Linux Gaming Is on a Life-Support System Called Steam

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Linux gamers should get on their knees and give Gabe’s feet a good kissing because Steam is largely responsible for keeping gaming on that platform alive, according to a piece by Engadget. While the percentage of Linux gamers hasn’t really grown and still represents a tiny fraction of the gaming market, some argue Valve’s enthusiasm for technologies such as Proton (which has brought thousands of Windows games to the open-source OS) is a great reason to back Steam instead of competitors such as the Epic Games Store, which lacks this kind of support.

    One of the only reasons Linux is even a conversation nowadays is because Steam has kept its embers warm all these years. "The pro of supporting Linux is the community," Super Meat Boy Forever creator Tommy Refenes said. "In my experience, Linux gamers tend to be the most appreciative gamers out there. If you support Linux at all, the chances are they will come out of the woodwork to thank you, offer to help with bugs, talk about your game, and just in general be pretty cool people. The con here unfortunately is the Linux gaming community is a very, very small portion of the PC gaming market."
     
  2. masquap

    masquap Limp Gawd

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    Seems to me that Linux gaming is doing far better than it has ever, more titles available (directly or via Proton) and the fact that it's not a shrinking market means it's hardly on its knees. I remember the first time I used Linux and the most impressive game you could get was Tux Racer, now I can play modern FPS and racing titles at full speed.
     
  3. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ru roh rorge..... :) :D Give me Linux Native games and I will be interested. Diamonds are forever but wine can sour.
     
  4. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That's kind of the point though, if it wasn't for Valve pushing these technologies and multi-platform compatibility, which I still believe was born out of irrational fear of Windows Store, Linux gaming wouldn't be anywhere near as robust as it is today.
     
  5. masquap

    masquap Limp Gawd

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    Sure, and for me it's great that they are, and I'll continue to support them despite 90% of my time on a PC (productivity and gaming) not being Windows or Linux
     
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  6. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    No, I am a computer zealot but heh, I am not talking the bait, have fun cat Hong nothing. ;) Been computer gaming since 1988, native all the way.

    Heck, that is why OS/2 was great, straight native DOS and Windows in it with full performance gaming.

    Edit: cat Hong? Autocorrect to the rescue :D
     
  7. Darth Ender

    Darth Ender Limp Gawd

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    I dont use wine for any of my linux gaming.

    However, I dont consider many of the "native" new linux games coming out of pro-studios to be really native either as they usually are little more than wrappered games that might as well be running in wine anyway.

    Even ignoring wine / proton though, steam has been pushing linux gaming forward more than any other company and I appreciate that. As vulkan matures and studios start building native vulkan vs directx I'm sure we'll see many more linux ports as the workload to support them decreases. Though, the amount of cheating going on in multiplayer PC games has me seriously considering consoles in the future for all but single player games, even though consoles dont really like HOTAS controls. :)
     
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  8. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    Has there ever been a point where Linux gaming hasn't been on life support?

    I love Linux and all, but gaming has never been it's strong suit.
     
  9. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    Give me 50 cc's of ketamine, STAT. And get something for the kid, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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  10. 777

    777 Limp Gawd

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    2019 is poised to be the year of Linux on the desktop.
     
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  11. masquap

    masquap Limp Gawd

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    Haha I it’s never growing to be the year of the Linux desktop, but I’m happy with it being even more of a viable alternative. I run macOS as a primary and laptop and play a majority of my games on Playstation (despite my 800 game Steam library), so I’m never going to be one of the cool kids no matter which way you cut it.
     
  12. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wine is native.

    Wine is not an emulator. Its in the name.

    Wine is an open source implementation of the Windows API that is all.

    DXVK is a an actual translation layer from DX to Vulkan.

    So really you should say.... Give me Vulkan native games. ;) Vulkan native tends to run faster on Linux no matter if they are using Linux compiled binaries or the wine binrary libraries.
     
  13. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ya I wouldn't say its on life support... its just the same major issue that has always kept Linux from the main stream hasn't changed. OEMs.

    As long as every Desktop that ships from the majors ships with windows 10 on it... Linux will always be a power users Operating System. Like it or not regular people are never going to really be capable or confident enough to ditch windows and reformat their machines into Linux boxes.

