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ItchOS

A topic by Fortoj created 1 year ago Views: 753 Replies: 22
Viewing posts 1 to 10
(+1)

Valve may have the ability to make deals with hardware manufacturer in regard hardware driver&stuff; but Linux and all its flavoured distro are open source, don't they?

So, why don't a "dirty trick" (not really dirty, but still a trick) on them?

Let's make a ItchOS that runs live and persistently booting from USB (usb3 for faster boot): bypassing (virtually) any kind of OS that may comes installed on *every* PC capable with legacy usb boot (and maybe even on some UEFI bios too).

Nowdays is possible to buy a usb3 64GB dongle for about 22€... even if the whole ItchOS takes about 5GB, still remain about 50~60GB worth free space to install lot of stuff.

The physical "Itch key" (usb3 dongle) would be even sold in bundle packages with some games already.

The options could be:

- minimal live with just graphics/network(browser)/gaming services installed (who needs to have cups and other stuff on a linux live distro?) "ala" puppy linux (ref)

-regular "*buntu flavoured" install with complete set of tools

-rebrew SteamOS: kick out steam-binary stuff, plug in the Itch's ones. :wicked:

One can imagine things XD

(+3)

I love the idea, but I think it's a bit ambitious right now. Work should probably be focused on developing the app and site more first in my opinion.

(+1)

Well, it could be simple as build up a regular linux install (set as regular user things such as: default applications, ppa, driver, wallpaper/themes etc); then backup the whole disk (all the partitions inside) into a single downlodable package.
Then, user may only need to do something like
gunzip -c ~/Download/ItchOS.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sd[usbkey letter]
to "install" the system onto a usb.
But there's no doubt that website and app should have aboslute priority.

(Edited 2 times) (+1)

I gotta say this is an interesting suggestion and it would be good to see happen.

First though off, this would need to be free. Are you suggesting that it could be a free download or that individual USB drives with the OS pre-installed would be sold?

Second, what architectures should be supported? Obviously x86 would need to be supported as the vast majority of computers use this architecture what about other architectures. if itchOS had ARM support for example then would make it a highly versatile system as it would be able to run on many other things such as the Raspberry Pi (or similar boards.) A mobile version of the OS would also be possible but this is probably overthinking things a bit.

(+1)
Are you suggesting that it could be a free download or that individual USB drives with the OS pre-installed would be sold?

Why not both? I've seen several Linux distros do this. It's a good way for them to make some money to fund development, but it doesn't stop you from downloading it and putting it on your own media.

Exactly.

Second, what architectures should be supported? Obviously x86 would need to be supported as the vast majority of computers use this architecture what about other architectures.

Everything desktop/laptop is 64bit these days.
32bit mean mostly old hardware and few "recent" netbook. The bad things about that is that OEM have been very lousy into support Linux's hardware driver in the past. That's very true for gpu hardware (with only nvidia doing the right job, but restricted to it's private proprietary garden), meanwhile the coming for Vulkan seems to be a "game changer" for ARM and 64bit hardware with 32bit architeture left for a very marginal role.
So, in short:
32bit - Good to work at maxium compatibility (probably it could run even on the "junks" that run in your local libraries). But missing the potential of last/more expensive PC/gamingPC (ie: no more than 4GB ram)
64bit - oriented to latest pc hardware that will run Vulkan compatible GPUs (also support for greater RAM quantity). Optionally promote it as "benchmark tool"

if itchOS had ARM support for example then would make it a highly versatile system as it would be able to run on many other things such as the Raspberry Pi (or similar boards.) A mobile version of the OS would also be possible but this is probably overthinking things a bit.

It's a bit difficult to see Raspberry Pi and similer as gaming platform other than retro style games. As mobile I would like to see how things go with the latest SoC that are getting out from AMD/Intel/Nvidia. The failed kickstarter campaing of SmashZ was supposed to come out with 8GiB of ram (pro model); I guess this mean the AMD new SoC is supposed to be 64bit also.

Maybe. RaspPi's are both cheap and ubiquitous making them ideal for cheap fun gaming, have static hardware spec's making them easy to target, and that an increasing legion of games fall under "retro" these days. I mean, there's a list that includes titles like Quake 3, Jedi Academy, Tyrian, Cave Story, etc. There may be a lot of untapped potential there, maybe a separate ItchOS distro to serve as a RaspPi game hub/store front?

I am not saying that's not a good idea, it's just a different scope. I am sure a RaspPI would make a great little console: but you have still to "target" the platform somehow, for example the kind of driver and such (gpu is mali, ardeno, tegra...? all drivers into a single arm live distro?)

PC desktop platform are, instead, made by design to be bundle with bunch of drivers. This make easier to build up a live distro just to run for a "itch" when you want to boot/reboot any "unknown" pc rig.

