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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Steam for Linux

From: Steven Hamilton
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Steam for Linux
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2012 19:33:16 +1000

Thanks for the replies all. This thread has been listed on
reddit/r/linux and has had a good bit of discussion there as well.

I don't think the full impact of Steam is understood. This is a walled
garden akin to iTunes. Valve dictate fairly strictly what goes on Steam
and they also play the restriction of supply game to ensure there are
plenty dev's out there still eager to get on the platform. They
restrict access for this purpose.

They are also moving into the application space and now provide, mostly
game genre style application software through Steam to Windows and Mac
platforms. Essentially they are setting themselves up as a direct
competitor to Apple Appstore and the Windows 8 store on PC. If the
customer base of the Steam linux platform grows sufficiently we WILL
start to see proprietary applications being sold through Steam.
Supported on multiple distro's by the vendor and installed via Steam.
The nature of these binaries aren't plain old blobs. You don't own the
binary. Steam DRM ensures you are merely renting it. Access can be
removed at any time.

Growth of Steam as an application platform I feel is our greatest
danger. In general new users are fine installing new software on Linux
until they want something not available in the repos, then they are
stuffed. Steam will easily bypass this. These users won't get involved
in the Linux community and certainly not the Free Software community.
Steam will be their community and support channel.

If you can't see this danger you're not thinking far enough ahead.

What should we do currently? The steamroller of Steam is inevitable. It
will be a success and it will be here to stay so we just need to get on
and manage it as best we can.

1) Steam must be discouraged under all circumstances
2) A list of alternative platforms needs to be gathered (can we use the
wiki for this?)
3) Owners of these alternative platforms, if suitable, should be
courted to assist (it's in their best interests)
4) Developers should be approached to make their games available via
DRM free means outside of Steam. This is very tricky as Steam provides
full community, support and payment services all bundled up.

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