Pengrin: Steam Coming To Linux At Last

The chaps at Phoronix have confirmation from Valve that the developer are working on a Linux version of their platform-bestriding distribution system, and are even hiring new Linux developers. Phoronix have apparently spoken directly to Mr Newell, who was quite keen on the open-source platform. They report: “His level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning. In fact, as soon as I return to my office this weekend I plan to try out Windows 8 simply to see if it’s as bad as Gabe states…” I think that says quite a lot, eh Linux fans? It’s also incredibly significant in terms of the viability of Linux as a gaming OS, and I am certain there will be an enormous amount of speculation about what that could mean.

Thanks to everyone who sent in this story. I am certain there will be more news from the horse’s mouth in the coming weeks.


  1. Lemming says:

    Good news!

    And not surprising that Gabe hates Windows 8, as it’s a not-so-subtle attempt to try and corral PC Gamers into a closed console-like system….controlled entirely by Microsoft, naturally.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Absolute cock. It really isn’t. It’s really quite good. Boots faster than you could boot Windows 7 on an SSD even with a harddrive. Lightning fast. It does have a few problems, missing start bar grrr ( fixed easily though either with a hack or the lovely Stardock solution).

      But it really isn’t bad, it looks very promising in fact. I imagine they have exaggerated or twisted Gabes words somewhat. Linux is still buggy, crashy and a pain in the arse to use and its been in existence how long? Still haven’t had any major problems with Windows 8 and I honestly could never go back to 7 or Vista after using it. Can’t wait to get a tablet running the OS. It’s probably the first time I’ve been excited about a Microsoft OS.

      • Valvarexart says:

        I do agree with you on Windows 8 being superior to 7 and vista, I would still rather use Linux though. Not only is it free and open-source, but it is also faster and more effective for a lot of non-game related things.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Never could quite figure out the hype around a new Windows OS when the first commonly listed feature is it boots SLIGHTLY FASTER than the previous OS. Windows 7 already boots faster than I can make a coffee, any quicker and it would only extend my inefficiency.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Gonzo, You are missing the point. It does not matter how good/bad Win8 is – it exists as a step towards totalitarian control of all software going onto their platform.

        • hosndosn says:

          I wish I could honestly believe this was hyperbole… but it isn’t. It’s bad enough with the Apple touch screen products but if operating systems for desktop computers get this locked in say bye to open software. I’m talking about a trend, of course, but if WIndows 8 is any indication, Windows 9 won’t even let you use any software not bought in the Windows Experience Store ™.

          • dux says:

            My God, the cynics are out in force today I see. I’m sorry, but if this were the case then everyone would just stick with Windows 7, 8, hell maybe even Linux to do what they needed to do, regardless of “official support” – people are still hanging on to XP for dear life even now. Microsoft are already in a more precarious position in the OS market than they have been in the last couple of decades, and even they are not stupid enough to force their own customers to not buy their latest revision/product and drive them away to their competitors.

          • moiwfx says:

            Fedora isn’t really usable as a desktop, there are much better distros for this. I mean you can, but there’s no point.

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          • mechtroid says:

            My god, the spambots are getting relevant!

          • SiHy_ says:

            At what point does a spambot become a fully fledged contributer?
            That must be the next evolution of the spambot; a bot that has become sentient and simply wishes to discuss the topics it has been forced to read about all of its life, however it is forced to provide advertising links by its cruel webmaster. It is marked as spam and, thus, never heard. It would cry itself to sleep at night if it only had the tears. Or the eyes.
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            (Just kidding of course, the link just links back to RPS).

          • BoZo says:

            The spambots are actually just copying another random comment and inserting their own rubbish at the end, very annoying.

          • Harlander says:

            Not only that, but they seem to copy stuff from down the comment thread and put it in the reply of a higher thing, making appear first for people who come along later. Insidious!

          • Dozer says:

            I understand they’re not bots any more; they’re actual human beings feverishly making accounts and posting links. RPS should hire a comments moderator solely to strip out the bots!

        • Cvnk says:

          Could you elaborate on this? How does Windows 8 give MS more control over Windows software? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Windows 8 so far (that ridiculous home screen or whatever they call it) and I hope they change their mind about forcing tablet/phone motifs on regular PC users but I haven’t got the impression installing software works any different than in previous versions.

      • yutt says:

        The last time I rebooted my PC was probably around the same time I installed Windows 7. This is the most irrelevant “feature” I’ve heard.

        • LimEJET says:

          That’s nice, except the fact that Windows has an inherent flaw that it’s always had which means that the memory usage gets worse over time. So not restarting a Windows computer is actually worse in the long run.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Sigh. Linux users perpetuating pre-NT Windows issues as still being prevalent a decade later in entirely separate code branches since 1981.

          • Devan says:

            The problem is pre-NT you say? Personal experience has shown otherwise. Win7 is much better than XP in this regard but rebooting Windows regularly is straight-up good advice and not some scare tactic. Let’s not resort to fallacy.

          • Cvnk says:

            Meh. I’m with the other guy. I rarely ever reboot my Win7 system and on the rare occasions I do (certain updates, power outage) I don’t notice any difference performance wise. You could show me all the numerical evidence you want that supposedly means my system is bogging down but the fact remains it means nothing to me since my system isn’t bogging down.

            Although the guy that says he hasn’t rebooted his system since installing Windows 7 is either a liar, wreckless, or only installed it a few days ago. There are still plenty of updates that require reboots and if you’re not applying updates when offered then you’re pretty careless.

      • Ident says:

        The problem I have with windows 8 is that, as you say, they’re doing some really quite impressive stuff under the hood, but it’s all going to be overshadowed by a UI that, in my opinion, is fundamentally flawed for the desktop. Even on the UI side they’re doing impressive and well thought out stuff in areas like explorer. It’s just the start menu/screen and metro-ization that needs fixed.

        If they made a version of Win 8 that looked identical to Win 7 I’d buy it.

        • LimEJET says:

          Funny thing is, Linux-users who aren’t strictly CLI will feel right at home, because the start screen and related features is basically Microsoft’s response to Gnome 3.

          • Onishi says:

            I disagree, I don’t know of any linux users who are happy with gnome3 or unity. Linux has far more then 2 UIs, which is why mixes like linux mint have been made with all of the features of ubuntu, but using a hybrid of gnome2 and 3 that keeps the features of gnome3 without the interface, as well as dozens of other interfaces such as XFCE, LXDE, Enlightenment, KDE etc…. While I certainly don’t know the numbers of who uses what window manager, I could say the people who don’t like the interface, can simply load up their distributions package manager, and chose the one that suits them.

      • Lemming says:

        You said it boots fast. Twice. But I’m not seeing ‘what was cock’ about what I said was wrong with it.

