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Valve CEO Game Newell Teases Linux Steam Boxes

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September 18, 2013 4:13:06 AM

VVVVVVVVVVVVAPOUWAREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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September 18, 2013 4:24:16 AM

Gaming is the ONLY thing keeping me tethered to Windows. I would be over the moon to give MS the finger and move towards a more secure, open standard OS.
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September 18, 2013 4:29:55 AM

Game Newell huh? Why not?
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September 18, 2013 5:25:09 AM

"Valve CEO Gabe Newell has said that Linux is the future of gaming" - Did he announce this before he knew about the Windows 8 store or after? Oh yeah, after. It's funny as Windows has been his cake and he's obviously annoyed at MS.

P.s. @toddybody: "I would be over the moon to give MS the finger and move towards a more secure, open standard OS. " - I bet you're running Windows as full administrator. I'm amused when people complain about windows not being secure you run it WIDE open. Please, please, run as a standard user and see how safe it is!
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September 18, 2013 5:32:35 AM

While this is something to look foward to, one has to wonder how much of it is actually true. If you work for the largest gaming distribution company and that company is trying to expand into Linux, it is expected that you should create some fuss about it.

Don't get me wrong, Linux gaming would be heaven, but we have to be realistic and keep in mind that current major game engines work with proprietary Microsoft libraries and even hardware manufacturers design video cards for them. It would require a complete change in scenario.

Anyway, a slap in Microsoft's face is welcome, they need to get out of the comfort zone and realise they can't take their main business for granted.
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September 18, 2013 5:33:22 AM

I have always been open to see new operating systems enter the fray. I currently use windows 8 and I dont have many complaints. However, I would not mind giving another OS a try, Especially when it comes to gamng.

With that being Said, Make room for the Fanboys cause this might get ugly!!!
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September 18, 2013 5:39:45 AM

Yeah the article's great...with Game Newell. I had a good laugh at the horrendous proof reading going on.
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September 18, 2013 5:46:10 AM

Oh my, would you look at that, Tom's finally putting out an article around the same time as everyone else, instead of days up to a week later!
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September 18, 2013 6:04:27 AM

Ninjawithagun said:
Ultimately, Steam Box will be an utter failure...just like Chromebook was a failure. An "open source" operating system sounds exciting and supposedly promises so many things. LINUX is very powerful, I will admit that. However, it takes much more than just having a no cost powerful OS to drive things. Ultimately, a company needs to provide 100% reliable support. 3rd party driver updates are also always an issue. Less than 1% of all PC gamers use LINUX, so no, Steam Box is not the answer - even as a dedicated gaming console. I would like to see Steam eat their shoe; go ahead STEAM - drop PC and support only LINUX gaming systems and we'll see just how long your company survives when you lose 99% of your profit overnight... That's right. It isn't going to happen. Steam will suck it up and continue to do what they have been doing, and have been doing very well - providing an excellent and reliable WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM GAMING PLATFORM. Nuff said!


I did not see where they mentioned dropping Windows, or did I miss something? Anyway, that of course would be a very bad choice. I think they are just trying to "put their eggs in more than one basket".

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September 18, 2013 6:41:27 AM

"Anyway, a slap in Microsoft's face is welcome, they need to get out of the comfort zone and realise they can't take their main business for granted. "

Let me tell you, PC gamers are not their main business...
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September 18, 2013 7:17:00 AM

I'm really excited about this. I've always said that Linux would make an excellent platform for gaming and to see a company like Valve push this is fantastic. I think a lot of the skeptics about linux probably think of nexuiz or xonotic as the popular games on this platform and since those games look pretty dated, they feel Linux can't provide a cutting edge experience.

Two problems have hindered cutting edge gaming on Linux: most advanced games rely on directx for one, and second graphics driver support. In this day and age, these problems have pretty much been adressed. Both amd and nvidia have good driver support for linux and if big players like valve throw their weight around, it will get even better. And directx can largely be replaced by opengl. Directx has a few features over opengl, but for the most part you can make some incredible looking games that are probably indistinguishable in quality from their directx counterparts if you use all of opengl's capabilities.

For the most part, Linux can be lighter than windows in ressources, and that means more ressources can be dedicated to running games at higher performance. It's win-win situation for all.
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September 18, 2013 7:23:32 AM

Excellent I hope this is true! The main reason I run windows is for gaming.
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September 18, 2013 7:26:35 AM

Meh, what ever happened to the days when we used to get excited about Valve actually making games rather than getting excited about their next exploit as digital game pimps?
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September 18, 2013 7:45:30 AM

No one said anything about dropping PC support.