    For linux to really go mainstream... that death lock MS has on OEMs needs to be broken.

    As for power users using Linux... I'm pretty sure that is growing pretty fast. Gaming on Linux is actually pretty darn good right now. The author of this article says 1/3 of the steam library is good to go on Linux, however I'm pretty sure they are talking about the proton whitelisted. You can use proton to run any windows program and ime very little doesn't just run, and mostly run very well already. I would say the number of windows compiled games with major issues under proton is pretty small.

    For developers Steam offers the ability to upload Linux Profiles.... I get that Linux is more work for developers. For the most part now they don't have to worry about creating 3 sets of binaries to support Linux/windows/Mac.... Proton means only worrying about 2 for the trifecta, or 1 if they don't care about Mac support. As a Linux user.... I don't really care if my game binaries where compiled directly for Linux, as long as the open source windows libraries that make up Proton can load and run them fine. Vulkan is what the game industry need to more fully embrace. Death to DirectX. Vulcan games run at parity... with a few performing better under Linux. DXVK and VKD3D though improve all the time as well... for a lot of games the performance hit from translation to Vulkan is pretty small now. The DXVK and VKD3D team have also been adding a lot of improvements lately... fixing things like delayed shader compilation on first load ect.
     
  14. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    I suspect the lack of optimization or effort put toward the Linux platform when building a game is more damaging than any "added" compatibility layers.

    Linux supporting game engines exploit any weakly implemented features as a marketing gimmick to endear us FS zealots, but it takes a lot more work to make a demanding game run well on a platform. There seems to be very little corporate investment on that front, and that makes sense given the market share. Yet, here is Valve standing in defiance. As with many Linux fans, there are moral reasons at play, and morals are often an unpredictable, external force to industry.
     
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  15. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't think that will happen because Dell (and others) does not want to be on the hook providing software support except for Dell specific applications. Any software issue, they can simply kick it over to Microsoft. The average consumer will expect some level of software support, even though us users on [H] rarely need it.
     
  16. The Cobra

    The Cobra 2[H]4U

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    If I had a nickle for every "This will be the year for Linux and gaming on the desktop..."

    I have been hearing this motto for a long time. Shit I remember when Corel came out with their Linux client and purchased Word Perfect. I thought that was going to give windows a run for it's money.
     
  17. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I'm appreciative of Valve's efforts in this regard, but in th egrand scheme of things, dual booting just for games isn't that much of an inconvenience.
     
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  18. leezard

    leezard [H]ardness Supreme

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    I feel like I've heard this before.

    groundhog.jpg
     
  19. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd be happy if the games actually just worked. I tried installing Undertale from Steam and the Linux version just crashes on start. I can run the Windows version through Wine just fine. Something to do with Radeon Mesa drivers not working well with it but the point is this is an ongoing issue where native Linux ports are left broken. A quick search on the web shows that this issue has been around as far back as 2016.

    Optimizations would be great but I figure if developers STOP USING DX11 and use Vulkan instead then this wouldn't be a huge issue as most games brought over to Linux are just using a DX11->OpenGL wrapper which is inherently slow. Rise Of The Tomb Raider game uses Vulkan only which I'm totally fine with so long as it offers good performance. But Windows developers seem to have a hard on for DX11 and when they do use a newer API they still use DX12.
    Valve is looking ahead into the future cause at some point Microsoft is going to realize they own Windows and they can screw over stores like Steam, Epic, GoG, and etc in favor of their Windows store. It's also a matter of time before Microsoft does something completely retarded, like how they wanted to stop used game sales back when the Xbox One was introduced.

    It's time that others start porting their games over to Linux. I'm surprised that Fortnite doesn't have a Linux port.
     
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  20. Disco_Stu_04

    Disco_Stu_04 Limp Gawd

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    Doesn't GoG have Linux games?
     
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  21. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm guessing there are lots of games where the developer simply doesn't know what they are doing, and is too busy porting to multiple platforms for that cash to actually ensure they all work.