(+4)

Hm, some merit to the idea. Browsing the listings of a few sites it seems that Itch.io has more linux games available than any other platform:

itch.io: 3796
SteamOS: 3530
GOG.com: 1350
Desura: 755

Still, even though its not straight forward to include non-steam games into SteamOS it can still run them, and its getting some very active driver/tech support. At this point it might be a better idea to make the Itch.io App compatible with SteamOS to more easily load itch.io/non-steam linux games than to build an entirely new OS, Steam might love the idea of giving SteamOS users access to additional content (or not), and potentially this would give itch.io developers a backdoor into Steam land.

Well, you can't stand out by just following what big companies are capable to offer better.

Valve's job to improve Linux's driver will come to benefit to everyone (that's the greatness of the open source), and any Linux derivative. On the opensource side is even better with Intel/AMD graphic stack... which mean that driver can be delivered to work out-of-box, at full performance, without infringing licensing issues with GNU.

Anyway, having an ItchOS doesn't mean that the main app couldn't work into steam as non-steam app.

The capability to boot your own complete gaming platform on something simple like a usb dongle, it's an added value/capability that Steam doesn't have.

(Edited 1 time)

Well, you can't stand out by just following what big companies are capable to offer better.

True, but thats not necessarily the main reason I mention the idea. There are doubts about whether or not SteamOS and linux gaming in general will get anywhere compared to mainstream windows gaming, if it doesn't gain enough momentum hardware manufacturer's may lose interest and let their drivers lapse again. Getting a boost of double the library would inject a much needed sense of progress and legitimacy. In other words rather than dividing the market further, we could pool our resources to try and increase the odds of generating a successful linux market.

Anyway, having an ItchOS doesn't mean that the main app couldn't work into steam as non-steam app.

And vice versa. I'm not saying don't make ItchOS, only that we have the Itch.io App right now and building roads into SteamOS could prove beneficial for both parties. I think there's a strong argument for ItchOS, not just because the linux library is larger on Itch, but because it could provide a DRM free alternative to SteamOS, be more developer accessible, add some useful features like USB live sessions out of the box, have lower spec targets and builds, and include accessibility for the disabled beyond what Steam is capable or willing to offer.

Btw: I went forward and gave a try by myself.

I've installed a Slacko puppy linux onto a 16GB usbkey. Made some "setup" to make it look more "itch-y" and stored the image.

So anyone, who ave a 16gb usb dongle laying somewhere, can give it a try!

extremelyunofficial.ItchOS.img.gz (587.6 MiB, for 64bit PC only)

to "burn" it on linux, use

sudo su

gunzip -c ./ItchOS.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sdX

Where "X" is the letter drive for the usb flash drive (ie: mine is /dev/sdb). if "sudo su" doesn't work, try use just "su".

On windows just extract the archive and write the img file with software like win32diskimager



I don't even know if it work; it's just a quick/random example. ^^"

Don't try things you're not sure about; this puppy derivative runs with root privilege so, once boot, don't even try to mess with your hard disk.

Gave a better try, and used Lubuntu instead of Puppy Linux. Now the Itch.io runs more games, and was even able to install Steam together too.

made screen


file is a bit bigger, but now is compatible with debian/*buntu

https://www.dropbox.com/s/la4uo6s5udgc4gg/iCthulhu...

user and pass are: user

as general rule: never user your regular login/pass when using OSes from unreliable/unsupported/unofficial source (such as this one): just make a "dummy" account to test the itch app out.

(Edited 1 time)

Is this compatible with the ARM architecture or is it for x86 machines? There's no issue in any case but I was thinking if it was ARM compatible it would be compatible with single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi which would really open the door for Raspberry Pi games. Whether the market for that is big enough... ehh that's debatable, but it'd give itch.io a somwhat unqiue selling point.

Is 64bit only: fewer hardware compatibility, but maxium software's one (32 bit app runs on x64cpu, 64bit app ar64).

For raspberryPi, and other arm hardware, there are already lot of distro in which choice: included regular Debian/Ubuntu, gaming with emulator and, of course, android. But I assume you need also the Itch.app first

New version... now with added emulators (just for testing things out)


https://www.dropbox.com/s/xg5djulw8j07hks/iCthulhu...

(Edited 5 times)

As preparation you need:

1. Lubuntu .iso (download if from lubuntu website)

2. A usb disk (8GB and more) prefereably USB3 for speed

Launch VirtualBox and create a new Virtual Machine, put "Lubuntu" as name then...

...press [Next] until ask for "Hard Disk" and select [Do not add a virtual hard disk] until virtual machine is created

Once created, run your virtual machine; you'll be asked to select a start-up disk. Click the proper icon and select your Lubuntu iso

After the language selection select [Install Lubuntu] and right click the small usb icon and select your USB key

Now, just follow the install instruction (usually just press [Continue] ) until the "Installation type" screen and select [Erase **WHATEVERWHATEVER* and re/install]

complete the installation, reboot PC from USB (check your bios/mainboard's manual for info), enjoy

Oh, I like the idea of itchOS! If it's lightweight and boots fast, provides all necessary drivers out-of-the-box (graphics, sound, controllers, VR?, etc) or downloads them automatically, comes preloaded with itch app, runs from usb dongle and doesn't make user touch command line (unless they want that themselves), that might be a good step towards more Linux gaming.

