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Valve Introduces Proton Next (linuxgamingcentral.com)
361 points by WallyFunk 69 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 255 comments

Valve's continual focus on Linux (SteamOS 1.0 was released eight years ago) is honestly incredible, Proton even sometimes works better than native Linux builds. Truly nobody else (in the gaming space) is doing it like Valve are. I saw a talk[1] from a KDE dev talking about features Valve sponsored to be added to KDE Plasma and it's things that are useful for everyone outside the context of the steam deck.

The only thing that doesn't really work I've noticed is when games have an online component, whether it's like easy anti cheat which I've heard should be just flipping a switch to enable but I haven't seen anyone actually do that, or some weirdness happening with whatever the new Microsoft Flight Simulator is doing that makes it seemingly a 50/50 coin toss as to whether it'll run with the exact same settings.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0gEIeFgDX0

I watched a talk by GabeN years ago, where he explained his business philosophy (which also had to do with his exit from Microsoft). It was strikingly simple: treat your customers well. Supporting Linux is treating his customers well (even if the majority of customers don't understand that... yet).

> treat your customers well. Supporting Linux is treating his customers well.

It's really won me over, I can say that much. When I was using Windows, I favoured buying games from GOG over Steam whenever possible. DRM and all that.

Ever since I moved to Linux, it's been the opposite. GOG couldn't care less about Linux compatibility, and while you can get their stuff going through some combination of Wine/Lutris scripts, the experience I get with Steam is so much better.

I wouldn't put GOG in the same basket as other stores like EGS though, they did make some efforts and officially packaged and distributed games for Linux quite early. It's not the same effort as Valve but it's still to their credit (I'm saying that as a Linux user).

Nowdays, Heroic Game Launcher is the easiest option to play GOG games though (as well as EGS ones) https://heroicgameslauncher.com/

I'm sure GOG would care if they had more resources. Valve's push into Linux is because Microsoft is making a big push towards there being a single walled garden store: Microsoft's. Valve is doing this ultimately to benefit themselves. That's of course the case with GOG too, but GOG has very little money to put into any sort of Linux push so they have to lean on Valve's investments.

They’re not even leaning. They’re doing literally nothing. They could easily provide proton wrappers for their games with no effort. But they don’t, it’s all up to the user. Then you spend more time configuring the game than playing it.

The Steam brand and mindshare is second to none in my experience.

My tweener kids will preference Steam over all other platforms. They would rather buy/re-buy, or pay more for a game on Steam than use another game launcher.

Their are games that are free to play with Xbox game pass, but they would rather buy and play them under Steam.

They have negative views on Epic, Ubisoft and so on. Blizzard/Battle.net aren't even on their radar.

They are mostly indifferent to MS/Xbox Store.

With Steam, the brand respect they have is five-stars!

> The Steam brand and mindshare is second to none in my experience.

They've certainly come a long way. I remember when they first tied the release of CounterStrike to installing Steam (CS 1.6, 2002), and that was not received well. Online auth was spotty. People were not happy about having this extra software hogging their memory.

But Valve steadily improved it, and made a worthwhile value proposition.

It's worth comparing to Microsoft's incredibly clumsy and ill-fated "Games For Windows Live". At a macro level, why couldn't they repeat Valve's success? I suppose it's a management problem.

Microsoft actively discourages its Xbox employees from talking to customers.

Valve actively encourages talking to customers and helping them out.

(I've worked in both places. It's night and day in that respect).

Just looked this up. Valve also seems one of the few privately owned companies, not publicly traded as a stock. Maybe there's a connection.

> At a macro level, why couldn't they repeat Valve's success?

Because they lack the simple business mantra. Everyone is trying to copy Valve's monetary success without considering the good will expense.

GoG garnered a lot of good will by being DRM-free, which accounts for its mediocre success. Epic? They introduced exclusives to PC and, let me tell you, that shit doesn't fly with the PC gamer culture - Epic is where people go for Fortnite and free games. Microsoft Store? No mods, no interest. Ubisoft? Great if you like Denuvo.

Microsoft Store and Gamepass support mods now. At least a year I think.

Hah, I remember that! My friends and I stayed on CounterStrike 1.5 for a good while to avoid having to install steam.

It’s well earned. Steam is BS-free relative to the others on your list. Steam could degrade significantly in quality and customer satisfaction and still handily beat that lot.

It has, and it still does.

It’s a browser wrapper around a visibly slow site, and it’s far, far better than anything else but I’d rather use my real browser for those parts every time.

compare steam to epic if you want a real browser wrapper experience.

Have you seen how slower is the new authenticator app?

I'm the same, as a 30-something. Steam is so much better and Gabe has fostered my undying loyalty. He'd have to shoot my dog to stop me using Steam.

Piling on. And if Gabe shot your dog I would also stop using Steam.

The only potential contender for me would be GOG but their Linux support discourages any steps towards it. Steam all the way for now!

I loved GoG idea, but their resistance to steam deck and linux just lost me.

I play everything on the Deck now, so they literally lost me as a customer.

Which makes me angry, because I find insane that my 1000 games Steam library is fully locked when i'm playing one game, but we are 4 now...

> Which makes me angry, because I find insane that my 1000 games Steam library is fully locked when i'm playing one game, but we are 4 now...

FWIW, many games can be launched directly without Steam. There's also [0] for the rest depending on how you view things you might as well pirate the games at that pint.

[0] https://gitlab.com/Mr_Goldberg/goldberg_emulator

I bought 1000 games, definitely don't feel guilty. I know of some workarounds, the problem is I have to teach them to a 4 years old now .

I'll check the emulator. Does it run on the deck? I do 90% of my gaming on the deck now.

Edit: oh it's for multiplayer, I don't need it. I play only single player games, exception maybe for monster hunter, if you consider that multiplayer.

There is family library sharing: https://store.steampowered.com/sharing/

I already use family sharing. But family sharing "locks" the library of the person you are borrowing from. On top of that, if you happen to have two copies of the game (1 for me, 1 for wife), there will still be no option to choose which library to lock, ending up with potentially the library the child want to use, already locked.

I appreciate family sharing, but it has some limitations that aren't amazing.

GOG is just "you are playing that one game". Way easier.

The steam deck is a steam machine, supporting it means supporting their direct and much more successful competitor. I understand the feeling since I have also gog games and a deck, I also understand why they don't want to do it

Yes and no. They are not in the hardware business at all, and they are losing customers because of it. So by supporting LINUX, which has been asked for ages, they will have the side effect of supporting Steam Deck and regain some customers. I don't think it's black and white as it looks.

It's not just kids though ... I have free games on Epic and I honestly can't be bothered playing them. I've caught myself almost re-buying them as well.

> With Steam, the brand respect they have is five-stars!

It's so funny how this works. I remember when Steam came out (I was in HS) and it was extremely controversial. Everyone, and I mean everyone, hated it. "I need to start ANOTHER application to run my game?" It was slow, clunky, buggy, and basically a piece of garbage. It also started the anti-consumer aggressive software DRM trend (you basically couldn't share games anymore). In other words, it was a huge gamble by Valve.

There's few people I'd tag as "visionaries" in the software realm, but Gabe Newell is one of them. No idea how (maybe it was just luck), but he literally saw 10-15 years into the future. Very few people are able to do that: off the top of my head, I can only think of Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.

Steam was 100% visionary. After Steam I realised everything would go online - I kept telling my dad to stop buying DVDs because I told him it would all become online and discs would be pointless.

Turns out it was like 10 years too early. That just shows you how early Valve was.

Except I'm not sure you were right. There is no online video service analogous to Steam where you can buy movies and then watch them forever or even while offline. It's all just streaming with a catalogue of titles that can be removed at any time.

> There is no online video service analogous to Steam where you can buy movies and then watch them forever or even while offline.

You've been able to do this for at least a decade, it's called the iTunes Store. I believe Amazon Prime lets you download movies now too.

Yeah turns out even that didn’t happen. Actually piracy is the closest we can get to a universal service.

Even more so now it is not pointless to own some nice CDs or DVDs.. You do not need internet connection.. just put it in the player and go.. still way easier than any spotify integration in modern hifi equipment that I have seen.

Oh yeah, I was pissed at the time. I held off playing HL2 for years because of it. I think I remember reading about a Steam easter egg where it accepted your old Half-Life box set codes. I tried it, and was pleasantly surprised. I bought the Orange Box, and never looked back.

Even years later, they quietly added HL Alyx to my library. I’m 100% skeptical of platforms like Steam, but Steam & Valve have won my trust.