    The only problems I ever had were super simple: extended wm hooks missing (easily provided with a wm config change) or libraries missing (easily checked against ldd). There's no guarantee that even the supported distributions will always have those in place, so it's surprising to me that these checks are not properly implemented... but again, these people likely don't know what they're doing.

    I hear ya, but people so easily forgive and so easily forget all of the stupid anti-consumer shit that comes out of these companies. :/
     
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  22. ir0nw0lf

    ir0nw0lf [H]ardness Supreme

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    If Bart Simpson says so it must be true! :p

    Year-of-the-Linux.jpg
     
  23. pgwalsh

    pgwalsh Gawd

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    Great to hear Gaming is getting better on Linux. Audio and IoT is really doing well on Linux.

    Last year I switched to Linux as my main desktop (been using it for since the early 90's) and I'm very happy and I'm not going to go back to Apple. That being said, I live in New Zealand and no one I have met here even knows what Linux is. I will not recommend Linux for the average person until it can seamlessly work with the iOS or the person is on Android. There are issues like codecs and drivers and while not on all distro's it's still an issue. I think anyone remotely savvy with computers would be fine on Linux, but no the average joe.
     
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  24. PenGunn

    PenGunn Limp Gawd

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    I have been using Linux for 20 years and I use it because it does what I tell it to. Its a bit like Stalker its probably too hard for you. ;) So I use it because its great. Why would I care what other people do with it? It'll do almost any damn thing you want, Bethesda games still elude me but this bru ha ha about the year of the Linux desktop is just dumb, there are many of them and why should anyone who does not like to get their hands dirty even care.

    Stay on the lawn. I have the codes. ;)
     
  25. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That last part is most definitely a conspiracy theory. It will never happen so I would not worry about it.
     
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  26. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm not so sure about that. I mean how fantastic is the software support for Android ? I

    I know a GNU/Linux desktop is more complicated then android. Still google is already going there with ChromeOS... slowly eating their way into the laptop market. If Google is really going to push a streaming service.... it seems to me they are trying really hard to make the desktop simply irrelevant.

    Of course there will always be a desktop. I am just not sure it will always be a given that windows will be the defacto, because MS hires some kids in India to answer average users questions with semi useful scripts. I don't know I'm not sure we ever see a ChromeOS desktop and that might be a very good thing... lol

    Still I can for sure imagine a future where Google and Valve shake hands. ChromeOS may become everything SteamOS should have been... drop in the MESA free drivers, and Steam for local games. At that point a Desktop with Intel or AMD APUs able to run most games local... and access googles streaming service wouldn't be all that crazy. Or perhaps it is... I don't know the future is hard to predict. Having said that if you had asked me 10 years ago I would never have guessed that the average 20 something would know more about their phones OS then windows.
     
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  27. awawa

    awawa n00b

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    It is happening everywhere in the IT industry, I wonder why Microsoft of all players would be uninterested in pulling that move.

    It IS happening with Office right now.
     
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  28. Nobu

    Nobu 2[H]4U

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    I'd appreciate it if they made it easy to access one steam library (on the same pc) from either Linux or Windows, instead of having to choose either one or the other (or both) to install onto.
     
  29. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    It 100% is not. Had Steam not announced SteamOS and started directly supporting game developers with dollar dollar bills... yes MS would have went full evil. They planned to do it clearly, they pulled up at the last second.... and we got what windows -s I guess. A bully will keep at their BS as long as no one says stop... you don't have to knock the bully senseless, you just have make them think a bit. That is what Valve did... they gave developers just a wide enough opening to jump though if MS went full on stupid. No sure a few years down the road its clear most developers hardly pulled the windows rip cord, but Valve for sure gave them parachutes.

    In fact I would go so far as to say the industry put those chutes on. Yes sure none of the majors are releasing a ton of Linux stuff today... but all the major engines which power 90% of the AAA games out there are all capable of building to Linux, and most like unreal have fully developed Vulkan paths. If MS really was to try and shut all the stores down and herd their developers up... Steam has given them an easy way out. No its not likely to happen but MS knows it now can. Valve punched the bully in the nose and they backed off.