      • tormeh says:

        Windows 8’s problem is it’s app store. Valve is rightly scared that Microsoft’s own digital distribution solution, pre-installed for Steam’s biggest customer segment, will steal some of Steam’s marketshare. Steam has a couple of aces up it’s sleeve:
        -Exclusive Valve games
        -Steam’s libraries of achievement/cloud-storage/etc-software

        Of these only SteamPlay is really exclusive to Valve, since neither Microsoft nor Apple want to be cross-platform, for understandable reasons. For Valve to make the most out of the one exclusive advantage that won’t ever be taken from it it needs to support as many platforms as possible. My bet? Android next. The same line of reasoning sort of applies to libraries, as no-one should doubt Microsoft’s ability to create nice software when the right people get a kick in the butt, but MS will never make those libraries work on Mac, and Apple wouldn’t be happy with it either.

        Valve is also probably transitioning Source to OpenGL anyway, since Win, Mac, PS3, Linux and Wii support it, while only Win and XBOX support DirectX. That makes Linux ports relatively easy to make

        All that said, Phoronix is more hype-machine than reliable source, and Newell’s alleged hate for Win8 puzzles me.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Valve is also probably transitioning Source to OpenGL anyway

          Welcome to 2 years ago. Source has been running using OpenGL since the Portal Mac release in 2010 (and since 2007 if you want to count the PS3 Orange Box).

      • Tams80 says:

        “Can’t wait to get a tablet running the OS”.

        Well as a media tablet (iPad etc.) OS it is brilliant. As a desktop/laptop/tabletPC OS: kill it with fire!

        “If they made a version of Win 8 that looked identical to Win 7 I’d buy it.”


    • apollyonbob says:

      It’s kind of important to remember that Gabe is just a guy. You know what else he was incredibly negative on, and thought wasn’t worth development effort? The PS3. That system that he now says is totally amazing and exactly what Valve needs in a console, etc.

      The truth of the matter is, he has no better idea about what’s going on with Windows 8 than literally anyone else who can download and run the consumer preview.

      I see Windows 8 affect gaming in only one way – providing competition to Steam for indie games. I’m not saying Gabe is being negative on purpose to slam a competitor – but the reality of the situation is that Windows 8 still runs DX11: link to and the DX changes to it aren’t really extreme. There are few changes for desktop run apps.

      So how does it provide competition? Because of the new App Store. Devs will now be able to directly sell to consumers in a digital way that is protected. That capability only exists on Windows 7 right now either through Steam, Origin, or third party DRM. The App Store apps will be protected by the OS.

      Having problems finding info about how DirectX apps work with WinRT (and therefore, ARM) but on a standard Intel-run desktop, I think very little has changed.

      • Lemming says:

        What Gabe said was merely a jumping off point for my comment (come on, we don’t even know what he said). What MS intend with Windows 8 on desktop PCs is something I want no part of, and anyone who wants to continue having choices when gaming on their PC should consider switching very carefully.

      • Donjo says:

        I see what your saying but Gage isn’t really “just a guy”, he’s an incredibly smart, forward thinking guy, who foresees a lot of technology shifts wwayy before they happen. People trust his opinion for a reason.

    • Khemm says:

      He’s not a fan of Win 8 – because Gabe has his own product, which is also “a not-so-subtle attempt to try and corral PC Gamers into a closed console-like system….controlled entirely by Valve, naturally.” It’s called STEAM.
      He’s been building his little monopoly for years, no naturally he doesn’t want to share the power with anyone else.

      Newell used to be a MS employee, so no wonder he has the same goals and mentality as his Redmond buddies.

      • jimbobjunior says:

        I’m… I’m actually agreeing with Khemm. Is today opposite day?

        • soldant says:

          No, it’s called “being rational.” What he said was right, Steam has secured a major chunk of the PC gaming sector and Valve aren’t going to relinquish that lightly. Although I think it’s laughable that Microsoft would hope to take a chunk of that away from Valve without some sort of anti-competitive insertion, it does represent a bit of a threat.

          Valve are out to make money. They make games, they’re creative, they interact fairly well with the community (most of the time). But they’re still a business. Anyone thinking otherwise is kidding themselves.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          Microsoft doesn’t have a hope in hell. Heck, I’ve done work experience there. It’s an absolute dinosaur of a company, you can feel its old bones creaking as it reels around trying to reach that difficult scratch that is the latest cool thing. Games for Windows live was about ten years behind the market (as is bing, hotmail, etc.) even despite having Microsoft’s endless quantities of money thrown at it. More nimble companies like steam really do tower over Microsoft.

    • xGhost4000x says:

      I personally like how when the rumor of a steam console like box was floating around everyone was ecstatic, but for Microsoft to “try and corral PC Gamers into a closed console-like system” suddenly shit hits the fan.

      No one here cares about these monopolies over the market, they only care about which side is winning. If it’s the people they support all is good, if it’s the other side, then cry foul.

      • Phantoon says:

        Valve is privately owned. Gabe doesn’t answer to investors- and he’s a pretty likeable guy.

        • xGhost4000x says:

          So that’s the difference between acceptable and unacceptable business practice, one is owned by a liked man, the other is publicly traded?

          • yhalothar says:

            Exactly. It makes all the difference.
            Maybe not the “liked” part, but publicly traded companies are usually sociopathic and care for nothing but growth numbers. Private owners usually care more for their customer base (and the well-being of their own company), and they don’t have to compromise their ideal to demonstrate specific growth to their shareholders every financial year.

            Valve’s mission statement document pretty much says the same.

      • BoZo says:

        Besides, we all love Games for Windows Live.

  2. Beelzebud says:

    Great news! Now if only nvidia and amd could put out some proper drivers for Linux…. That is going to be the deal breaker.

    • faillord_adam says:

      Good thing the ATi drivers are alright.

    • Lemming says:

      If Steam is going for more Linux support, they”ll pretty much have to.

      • scribble_monkey says:

        Wine already translates many Direct3D calls to OpenGL. In fact, it is already possible to run Steam and play many games (such as Half-Life). If Gabe and crew successfully improve Wine to run most Windows games, most of the Linux community will worship him with animal sacrifice.
        EDIT: Clicked the wrong comment to reply to. Victory.

        • Devan says:

          WINE is great and all, but it will always be a compromise. There’s no real reason more games can’t use OpenGL directly. If Valve throw their weight behind a pro-Linux gaming push, they can clear the path for many other studios to follow. They would do this both by creating an established distribution system (complete with industry-respected DRM, like it or not), as well as being able to quantify the actual install base and market for Linux-supporting games.

          There’s nothing special about Windows that makes it an ideal gaming platform; it’s just natural that game developers and consumers would want to end up on the same platform as long as the developers wanted to save effort by making single-platform releases. Then, because gaming gravitated to windows, more and more effort was put into making it more game-friendly and also making games more windows-friendly. That also lead to most game-related drivers and middleware to be developed there too.

          Valve have already cracked that mould somewhat by adding Mac support, although honestly I don’t know whether that has resulted in an increase of Mac games from other developers. Hopefully with this move (and the potentially increasing costs of developing for windows), more studios will reevaluate their target platforms and we’ll be seeing more new developments on Linux.