Their unflagging support for Linux is just another piece of why I won’t budge from their platform.

You're right, fortunately for steam all the rest of the gaming world became worst than having steam. Now the choice isn't between renting a game with DRM and needing another application to work or owning your game that you could copy , give or lend but between the former and the same + worse shit added like needing a second software or having exclusive

> Their are games that are free to play with Xbox game pass, but they would rather buy and play them under Steam.

Why though?

A couple more reasons:

- Steam supports Linux and even for games that don't, Steam lets you pretend they do by automatically launching them via Proton. Sure, you can run other game stores through Wine/Proton but Steam makes this so damned convenient.

- I (and I assume most people posting here) have enough disposable income that game prices are mostly irrelevant and especially for indies I don't mind throwing them some more cash.

- I simply don't want to juggle multiple proprietary launchers. If anyone wants to get me off of Steam, build and open gaming ecosystem instead of trying to grift of more of the same.

My friend on steam are far larger than Xbox and with mult screens you can multi task while gaming.

It totally makes business sense for them to not have to depend on Microsoft (who have their own gaming business) for their customers to play games, we all win when consumers have meaningful alternatives.

> treat your customers well

That's why it took a lawsuit to get refund support for Steam.

That lawsuit specifically had to do with meeting Australian guidelines. I personally have had zero complaints with the Steam refund system here in America.

The Steam refund system in America only exists because of the Australian lawsuit

They didn’t have a refund system initially.

Valve’s customers are the studios.

Only half-sarcastically.

Not really. More like hostage to distribution. If you list your game on Steam, you can't list your game for a cheaper price anywhere else on the internet.

People put up with that because they still come out ahead by listing on Steam.

Is this true for everything? There are open-source games (a great example is Mindustry) that are available for free elsewhere while costing to buy via Steam.

No, it's only true if you're selling steam keys for cheaper on other sites. Devs can generate steam keys for free and have other sites sell them, but they're not allowed to list them for cheaper than what's on steam. Steam makes $0 off these steam keys and it still costs them money (bandwidth and such) so it's a more than fair deal asking to not list them for cheaper.

If you're using a completely different distribution system/client like itch.io or the epic store, you're allowed to list them for cheaper.

It isn’t restricted to Steam keys. It’s anytime you sell the same game for a net cheaper price elsewhere on the internet.

This is the dominant reason that the Epic store isn’t taking off, because Steam is enforcing network effects. Devs can’t switch and so customers won’t switch.

In fairness Steam's prices are very reasonable. I imagine there are ways around it anyway.

Because of the policy, games with under short but high quality gameplay are getting hit with refunds. If the playtime is under 2 hours, the refund request goes through with very minimal abuse protection. I've seen people try to do speedrun where the goal is to finish the game in under 2 hours and get a refund. Publishing a short but high production value game on Steam has become a lot less profitable.

Not to mention that the refund policy can be useless as the playtime includes load screens when the server is busy, which happens regardless of the studio size.

That being said, I do believe that the refund policy improved sales volume overall because people buy games knowing that they can always refund if the game isn't for them. Return of the demos I guess?

People rushing to finish your game in under 2 hours to claim a refund are not your market. If they make up a large enough percentage of purchases for it to matter, you are going bankrupt anyway. They are not playing at beating your game. They are playing at beating the system. Like all those pirates who collect huge libraries of software, movies or music that they are never going to use or care about so little they would never pay anything at all for it.

Yet fleecing game developers with 30% cut on sales at the same time. It's a soft big cushion to talk profound thoughts from. Reminds me of billionaires giving advice like "you just have to believe and work hard"... yeah, but that's a low baseline you have to have anyways.

Sales through the store, yes.

You’re welcome to sell Steam keys on your own website, and Valve won’t take any cut at all, while still providing the same services as a purchase through the store.

See https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys , at face value, it’s a completely reasonable policy.

This is a really good power play - the idea being that if you can get more eyes than Steam can through your own store, go ahead, keep the money.

But if you're getting the sale because of Steam itself, then we get the cut.

You can still debate whether 30% is fair even if Steam are providing the discoverability but still, it's a solid policy and they're putting their money where their mouth is.

That's actually quite good and impressive. I haven't realized that.

Still comes back to "can you sell enough keys on your own to make up for the amount of sales you get through Steam, even after the 30%?" It's great if you think you have a hot game or product that will be sought after by a large enough audience vs people seeing a game show up in their feed or on sale or a friend is playing it or however it ends up in front of you on Steam, a game that maybe you've never heard of before and now you're going to buy it.

You can sell steam keys on your store and sell normally through the Steam Store. The only requirement is to keep the Steam price <= your own store's price. That seems like a very fairy policy.

While that's valid, I want to point out that Steam accepts a wide variety of local payment methods that have exorbitant transaction fees compared to Visa. Pretty sure I've seen them cover a particular payment method with 10% fee. Steam takes 15% for big publishers I think and that's not a large profit margin in those scenarios. A lot of younger customers do not have an international credit card and Steam makes purchasing games accessible to them.

If only Apple and Google could do the same.

How do you think they got to where they are? by not believing and not working hard? Valve has been working at what they do for longer than some people commenting here have been alive. Steam has been around for 19 years.

Do you believe developers should be able to use something a company has spent the last 19 years investing in and building... for free or cheap? Is there a competitor in the market that would bring them as much exposure while not charging as much? The only thing I can think of are platforms like EGS, where they basically pay people to sell their games on there, so they can grow the platform.

I haven't done the math myself, but I'm guessing indie developers would be hard pressed to make the same money without using Steam as they do using Steam, even with the "fleecing" you're talking about.

Few projections there, alas yeah I remember how Steam sucked ass when it appeared and how it was forced upon customers of their popular game(s) initially to spread it around. There were competitors, but without much strategy or foresight (Ubisoft, EA). These days you have gog (30%), epic store (12%), itch.io (10%), google play store (15%, after epic's push), apple app store (30 and 15% through small business developer program). Steam holds the position still, no need to move if you have the power of inertia. Even damn google and apple moved. Epic did good there, albeit unconventionally.

If his customers don’t feel they are being treated well (e.g. they don’t understand, and won’t for years) then does it really fall under that principle?

Needless pedantism.

If I explained to you that Musk’s decision to buy Tesla was founded on his principle of “make the requirements less dumb” , would it be pedantry to inquire what I meant?

This is more along the lines of Apple having (at least historically) being pro-privacy before the problem became common knowledge.

Though, let's be honest, that's not the reason for Valve investing in Linux. Users wouldn't care what's running underneath their games as long as the games run reasonably well.

Back about a decade ago there was real concern that Microsoft might lock away modern graphics APIs behind some sort of entitlement and Valve simply didn't want to be dependent on Microsoft.

This is the freedom you have when you're not a publicly traded company and don't have the boot of capitalism constantly pressing down on your neck.

It would be great to see more of this in the world.

It's a bit more than flipping a switch with the anti cheat. Those are absurd systems which use every a bit of trickery on Windows to both detect any manipulation and hide themselves from being interfered with. They both load up as Windows drivers and check for things like enforced driver signature. Steam will need either perfect compatibility with everything they do, or EAC and others will need to cooperate to provide SteamOS-specific versions.

It's in EAC interest to not work on wine out of the box, otherwise it would be too easy to work around.

Basically Valve already partnered with anti-cheat developers and enabling their support on Linux is in fact just flipping of a switch.

Unfortunately this switch need to be flipped by developers / publishers of particular game and they dont cooperate too well.

The issue is that flipping that EAC switch means you're effectively disabling a lot of its checks, which is why not many developers want to do it. Maybe this will change as the Steam Deck becomes more popular.

> Our team has been working with Epic on Easy Anti-Cheat + Proton support over the last few months, and we're happy to announce that adding Steam Deck support to your existing EAC games is now a simple process, and doesn't require updating game binaries, SDK versions, or integration of EOS. Alongside our BattlEye updates from last year, this means that the two largest anti-cheat services are now easily supported on Proton and Steam Deck


> To make it easy for developers to ship their games across PC platforms, support for the Wine and Proton compatibility layers on Linux is included. Starting with the latest SDK release, developers can activate anti-cheat support for Linux via Wine or Proton with just a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal.


It's not just flipping the switch, this is none sense.

That means now the dev has to officialy support the game on this platform and all the problems that comes with it.

On top of that the anti cheat on linux is a joke because it's running in user space so serious game won't enable it just for that reason.


Couple things to note:

- The developer has no obligation to support the platform, Valve provides and pins a working runtime and unless the game is redesigned from scratch (see: Final Fantasy XIV) it should work in perpetuity.

