The Steam Deck is an unbelievable little bit of {hardware}, however the software program that underpins it’s simply as spectacular. From long-running open-source stalwarts just like the Mesa graphics driver and the Vulkan API to Valve’s personal Proton compatibility layer, the Deck solely runs due to plenty of labour by open-source builders. With out them, the entire thing is only a huge block of plastic.

Seems that Valve understands that, as a result of in a current chat with the Verge, Steam Deck designer Pierre-Loup Griffais talked about that the corporate is paying over 100 open-source devs to work on the varied bits of software program that hold the Steam Deck ticking. Valve has them engaged on stuff like Steam for ChromeOS and Linux, too (Griffais did not point out macOS although, which is smart given the best way Steam appears to freeze in panic at any time when I launch it on a MacBook).

Griffais stated Valve’s corralling of open-source devs is a part of “a bigger technique to coordinate all these tasks and arrange form of an general structure” for gaming on Linux. That’s to say, Valve is utilizing its technical and monetary clout to herd the cats of open-source growth in a single course, as a way to get Linux functioning as a viable different to Home windows for PC gaming.

I used to be shocked after I heard about it. Valve is clearly dedicated to the Steam Deck, however working with—and paying—over 100 devs to hold its open-source innards chugging alongside actually places that dedication into perspective. To folks extra concerned in Linux and open-source growth, although, it was much less of a shock. As numerous commenters on this Reddit thread attest, Valve has had a hand in an unbelievable quantity of open-source tech at this level. Even Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds is on-record saying that Valve would “save the Linux desktop”. Although it is price noting he was a minimum of a bit ambivalent about that.

It is not the one Deck-related information we have heard from Valve just lately. We have additionally learnt that the corporate desires to convey again the Steam Controller (additionally, I’ve to talk my fact and let you know the Steam Controller was nice, really), and the Deck’s designers dropped hints a couple of revised Deck with an even bigger battery and higher display. 

Even when Valve’s dedication to Linux and open-source software program is extra about having an escape hatch from Home windows than staunch dedication to free and open source rules, it is nice that so many devs are getting paid for his or her contributions to the corporate’s tasks. Really, 2022 has been the 12 months of Linux on the desktop.