          • scribble_monkey says:

            This is true, but the fact is that in order for Steam to gain a solid following on Linux and thereby influence developers to support it, Valve will have to allow the installation of many if not most of the popular games already offered on Steam on Linux. This may be possible solely with the porting of all of Valve’s titles, but as it will be nearly impossible to influence any other major studio to do so, it would probably be more cost effective to improve Wine to the point that most games will run, thus giving a wider base of supported games to build upon. Of course, this would open up the lazy option of having new games developed for DirectX run through Wine as well, thus undermining the development of the native linux gamedev scene. It’s a tricky situation for Valve indeed, and I’m eager to see how they play this move.

          • jamesgecko says:

            > it would probably be more cost effective to improve Wine to the point that most games will run,
            > thus giving a wider base of supported games to build upon.

            Sorry, scribble_monkey, that’s not so. Wine has been under development for nineteen years, and Starcraft, one of the most popular PC games of all time, still has large issues. The menus don’t repaint correctly. There is lag and performance issues in large battles that may or may not fixed by running the executable with arguments or editing registry entries. It’s not feasible for competitive play. Remember, this is an old, really popular game. This is a game listed on their website with gold and platinum compatibility ratings.

            It turns out that doing a black box reimplementation of almost every Windows API is a huge task, especially since Windows and it’s accompanying graphics drivers are chock full of corner cases and application-specific hacks. Games are jam packed with even crazier code. Don’t get me wrong; I love Wine. It’s an amazing project filled with incredible developers. But realistically, you’re never going to see a version of Wine that runs every game perfectly.

            Valve’s time, money, and expertise would be significantly better spent by making it easier to write native Linux games.

        • yrro says:

          If their Linux porting strategy is anything like their Mac OS strategy, they will create their own re-implementation of the Windows API and make their stuff run on top of that rather than porting anything to using OpenGL. And I doubt they will use WINE for this because it is licensed under the LGPL.

      • Creaturemagic says:

        Valve is one of the biggest leaders when it comes to PC gaming. I mean LoL was F2P for quite awhile and companies stuck with purchasable games. Valve makes TF2 F2P and the whole market decides it needs a F2P game. The same may hopefully happen with Linux. Starting with ports, and then games created for Linux.
        Edit: Fail reply, sorry.

  3. Brun says:

    Thumbs up. Linux is the best. Unfortunately, game support for Linux is limited due to the ubiquity of DirectX as a graphics API and poor driver implementations from nVidia.

    • Lemming says:

      You know (and I realise I may sound like I know nothing about how these things actually work), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Valve have been working on some kind of DirectX–>OpenGL translation API integrated into Steam just for that very reason.

      • LionsPhil says:

        There are already attempts to implement DirectX in OpenGL; WINE contains one, and VirtualBox even uses it to do virtual Direct3D support.

        But it’s far from perfect, and far from fast.

        • Lemming says:

          I’m assuming that means it’s doing it ‘live’ all the time, hence the slow speed?

          If it was integrated into the Steam version of Linux wouldn’t it make more sense to have it pre-written into the code when you download the game? All they’d have to do then is say to the developers on Steam ‘hey, here is our API translation for linux for free, repack your game with this instead of DirectX for the Linux client and happy trails’.

          • johntheemo says:

            Well, what you’re talking about (I think?) is a wrapper, which is basically already what Wine does. It’s slower for a lot of reasons, though. Anytime you add a ‘layer’ between the hardware and what’s using the hardware, you’re necessarily going to take a performance hit. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the simple explanation.

            Anyway, if I’m not mistaken, Valve already has some sort of wrapper for their Source games — they run on OSX, which means somewhere the D3D calls are being changed to OpenGL calls. I think. But to have code that would universally run all games is difficult if not impossible, considering the vast number of APIs (think .NET and XNA) that use different calls. Then there’s the issue with drivers… it’s just a big, difficult-to-tackle issue. It’s not like this is something that’s really easy to do.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I’d really hope that Valve just wrote an OpenGL backend for Source for their Mac ports. (“Just” in that it’s conceptually simple, not that it’s a trivial amount of work.)

          • Lemming says:

            @johntheemo Actually, I’m talking about a conversion tool. Something that could translate something built with the directx API, into an openGL one, then be repackaged/compressed for distribution.

          • Batolemaeus says:

            LionsPhil, that is exactly what that Phoronix dude is claiming. Native OpenGL renderpath plus the other bits to make a proper port.

    • Shivoa says:

      Agreed on DirectX and how it is the core of a lot of games (existing PC ones at least, most engines are API agnostic as they’re built for OpenGL ES (with plenty of nVidia extensions) in PS3, DirectX 9 custom on 360, DX9-11 on PC, and so on; the problem is all the games already out there that hook into DirectX on the x86 build of the game as it only got a Windows release on PC).

      I don’t think we’re at the end of the period of OpenGL’s sidelined place in PC gaming unfortunately. Look at how Intel build their iGPU to target DirectX hardware requirements (thanks to DX10 and now DX11’s increasingly simplified mandatory requirements for hardware making it very clear what makes a DX10 or DX11 (or even DX9c in DX9_3 compatible definition that MS later created)) and completely ignore OpenGL support for an equivalent technology level. That may be sorted out soon but it’ll take a few years for it to filter through to install base and until then it makes a lot more sense to release a Windows build with clear DX9/10/11 requirement on the box and Linux will only be a niche consideration.

      Getting more games released on Windows with OpenGL modes (even if they run by default on the DirectX API) would be good, a return to the oldern times when APIs were many and some were hardware specific and so good games let you pick the API to best fit your system.

      • ZeDestructor says:

        OpenGL is sidelined because it’s playing catch-up with DirectX. OpenGL ES is slightly better off, but not by much.

        Once (game) devs start focusing on OpenGL again, it will easily become up to feature-parity and may well outpace Direct3D.

        • byteCrunch says:

          Playing catch up? In what way is OpenGL behind at the moment. In some cases it is ahead, take tessellation, OpenGL had a tessellation extension for about 3 years before DirectX/3D added support.
          I believe Microsoft forced a lot of devs to move to DirectX around the time of Vista, in the case of Vista, Microsoft hinted they were dropping OpenGL support altogether, on top of the marketing Microsoft was putting behind DirectX at the time.

      • othello says:

        What? Most new GPU features are implemented first as OpenGL extensions.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          That doesn’t mean they are better features than they are when implemented in DirectX. OpenGL does play catch up with DirectX often. Not on the its schedule, but on the quality of implementation. Like it or not.

  4. faillord_adam says:

    BRB, deleting Windows and reinstalling Ubuntu.

    • Brun says:

      No love for Fedora? :-(

      • Verity says:

        Fedora isn’t really usable as a desktop, there are much better distros for this. I mean you can, but there’s no point.

      • faillord_adam says:

        I tried, but it was bitching about some SELinux thing that always stopped me running programs I wanted to.