- Anticheat on Windows is also a joke unless it runs in Ring 0, which is literally impossible on platforms like Steam Deck (Flatpak Steam only runs in user space for security reasons). No self-respecting developer should write kernel mode DRM in the first place, though.

- It very well could be as simple as flipping a switch - in the case of Apex Legends, the game already ran perfectly fine but couldn't connect to servers without the anticheat library loading properly. When EA updated the anticheat drivers, the game worked fine on Linux without any modification.

Of course, nobody has a de-facto obligation to support Linux. The larger point is that it's deceptively easy to get your game working on 90% of the world's Linux systems, much more so than shipping to MacOS or console. If all the world's 'serious game[s]' won't run on Linux, than that makes it the world's greatest casual gaming platform :)

Maybe Mr Sweeney should focus more on making an anti-cheat that actually works, compared to the dumpster-fire that is EAC.

Its functioning is spotty-at-best on windows, and when it takes issue with something on your system the troubleshooting is useless. At least Valorants’ anti-cheat will tell you what it doesn’t like.

> At least Valorants’ anti-cheat will tell you what it doesn’t like.

At the cost of system stability, sometimes.

I get random BSoDs from "vgk.sys" (the Vanguard driver) while playing Valorant.

The combination of a CEO that wants to do cool stuff, infinite money thanks to Steam, and no need for growth at all costs because of lack of investors - it's rare and glorious.

Forget native Linux, it's more stable than native windows for me on a few games (and sometimes faster because of windows FS horribleness)

Proton works better than native windows builds. In some cases it actually fixes bugs in the windows version

It's also true for support of old games. I could use a VM with a flaky version of Windows XP (which I have done, and it always crashes) OR I could use wine and have no issues.

My own experience with Proton has been a bit more spotty, maybe because I tried it with some really old games that are not that well tested? Bioshock 1 crashed several times, then I got it to work with some hints from ProtonDB, Bioshock 2 worked "out of the box", Batman: Arkham City (which I bought years ago and never actually got around to playing) didn't work, and I wasn't motivated enough to fiddle with the settings long enough to get it to run. One way to improve Proton would be to provide a possibility to automatically import settings from ProtonDB (it's called "DB", but actually it's more of a forum). But if you look at ProtonDB, every user seems to have different problems and different solutions for these problems, so it's hard to see if some kind of consensus has emerged on how to best get a game to run.

> Bioshock 1 crashed several times, then I got it to work with some hints from ProtonDB

Bioshock is a tricky one because it runs very close to the virtual address space limit (2GiB) and Wine + in-process graphics drivers add just enough overhead to make push it over the edge in more cases than on Windows. This isn't purely a Wine/Proton issue though and can also cause crashes on Windows for the game. For Bioshock it is enough to set the large address aware flag so that it can use the full 4GiB 32-bit virtual address space.

Thanks, yeah, that would explain what happened - the game would start up fine, I could play for a while (saving often just in case), and then at some point (often when moving into an area I hadn't entered yet) it would suddenly get choppy and crash a few seconds later. I guess at that point it ran out of memory.

...any hints for Arkham City ;) ?

This release added Arkham City support. You might want to check it out again.

If it was Google instead of Valve, those projects would been killed approximately 47 times already.

Proton is literally what made me permanently go from dual-booting Windows to going Linux full time. I can play all games I care to play with excellent performance on Linux. It's pretty amazing. Kudos to the Wine and Proton team.

> Valve's continual focus on Linux (SteamOS 1.0 was released eight years ago) is honestly incredible, Proton even sometimes works better than native Linux builds.

A while back, I actually did a blog post about using Linux as my daily driver for a week, including gaming: https://blog.kronis.dev/articles/a-week-of-linux-instead-of-... (you can ctrl+f "Running games and ProtonDB" if you want)

Clearly not all games work well or even launch successfully, but the situation is way better than it used to be a few years ago regardless! A part of it is the fact that game engines now do cross platform pretty well (pretty much any popular engine out there does Linux export as well with very few issues, though supporting it might be a different question), and Proton is also a good initiative for all the other titles.

Also, the ProtonDB site is useful if you want to check against your Steam library, or a particular title in general: https://www.protondb.com/ It's probably the first place that you should check out when you want to see whether you could play the games you like on Linux.

Even the current GPU drivers are typically serviceable, apart from the whole open source vs proprietary driver debate (which some might choose to overlook, whereas others wouldn't), though curiously I haven't found an alternative to AMD Software for tweaking how my GPU works on Linux, unfortunately. I mention CoreCtrl as one passable option in that blog post, but it's rather barebones.

Here's hoping that things only continue to improve and we don't get caught up with too much bad press or superstitions and put a positive spin on things where possible: https://www.nme.com/news/gaming-news/linux-users-provide-mor...

It makes sense from a survival perspective. Microsoft has their own game store, apple too. If you want to sell games to people, you need a way to play them and not be at risk of being shut down by the big players.

Right, if anything and Valve's Linux commitment isn't really there 100%. E.g. SteamVR on Linux is still a mess with no updates for ages. Alyx came to Linux long after the Windows release and has had pretty much no bugfixes since. Probably more due to Valve's management model where things don't get done if no one is specifically interested in them than an overall focus but still...

I have a incredibly well specced Mac from work that I could use for gaming, but Linux support on steam is so far ahead that I don't bother anymore - it's a pain to figure out what games are supported on Mac - something I no longer even bother to check on Linux.

Proton was instrumental in my move from Windows to Linux. With over 400 games in my back catalog, I didn't want to lose thousands of dollars not to mention thousands of hours on games which I enjoy.

Thus far, 92% of games have ran flawlessly for me on Fedora (4 failures in the last 50). The main issues have been related to games that have kernel mode drivers for copy protection or other exotic types of anti-cheat. Perhaps most amazing (to me anyway) is the fact that mods and workshop items work perfectly. In most cases, I could pop open a saved game and continue on Linux, custom mods included.

Performance-wise, I haven't noticed a difference but I generally run very modern hardware which works better with the DirectX to Vulcan implementation. I also swapped to an AMD chip/gpu when moving to Linux and I think that removed the headaches that people often have with Nvidia drivers. Overall, it's been fantastic.

At risk of picking nits, 4 failures in 50 would be 92% :)

Haha, just spotted that myself, thanks :)

Do you mind giving us the name of those 4 games failing on proton?

Some notable Linux gaming failures for me:

Roblox. Kids really wanted me on this but I've never been able to get it to work. Technically not on Steam/Proton, but a notable failure.

Eador: It runs but the graphics are completely garbled.

Anything VR: No luck at all getting QuestLink working on Linux.

Several games don't like later versions of Proton and I have to force them on older versions. This isn't a huge problem except that it it an annoying amount of fiddling to figure out which version is working.

Grapejuice [1] works excellent for me with Roblox, simply launch games from browser just like windows. Super easy to install if you are on Arch [2] as well.

[1]: https://gitlab.com/brinkervii/grapejuice

[2]: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/grapejuice

One more vote for Grapejuice. There's even a Flatpak now, so it couldn't be easier to install. This is what allowed me to move my whole house to Linux. My kids wouldn't tolerate giving up the game the play more than any other, but Grapejuice makes Roblox seem Linux native.

Only issue I've had (and this may only be with Flatpak, not sure), is that bouncing quickly from one game to another several times can leave Roblox instances running in the background, eventually eating up too many resources and causing havoc. I got around this by creating a little executable script with `flatpak kill net.brinkervii.grapejuice` in it that the kids double click before starting a new game.

I would rather have the names of the 46 games that did work!

If you're curious, ProtonDB is the place to check if the game you're interested in is supported (and how well).

You can also just browse and see what is supported. Here is the list sorted by the highest user ratings: https://www.protondb.com/explore?sort=userScore

Sometimes though a game wont work on a specific system or hardware configuration, even though ProtonDB states it works well. Had such a case recently and tried all the fixes people suggested. Might have been some new patch or so introducing more issues or might have been my hardware setup. No idea.

There's a popular online video game that I wouldn't name that seems to be turning a blind eye on Linux users stripping out the anticheat to run the game through Proton, which is very nice of them.

I had to go figure out what Proton is:

"Proton is a tool for use with the Steam client which allows games which are exclusive to Windows to run on the Linux operating system. It uses Wine to facilitate this."


It has come a long way. When running through Proton, the game and all its middleware are supported seamlessly. Take a look at https://www.protondb.com

It's witchcraft is what it is.

You can learn some of the spells here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33156727.