Just got an idea about re-using butler/wharf's binary patch support for updating itchOS. I mean, does even any existing linux distribution support binary patches for updating? As far as I know all package managers (apt, yum, pacman) always downloading full packages. itch app is essentially a simple package manager already, so extending it to be able to update system quickly and smoothly may be interesting.

(Edited 2 times)

Oh, I like the idea of itchOS! If it's lightweight and boots fast, provides all necessary drivers out-of-the-box (graphics, sound, controllers, VR?, etc) or downloads them automatically, comes preloaded with itch app, runs from usb dongle and doesn't make user touch command line (unless they want that themselves), that might be a good step towards more Linux gaming.

Bear in mind that this is just a draft idea. I am not skilled enough to produce/maintain a linux derivative dedicated to gaming. So, also part of my knowledge can, even, be sort of misleading.

Providing working driver and stuff out-of-box it's the very core idea: this appeal to the awesomeness of have your complete pc-gaming experience to be run on virtually any PC capable to boot: being at home, using a pc in public library, internet café (quite popular in asia) etc.

Collect most of driver shouldn't be a problem: a basic PPA with all driver in the same fashion SteamOS does would be enough for almost everything.. only possible fail would be with some exotic win-only hardware: but gaming is a lot more restricted into need.. you don't need compatibility with some shitty 10~20 years aged win-only printers and stuff like that.

GPU drivers are the most critical issue: but AMD and Intel deliver stable and decent drivers... Nvidia proprietary stuff can be delivered in the same way SteamOS does.

VR is a bit trickier: OEM are responsible for deliver decent Linux driver; but ATM they are too busy forcing themselves behind Microsoft and MS natural defeat vs Sony. Anyway, once some serious OEM provide some decent Linux's driver/support... wouldn't be too much of a issue to add driver and stuff in the repositories (also, add a separate unstable ppa branch is always one simple click away ;) )

Just got an idea about re-using butler/wharf's binary patch support for updating itchOS. I mean, does even any existing linux distribution support binary patches for updating? As far as I know all package managers (apt, yum, pacman) always downloading full packages. itch app is essentially a simple package manager already, so extending it to be able to update system quickly and smoothly may be interesting.

Linux provides lot of different options; it's long way gone the time in which you had to compile everything ala Gentoo (with some app that would require a *whole day* of compiling from soruce!!).

Distribution method integrated with the OS can be in any fashion, some example are:

- separate ppa repository for free and commercial games (idea: free games can be installed/updated from itch desktop app without even need to login... while commercial/bought apps require you to login, with valid key-registred account, to enable installation from commercial ppa.

- rsync: rsync don't just download binary only file... but it does actually download only the single bytes who are updated on the server (not the whole file)

- appimage package: http://appimage.org/

- snap packages: https://insights.ubuntu.com/2016/06/14/universal-s...

- a separate sandboxed folder where install/update packages

- ...

the most simple/easy to maintain is to maintain a ppa and let the apt protocol (example apt://gimp) package manager to install/update everything needed

...also, it would be interesting to see if this could integrate Android support (run Android apps) as RemixOs does http://www.jide.com/remixos this would be a killer feature considered the number of android games already availalble in Itch.io store.

(Edited 1 time)

That would be cool, but how many Android games support running on x86/x64 version of Android? A lot of games probably use NDK for performance, i.e. contain native binaries built for ARM.

On a side note, having Wine support with all the quirks would be good too.

EDIT: oh, I see, RemixOS has an emulator.

(Edited 1 time)

The idea of Android addition is not intended as general propose emulation; but to give developer who deploy preferably on Android to being able to sell their product on potentially any PC (given that said PC can boot from usb: see recent lenovo bloop on booting from ssd).


Wine is a great project, but I wouldn't put this by default: while Android emulation is much more about keep a bunch of apks (which are basically zip file) in one folder; Wine is most about complete applications who are used to change the os and require special configurations.

Playonlinx and "Wine bottles" for each game may tend to growth bigger and bigger and, usually, the space on a usb key is very limited.

Lastly: Windows 10 is going to be a closed platform "ala" iPhone/PS4/xbone with it's own store bundled in the OS... any indie developer who stick with windows will soon find itself forced in the uwp (where, probably, other store like itch wouldn't be allowed: see recent effort to put Itch app in greenligh: see the refused app there ). I would say: give the wine (latest update with driver and optimization tho) as option and not integrated by default.

Windows 10 is going to be an "xbox experience", so I think it makes sense to promote more open platforms (Linux/Android) to fight back before being kicked out (see Valve with SteamOS)