        • gnodab says:

          Hey stop it! I want to believe!
          Also I’d go for LinuxMint, since Unity essentially is Win8 already.

          Edit: Damn it reply fail.
          I intended to respond to Kaira…

          • heledir says:

            Technically Mint is Ubuntu, just with a few changes. If you’re proficient enough you can just install a different UI in Ubuntu, which everyone should. Because Unity really is a giant pain.

          • tormeh says:

            Just open the Ubuntu Software Center, from there you can install different UIs. Search for ‘Gnome Shell’, ‘Gnome Classic’, ‘KDE Plasma’ and ‘LXDE’ to find them. Some may be hidden as ‘technical packages’, though. When you’ve found what you were looking for log out and select the new UI by clicking on the cogwheel icon and log in again.

            If you want you’ll never see Unity again. I like Unity, but it’s a little fancy having so many UIs to choose from.

      • heledir says:

        Gentoo Stage 1, nothing better than watching firefox and open-office compile for 12+ hours. Hm, good times back then.

        • LionsPhil says:

          It wasn’t so much the compile times as trying to get portage out of a complete tangle when you’d dared to use per-package USE flags…

          • heledir says:

            Don’t remind me. Luckily I had a good friend who set it up for me the first time I installed it, but when I had to do it for myself the first time… It still is better than Ubuntu though, using “emerge” was heaven.

          • Batolemaeus says:

            Funny thing here:
            >>> Emerging (23 of 25) app-office/libreoffice-
            >>> Jobs: 22 of 25 complete, 1 running Load avg: 3.73, 3.30, 3.32

            Building a system from scratch because Ubuntu became unusable and I dislike Mint’s way of doing things. This is a laptop that needs lots of manual attention, so i might as well go all out and learn something.

            Portage is indeed heaven. This beats dpkg+apt.
            By the way, it seems to me that useflag-hell has been lessened a lot. I’m getting by much better now than a few years ago.

          • jezcentral says:

            I read the headline ands was happy.
            I read the article and was happy.

            I read the comments, and they scared the bejeesus out of me.

    • absolofdoom says:

      Man I hate ubuntu. It’s like the windows of the linux world.

      • Phantoon says:

        You need to qualify that statement, because Windows by itself is fine.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Me too, the only thing that’s been holding me back is gaming*.
      I predict good things will come of this, as I doubt Steam will get to keep the Linux gaming monopoly for long. Guess which digital distribution platform will be the first to follow suit, given that one of the main challenges lie in DRM software (or lack thereof)?

      * Not entirely true; Steam is also my primary IM client by a happy coincidence.

  5. Kaira- says:

    I’ll believe it when someone else claims this without using Phoronix and Michael Larabel as source.

    • Brun says:

      Valve had job openings for Linux developers a month or so ago – this must have been why.

      • Kaira- says:

        Or it might have been for servers, which are oft run on Linux.

        • Archonsod says:

          And even more often outsourced.

          • jrodman says:

            At small scale yes. At large scale no. It’s too expensive to run a very large number of nodes with the management of them handled by other people. And at large numbers you start needing to do things differently than the prefabs.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Dota 2.
            Just sayin’

    • Spad says:

      I believe the “Steam on Linux” part of the story, the rest I’ll ignore until I get confirmation from a slightly more reliable source, like some guy I bump into in the pub.

    • Beelzebud says:

      Normally I would agree, but RTFA. He’s got pictures from inside the Valve offices, and they’re running Left 4 Dead 2 on Ubuntu without using Wine, a.k.a. running as a native Linux client.

      • Kaira- says:

        He *CLAIMS* to been there. As far as I can see the log refers to .dll-files, which are not really used on Unix-based computers. And the man claims he has knowledge that CryEngine 3 has native Linux-build. The source for that? His own twitter with a picture of a table full of food.

        Yeah, I’ll call bullshit until someone else reports this.

        • jrodman says:

          When you’re doing a port with winelib, you have dll files.

        • meklu says:

          Perhaps the console output is like that since the source just prints a single thing regardless of the platform. It’s not too difficult to correct a thing like that but it’d be a bit overkill.

          Furthermore, look at the fonts in the game. They’re not the ones used in any of the now available L4D2 clients, and WINE sure knows how to display those. I don’t think there’s any emulation sorcery involved.

          Edit: The Linux and OS X equivalents for .dll’s are .so and .dylib, respectively. Not too sure about other Unixes.

      • monkeybars says:

        I’m pretty sure he was responding to what Newell allegedly said about Windows, which is much more interesting, if true, than Steam coming to Linux.

    • Utnac says:

      Indeed, that website has been claiming this since 2008 or something stupid like that.

    • Clean3d says:

      RPS linked to a podcast interview a day or two ago in which Gabe Newell mentioned working with a team doing Linux. That doesn’t confirm anything, since Valve has Linux server software for some of their games. Still…

    • bear912 says:

      To be fair, they have been working on Steam for Linux, and this is simply fact. Last time I saw anything of it was a leaked early Linux binary that you could download off the Steam servers in the early days of Steam for Mac. It barely ran, and wasn’t usable in any real sense, but it was there. They were irrefutably working on it, and I can assume that they’re continuing to do so. Steam for Linux exists without a shadow of a doubt, but how far it’s come is anyone’s guess, really.

  6. Verity says:

    Yes, yes please! Ubuntu LTS tomorrow, Unity finally usable, moreover, very solid!

  7. Vinraith says:

    I’m a little bit surprised that the Linux community even wants Steam, as it seems somewhat antithetical to the entire open source ethos. Sure, having more games on the platform is great, but I’d think having to ask Valve’s permission every time they want to play one of their games would bother Linux users more than it bothers your typical gamer.

    Though come to think of it, from Valve’s perspective this gives them a virtual monopoly on gaming on the platform, so I can certainly see why they’re interested.

    • Beelzebud says:

      Only the zealots will resist Steam on Linux. Anyone who wants to see the platform succeed understands the need for entertainment software to be proprietary.

      • Vinraith says:

        The need for the software to be proprietary, and the need for an additional level of proprietary control atop the software, are two very separate things.

        Steam is popular because its users don’t mind sacrificing control for convenience, Linux users, by definition, are used to doing exactly the opposite.

        • medwards says:

          More accurately, Linux users are used to being able to slowly migrate things to an open platform. Consider apt and the deb packge ecosystem. It wasn’t super great for most users, and Red Hat had thrown up some serious competition with things like Red Carpet. Users were so desperate for package management with up to date packages that trying to game Red Carpet was a seriously important endeavour. Apt won because it just said ‘fuck it’ to the entire walled garden philosophy and managed to curate a seriously good set of software.

          The problem here is that this software isn’t and has never been free. I think we’ll be stymied out of the gates in this regard and if Valve enables command-line stuff for Steam so I can just go steam install left4dead then I think you’ll be surprised how long steam on Linux could survive.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hodge says:

        True, but they also hate having to reboot into Windows to play stuff. Steam will remain equally proprietary/controlling regardless of which platform it’s running on, it’s convenience people are after.