It's Steam's downstream fork of Wine, which is not an emulator.

1. An emulator is a system which implements another system's functionality so as to serve as a usable replacement. Examples include in-circuit emulators for hardware components, or software emulators for game system hardware. In each case, the emulator is a usable replacement for the original system.

2. WINE reimplements the functionality of Windows, as exposed by the Windows ABI, as software running on Linux.

3. The combination of WINE and Linux is in fact a usable replacement for Windows.

4. Which means that WINE running on Linux conforms to the above definition of an emulator for the Windows system.

5. Therefore, WINE running on Linux certainly is an emulator for the Windows system.


From the source: https://www.winehq.org/

> Wine (originally an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator") is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, & BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.


Except it isn't true. Wine does absolutely do a lot more than just direct API call translation (the systems are too different for that) - otherwise there weren't a whole heap of processes (wineserver, explorer.exe, etc.) needed to run any single program trough Wine.

Quick, do "GNU is not Unix" next!

#1 defines a compatibility later, rather than an emulator, in my mind. Emulators typically perform some form of translation from the original (completely unsupported) code to something the host can understand. Wine implements PE binary support natively in Linux.

Wine is not an emulator, therefore if your definition of an emulator brands Wine as an emulator, your definition is wrong. :)

It may not be an emulator in a highly specific & technical sense used by and useful to a small group of experts. It is an emulator in the general and widely-recognized sense of "software that runs software originally intended for a different, incompatible system."

You see this all the time when a jargon word enters the general non-specialist vocabulary. It doesn't make either usage wrong, though it can be confusing sometimes if the contexts can be difficult to distinguish. In this case that's unlikely so just give it up please.

Honestly the quirk where that is its name could be a really useful entry point for educating non-specialist readers on the different technical approaches used to solve this problem! I never see that though, this is only ever used as a wellackshully on internet forums. It sucks.

Honestly I don’t even understand the narrow sense in which you could say WINE is not an emulator.

There was supposedly a naming discussion in 1993 which resulted in “WINE is not an emulator”. Maybe this was to remind people that you still needed an x86 processor (WINE is not an x86 emulator), or maybe it was born from the idea that WINE does not emulate Windows—maybe it “provides a compatibility layer” or “reimplements the Windows interfaces”.

The Windows APIs are not so well-specified that a mere reimplementation of them would run so much software as WINE does.

part of the 1993-ism is that emulators back then were sloooooow, so part of the branding was to say that wine isn't slow.

Wine is not an emulator the same way that [this is not a pipe](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images)

I want to buy a SteamDeck. But I don't think I have the spare hours. After work, taking care of the kids, and housework I _might_ have 1 spare hour a day to sit down with the wife. I'd rather watch something on TV with her. To have any kind of free time I have to stay up till 1am!

I could bring the SteamDeck when I bring the kids to the park, but that just feels like I'm cheating the kids.

I work from home.

8am-9am get ready for work/get kids ready for the day

9am-5pm work

5pm-8pm doing stuff with the kids

8pm-9pm eat, get kids ready for bed

9pm-11pm housework/watch TV

11pm-midnight miscellaneous stuff to prepare for the next day.

I almost wish I had a commute by train or something. Or a housekeeper, or an Au Pair/nanny.

How the fuck do other grownups do it? (I'm 49, and exhausted all the time)

You have decided to be an engaged parent! That's awesome. The world needs more of that.

The SteamDeck is, as a wise sibling said, not for playing more games, but for playing games more. It's really excellent for gaming in very small doses as opportunities arise. Find yourself waiting for 5 minutes for someone to do something? Hit the button, pick up the game right where you left off. When you get interrupted, hit the button, it goes right to sleep. Perfect for a busy life.

This exactly, I can confirm the Steam Deck is perfect for 5-30 minute gaming jaunts. It's similar to the Nintendo Switch, but the Deck actually has a huge number of varied, high quality games- frequently at bargain prices.

Idling on the couch with my wife while the baby naps for an hour is the sweet spot, where pre-Deck I was struggling to find decent mobile game (having exhausted all the decent games on Nintendo Switch).

I'll add that finding the right game is important! One that doesn't require a lot of cognition. Personally, FTL is my go-to. I can pick it up, do a few encounters, and drop it again without losing any progress.

Agreed, Trials Evolution[0] is my go-to. Ubisoft's launcher is a hassle and it gets a little weird after a suspend (it thinks it's lost the internet connection, so it saves your medals earned but your track times are saved in an off-line profile), but it's terrific for time-constrained play. And it's currently 75% off...

[0] https://store.steampowered.com/app/220160/Trials_Evolution_G...

> How the fuck do other grownups do it? (I'm 49, and exhausted all the time)

I suppose the answer is "they don't". I've found that I can't really commit to any side project any more because my time off is not consistent.


> 5pm-8pm doing stuff with the kids

You're a better parent than me. I have such days, but I can't say I spend this much quality time with my child every day.

In any case I have a friend from two previous projects whose child is just two weeks older than my toddler, so we compared notes regarding this and many other topics.

Summary of what's definitely possible with one child:

-Inviting grandma/pa over - provided they live close enough.

-Scheduled leave from parenting - like one evening a week. The other parent takes over.

-Cleaning person. Personally I just get up every hour from my office and do some chores. It's not enough, but it helps.


-One parent as the homemaker.

-Natural tendency to sleep less. I have maybe 7h of sleep ahead of me right now but somehow this is fine. Perhaps I'll pay the price for this later in life, who knows.

“One parent as the homemaker” — this looks very unfair in 2022.

If only one of them earns a salary, and it is agreed upon by both, why is it unfair? That’s a perfectly valid choice - not everyone is a careerist and if one salary is enough for the family it is a really healthy choice. This “life is about work mentality” is honestly, harmful.

Doing chores at home is no less hard than working at office, and much more thankless activity. Both me and my wife much prefer to do anything else than domestic labor, including actual work. So, it is quite unfair to ask only one of us to do all this.

The primary thing is who is at home with the kids, chores can be split in a more balanced way.

Kids are at school on weekdays. And I work from home particularly because I don’t want to have less time with kids.

IIRC this appears to still be the standard in e.g. Switzerland. Expensive (2-3k CHF per month) daycare only incentives this further.

I live in Switzerland. It is “standard” in some of the conservative German-speaking cantons (though things are changing even there), but not here in Geneva.

Domestic labor is hard and thankless. It is very unfair to pile it up on a single person (in nearly every case a woman). Both spouses need to do their fair share.

Unfair to who?

how so?

My wife loves the Steam Deck, mainly because I've been playing more games in the living room at night, instead of playing games in my office. Being in the same room as one another, even if we're doing different things, works pretty good for us.

It's also gotten them back into PC games, as they have more access to games through family sharing and the Deck does a great job of taking care of most of the fiddly bits of playing on PC.

I fully expected the deck to be the typical valve hardware experience for me. Something that was well built, and very neat, but would be gathering dust in a month or two. However, I think we've got more usage out of my Deck in 6 months then we've gotten out of my Index, Vive, Steam Controller, and Steam Link combined.

This is exactly where we are at home. Some nights after all the kids are in bed and the day is over we will watch a movie or TV. Other nights we have the Steam Deck up and running... my wife isn't really a gamer but she likes to watch engaging games - while reading books - so it works out pretty well.

It just comes down to dividing time effectively. I will admit that is always going to be different for everybody, but we have found it works. :-)

> Being in the same room as one another, even if we're doing different things, works pretty good for us.

My partner feels this way too. I feel the opposite. To me in some way I cannot reason it makes me wish we would a) do anything else as long as we had each other's attention or b) enjoy time to ourselves. Either to me lead to better longer term health.

The SteamDeck is actually perfect if you only have like one hour here and there, since you can just pick it up and continue playing from where you left off (suspend/resume works flawlessly)...

You get more time as they get older, and in fact it is good for you to not spend as much time with them - they should be doing a lot on their own with other kids. Kicking them out of the house to go play is a wonderful thing to do, assuming you have an neighborhood that supports it. By the time they are 12 or so they start really not wanting to do a lot with their parents, and then by 15 or so it's hard to book any time with them! So just wait, you'll get time back eventually ;)

Trying to figure this out myself. Bought a steam deck and love the idea of it, but haven't had consistent time to play it in between all the family and work obligations. One problem is I like to play games that require quite a bit of focus. RPGs or strategy games that require I have maps/guides up in another monitor, and have a lot of context to page in every time I play. Maybe it's time for me to take up more casual games? Racing, puzzles, platformers, etc. Games that you play for 5 minutes at a time.

