Fedora and Steam

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So, a lot of people have been asking me about this! Steam, of course, is a a
popular platform for gaming, and it runs on Linux. Valve, the company behind
it, puts a lot of resources into gaming on Linux (including working on open
source video drivers). Until now, they'd explicitly endorsed and supported a
specific non-Fedora Linux distro. However, there's been some changes
which you can read about in this forum post:
which says in part:

   The Linux landscape has changed dramatically since we released the
   initial version of Steam for Linux, and as such, we are re-thinking how
   we want to approach distribution support going forward. There are several
   distributions on the market today that offer a great gaming desktop
   experience such as Arch Linux, Manjaro, Pop!_OS, Fedora, and many others.
   We'll be working closer with many more distribution maintainers in the
   future. [...]

Several people have suggested to me that it'd be awesome for a Fedora
offering to be _the_ supported Steam distribution. Or at least, a formally
recommended one. I can definitely see the appeal -- although we haven't
targetted gamers formally except through the Games spin (which showcases
open source gaming), gaming is generally pretty important to the
student/academic audience we'd like to reach.

But, of course, Steam is a proprietary platform, and gaming comes with the
large elephant-in-the-room that is Nvidia. Despite awesomeness from the AMD
open source driver recently, and Intel integrated video good enough for a
lot of basic gaming, Nvidia still has a near monopoly.

I don't have any specific requests or direction from the informal
conversations we've had with Valve so far, but I imagine that in order to
really make a Fedora edition or spin their official recommendation, they'd
want some kind of consideration given to problems that might come up with
their proprietary system (or with the Nvidia driver). We've traditionally
had bright line here, where while we may provide advice and point to
workarounds when there's a problem with popular proprietary software (like
Steam games, even -- see this from F26
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F26_bugs), we don't block or slip the
release for them.

I know this a contentious topic with a lot of different opinions, but let's
not let that stop us from talking about it. What _are_ our options here, and
what are we willing to do?

For example, maybe we would not slip the general release, but would allow a
Fedora-branded spin to delay release until some bug is worked out. Or, we
could decide that we want to stick to our all-open-source criterion but
interested teams could work with Valve to be aware of our release schedule
and make sure they're able to test and get things working _before_ we hit
release freeze. If it comes to it, maybe we'd allow Fedora editions or spins
that want to and which have Steam installed from a third-party repository to
warn of potential problems before upgrading. These are just some thoughts,
not specific plans.... I can imagine a range of possibilities.

In any case, let's talk about the pros and cons here and what we can gain
for Fedora and for our open source and free software cause, and what we're
able to do within our values to accomplish that.

Matthew Miller
Fedora Project Leader
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