        Anyone who’s completely opposed to the way Steam works isn’t using it in the first place, let alone clamouring for it to be ported across.

      • jrodman says:

        I think proprietary games will be accepted just fine. Loki did just fine in their time (despite the business model failure).

        DRM though may not fare as well? Unclear.

        But that’s all peanuts compared to inertia to get game vendors to do the port work. Steam on Mac is pretty anemic as it is.

    • jellydonut says:

      There’s lots of large proprietary applications that run on Linux without people balking. I don’t see this being any different.

      Besides, who knows. The Source engine and Steam might even be open-sourced at some point in the future.

    • Kodeen says:

      Not everyone who uses Linux does so for the ideology. Some use it out of preference to how Linux works, some use it because they don’t like how MS and Apple do things, etc…

    • Devan says:


      Sure, DRM is counter to Free (Libre) Software, and *nix users generally prefer Free Software to Non-free Software. Still, there’s no question that Non-free Software exists and has users, and for those users who prefer to use *nix, that software being available on their platform is a good thing. For people who are not users of that non-free software, it doesn’t really affect them so I don’t see why it should bother them.

      Basically, Non-free Software being available on Linux is better (or at least no worse) than it not being available on Linux.

      • Vinraith says:

        “Non-free” is, again, not at all the issue. Proprietary control of purchased software by a third party is the issue. Again, Steam is about trading away control for get convenience, Linux users genuinely value control over convenience.

        • ZeDestructor says:

          Some do, others don’t. I keep backups of all my steam games, in case someday it goes down and locks me out. At this point, I just break SteamWorks in games and keep playing. I prefer Linux because it generally a nicer place to be than Windows (for my usage), not because it gives me more control and free software (mind you, I do appreciate those as well, but its not something that makes or breaks a decision)

        • jrodman says:

          I think I represent a sort of centrist unix old guard view when i say:

          Control and convenience are ultimately *the same*.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Vinraith, you touched the wound.

          Personally I think they value their freedom over convenience when it doesn’t get in the way of what they want. When it comes to games they are ready to forget all about their creed and pretend it didn’t happen.

          I’ll agree there will be users for whom Linux is simply a tool and they care none for the politics that comes with it. But these are a small number of users; those that never shouted “Down with proprietary software!”

          The entertainment industry is fertile grounds for hypocrisy.

          • jrodman says:

            Open Source is about retaining control over your platform, your tools, your data, your destiny.

            Accepting closed sourced games does not compromise that. It never did.

    • DrGonzo says:

      But someone using Linux won’t want to be running games, hence Linux.

      • Batolemaeus says:

        I beg to differ.

        If it weren’t for games, I would’ve long switched to *nix for my desktop and windows running in a vm. The only reason I’m doing it the other way around is because *nix generally performs very well in a VM and I can still play a game from time to time.

        For getting shit done, I much prefer the superb flexibility of *nix.

        • Walsh says:

          Getting what shit done? Pray tell what workload does Linux do that I can’t do with Windows?

          • jrodman says:

            Is this “all computers are turing complete”? Or do you genuinely not know that there are workflows that are better supported on Unix?

            For a workflow example: As a developer of server software, windows is a joke of a development and test platform that is just a joke to me. The system now *can* be automated, but only with an order of magnitude more code, and with an order of magnitude more fragility.

            Let’s say I want to write a unit test that makes a file unreadable in the middle of an operation. On Unix this is a single line of C. It’s a single line of shell. it’s a single line of python. On windows it’s 12 steps and a thesis at each layer to do correctly.

      • Ernesto says:

        Yeah right….
        That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve read today.
        Maybe I should explain: Just because someone uses an OS incapable of running most games, doesn’t mean that nobody wants to.

      • jrodman says:

        Come on RPS, you can do better than this.

    • Archonsod says:

      Assumes of course that you consider Steam to be software, rather than a service. Unix was doing that stuff long before Microsoft even existed after all.

    • othello says:

      That is a great point. My opinion is at least that something like this can do a very good job of popularising desktop Linux. Maybe it might be worth it to accept some form of DRM on a Linux install in order to promote it as a platform. Perhaps we can push for a more open source future in gaming this way.

  8. BooleanBob says:

    Listen. I know it makes me a bad person. That still doesn’t stop me from thinking a Steam operating system might be pretty great.

    • Telzis says:

      If this is becoming a thing, there will probably be at least ten different distributions trying to do exactly this (and one to three of them might also hit the nail on the head).

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      If game support is really so bad with Windows 8, someone will definitely have to step up to the plate. Granted, some kind of Linux makes a lot more sense to me than making a new OS from scratch, but I’m hardly an expert in these things.

      The only thing that’s been keeping me married to Windows has been the fact that it’s the PC gaming standard. If someone can crack that nut and let me play my stuff natively in Linux or some other OS, consider me sold.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you mean something Linux-based, it’s very possible, but as always with Linux the only real thing it can bring to the table is being free.

      If you mean something else, like the ol’ “cut down” idea that goes around every couple of months, see previous. A modern OS is the product of millions of man-hours of hard work.

      • Tei says:

        What are you trying to say here? Linux killed your dog?

        Linux is a great OS. Thats what Linux has to drag to the table. It is also so flexible, that can run on anything from a phone to most of the 500 most powerfull supercomputers in the world.

      • Batolemaeus says:

        Linux also has incredible amounts of man-hours put into it. You point is invalid considering that Linux alone is a project of enormous proportions by now, not to mention the surrounding biotope of distributions.

        What would be much more interesting to Valve is how flexible *nix is. They could go FreeBSD on streamlined x86 hardware and sell the result as a media center console, something that would be absolutely impossible with Microsoft wanting their own locked down system.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I like how you ignored the fact that that was the “else” case. The one which is not Linux. Have a cookie.

          Although if you want to pick at that, the multitude of distributions just spreads that work thin.

          (Wait, did I just get a Linux advocate to imply that Linux is not a modern OS? :3c )

      • jezcentral says:

        A modern OS is also something that might go the way of the dodo in a few years time, and all we would need is a web-browser and a gaming environment. If Valve could provide that, I honestly couldn’t see the need for me to get Windows.

        • Consumatopia says:

          That’s especially the case if Valve is developing their own hardware– a “cut-down” OS would make total sense there (as it makes sense on consoles.).

  9. Shadrach says:

    Since WIn8 was presented I’ve been thinking Win7 is the last Microsloth OS I will be using. The only thing possibly holding me back will be games. Once Win7 is ready for retirement gaming on Linux will be a proper alternative thanks to this :)

    • Brun says:

      Well, hopefully Win8 will fail miserably in the desktop space and Microsoft will keep the tablet and desktop operating systems completely separate (and different) like they should have from the start.

    • monkeybars says:

      Do you not remember the Microsoft product cycle? Of course Windows 8 is going to be bad. Why would *this* one be cause to leave Windows? ME and Vista were good enough?