Of all this, I have chosen not going to work. I work from home as a consultant. I don’t know how people can possibly live and keep their families while going to their office jobs every day.

Since you already working from home, you might want to look for something more asynchronous than working 9-5 non-interrupted.

> How the fuck do other grownups do it?

Wait until the kids are old enough to take care of themselves at home. Once they're about 12, they should be more than capable of helping with housework a bit, taking care of their own affairs, and even going alone to the park with their friends.

SteamDeck is hit or miss and is really more for tinkerers. Similar to you, I have limited time and have probably gamed on PS5/Nintendo Switch probably 90% of the time. There’s something about playing on a steam deck being unwieldy and having the fans come on obnoxiously every 20 seconds. My arms hurt holding it up and to be able to play portably, you need the foresight to enable offline mode for games. It really feels like using an Android, wherein the “fun” of the steam deck is having to tinker.

I’d rather just play on a Switch where you can hop into a game for just an hour and feel your time is respected. At the end of the day, I’d rather just have something that works reliably for games.

> SteamDeck is hit or miss and is really more for tinkerers

woot. I'm definitely not a tinkerer and I'm having a blast with the steam deck. I haven't configured anything, I just buy and install games that say "plays great on the steam deck". I did try to play games that didn't have that badge a few times and actually didn't have any issues.

> I’d rather just play on a Switch where you can hop into a game for just an hour and feel your time is respected

I have a switch too and 1. the store is so laggy I don't even want to launch it anymore and 2. it's such an outdated piece of hardware that I just don't have the heart to turn it on anymore and wait for loading screens now that I have the steam deck. Honestly the steam deck is just light years away

Hmm no, steam deck works out of the box for the things that they says work out of the box. The only time I had to change something was for getting an alternative control layout but it was for an unrated game and it was 2 clicks

Being much more open than for example the switch, it is a bit more complex to use, but I don't think it's a problem for anyone here, even with a severe lack of time and motivation.

Honestly the steam deck is the only way someone like you could do some gaming. I usually use it right before sleeping and have it on the side of the bed. I do quick games, sometimes play for just like 10 minutes (usually Noita).

Same boat! I picked up a Steam Deck, was desperately looking for a multiplayer game I could play 20-30 minutes in the day, and found Deep Rock Galactic. I only play when my wife watches a TV show or in bed.

I am 32 and don’t have kids, so I have more spare time luckily — but the exhaustion for me was originally low iron (unlikely unless you have a vegan diet too), and low B12 (which is surprisingly common in people on non-vegan diets too!). Supplementing iron and drinking more (fortified, here in Aus) soy milk solved the exhaustion for me: if you haven’t had a blood test in a while to check some levels it might be worth looking into

Sometimes it's fun to cuddle with the kids while you play a game that they enjoy.

My 6 and 4 year old love "Tunic" and "Stray."

The Steamdeck is a lot of fun.

Just sell your children, it will give you time and enough money for 2 steam deck and a lot of games

Using Proton feels like magic. The fact that you can run games made for a totally different OS, which isn't even based on Unix or Linux is a big feat in itself.

Valve is just a single company pushing for Linux gaming and the results have been excellent.

Linux is the perfect candidate too. Efficient, open, easy to modify and adapt. I hope more companies follow Valve and realize the true untapped potential of Linux systems.

Why is it magic? Wine has been around since forever. It's not like Valve wrote most of the underlying code proton runs on.

And what's with all the valve/steam hype from people that should know better? At the end of the day you are using a DRM front end (steam) that fragments the mod ecosystem and obfuscates the process of installing and running the software you paid for on your own computer.

The initial release of Proton felt like magic to me.

I tried many games with Wine across many years, from versions well before Wine 1.0 to 4.0, I also tried CodeWeavers something (Crossover?) when that was a thing. A few games worked very well, for example I remember running a newly-released Civ4 almost seamlessly. But most games didn't. Some would be playable but with graphical or audio glitches, performance or stability issues. Others wouldn't be playable no matter what. Tinkering with dll overrides, wineprefixes and all that was often necessary.

Then Proton came and, almost overnight, the Linux gaming experience improved more than in the previous fifteen years of Wine-based attempts. A few years later now, my default expectation has changed to games just working on Linux, unless they use a rootkit-style anti-cheat system. Most games I played under Proton have worked with native-like quality, I could as well be running them on a Windows gaming rig. A few games worked with minor issues such as a few seconds of garbled audio on startup or slower startup. There's only one recent game where I had to give up on Proton, and that game is supposed to run well according to ProtonDB, I just couldn't it right on my system.

>Then Proton came and, almost overnight

I haven't been able to find any info to confirm but I have a sneaking suspicion that Proton builds heavily on Codeweaver's Crossover. The vast majority of commits in the Proton repo come from Codeweavers employees

I think the biggest change was bundling (and funding the development of) DXVK which the Wine developers were too stubborn to adobt over their own wrapper.

Wine gets you 80% of the way there, but that remaining 20% that Proton fills in takes it from "awesome technology" to "usable product". Everyone is building on the shoulder of giants.

Linux and Wine open source ecosystem have always been resource constrained. For this reason, they have not been able to deliver the polish Proton brings to make the Linux gaming available for mass markets.

If DRM locked frontend like Steam is the price to pay for it, it is a small price. Eventually their changes get upstreamed and it improves the ecosystem overall.

I think it’s “magic” in same sense that, say, Ubuntu used to be in the beginning. There were other distros too, but none did mix it all together for easy of use/polish. So ignore the hype and enjoy benefits to the ecosystem.

Wine is amazing too but if you notice, Wine is not as great at running Windows apps as Proton is at running Windows games. Most games work great with Proton but only a few apps work properly with Wine.

> And what's with all the valve/steam hype from people that should know better?

In Linus Torvalds' own words: "Valve will save the Linux Desktop"

Proton is a frontend to Wine.

No, not really.

Proton is a fork of Wine with patches for games specifically.

There are no frontends for Wine, maybe Winetricks and Lutris can be called that but not exactly.

> At the end of the day you are using a DRM front end (steam)

I take it you don't use Steam.

Yes, Steam is DRM, but it's the most non-intrusive DRM to have ever existed. You can play your games offline. There are no "false positive" errors when it comes to copy protection. No activation limits. I've done at least 5 system overhauls since Steam came out, and I've never had it tell me "Sorry, you can't reinstall that game!"

I mean, yeah, if you're the type to go "ALL DRM IS BAD!", then none of this will convince you. But it should be worth noting that I have NEVER heard of anybody getting blocked from downloading or playing a game they bought from Steam.

> that fragments the mod ecosystem

More like, it replaces it with an excellent platform. Have you even HEARD of Steam Workshop?

> and obfuscates the process of installing and running the software you paid for on your own computer.

This is a feature, not a bug.

Also, once you've installed a game, you don't even HAVE to run it through Steam. You can just as easily find the executable and run it directly.

It's not just DRM, it's also an advertising profile and software usage monitoring application. Recording the number of hours I play a game or which game is about as invasive as when the Patriot Act tried to go after public library patron records.

GOG provides offline archive installers. A web browser can be used to both browse the GOG catalog and download updates. An app store's walled garden mimicking that behavior is not required.

Is it true that steam limits concurrent access to one's catalog, or prevents other family members from accessing the same account for a game if a different one is being played? Digital products should not be made to artificially suffer the limitations of real-world objects.

As for mods, some GOG games can't access the steam workshop recently. This is bad for the longetivity of the game and it's success, and of course for modders and players.

And I believe that there is still a steam runtime that games check for, even if launching outside of Steam. If I wanted random corporate software blobs running all the time on my computer, I would use a Mac or Wintel machine and call it a feature.

> As for mods, some GOG games can't access the steam workshop recently. This is bad for the longetivity of the game and it's success, and of course for modders and players.

While I do use Steam myself I think that part needs a lot more attention so that Valve is pushed to allow you do download content from the Workshop without a client or login. Perhaps some day the law will recognize that kind of network effect abuse as anti-competitive behavior.

> And I believe that there is still a steam runtime that games check for, even if launching outside of Steam.

It is up to the game, but yes many of them do need Steam or something that looks like Steam [0] running.

[0] https://gitlab.com/Mr_Goldberg/goldberg_emulator

Others have already covered Proton being actually usable without tweaking compared to Wine. But I want to dispute your other point.

Obfuscating usually means to make harder. Steam generally makes it easier to download and play games with features like automatic updates, remote play and cloud save sync, not harder.

Wine didn’t get that much beyond “tech demo” level magic for many years. Magic for sure, but not of the same grade.

