Win32 is the stable Linux userland ABI (and the consequences)

This post was inspired by some controversy with Valve and their support for Linux, but the bulk of it comes from long-term observation. One of the biggest impacts with the viability of Linux on the desktop was Valve’s Proton, a Wine fork integrated in Steam allowing almost any Windows game to work out of the box. To Linux users, life was good. However, with the recent announcement of the Steam Deck, a handheld device powered by Linux, Valve’s marketing towards developers explicitly mention no porting required. Valve’s been aggressive with this message enough that they’ve allegedly told developers simply not to bother with Linux ports anymore; enough that it makes commercial porters like Ethan Lee concerned.

However, I suspect this is the long-term result of other factors, and games are only one aspect of it. After all, we all know the Year of the Linux Desktop is around the corner, along with nice applications. Linux won’t rule the world just from games, even if some people really want it to be true. How did it come to this, and why?

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Fixing Overwatch voice chat after upgrading to Fedora 33

After upgrading my system to Fedora 33, I realized voice chat in Overwatch didn’t work. The symptoms included:

  • The microphone worked in other applications, and there was no permissions issues involved
  • When joining a voice chat (like a group), the message saying that you’re in a voice chat would never appear, and you would never hear anyone else
  • The microphone icon in the game was forced to mute

Switching the WINE audio system from Pulse to ALSA didn’t work. What did work was changing the system cryptography policies:

$ sudo update-crypto-policies --set LEGACY

No reboot is required. This is an awfully big hammer though – I’d like to know what exact ciphers or protocols that Overwatch needs that are disabled in the stock crypto policies.