      • DrGonzo says:

        I love comments like this. Lalala I’m using Windows 7 it’s great, Windows Vista was awful. I’m entirely convinced people are just influenced by the the branding. Rebrand Vista as 7 and everyone loves it.

        • Snakejuice says:


        • InternetBatman says:

          The improvements Vista seemed to offer didn’t work well. Most importantly, the search bar doesn’t work. Search in vista worked worse than it did in XP. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to go on magical scavenger hunts through my girlfriend’s hard drive because search doesn’t work well. Also, the annoying “do you want to do this?” prompt pops up at the drop of a hat. I’m only marginally skilled with computers at best, but the differences were apparent.

          I get that 7 is largely a reskin of vista, but it’s a reskin vista desperately needed.

        • monkeybars says:

          I love comments like that too, that’s why I make them.

    • Telzis says:

      I had the same thoughts since Vista was in the news, actually. I still kept using Windows because of the games (and because there are still people insisting on Microsoft Office Documents as a quasi-standard for document exchange… and Visual Studio, to be honest, it’s good). It won’t go away over night, but maybe I can choose the OS I’m gaming on in the future.

    • Chaz says:

      Yeah with a bit of luck Win 8 will go the way of Vista and ME and quickly die on its feet to be replaced by a more “serious” OS.

      I think Win 8 will be so polarizing that they’ll have to offer something more Metro free. I certainly can’t see it being accepted in the corporate work space, and that must count as a massive percentage of Windows sales.

      • Brun says:

        To be fair to Microsoft, Windows 8 intended target is probably not the enterprise market. It’s the consumer electronics space – in which I think Win8 will probably do well, it is a slick and respectable operating system on tablets. And given that most Android tablets have been pretty mediocre there’s ample room for Microsoft to step in and provide a viable iPad competitor – certainly moreso than in the phone market.

        That said, I don’t think creating a single OS to fill both the desktop and tablet spaces was a wise decision. It’s like they saw what Apple was doing with trying to (eventually) converge the MacBook and iPad environments, but stopped halfway.

        • LionsPhil says:

          They’ve been blowing some horns that they plan for it to be for workplaces too, with the single-app-at-a-time focus of Metro keeping employees “focused”.

          But…yeah. I’d expect a big 180 on that sharpish. And hope, because MS are pretty much the only people outside of academia doing boring-but-important core OS development this side of obsolete 1970s designs. They’re bastards, but them losing to UNIX cowboys is not a win for users.

          • byteCrunch says:

            It is a bit like Gnome3 all over again.

            Though given that it is Microsoft we probably will not see them change it till after Windows 8 is out there, by which point it will most likely be too late. It is a shame really given that Windows 8 has some really nice changes, but Microsoft cannot get over their iPad envy.

          • DrGonzo says:

            You can multitask in Metro though, and with a click it pops away and you are back to windows. I’m not sure how Metro could be useful in anyway to a workplace to be honest.

            As for iPad envy, I doubt that. They definitely have a big case of iPhone envy, but the iPad is pants and they know it. I think with Windows 8 they could sell a serious amount of tablets. It’s been said before there are no real competitors to the iPad outside of the Blackberry, which is an excellent piece of kit and far more usable than the iPad but it has shite branding, and had a dodgy launch. Microsoft aren’t the victim of some kind of witches curse like RIM however, and they have a very nice ui unlike Apple. They could make a lot of money.

          • Onaka says:

            Yeah… How about you back up your claims, if you’re going to say someone’s doing work only on antiquated designs, you’d best actually mention a few of those designs AND their replacements.

      • DrGonzo says:

        And it’s things like this that stop us having attractive OSs. So it’s much more stable, has much smaller system requirements and generally runs way faster than 7. BUT, dum-dum-duuum it has an entirely optional Metro interface you can ignore.

        So all signs point to it being much better, especially as it’s not even out yet. But because it has an attractive but optional overlay it’s not ‘serious’.

        • byteCrunch says:

          It is not really optional, considering currently without 3rd party software you have no conventional desktop UI, such as the lack of start button and menu.
          People wouldn’t have an issue if Metro was really optional but it isn’t, currently the only was to launch an application is from Metro, unless you like having icons all over your desktop and taskbar.

          You have to remember the average Windows user, is not me or you. It’s someone who gets confused if their IE shortcut has moved place. (This is perhaps a bit extreme but you get the idea.)

        • Tams80 says:

          You can’t turn the Metro UI off. Not to mention they went and messed with Aero. ¬.¬

  10. Tei says:

    I gamed on linux for maybe 2 years, It was really hard, because trying to run most games takes a lot of work,and It don’t work for the most part. Sure, there are native games, and some “important” games have very good support, but If you are like me and want to play everything that is new.. its not really possible.
    So I installed a windows OS, and I have stick to it, I don’t like it (is a lame OS) but It sort of works for games.

    Having Steam for Linux makes a lot of sense, since a lot of Indie titles try to have a big enough public by launching a Mac and Linux client. So really, there are a lot of games in Steam that already have a Linux client.

    Too bad Linus Torbalds don’t want to freeze the abi, so the “hardware api” change all the time, so drive makers have a moving target, … and most don’t really want to make a linux driver. In Linux apps are easy to run and install wen somewhere the full source is available to recompile, for misterious binary blobs there can be infinite problems with dependencies. Its not easy.

    And my job I use a Ubuntu as desktop, and every day I grown more and more happy with Ubuntu.

  11. LionsPhil says:

    In before two things happen:

    1) Sizable and noisy sections of the Linux community demand that Steam becomes open source, and whine incessently until it is.

    2) Loads of people go “oh boy now Microsoft is dead I am going to run me some Linux”, struggle through the awful mess desktop Linux has got itself into (Ubuntu are trying to outdo Windows 8), and find they get worse performance because a) the Linux multimedia stack is crap, has always been crap, and gets “fixed” by people piling more crap on top and b) Microsoft have spend huge amounts of effort doing horrendously complicated things to help level out performance with smart use of idle time, which Linux doesn’t even begin to try.

    • Beelzebud says:

      There is a lot of proprietary software that people run on Linux. I don’t think any sane person is going to expect Valve to make Steam open source. You do not have to be open source to run on Linux.

      I understand why people want the core OS and utilities open source, but we’re talking about software for entertainment here, that is a lot different.

      • LionsPhil says:

        You realize that every time that Bitrock installer shows up on happypenguin that there’s a small flamewar in the comments about it not being open source, right?

        • Kaira- says:

          And every time X is mentioned, a vocal party says Y. It means jack shit.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          LionsPhil – Nobody was whining incessantly to make Desura open source. It is now, but I doubt anyone would have cared if it remained closed. When 25% of money made by every HiB is from Linux users, do you hear those customers incessantly whining that the games should be made open source? Please think before you speak. Pure emotional gurgling does not a good conversation make.