As someone who paid for CodeWeavers/CrossOver back in the day and spent far more time fighting WINE configs than I did gaming, Proton honestly does feel a bit like magic.

Due to Proton I feel like coming back to PC gaming after almost 20 years, great stewardship by Valve there.

The last "rig" I built was for Doom 3 after which I'd never bothered with keeping a NTFS partition again.

Apple silicon just doesn't seem to get to the levels needed for a state-of-the-art Cyberpunk 2077 experience even on pricier high-end Macs. I'm also still not willing to buy any "next-gen" consoles for the first time either (trend of maybe efficient but still glorified PC architecture continuing).

Would anyone have a list of well tested Linux + Proton compatible components?

Nvidia or AMD? Which drivers are better maintained at this point? It would still be cool to run some machine learning workloads for fun of course.

Any pointers would be appreciated.

Basically anything recent but not the latest components will work well. If you want hassle-free then going with amd everything is the most efficient IMO.

I'm running a ryzen 3600 and a radeon rx5700xt, and i've not had any driver issues, be it with x11 or wayland. I've been playing a bunch of games from my library but there are still some games that aren't compatible (for ex. Vermintide 2 has non-compatible anticheat) so i keep a spartan windows instal on a 128gb ssd for those and VR. VR is a non-starter on linux.

That being said, nvidia has RT cores now, which can do very fast matrix multiplication which is advantageous for ML workloads (on top of a lot of ml work being optimized for cuda cores). Can't speak to their drivers but older cards should be safer, especially considering the 40 series hasn't been shown to be worth it over used 30 series.

Interesting point about VR. I guess the sets and controllers are married even more so to the Windows APIs and will incur stark penalty on immersion for even slightest lag (due to API translation)?

A bummer for sure.

I also honestly was leaning more towards buying a used RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 from one of the (ex) Ethereum miners. I actually played through Cyberpunk 2077 on Geforce Now "RTX 3080" and am definitely spoiled by real time RT and DLSS now.. The compression artifacts and occasional lags and packet loss did become grating after a while though (to me). Biggest issue with GFN though is lack of games (I still don't understand why they can't just support any game on any of their integrated marketplaces. I mean it's me buying them on those platforms then playing them through GFN instances).

But I also gather here from multiple answers that AMD apparently should still be the choice on Linux. Maybe I need to wait a bit longer for them to catch up on the realtime RT and ML image reconstruction..

> Interesting point about VR. I guess the sets and controllers are married even more so to the Windows APIs and will incur stark penalty on immersion for even slightest lag (due to API translation)?

Its mostly that Valve doesn't seem to be too interested in polishing VR on Linux. They ported SteamVR and eventually ported Alyx but neither has seen any significant update on Linux for ages. It all kinda works but ... not great.

Other non-Valve headsets will probably have even more problems.

I think the VR limitations are more due to graphics. Controllers are just simple bluetooth devices with custom drivers, but graphics is understandably hell. Wayland can't understand how to handle my index being plugged in, and x11 fucks up in ways i didn't think possible.

Hopefully valve is doing what i think they are doing, which is making the steam deck as a test for their hardware platform in order to make a standalone VR headset with a similar chip.

I'm using a 3070 on Linux and it's usable with the latest GNOME/KDE versions on Wayland. If you're purely looking for a Linux gaming solution, Nvidia isn't a terrible choice now. If you want an all-in-one machine with the best support available, you'll probably want AMD or Intel hardware.

My current experience on alder lake + Nvidia 30 series isn't quite a smooth enough experience to move my non-technical fiancee over, but it's close enough that I've considered it.

The AMD drivers are mainlined and they've gotten a lot better about stability than where they were a couple years ago. Valve has done a lot of compatibility testing/fixes for the steamdeck as well.

The Nvidia drivers are also pretty stable and many distros provide them out of the box. They're still going to be your main choice for ML stuff.

For CPUs both Intel and AMD are extremely well supported. There are generally more eyes on the Intel side though.

Thanks for answering.

> My current experience on alder lake + Nvidia 30 series isn't quite a smooth enough experience to move my non-technical fiancee over, but it's close enough that I've considered it.

So you are considering it because stability with Nvidia 30* would still be good enough for you in light of a gaming use case?

Go with wired networking or be careful about your choice of WiFi hardware. Some wireless chipsets have poor Linux support, but there are usually lists of good ones and bad ones. When it comes to graphics, AMD GPUs Vega or newer work incredibly well on Linux. NVidia has a fairly substantial lead in GPU performance, but they have poor Linux support and appear to be actively working to make their hardware a bad deal. Most motherboards have no issues on Linux, but audio and networking can be pain points. CPU brand is not an issue with Linux, but since your choice of CPU and choice of motherboard are tied together, it is something you might have to think about. Perhaps pick a price, find AMD and Intel motherboards that support the features you want and have good Linux compatibility, and then figure out which brand gets you better performance at that price with your desired feature set.

Hardware that requires a proprietary windows app to control can be a problem - think RGB hardware and fancy gaming mice. There is some software to work with these sorts of things and you can get Logitech gaming mice working on Linux but it is somewhat harder than it should be. Stay away from Razer - their software is more troublesome than anyone else's.

Steam has absolutely incredible controller support. It is ludicrously good. If you want to play games on PC with a controller, hope they're Steam games or at least work well when launched through steam.

Use PCPartPicker when you're putting together your build. Their website is a wonderful tool for checking compatibility even though it's not perfect. If you ask someone for advice on your build, being able to give them a PCPartPicker link really speeds things up. If you're looking for a place to get advice on a build, /r/buildapc is generally decent.

If you're concerned about upgradeability or future-proofing, it's not a great time for that on the CPU front. AMD's AM5 socket just came out and probably has a good few years ahead of it, but the first-generation motherboards are awfully expensive and you should never buy first gen mobos anyways. It is also quite possible they will have poor support for Zen 5 CPUs. Intel's LGA 1200 socket is obsolete and current LGA 1700 motherboards probably won't support anything past the 13th generation (Raptor Lake). That said, a new mid or high-end CPU is likely to remain useful for many years since popular games are somewhat limited by the need to support 9th gen consoles. Similar is true for GPUs, but GPU prices are not great at the moment though they are better than they have been in the past few years.

If you have any other questions let me know.

Thanks for the thorough answer, especially insightful with regards to CPU, chipsets and on the peripheral fronts.

To be honest I'm still aching for that realtime RT + DLSS fix without being dependent on GFN "PRO" all without having to go all retrograde to Microsoft world.

Not too interested in any RGB hardware luckily.

I'll play with PC Part Picker for a bit again :) now that I know that in general things seemingly should be expected to be much smoother even with the potential NVIDIA GPU choice on Linux...

> Not too interested in any RGB hardware luckily.

It's still a concern if you just want to turn the damned lights off since they come default now with so many components and many default to full on unicorn puke.

I switched from an Nvidia card a couple of years ago as I got fed up with the crashes and general instability it caused on my system. Running an AMD card was such a breath of fresh air in comparison that I would never recommend Nvidia for anyone wanting to run Linux.

It's a pity you want to do ML though, as I suppose that complicates your decision process. Nvidia "works", but be prepared that a system update might break stuff for you.

Thanks for sharing, appreciate it.

For GPU: AMD (but not _too_ cutting edge is the easy answer here). Any of the Radeon 6000 series will work well out of the box with recent open source kernels.

CPU wize Intel/AMD does not matter.

> but not _too_ cutting edge is the easy answer here

If you are comfortable with building the drivers (Kernel/Mesa) from yourself, then cutting edge GPUs are usually fine too. E.g. Navi 2 support was all there on release day but perhaps not yet in all distros. Not saying that this should be reasonable for everyone but we are on a tech forum.

AMD all the way. Avoid Nvidia on Linux.

You can get a SteamDeck which could double as a desktop PC with a dock.

I pondered the SteamDeck before and it's definitely cool (big Proton push!) but I personally prefer the OLED Switch or my Apple silicon Mac for lighter mobile use cases (indie games, text heavy RPGs).

I don't think the SteamDeck runs Cyberpunk 2077 with anything even close to real-time RT at 1440p @ 40fps minimum?

It is incredible how well proton works on the steam deck.

It really is.

And I noticed quite early on: the Steam games which had problems were the ones with native Linux ports - wonky display settings, or controller not recognised or something like that. The fix is always to tell it to "force" a version of Proton, which caused Steam to go and download the Win32 build instead.