Gabe just knows Windows is quickly losing the "it and it only" factor." I don't know how many people (including myself) have dropped Windows for everything other than for gaming. Ubuntu on the desktop and Chrome OS for on the road for a year and a half haven't looked back since.

A large chunk of China will eventually change to Linux as their government is advocating for a change away from Microsoft. At this point, all Microsoft can hope for is to maintain a decent chunk of market share through enterprise and services just like they are smartly transitioning into. Their days as the only OS in town have come and gone. They only accelerated that process with Win 8.

I'm not sure how Chrome OS is a failure. If I'm not mistaken, just about every OEM announced a new Chromebook just last week. Compared to how many Windows RT releases?

Having said that, Windows has treated me fairly well (cant say the same for all MS products) over the years. I don't wish them any ill will, but it's just the changing of the times. There's just no need for a big overbloated OS like that in the mainstream consumer world.



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September 18, 2013 7:51:09 AM

toddybody said:
Gaming is the ONLY thing keeping me tethered to Windows. I would be over the moon to give MS the finger and move towards a more secure, open standard OS.


only problem with that is only a small fraction of the gamer community (like us here on Tom's) feel comfortable about using Linux. yeah yeah, I know it's nothing too different or complicated, but a large portion of game sales go to people that'd rather not change their OS. Of course, steam has a lot of data on their user-base, so I guess if Gabe feels like he can move the majority of his customers to Linux, then power to him.

However, let's be realistic, the various hardware companies already have hiccups keeping up with Windows updates and what not. do we think they'll really spend money on supporting all Linux distros? NO!. the only way for this to work is if Steam made their own gaming oriented OS based on Linux. now I can already see enthusiasts complaining about security, privacy, limited freedom, yada yada yada, about this approach lol
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September 18, 2013 8:02:54 AM

JD88 said:
Ubuntu on the desktop and Chrome OS for on the road for a year and a half haven't looked back since.


Actually, I've been curious about something for a while but haven't been willing to take the time to jump in and test it out. A few years ago prior to Skydrive really coming into its own I tried Google docs and generally liked it but eventually stopped using it because of one major factor - the inability to edit .doc files and save as .doc files to Google docs. I was happy enough to use gdocs myself but it became a colossal pain trying to do the format shuffle sending documents to people who were MS Office users. Have they added an ability to use actual .doc files in Google documents yet, or are you still more or less tied to the gdoc format?
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September 18, 2013 8:15:47 AM

vmem said:
toddybody said:
Gaming is the ONLY thing keeping me tethered to Windows. I would be over the moon to give MS the finger and move towards a more secure, open standard OS.


only problem with that is only a small fraction of the gamer community (like us here on Tom's) feel comfortable about using Linux. yeah yeah, I know it's nothing too different or complicated, but a large portion of game sales go to people that'd rather not change their OS. Of course, steam has a lot of data on their user-base, so I guess if Gabe feels like he can move the majority of his customers to Linux, then power to him.


Actually if people are forced to use Linux they can and will, even the noobiest of noobs will. Case in point my wife works for a doctor who hates Microsoft and has complained about them for years. He finally had enough I guess because when two of the other women who work in his office had systems crash (some blue screen apparently) he reloaded them with Ubuntu, since the applications they use are primarily web based. And aside from a little moaning from the women who are using these systems, they are working just great and they are getting their work done.

No this isn't gaming, but it proves that even the noob women who know basically how to turn a computer on and thats about it can learn to use linux.
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September 18, 2013 8:25:40 AM

stevejnb said:
JD88 said:
Ubuntu on the desktop and Chrome OS for on the road for a year and a half haven't looked back since.


Actually, I've been curious about something for a while but haven't been willing to take the time to jump in and test it out. A few years ago prior to Skydrive really coming into its own I tried Google docs and generally liked it but eventually stopped using it because of one major factor - the inability to edit .doc files and save as .doc files to Google docs. I was happy enough to use gdocs myself but it became a colossal pain trying to do the format shuffle sending documents to people who were MS Office users. Have they added an ability to use actual .doc files in Google documents yet, or are you still more or less tied to the gdoc format?


It's something Google has been working on since they purchased Quick Office. Currently, a Chromebook is able to do this. I can open a .doc or .docx directly from my drive and it opens into an editor mode. Press save and it saves it. No conversion necessary. This ability is not yet present on any other platform that I am aware of. It might be somehow available in the flags of Chrome beta version I'm not sure. I tested it using some documents that had heavy formatting from MS word such as tables, heading adjustments, color adjustments, etc. They compatibility was impressive. It all looked about the same from what I could tell. Sometimes that stuff gets lost when using the conversion method. I typically just type everything in a new Google Doc but sometimes someone sends me a .docx that needs to be edited slightly and for that it comes in handy. My understanding is that Google plans to implement this into all forms of Docs in the near future.
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September 18, 2013 8:44:35 AM

vmem said:

do we think they'll really spend money on supporting all Linux distros? NO!.