    And frankly now MS has bigger problems them Valve. Google will launch their streaming service we all know that... now MS has to worry that they will bring steam to ChromeOS, or try and compete with them on a platform 100% out of MS control. MS should really be worried that Googles upcoming war for the game market may well involve much more then streaming.
     
  30. Simmonz

    Simmonz 2[H]4U

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    Itch.io has 19503 Linux games, of which 1780 cost money and the rest are freebies. GOG has 22 pages of Linux games. Humble Store has 815 Linux games that are not tied to Steam. Gamersgate has 32 Linux games that are not tied to Steam. You get the point. Steam may be a huge part of the Linux gaming but there are many other stores with Linux games as well.
     
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  31. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Linux gaming has always been dead, even before steam. Steam now makes the game install and configure easy, but still leaves you hanging on configuring the rest of your system.

    Choosing which window manager you use can have as much effect on performance or stability as much as playing with multiple video driver options.

    Linux will never be easy because no one will ever agree on one configuration, and open-source driver quality is dependent on (1) interest in development and (2) documentation available and (3) level of quality of your developer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  32. gamerk2

    gamerk2 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The problem with Linux is the way it's designed; Developers do not want to have to constantly update their software every time some other guy makes a change to the Kernel or support libraries. On Windows, you can release an executable and be sure it will probably work without modification decades down the road. On Linux, you're lucky if your executable works in a month.

    So what to developers do? Ignore Linux, since it's too difficult to support. It's less effort to just focus on Windows and run a program on Linux via WINE.
     
  33. focbde

    focbde Gawd

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    Yes, but the fact is that MOST of those games as you mentioned are because of Steam/Proton, so you're totally supporting the argument made in the article. If Steam died today, PC gamers would still have plenty of options - including physical copies of games - whereas Linux would be royally screwed. Sure, there are other places to get them, but they're tiny in comparison or don't carry anything decent.
     
  34. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    Of course that is completely untrue. What happens kernel level has no effect on software running or not. Kernel space and userland are two different things everywhere but windows.

    Games don't run one windows version to another... heck patches are needed depending on the version of 10.

    Valve removed the dependencies argument for developers when they said here... look this set of Ubuntu libraries are the standard. Develop toward these and your golden. Any distro that chooses to run newer libs then the official steam ones are on their own. Having said that it rarely causes issues to running newer libs... and often if there are performance enhancements end users see them with no added instability. (and if it crashes hey... can't blame the developer... just like windows users don't blame the developers when their release candidate GPU driver crashes their games)

    I have run decades old Linux code no issues. New features added to newer versions of libraries don't have any effect on old software. Linux developers aren't stupid if you add a new feature you don't rewrite all the old extensions destroying compatibility. You write new extensions.

    The days of dependency hell are LONG long behind Linux. People still complaining about either haven't touched a Linux install in 10+ years or are going by what they have heard about Linux. No modern distro with a modern package manager has any issues. Heck we have even added snaps and flatpaks for developers that want to include a 100% static copy of their libraries, completely by passing any potential library versioning issues.

    So developer have zero excuse if there really really is a concern that the version of the libraries they are building against may change... they can just roll them in to a snap.
     
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  35. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    Steam is not developing their tools alone or 100% closed source.

    If Valve went under today or Gabe decide he was going to rededicate all his monies into building rocket ships or digging holes in the ground for elevators to hell. Protons work has all been up streamed to WINE (even though it is closed source). The latest version of Wine includes the Valve improvements. DXVK the main tech that makes steam play really work DX11->Vulkan... is open source. Its not hard to run pretty much any steam play game under wine+dxvk/VkD3D instead.

    As we speak the wine and dkvk devs... are working on better integrating the two. DXVK has been around for about a year now much longer then Valve admitted funding it. Its not hard to get it setup with wine, but its not a one click. If the wine teams plans go forward ... on most distros it will for sure be as easy as selecting (wine+dxvk) from their package managers.
    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Wine-DXVK-Native-WIP

    Anyway point is no Linux would hardly be screwed. Games that play under steam play in general install under wine proper and run just as well. A project like https://lutris.net/ would just pick up more steam. (oh that's a bad pun its 3 am :))
     
  36. focbde

    focbde Gawd

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    OK screwed is perhaps too strong a word :) But the fact is that in order for gaming to get any traction at all on Linux it needs to be user-friendly, and Steam provides that - without Steam, it would be incredibly hard to make any headway I think.
     