I get the feeling people hit a bad game or two and stopped checking, so I just want to say native ports actually work fine in my experience, both before and after Proton's birth. Terraria, Garry's Mod, Valve's own titles, and Starbound should all work fine to name a few.

I fear we'll get fewer proper native ports because of Proton, so it's hard for me to get excited about it. Especially with how it seems to be on by default and work sort of invisibly, it's like they want to hide from people if they're playing a native game or not. I don't even think it's a malicious move, more like the common sin of trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator at the cost of the older advanced users.

I have heard some old ports were actually just shipping their game with wine, so for those Proton is probably an improvement, but some games (indie especially) actually made proper ports years ago and I think we ought to use them and recognize their efforts.

Looking over the Linux ecosystem, I would say that Linux itself has far more blame for the lack of native ports than the developers do. Developing for Linux is complicated, requires constant intervention, has frequent compatibility gotchas, has little "best practices" established, among other issues. Games are complicated things - name one native Linux port that works just fine on Fedora 37 when it was built for Ubuntu 16.04. Unless it got recently updated or is only a simple 2D Game, odds are not in your favor.

For an example of this, read Mike Rose about the game Defenders. Linux was 0.8% of sales, but over 50% of technical complaints. Whereas, if they dumped it for a Proton build, the onus is no longer on them for a working Linux build or for compatibility issues on Linux - its way easier to just say YMMV.

Blaming developers for the lack of native games is like the pot calling the kettle black. Until Linux becomes a decent platform to build for, developers aren't interested in rewriting major parts of their games every time the Linux community has a new idea. The lack of native games, I would argue, is more a failure of Linux than a failure of game developers.

Whether we like it or not, this lack of stability in Linux and the ability to just fork every time you don't like something, has led to Win32 becoming the common API for Linux. You build for Windows and Vulkan, and specifically test your game against Proton, and you can run on almost any Linux distribution that supports Proton without banging your head into a wall, or doing frequent patching every year.

> name one native Linux port that works just fine on Fedora 37 when it was built for Ubuntu 16.04.

That really depends on what you mean by "built for Ubuntu 16.04". If you mean compiled on Ubuntu 16.04 with the default toolchain and just the resulting binary dumped on Steam then sure, that might not work today (but even then, the Steam runtime might be old enough). If you mean released when Ubuntu 16.04 but using best practices (bundle what you use except base system libs, statically link what you can including the C++ stdlib, don't export symbols you don't need) then I can go find many such games.

> For an example of this, read Mike Rose about the game Defenders. Linux was 0.8% of sales, but over 50% of technical complaints.

Complaints or bug reports? Because the culture about reporting bugs is very different between Linux and Windows. Personally I prefer people telling me about problems with my software. And if your problem is that this creates too much work to track the bugs then do what valve did: Create a public community-curated bug tracker.

> Whereas, if they dumped it for a Proton build, the onus is no longer on them for a working Linux build or for compatibility issues on Linux - its way easier to just say YMMV.

And if it does break then the Linux players are left without recourse unless the game is big enough that Valve makes it a priority. As a user I am going to keep rewarding those developers that at least pretend that they will give a shit if their update breaks the game for me.

> Blaming developers for the lack of native games is like the pot calling the kettle black. Until Linux becomes a decent platform to build for, developers aren't interested in rewriting major parts of their games every time the Linux community has a new idea.

There were many native ports during the Steam Machine gold rush. And many ports being done by a single person in not too much time. I remain unconvinced that the lack of ports is really about technical issues (even if I agree that there is room for improvement) but rather about lack of business interest due to the tiny market share. Don't tell me that you can squeeze your port into the limited hardware and arbitrary restrictions of a handheld console but can't manage to wrangle library dependencies. It's about incentives, not the size of the problems.

I think flatpak/appimage/snap are good for similar reasons... If you're developing commercially supported applications and want to support Linux as well as Windows and Mac, it's a pretty natural target. Less (although not none) issues with the host OS depending on what your application does.

Yeah, it means a lot of duplicate libraries, but it also means things will work... and aside from games, not aware of many that install more than a couple one-off applications to work with.

I'm sure there are lots of working Linux ports! I was just saying that when I _did_ have a problem with a game on my Deck, disabling the Linux port fixed it.

Where are the compromises for a developer in using Proton? There's one binary for them to ship (and update), they get to use industry-standard tools, and Valve makes sure it works on other platforms for free.

Surely the result is more games you can run on a Linux system?

Or rather - nobody cares when Windows leans on layers of backwards-compatibility to run a binary perfectly, why does anyone care when Linux does the same?

I'm pretty sure we are already getting fewer native ports than we would have without Proton. It's hard to say for sure because ports were already getting rarer when the Steam Machine hype died but there hasn't really been a noticeable uptick with the Deck and that seems to be doing much better than Plan A ever did.

> I have heard some old ports were actually just shipping their game with wine

For straight up Wine wrappers there are/were only a handful. But many ports use some kind of wrapper for at least the graphics parts instead of reengineering their renderer and Proton has a chance of performing better there. There are also a lot of Unity Linux exports where the game devs probably don't even have any setup to test the Linux version or ability to deal with Linux bug reports. And even for ports from those who should know what they are doing (e.g. Feral) things do get abandoned and port issues never fixed (e.g. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided just crashes for me before getting to the menu).

So I can somewhat see why people don't want to bother when Proton works quite well most of the time but still I don't think its good for the long term future of Linux gaming to depend on being able to run Windows games. Anti-cheat is already a problem for Multiplayer and you can bet that these kind of invasive technologies will be used more and more at least by big publishers.

Pushing the Linux platform forward also requires interest from developers targetting it. We saw some positive effects here with e.g. Feral reporting bugs and even submitting patches to Mesa for in-progress ports. Currently Valve pours a lot of resources into doing the needed work (at least in some areas) but we can't rely on them remaining interested forever.

What a mirror world this is, where Win32 (via Proton) is the best & most stable Linux ABI.

As one of my buddies put it, 'it is basically magic'. I agree. Compared to manual fiddling, it is amazing. For the proton work alone, Steam got a lot of goodwill from me.

Same here.

I almost went to GOG, but Proton pulled me back to Steam very quickly.

GOG has a place in my heart. I still try to throw them money every so often, but I will admit that at this point Steam won when it comes to a platform as a whole. GOG can still manage, but they will need to secure non-DRM for popular games, which may be a taller order. Divinity was great, but it is such a rarity these days.

Also works very well on a full AMD laptop I own. Running Fedora.

I often play FFXIV with it. Not verified. It’s ironic that the game runs perfectly on Proton but the main source of problems and incompatibilities is the launcher which uses MSHTML for wathever reason. Proton GE seems to have fixed the issue with the launcher but game patches sometimes break it.

Why doesn't Apple put this much effort into bring MacOS into the same realm as Windows in terms of gaming?

You would think they would invest more money and time taking away one of the last major advantages of Windows vs. MacOS.

Microsoft obviously sees gaming as one of the big advantages to Windows, hence why they have been buying up gaming studios and combining Xbox and Windows into the one gaming platform.

>Why doesn't Apple put this much effort into bring MacOS into the same realm as Windows in terms of gaming?

I don't speak for Apple, but their bread and butter is the zillions of App Store games, so the business incentive is clearly to move those developers and games onto macOS so that Apple gets a cut of every game sale and in-app purchase. Moreover, those games are already optimized for Metal and Apple silicon. They already work well on modest hardware running on batteries.

In a sense it's a very clever strategy: Apple completely sidesteps the "PC game" market, which has largely left Apple behind, and creates its own "App Store game" market - a huge collection of games, all of which are optimized for Apple APIs and silicon, and which make billions of dollars for Apple through App Store commissions. Moreover, those games run across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Apple also avoids potentially unflattering GPU and game performance comparisons (especially with compatibility layers like WINE) - the hardware fades into the background, which is something Apple likes.

From the user perspective though? Many Mac users would still like to be able to run PC games (especially ones that aren't in the iOS or macOS App Stores) out of the box, and this would be served by developing a high-quality version of Proton (or equivalent) for macOS. And they'd also like Steam to work well out of the box. Making this happen would be a drop in Apple's bucket, and probably wouldn't reduce App Store sales. And it might help with hardware sales for students and others who might be on the fence due to certain Windows games not running on macOS.

I know why Apple doesn't care to do so, but I really wish they would at least just work with Valve enough to make Proton on Mac a reality.

There was a brief moment where Steam for Mac was announced on stage at an Apple event and Macs got the Half-Life series, Portal, Team Fortress 2, and many others.

Now these games won't even launch on a modern Mac because they are still 32-bit binaries that were never updated.