        • Beelzebud says:

          No doubt there will be whines coming from zealots, but they don’t matter in this instance, because we’re talking about entertainment software that is not required for using the OS.

    • Verity says:

      That’s a lot of “crap” without any kind of evidence. There is dozens of desktop choices on Linux, you can pick and choose whatever you want, KDE/Gnome 3/Unity are all very mature, stable and good, media work just fine, only PulseAudio is problematic but less and less.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Anyone who defends PulseAudio needs to be dragged out back and shot.

        “Choice” means “wasting time trying to find one that fucking works”. Which is none of them, because any time software gets more than 80% done in the Linux world it is replaced with a complete rewrite, usually one which is “lightweight”, because the previous one was becoming complicated with things that actually made it useful or work in complicated real world situations.

        • Verity says:

          You do NOT have to use Linux, do NOT have to pay a penny for it, and yet you whine like a baby whose candy got stolen. PulseAudio is not perfect but it works for most people. If it doesn’t work for you, use ALSA or state why it doesn’t work for you so you have some credibility.

          Choice means choice, you pick what you like, every single desktop environment works at this point and is solid. Why a complete rewrite? Because we like to innovate and try new things, instead of using Windows XP forever. If it’s more lightweight, that’s of course better. All of your complaints are 100% subjective and sure, YOU may not like it, use Windows or Mac then, but don’t start a flame war here based on your own taste, don’t argue like those are apples and oranges.

          • LionsPhil says:

            You do NOT have to use Linux

            Well done! This is indeed what I am predicting (and advocating).

            There will be some muddling through because will want to convince themselves that they want to be free from eeeeevil Micro$oft, and that the time and effort invested has been worth it.

            And then they’ll lose wireless support in a dist-upgrade and that’ll be that. Enjoy your ad-homs!

          • enobayram says:

            @LionsPhil your opinion about Linux seems to be very outdated. No one has issues with wireless anymore, and I don’t have issues with sound on any of my computers anymore (dunno about others).

        • Premium User Badge

          Hodge says:

          Anyone who defends PulseAudio needs to be dragged out back and shot.”

          I love you, man.

        • heledir says:

          God, pulse-audio tortured me for months. Every three updates or so I had to remove it again, because the dependencies were so messed up that it was reinstalled with the update.

        • Archonsod says:

          Which is kinda why you can choose what you want to use, rather than being dependent on what the people writing the kernel think you should be using. But y’know, if you much prefer Bill Gates and the like dictating what you can do with your computer then by all means stick to the paddling pool that is Windows. The rest of us will go play in the deep end.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Have fun, we’ll be over here enjoying some of that “gaming” stuff that’s been in the news recently. I hear it’s all the rage with the kids these days…

    • Tei says:

      1) I am a Linux fanboy, and I don’t ask for the source of anything.

      2) Wut? Ubuntu outdoing Windows 8? thats hard, since Windows 8 is a new version, and Ubuntu predate it by a lot of years. Lets not turn this in a Windowns vs Linux thread. Save your misconceptions for yourself. Windows 8 is part of plan to make Windows succed in tablets, is not a bad OS, but is not for everyone. Most people sould probably wait for Windows 9 to upgrade.

      • flowsnake says:

        You might be surprised to learn Ubuntu also has versions.

    • Gundato says:

      Lions: Try Linux Mint. It basically does what Ubuntu used to try and do (provide a user-friendly Linux), but they actually succeeded, in most regards. It really is just as convenient as Windows for most operations, and the gui is very familiar (even if I look forward to the next release due to hating the infinity icon thing).

      • LionsPhil says:

        Thank you for providing the obligatory “everything will be fine if you just reinstall with this different distribution, it’s better, honest”.

        Been doing that dance for far too many years. These days it’s easier to stuff the damn things in a VM and treat them as disposable so there’s less to lose when it’s time to jump to whichever ship is sinking the least this month. (Currently clinging on to Xubuntu, but they’re leaking GNOME-isms into it. Sigh.)

        • Gundato says:

          Then try a virtual machine of Linux Mint.

          Seriously, Linux Mint is NOT for Linux users, it is for the rest of us. Give it a shot, it is basically just Windows with gcc and no video games.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            it is basically just Windows with gcc and no video games.

            So I could just install MinGW on Windows & have a better system? Done deal my friend!

            (note I don’t have MinGW installed at home on my gaming system but I do have Visual Studio =P)

          • Gundato says:

            Ah, I love Visual Studio.

            And fine, I’ll rephrase that:

            It is Windows with the ability to easily develop for unix-based systems and no video games or office. And no, cygwin does not count :p

    • RaveTurned says:

      Re: point 1 – I’ll give you noisy (the zealots always are), but less sure about sizable. Then again on the Internet it can be hard to tell the difference.

    • jrodman says:

      Don’t feed LionsPhil re: Linux folks.

  12. Gundato says:


    I mean, we are still buggered on getting most of the games themselves to run, but this makes me happy anyway (and maybe, when there is more interest, a better WINE might appear).

    Honestly, I find myself preferring Linux for most of what I do these days. I mostly just have a Windows rig at home for video games and MS Office. While I can’t fully shift until there is an office worth using (No, Libre/Open does NOT count), it would be nice to be able to goof off on my laptop though.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’m actually surprised how well Wine runs on most things not needing several Windows libraries. Which, granted, is most games.

  13. ThatGuy says:

    Okay, I think I skipped a beat here.

    What’s going on with Windows 8 that makes it bad for gaming? I’ve only tried it on a laptop and it can’t even play games to begin with, so I couldn’t check that stuff out.

    Genuinely curious, feel like I should’ve heard about this before considering the CP has been around for a while now.

    • Brun says:

      Windows 8 is an ill-conceived mashup of a tablet OS and Windows 7. The tablet pandering is integrated so tightly to the OS that even on a desktop some of the tablet elements persist. For example, the “hot corners” and the fullscreen Metro Start Menu.

      I think, as a purely tablet OS, Windows 8 will do well. Moreover, I don’t think Windows 8 will necessarily be bad for gaming, probably no more than Windows 7. However, the user experience of Windows 8 on a desktop will be absolute garbage because it retains so many of the tablet-centric features.

  14. Birous says:

    I have no doubt in my mind that if all games worked natively on linux, the windows user base would be a lot smaller. I wouldn’t wan’t to go back to windows.

  15. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    sudo give me Steam on linux.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Ooh nice. It doesn’t make any difference for my gaming at home, but this means that I can play more stuff while travelling (because my laptop doesn’t have Windows, since it’s mainly for work and I don’t need Windows for work).

  17. kikito says:

    There goes the only reason I had to install Desura. Oh, well.

  18. scorcher24 says:

    I witnessed this day.

  19. PearlChoco says:

    While I absolutely love linux, the one thing PC gaming doesn’t need right now is more fragmentation of its user base.

  20. Gap Gen says:


  21. Bungle says:

    I only use Windows because I have to for gaming. I won’t hesitate to dump Microsoft the moment a viable alternative becomes available to me. And I’ll laugh as I do it.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Unix will conquer all! No longer will I have to figure out how to compile Python in Windows!