Wat.
Most Distros are POSIX Compliant
The Linux Standard base exists for this very reason of distro compatibility.
The File Hierarchy Standard exists.
Or if you're really that insistent, a .run binary can pretty much run off of any distro.

Not supporting Distros=/=cannot play steam games. A mere 5 minutes on Youtube and you can see that Gentoo, Slackware, Arch, Fedora, EVEN FreeBSD(Which is not even Linux) have steam clients(and games) running, despite the fact that none are "officially" supported. The whole point of community effort.
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September 18, 2013 9:02:48 AM

The only teasing I want to hear from Gabe is Half-Life 3.
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September 18, 2013 9:16:05 AM

Even if 100% of desktop Linux users game on Linux instead of Windows it will still be less than the current number of Steam users, the only way this will fly is on the hope people will drop Windows, but as the vast majority use Windows for things other than gaming I don't see any exodus anytime soon
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September 18, 2013 9:27:24 AM

I don't think the plan or idea here is to get people to switch from Windows to Linux.

What Valve is doing is making a game console (think PS3 or Xbox) that will be running some form of custom Linux distribution. The idea is that developers will port and develop games for it just like they would any other console. A subsequent result of this will be that those games can also run on PC based Linux as well.
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September 18, 2013 9:35:50 AM

I just don't get all the hype with the Steam Box deal. It seems like a horrible idea to me. Your probably not going to convert console gamers, and people that game on PC's like gaming on PC's, largely because they spend a good amount of money to do so. I don't see the market for this at all.
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September 18, 2013 9:35:56 AM

One of the main differences between a "PC" and a "console" is the OS. A console OS is generally more single task focused, whereas Windows was built for multitasking. The key to a "Steambox" is not the box (hardware) but the OS running that box. Due to Linux's open source nature an OS could be built with it solely to play games, in this case solely to run Steam. With Steam as the only accepted platform the drivers can be specially written by Valve to cooperate with their software. In theory this should be a winning situation for everyone other than MS. Game PCs could skip the Windows license and use an OS that maximizes resources towards the game. Valve would funnel business directly towards Steam as the primary PC gaming platform, cutting down on competition from others selling PC game licenses. Assuring they remain at the top alone is enough to justify having to maintain a full OS instead of a client, and compatibility could be guaranteed by only licensing certain hardware setups for the "Steambox".
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September 18, 2013 9:51:52 AM

Honestly, i rather gaming on Linux than on OSX (apple). At least I can still buy the hardware I want on Linux...
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September 18, 2013 9:56:32 AM

kinggraves said:
One of the main differences between a "PC" and a "console" is the OS. A console OS is generally more single task focused, whereas Windows was built for multitasking. The key to a "Steambox" is not the box (hardware) but the OS running that box. Due to Linux's open source nature an OS could be built with it solely to play games, in this case solely to run Steam. With Steam as the only accepted platform the drivers can be specially written by Valve to cooperate with their software. In theory this should be a winning situation for everyone other than MS. Game PCs could skip the Windows license and use an OS that maximizes resources towards the game. Valve would funnel business directly towards Steam as the primary PC gaming platform, cutting down on competition from others selling PC game licenses. Assuring they remain at the top alone is enough to justify having to maintain a full OS instead of a client, and compatibility could be guaranteed by only licensing certain hardware setups for the "Steambox".


Basically your describing every console OS thats already out there, the only exception being that the Steam distro, which is basically what MS already tried to do with the Xbone. I don't really see this steambox being on par with the other consoles price wise either, they'll want to put in hardware that will appeal to PC gamers, which will be expensive. Console gamers have already spoken out against the very steam-like DRM that was going to be on the Xbone, so they probably won't go for it, not to mention that it looks like its going to be released in a year or 2, right after the next gen consoles are already out there. Like I said, I just don't see it.

Now, if your talking a Steam OS that I could use to dual boot my system solely to play games on, well, that might be something, but personally, I don't care for the Steam software, I have had tons of issues with it freezing up, dropping connections, the voice system is a little wonky, so I don't have a lot of confidence in Valve building something like that.
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September 18, 2013 10:08:10 AM

taurine said:
Console gamers have already spoken out against the very steam-like DRM that was going to be on the Xbone, so they probably won't go for it, not to mention that it looks like its going to be released in a year or 2, right after the next gen consoles are already out there.


