I have another bit of exciting news on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS front.
One of the things we’ve done is managed to port the Simple Direct Media layer (SDL) to the Mir display server. For those of you fortunate enough to not have a clue what the means, SDL is a portability layer used by many games, including many available on Valve’s Steam platform. The consequences of that work is that a whole slew of really good games are going to be available immediately on Unity8 when it finally hits the desktop.
Wait! There’s more. SDL autodetects the actual video layer. That means you can install a game from Steam on Unity7 running on X11 today on Ubuntu 13.10, and when you log in to your Unity8 session running on top of Mir on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, it will just work. Isn’t that just the bee’s knees?
There’s still more. The SDL layer isn’t just used for games. It’s used for professional applications like remote desktop interfaces and various visualizers. They will all just work on the Unity8 desktop running on Mir. I’m really excited by this, and you should be too, because it just might mean next year will really be the year of the Linux desktop. Heh. Humour me.
The screenshot here is the game DOTA2 running on Mir, taken by Brandon Schaefer. He’s the wizard who did most of the work of making the wonderful and widespread SDL library work on Mir in cooperation with Valve and the SDL maintainers. I’m sure it was tough having to play games during work hours, but he made the valiant effort out of a sense of duty when asked. Unfortunately, now he has to get back to work fixing high-DPI issues in Unity7.
The Mir back end will be released with libSDL 2.0.2 in the very near future.