Linus Torvalds has said that SteamOS, Valve’s Linux-based platform, has the potential to make Linux better on desktops.
The person who made Linux praised Valve’s “vision” and said that the company’s success would force other companies to take Linux seriously, especially if game developers started to stop making Windows games.
“I love the Steam announcements – I think that’s a real opportunity to help the desktop,” he said at LinuxCon in Edinburgh.
Last month, Valve announced SteamOS as a way to bring PC gaming to the living room. Users will be able to install the system on their own custom-built PCs, and Valve will make the system available to manufacturers for use on their own hardware.
I’m excited about the things Steam has announced because I think they could help the desktop in a big way.
If more gamers and developers start using SteamOS, more hardware makers may be forced to make drivers that work with more than just Windows.
Torvalds has criticized Nvidia in the past for not letting open-source drivers for its graphics chips be made. Nvidia has opened up to the Linux community now that SteamOS is on the way, which Torvalds believes is a sign of things to come.
“I’m not just saying it’ll help us get traction with the graphic designers,” he explained. “It will also force other distributors to realize that if this is how Steam is going, they must follow suit because they cannot afford to be different in this regard.” They want people to be able to play games on their platform as well.”
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“It’s the best standardization model,” he added. “I believe that good standards are demonstrated by people doing things, declaring ‘this is how we do it,’ and being successful enough to drive the market.”
Beautiful login screens
According to Torvalds, another reason Linux hasn’t done well on the desktop is that developers have focused on useless UX features.
“Linux is doing fantastically well in so many different areas,” he said, “but I’m still a little disappointed that the Linux desktop is this morass of infighting and bad actors.”
“I do hope that the desktop people will try to collaborate and focus on technology rather than trying to make the login screen look really nice,” he added.
Torvalds would not name specific companies, but has previously defended Google’s Chromebook Pixel, which runs on the Linux-based Chrome OS, calling other PCs “crap.”