You have *no* idea how many avid Steam users I know that were vehemently opposed to the always on/DRM policies of the XBOX One. Really, it's an issue of popularity more than anything else.
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September 18, 2013 10:25:23 AM

"Gaming is the ONLY thing keeping me tethered to Windows. I would be over the moon to give MS the finger and move towards a more secure, open standard OS. "

Ditto that. As soon as someone comes out with a virtualized gaming GPU ill probably make the switch to linux and just keep a virtualized windows install for old games. Then i can keep windows locked in the dungeon like the gimp.

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September 18, 2013 11:55:03 AM

I just don't get all the hype with the Steam Box deal. It seems like a horrible idea to me. Your probably not going to convert console gamers, and people that game on PC's like gaming on PC's, largely because they spend a good amount of money to do so. I don't see the market for this at all.
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September 18, 2013 12:10:30 PM

The only reason this is exciting to anyone that games and/or uses linux is because it offers people on linux the ability to play high end AAA title games on their crappy (unified installer-less) OS. And it offers people who play all the new games on their crappy windows box the glimmer of hope that they can move to a cheaper OS (i.e. free) that doesnt crash every ten minutes and still be able to enjoy themselves.

I swear if I was a better programmer Id program a unified installer for linux and turn it into a less polished more stable version of windows. Because lets be honest thats the biggest difference between windows and linux (other than the price and unix kernel of course)... even a computer illiterate 80 year old can install something on windows but you need a masters in computer science to install something on linux. Hell you need to be able to compile your own program to install a video card driver on linux. Who the hell wants to do that? If linux had a unified installer that worked on all distros then tada more people would use it. But linux seems to love being a "geeks only" OS but then when there are no games for it and you basically get everything you need for productivity and entertainment with the install of the OS once you install it theres nothing else you can do but type some spreadsheets or browse the web. Thats why everyone on linux gets all moist when someone says they might enable them to play high end games... because that means they wont be completely irrelevant anymore!
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September 18, 2013 12:51:20 PM

I would like to see this shake up the market a bit.
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September 18, 2013 1:35:35 PM

shin0bi272 said:
The only reason this is exciting to anyone that games and/or uses linux is because it offers people on linux the ability to play high end AAA title games on their crappy (unified installer-less) OS. And it offers people who play all the new games on their crappy windows box the glimmer of hope that they can move to a cheaper OS (i.e. free) that doesnt crash every ten minutes and still be able to enjoy themselves.

I swear if I was a better programmer Id program a unified installer for linux and turn it into a less polished more stable version of windows. Because lets be honest thats the biggest difference between windows and linux (other than the price and unix kernel of course)... even a computer illiterate 80 year old can install something on windows but you need a masters in computer science to install something on linux. Hell you need to be able to compile your own program to install a video card driver on linux. Who the hell wants to do that? If linux had a unified installer that worked on all distros then tada more people would use it. But linux seems to love being a "geeks only" OS but then when there are no games for it and you basically get everything you need for productivity and entertainment with the install of the OS once you install it theres nothing else you can do but type some spreadsheets or browse the web. Thats why everyone on linux gets all moist when someone says they might enable them to play high end games... because that means they wont be completely irrelevant anymore!


Clearly either you've never used Linux or you haven't tried it in the last 3 years.

In Ubuntu, graphics drivers are as easy as selecting the ones you need from a list in the update app and pressing install. Installing apps is as easy as going to the software center, picking out what you want, and pressing install. In fact, it's actually easier because everything is located in one place. I typically don't respond to troll posts, but here it was necessary to correct a good deal of misinformation.
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September 18, 2013 1:41:55 PM

I want a world that uses Linux.

It would benefit everyone.
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September 18, 2013 1:51:07 PM

John Bauer said:
I want a world that uses Linux.

It would benefit everyone.


John - how so? I'm curious to know how a world using a variety of scattered Linux distros in place of a Windows near-monopoly would be better. Not even a sarcastic question, I'm honestly curious. Most I've done is fiddle around with Linux a bit and it didn't jump out at me, so I'm genuinely curious as to how a host of Linux distros would be better for the computing world than a largely unified Windows.

My suspicion is that there would be a host of perks and complications involved, but the views of a more focused Linux user would be interesting to hear.
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September 18, 2013 2:04:36 PM

If it does come out, who will buy it? Who is it for? IF you want something to game on that you can upgrade, well you have a PC. Plus and play? New consoles have that market. Small box for a low price? Even if it's better than the Ouya, I won't want to play it. It'll have to be comparable in power to the new consoles at least, which I can't see happening. If it has exclusive games, like HL3, well then I don't see many people spending a few hundred on what is essentially another console for a few games.
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September 18, 2013 2:20:38 PM

stevejnb said:
John Bauer said:
I want a world that uses Linux.