If Apple doesn't care to be a marketplace for "PC Gamer" type games then fine but at least partner with someone who does care.

> Now these games won't even launch on a modern Mac because they are still 32-bit binaries that were never updated.

The cost of updating all games ever released and of maintaining a 32-bit compat layer is so incomparable that dropping that layer only makes sense because they expect other companies to bear that cost.

Same for Ubuntu or other Linux distros wanting to drop x86 - makes things slightly easier for them but an absolute insane move for the overall ecosystem.

They probably would prefer to parlay iPhone games to Mac, then they have tight control over them and can offer things Microsoft can't.

Thanks to proton, I have completely forgotten how to configure wine prefixes.

Is this unique to Proton? There seems like quite a few game managers on Linux nowadays, none require knowing much of Wine.

Can someone please summarize this rather than giving a one sentence blurb about why you love proton, as that is only tangentially relevant.

It basically means you can now try the upcoming release, not just stable vs experimental, which is the choice we had so far. You can select it on a per-game basis, so if things don't work in stable you can select next.

proton now has an opt-in beta build

It did before- one of the many reasons the article is so confusing.

proton's beta build now has a cool name, I guess?

I remember using Wine to play pretty much any game on linux back in the early 2000s, even before 64bit was a thing. We had wine hacks, we had a rudimentary dx9 compatibility layer, we had hardware acceleration, and we could just pirate crossover over torrent or dc++ for that one pesky microsoft game that won't load. (of course we don't do that anymore!)

I feel like Proton is just a repackaging of what we already had, which is the culmination of the hard work of the Wine team for the past 20 years, coupled with an online distribution system which could take back your "digital assets" at any time.

    We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to remove, disable or suspend your or any user's access to any Content or the Services, at any time and without notice
Reference: https://store.steampowered.com/eula/471710_eula_0

How much of Proton fixes go back to Wine and vice versa?

CodeWeavers is responsible for upwards of 2/3 of Wine commits. A lot of open source projects benefit from similar relationships, like Postgres/Crunchy Data.

Proton is just a UI/service/convenience layer for Wine, right? So when there's specific fixes for games, are those actually Wine updates?

No, Proton is Valve's fork of wine.

Importantly, Proton also integrates DXVK. I don't know the details too well but I think DXVK is responsible for a large part of Proton's "it just works" and it's a separate project from Wine. You can configure Wine to use DXVK but in Proton everything is preconfigured so you never have to think about them as different components.

Why does Proton have so many Wine dependencies?

> Proton is a tool for use with the Steam client which allows games which are exclusive to Windows to run on the Linux operating system. It uses Wine to facilitate this.

Because it is built on top of Wine. The difference is when you try to run a game on just Wine you'll often have to do some fiddling on the command line or in configuration files to get the thing to work, if at all. Proton is much less fiddly. Stuff more often than not just works from clicking start.

I wouldn't mind it if someone made a version of Proton that ran on macOS.

I wish they would sell the Steam Deck in Australia. Does anyone know whether you can buy one overseas and use it anyway?

Basically it's normal PC so you can even just install Windows there (but it will degrade overall experience). So there is absolutely no lock-ins and you can use hardware any way you like.

That makes sense from a hardware point of view. I was wondering whether there would be issues using a Steam account from an unsupported country.

It requires a Steam account in a supported country to order. But after receiving it, can you log in to an account from a different country? Technically it should be doable. But there might be some policy that stops it from working.

You can buy a Steam deck from any country and use your account, the deck isn't account locked. For example my friend bought a deck in the UK, moved to America and changed his region then came back to pick it up. We were both able to log into the device UK & US.

I didn't manage to get one myself, but friend of mine use Steamdeck he ordered through UK in Turkey just fine. Obviously you can't buy one in Turkey.

Yes, I got mine from an eBay reseller shipped to Australia for a bit of a markup and it works fine - only ‘foreign’ thing I noticed was on the KDE desktop the date format was american which is obviously a single setting change and you’re done.

A reminder once again that Proton only exists because, for all the benefits of Linux, making a native Linux port is a massive mess. The community calling for developers to make native ports often forget that Linux's userland stability and consistency is simply not at the level developers expect or need for a quality port.

Until the day arrives when you can install a game on, say, Fedora 37 that was initially developed against, say, Ubuntu 16.04 or Fedora 26, it is not happening. Win32 is by far the most consistent and widely-supported API on Linux right now, which is a damning indictment of Linux, not game developers who don't support it. Even macOS has way better backwards compatibility and consistency than Linux does, but developers are scared to touch that. If macOS isn't good enough for developers, native Linux ports are a pipe dream.

I've yet to have a game not work because I was using the wrong distro.

Really? I have nothing but problems trying to play native Linux games. 99% don't even launch.

Proton is a much better experience.

I am talking about native Linux ports and people who complain about the lack of native ports instead of, at best, Proton ports.

I am also talking about native ports. I preferentially buy Linux native ports.

Proton would exist even if porting to Linux would be trivial because many games would still not be ported.

Can proton be used to run other windows software well under Linux? I would KILL to have desktop-excel in xubuntu.

If you're looking for applications, CodeWeavers' Crossover Office is the place to go. If you actually can't afford it, you can use plain WINE. But Crossover is nicer, has support, and funds WINE development, since CodeWeavers sends their patches upstream.


Will desktop excel actually run smoothly on this? It's been ages since I've tried, but I didn't have much luck in the past.

I'd really love to ditch my windows machine, but my employer makes use of excel plugins that only run on the desktop version.

Looks like it's changed a lot. It looks like it was good until about 2010, then it stopped working. Might also be why they apparently renamed it to "Crossover" from "Crossover Office." Guess I'm really out of date here. :)

Wait, maybe I was looking at _Mac_ compatibility. It looks like 365 runs decently on Linux.

They have a site you can check compatibility at: https://www.codeweavers.com/compatibility/crossover/microsof... is the page for MS Office 365.

You can download a free trial and see if it works.

Thanks for the update! I'll give the free trial a shot when I get some free time.

If you restrict yourself to older office versions like e.g. 2013, they should be working fine with vanilla wine. At least I remember running Word seamlessly on my gnome desktop. I even created a „desktop“ file so I could double click on word files to fire up Word.

I recommend using the „play4linux“ fronted to wine which makes it rather easy to install and maintain windows applications and games.

You’re looking for wine https://www.winehq.org/. Proton is built on top of wine.

Excel and Word in Office 2016 work pretty well in Crossover. (I don't know about the newer versions.)

How is this different from Proton Experimental?

Proton Next - Candidate build for the next major version release.

Proton Experimental - "Bleeding edge" builds.

So Proton is like Debian, Proton Next is like Debian Testing, and Proton Experimental is like Debian Sid. Got it, thanks!

I've been out of the loop with Steam for a while. I used it back in the Half-Life, CS Source, and Team Fortress 2 days. However more recently I've been a Stadia user... it just made a lot of sense with a busy life schedule. Grab a controller and sit down on the sofa to play amazing games. With Stadia coming to an end in Jan 2023 I started to look for an alternative... none, for me, came close to what Steam is offering. So I went for a Steam Deck (with a dock) and a PS5 controller. Valve truly is for the gamers.

FYI, you can get a Steam Deck that doubles as a desktop PC with a dock. Analogous to the Samsung Dex but a lot better. It's essentially a dockable linux computer.

Happy to see a fix for final fantasy XIV launcher. That thing had been an infuriating ordeal.

Kudos to the proton team for supporting such an archaic technology.

I want to throw some love out for GloriousEggroll and their custom proton distribution as well. Thomas has done fantastic work on Proton and it generally works better for me than the official version.


Gamepass is a gift and a curse, on one hand, it makes Windows gaming dirt cheap. But it also makes Linux Gaming like this pointless.

If half the games I want to play are locked to Gamepass, I'm not having fun with Linux. Now, if Gamepass could run on Photon, we can talk.

I thought this was something really new. TBH you can probably take advantage of many of these new features by using one of the Glorious Eggroll releases. It’s nice that it can be used from the interface though.

This seems to be in between stable and experimental, which is in turn usually behind the GE builds.

Proton and Wine and the folks behind Lutris and Valve’s work on Steam have allowed me to nuke Windows for good. I’m so happy. I’m gaming on Fedora 36 with Nvidia drivers on i3wm and just won’t ever go back.

I wish there was proton for MacOs. We do have access to a number of games, but nowhere as many as on windows

Okay, but what does it actually do?

It's a Windows compatibility layer based on Wine. It allows Windows software to run on Linux without having to run Windows in a VM.

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