not having the right checksum. They could most likely mandate that you use their binary but then many would probably complain about that since they can't verify that no extras have slipped in compared to the open source version.

Personally I wouldn't mind having the actual game client software open sourced but I don't see it as that big a priority at this point in time.
bersl2 9 гру 2012 о 5:33 
So, here's my say:

0: Since I identified as a Slackware user in the initial survey, I fully do not expect to legitimately touch Steam-on-Linux until it goes public. Additionally, the last time I checked was a couple of weeks ago, so I don't know what the status of some of these are.

1: When RMS says that the proprietary nature of a system is bad, he's *eventually* right. Something will come along, and the inability to make changes or see what the system's doing will screw you, and if "you" are not a multi-million dollar company, you're gonna average zero help or sympathy from the system's creator. Maybe Valve is different. We'll find out.

2. Userspace application, thou shalt not require non-hardware kernel module nor root privileges to run. A DRM which requires either of these is an abomination before the gods of Unix and Unix-like systems. Thou must be content living under my watchful eye and shall not hide activities beyond thy process space. Thou must not interfere negatively with other processes not related to the application, and thou shalt document accurately interactions with local daemons and other processes. Thou may require a daemon running under thy own user and group, and thou should provide both shared and private storage options for data where this makes sense. I, root@localhost, am your superuser, who was led forth from the lands of Multics, CP/M, VMS, DOS, and Windows, and others, to be superuser on this hardware: I AM THE SUPERUSER.

(Seriously, though, Steam doesn't have to be the most Unix-y software, but it mustn't commit heresy either.)

And I'm out of material for now.
Rain Ninja 9 гру 2012 о 12:44 
I despise most forms of DRM and think its useless anyway. After all, all it does is annoy the user most of the time and it doesnt prevent piracy anyway, so really...what's the point. It's a dinosaur approach and companies need to think of innovative ways to give people incentive to pay for the thing, sorta like Humble Bundle and GOG, which are very popular.

But I digress, for me Steam is one of the few acceptable (or what I tolerate anyway) forms of that thing called 'DRM', primarily because it's not a stupid singular DRM-specific program that infects your computer like SecuROM and the likes, but rather is technically inheriently DRM because of it's design, but does it in a way that far and above rewards the users rather than takes away. The users get a great service and community, autopatching/updating etc; the game vendors can be happy because the nature of Steam means the game wont be endlessly copied etc.

I would still never encourage DRM as we know it, but I think Valve have done something right, because many Linux users happily use it despite the fact they may far and away prefer most FOSS (myself included).

I'd still prefer a more open nature in the software itself, but I know it will never happen. I guess as Steam is pretty much just an entertainment platform I also don't mind as much too (I much prefer my OS and productivity apps to be FOSS if possible; games and the like, I'm not so concerned about, if that makes sense).
Автор останньої редакції: Rain Ninja; 9 гру 2012 о 12:45
DasFox 9 гру 2012 о 20:39 
I know I made the Title DRM in it, but I don't want this to simply be about only that, if you read through, you'll see it's really about many of the Pros & Cons on both sides of the Closed & Open world.

I want my control, don't ever want to give it up, put on my box what I want, how I want, knowing exactly 100% what is there and going on!

What I see with Steam is this is not the reality and that is something I'm not comfortable with!

We all use Linux for various reasons, BUT I'd like to think the reason many of us jumped on board was for the safety and security one finds in Linux on many levels. Now if we choose to run a lot of closed applications, who knows what is going on, at least on the safest side of the fence, we are probably only talking about introducing spyware into our system from companies like this, snooping something behind our backs, but this is not where I want to go at all!

Companies in the past have done these types of things and continue to this day.

SO really, how much is going on with steam what permission levels and access does it need, what processes run, how much goes on behind our backs you'll never see or know?

I'll be honest, without being technical here, this closed world from many companies out there has been telling us and showing us like this is the only way to go, but really is it, OR is it really because it's in their best interest to do so? I prefer to think the latter is the case, it's just in their best interests, and for the simple fact that when there's no competition, then you take it or leave it, and being that it's really the only kid in town, then you don't really have much of any choices in the matter, so you have to take it.

So really looking at Valve and the alternatives, there are none, so what I see is that we are again back at the beginning, meaning a company that has no competition so you take it or leave it and since there's not much of any threats out there, most don't go anywhere and we have to put up with whatever they dish out... So this is the cycle I see that continues to go around and around in the software world, when there's nothing else standing in the way, you take whatever you get and that's not a good thing...

I'm not trying to wear any tinfoil caps or paint unreaslistic pictures here, it's just that for many of us that have lived for many years in the Open Sourced World know the facts I'm speaking of and here are a few of those I mentioned before that we've seen all the good and bad it's created;


So those 3 for all the good they've brought to Linux, have also left us hanging, actually Flash has also left the Windows & OSX world hanging too.

Flash seems to be one of the worst cases of a closed plaform that has left the entire OS world out there with no choices and Gnash is certainly not much of a contender!

Flash is the example to the world what happens when someone monopolizes and closes a platform...

I know this is not an easy situation, people certainly do deserve to make money and protect their interests, but in that quest Linux needs to stand and try and make companies see another way in acheiving this and I think there can be alternatives if people stand and push hard enough!

Maybe now that Valve has stepped over into Tux's corner, Tux will be tough!

By the way did any of you know how the name Tux came to be?


According to Linus' word's; Bitten by a ferocious Fairy Penguin... :)


Автор останньої редакції: DasFox; 9 гру 2012 о 20:41
Rain Ninja 10 гру 2012 о 1:26 
Цитата допису DasFox:
Flash seems to be one of the worst cases of a closed plaform that has left the entire OS world out there with no choices and Gnash is certainly not much of a contender!

Flash is the example to the world what happens when someone monopolizes and closes a platform...

Indeed, I totally agree, this is a perfect example of a closed platform and what happens when they give up support. If Flash was free and open, some group in the Linux community would fork the code and maintain it, maybe even improve it.

But instead we are left with nothing, except old unmaintained releases or some new fangled implementation in a Chrome API (my personal experience to be a tad buggy).
Автор останньої редакції: Rain Ninja; 10 гру 2012 о 1:28
Mikolaj 10 гру 2012 о 2:06 
Personally I use Linux because I like its amount of choice and option. Don't care much about the philosophy. While I dislike DRM I must say that in many ways GPL etc are more limiting than DRM.
jfbilodeau 10 гру 2012 о 3:10 
All things being equal, I prefer free (speech) software, but I'm willing to run and pay for non-free (speech & beer) software when I see worth. Steam is definitely worth it.
Cybertao 10 гру 2012 о 3:11 
First of all, Linux is free 'as in speech'. Second, Steam and the games sold with it are not.
Neither affects the other. Ubuntu isn't going to make Steam free and Steam isn't going to make Ubuntu propriety.

All that's left is your personal choice. The relationship others have with their choice of OS has no impact on yours. If you don't like DRM or the proprietary nature that comes from dealing with Valve then uninstall Steam proprietary graphics driver you need for it.
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Опубліковано: 8 гру 2012 о 23:26
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