It would benefit everyone.


John - how so? I'm curious to know how a world using a variety of scattered Linux distros in place of a Windows near-monopoly would be better. Not even a sarcastic question, I'm honestly curious. Most I've done is fiddle around with Linux a bit and it didn't jump out at me, so I'm genuinely curious as to how a host of Linux distros would be better for the computing world than a largely unified Windows.

My suspicion is that there would be a host of perks and complications involved, but the views of a more focused Linux user would be interesting to hear.


As I see it, here are some benefits from Linux over Windows

1. Lower system requirements. This means that developing countries can use very old hardware for much longer. I just looked it up, and Ubuntu needs roughly half of the hardware Windows 7 needs.
2. FREE. Not much to explain here
3. Open-source. Also not much to explain here.
4. If Linux replaced Windows, then it would be about as unified as Windows. There are many different types of Linux, and it's the same with Windows. (Windows 3.1-8) Not to mention the 3 different versions of the past few Windows OS releases.

I should also mention that no, I do not use Linux on my current computer. Why? cuz i need muh games. GABE GET THIS DONE. I just noticed the title says "Game newell"
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September 18, 2013 4:28:47 PM

I don't think the world would be better with a Linux monopoly, but I do think it would be better to have a multitude of different OS to choose from. We've seen what a little competition has done to Microsoft. Instead of charging absolutely stupid prices for Office they are now including it in a lot of OEM units. In response to Google's cloud setup, they have created a completely online version of office through Skydrive. Updates to the foundations of Windows once a year? Unheard of.

In fact, I really like the way this is starting to work out with a three way battle between Apple, MS, and Google. Innovation has never been greater than it is right now in the tech world. In fact, I hope Windows Phone can gain some more traction in the smartphone market. It's one of the few things MS has gotten right lately. Need more players there.

The sheer number of products and services to choose from means a big win for the consumer. Another platform to game on would be all the better as well.
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September 19, 2013 3:07:51 PM

Honestly I don't mind Windows OSes, but if I was able to save 100+ bucks every time I was to reccomend somebody a gaming machine (or put it into a beefier video card) I'd be a happy camper.
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September 20, 2013 6:47:47 AM

Still excited to see this actually surface, but it may depend upon how modular Steam Boxes* actually are, otherwise I may still wait and build a good small form factor PC for future upgradability.

*They may refer to them as Steam Boxes but I much prefer calling them Steam Engines, and I will be wearing a boiler suit and adding a funnel to mine for precisely this reason.
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October 9, 2013 9:48:43 PM

I just recently wiped ubuntu off my PC. It does not feel very optimized at all. I am sorry but there are games out there that runs better on Windows than on Linux. I have witness this first hand. All the work i spent tweaking and customizing was all for nothing. Heck even youtube videos causes hiccups for no apparent reason. And don't even get me started on Netflix on Linux. Yes i got that working too but performance and experience was crap. Did not even have the check HD option. I am sorry but If windows 8 was the cause of Gabe's tantrum calling Windows 8 "a catastrophe for the PC space" this is just sad. But if its Valve thinking ahead and to bring more competition to the market. I hope this succeeds. I will not however going to sacrifice performance that i have seen with Windows 8 because of Gabe's tantrum moments. Nope I used ubuntu for 4 days, tweaked it even got to Netflix to work and still was all for nothing. Now i am back to Win 7 and is awaiting for windows 8.1 and calling it a day. The-end.
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October 10, 2013 6:36:40 AM

MarioJP said:
I just recently wiped ubuntu off my PC. It does not feel very optimized at all. I am sorry but there are games out there that runs better on Windows than on Linux. I have witness this first hand. All the work i spent tweaking and customizing was all for nothing. Heck even youtube videos causes hiccups for no apparent reason. And don't even get me started on Netflix on Linux. Yes i got that working too but performance and experience was crap. Did not even have the check HD option. I am sorry but If windows 8 was the cause of Gabe's tantrum calling Windows 8 "a catastrophe for the PC space" this is just sad. But if its Valve thinking ahead and to bring more competition to the market. I hope this succeeds. I will not however going to sacrifice performance that i have seen with Windows 8 because of Gabe's tantrum moments. Nope I used ubuntu for 4 days, tweaked it even got to Netflix to work and still was all for nothing. Now i am back to Win 7 and is awaiting for windows 8.1 and calling it a day. The-end.


What hardware and version of Ubuntu? What did you use to get Netflix working?
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