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  37. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    Doesn't look like a conspiracy to me. You never know with MS. They've been simultaneously trying to kill PC gaming but also trying to keep it alive and move it forward. I guess this is what you get with enormous companies

    Valve's action only seem like an overreaction now but made a lot of sense back then. To me, they are on the right track. The alternative is to become MS or Sony slave. Or a pure streaming slave. We know that one is coming and is likely to disrupt the industry in a major way. "Mobile gaming" was just the start

    Quake 1/2/3/4 all have native Linux clients/servers. Quake 3 used to start almost immediately. It was almost as if I had an SSD back in 2000.
     
  38. naib

    naib [H]ard|Gawd

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    and this highlights your complete lack of linux understand

    For starters there is one rule with kernel development and that is DO NOT BREAK USERLAND. [1]
    Seconds the system libraries exposed are FANTASTICALLY backwards compatible and if there is an api change guess what... the version (major and minor) are part of the filename so the concept of dll hell doesn't really exist, then need for winSxS to restitch multiple version of the SAME DAMN FILENAME is not needed.

    do changes occur that break compatibility? sure,. but go check, its less frequent then windows AND this is on the XP -> Win7 timescale (note Microsoft breaking itself every 6months with a newer version of windows10).

    The whole herpderp multiple distro, multiple libraries really does show your ignorance in this topic YET you insisted on adding your 2c. ALL distro's pull from the same source, The source aims for backwards compatibility, all distro's update as part of their release cycle. At any one moment in time distroA might have a newer version compared to DistroB but guess what will happen in at least 6months (or 3years if you are Redhat) ... THAT MINIMUM is met.

    When a break occurs, be it api or abi, it is for a reason and the old is still present (I still have gkt2 on my system, and gtk3, gtk4...). Can this be said for windows? who break compatibility to push their wares? I am talking about DirectX as an example

    tl;dr you are wrong
     
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  39. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Flat out, Linux doesn't have a decent gaming or a decent market share because it is hard to use. Sure, there have been improvements in the basic UI and usability, but there is ALWAYS something that has to be done from the command line, and that is EXACTLY what makes it hard to use.

    A gui gives us clues and hints about what we can do with various buttons. A good gui gives multiple ways to do things and always makes it obvious about how to do things. We want to do something, we take a look around at it, and we find the button or pull down menu that seems to be the one to do what we want. The more logical and consistent it is, the easier it is to tell where that is. We don't have to hunt through 20,000 pages of search results to find the info, it is just there, in front of us.

    A command line does NONE of that. It sits there with a blinking cursor and the user could type anything in. In totally random circumstances, most of what a user might type in would do nothing. We would have to JUST KNOW the right command structure. Sure, it's wide open that we can do anything with it, and that is exactly the point. Being wide open does absolutely nothing to tell us how to do what we want to do. A basic command line is the worst ui in the history of computing. That's why we keep trying to cover it up with more and more gui.

    Windows, is particular, does well because they research and test to find how people behave and how the find things, so they can do it best, and then they take that info and point their people to it. They have a singular leadership that says "this is how we're going to design this gui", and then the people do it. Windows is consistent and it is obvious, and that is why people use it.

    Linux's basic premise of "open source" where anyone can do anything their own way is EXACTLY why it will fail. There is no research on the best way to do things. There is no singular leadership that gives any direction on how to do things. People just do things they way they want, and many times that is horribly, horribly awkward and wrong for anyone besides the person who wrote it. (Saltstack is a perfect example of such. What a horribly awkward program that is. I'm sure there are many more. I just think of that when I think of any awkward and horrible piece of software.) Being of the very nature of everyone doing their own thing makes it into some weird amalgamation of many good ideas and many bad ideas that just ends up being something like deep fried chocolate covered tofu speghetti and pulled pork steeped in scotch and covered in toothpaste. It will NEVER work.
     
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