      • byteCrunch says:

        People program under Windows? Madness…

        • Gap Gen says:

          I’m not programming under Windows, but I do need to figure out how to compile Python so people can play my (crappy missile command knock-off) game on it.

          • byteCrunch says:

            I’m not much of a python programmer but have you looked at py2exe or pyinstaller?
            They’ll package python scripts into a single exe.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’ll take another look, but ideally I’d want to compile a Windows .exe under Linux, which seems not to be easily available.

          • byteCrunch says:

            I did a little more reading, PyInstaller seems to run fine under Wine if you want to compile an exe, its about as close to cross-compiling you’ll get.
            PyInstaller did allow cross-compiling but it hardly worked.

        • Batolemaeus says:

          Visual Studio is actually not that bad an IDE

  22. Hairball says:

    Hey LionsPhil, please tell me more about how people who use certain types of software should be executed and make broad, sweeping statements about those who use operating systems built on the Linux Kernel.

  23. Bane2087 says:

    While I agree that windows 8 is terrible for the desktop I don’t think linux is the answer either. The problem with linux is it’s open source. Yeah I said it. A consumer friendly, idiot friendly OS needs a proprietary base that’s QA’d to death that doesn’t change all the time at the whims of arrogant coders who seem to think everyone who uses a computer should go get a computer science degree first. Linux has improved leaps and bounds but it is nowhere near user friendly and I can’t see it ever will be. The basic OS is fairly easy to get going but look up how to do almost anything outside the basics in linux and it will guaranteed ask you to drop to the terminal and start typing in sudo commands, installing packages, editing config files or worse compiling stuff with make files. How many end users are going to bother with that?

    I’ll give an example, trying to do some audio editing and composing tasks in linux I discovered my kernel hadn’t been compiled with multimedia in mind the timer resolution being too low or some such. My options were to install ubuntu studio (i.e. replace my current OS with a new distro) or figuer out how to recompile the kernel of my existing install without fubaring everything. Now I consider myself intermediately technical, I am a C# programmer and even I was like are you fing kidding me?

    I’m not a linux hater I wish it was better but it just isn’t, I don’t see it gaining large scale popularity unless something fundamentally changes… ever. I’m not sure why Gabe has his eye on it to be honest.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      This is my main concern… Especially that recompiling the Kernel stuff. I certainly wouldn’t wish Linux on, say, my Mum.

      I’m a web developer, mainly front end with some .Net, so I’m not exactly a hardcore programmer by any stretch, but I consider myself reasonably computer savvy. And I have to say I completely agree with you on pretty much all those points.

      Don’t mind playing with it myself, but can see why it seems pretty daunting.

    • heledir says:

      I think Linux is for people who know what they want and are willing to work for it. Linux needs effort to work perfectly. I never had a new release or a time longer than 4 months without problems, but I like it. It’s a challenge.

      If you want a system that works (not always, yes, I know) than choose Windows. I think it is not as bad as many people make it out to be. Someone who does not have the time or motivation to care for their system should use Windows.

      I fully understand if someone doesn’t want to come home after work to discover that a recent update junked part of the software so that sound isn’t working any more (I lost count how many times an update has made something stop working for me).

      Linux is like a pet, if you don’t like walking your dog after work, you shouldn’t get a dog. If you don’t like to invest time in your OS then don’t use Linux.

    • Archonsod says:

      You can always spot the people too young enough to remember DOS :P

      Really though why on earth would you want to regularly re-compile the kernel? You can just install the distro as is, run through the configuration and leave it like that, particularly if all you want to do is play games. Generally speaking pretty much every OS is identical in that matter, and funnily enough, you tend to find it actually works better too; probably because if you resist the temptation to poke around under the hood, you don’t break it ….

      • heledir says:

        The problem is just, that Linux sometimes forces you to poke around under the hood. My desktop PC has a rather old sound card that wasn’t compatible with newer drivers. So to get sound I was forced to change a few things in a config. No other way.

      • Bane2087 says:

        Too young to remember DOS? I am old enough to remember coding in Spectrum Basic… also I have spent far too many hours of my life messing with jumpers caps to resolve IRQ conflicts and editing autoexec.bat and config.sys files to try and get enough conventional memory to get a game to run. I have no desire to return to those days!

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think Ubuntu has been *mostly* been kind to me, awful Flash support and mount.ntfs killing my computer aside (my fault for using Wubi, apparently). It’s certainly way less complicated than some of the earlier versions of Windows were to fix. Plus it’s actually easier to use than OSX for certain, programmery things, which is possibly not surprising.

    • Consumatopia says:

      This doesn’t address your overall complaint, but I thought it was possible to install real time or low latency kernels from packages in Ubuntu? I never tried (I don’t do any sound work) but that’s what they seem to be saying here: link to

  24. feraliminal says:

    Now we’re talking. Part of the reason I’ve been buying these increasingly-overlapping indie bundles is to have games that run on linux. Maybe the catalog will expand under Steam.

  25. dogsolitude_uk says:

    I dual boot my desktop and laptop with Linux Mint. I grew to love Linux after a lazy week inbetween jobs, when I found some old PC parts, built a small one, and stuck Linux on it.

    That was Ubuntu. I ditched Ubuntu after Unity, and have been using Mint ever since. To my mind the current Mint has a rather more sensible UI. Microsoft seem to be heading into Unity territory. I often wonder if 2011 was ‘The Year UI Usability Died’, what with Skyrim, Unity and Windows 8 all sort of being around that period.

    If you’re tempted, do give Linux a go: you can run it off a USB brive reasonably well, and it won’t alter your machine in any way (unless you want it to).

    In case it’s helpful to anyone, here’s some stuff that took me a little while to get used to:
    – drive labels, all that sda1:, hda2: stuff…
    – that GRUB thing for dual booting
    – the fact that you can have the same OS but with different desktops
    – package management and repositories… It’s sort of like Steam, but for free software
    – the folder structure… It was like a weird hall of mirrors…
    – using the command line for loads of things (isn’t ‘Sudo’ a Korean martial art?)
    – graphics and sound drivers were a bit fiddly. I still have no sound for my Desktop PC, thanks to not having the right drivers for my M-Audio delta card (I will get it sorted, but still on a learning curve here…)

    It’s a different experience using Linux, but very enjoyable. There’s something reassuring about having a free OS that you can stick on a USB drive, and reinstall as much as you like.

    And having Steam on it will make it better still in my view :) I just *really* hope that this works out :)

    • MezzFA0 says:

      The M-Audio Delta’s work natively in every distro I’ve used (Debian, Ubuntu, SuSE, CentOS). Do you by any chance also have a motherboard sound card built in? You’re probably just stuck with ALSA defaulting to the on board sound.

      The quick and dirty fix is to disable the on board card in the BIOS, the better fix is to run alsaconfig and select your default card from the gui. I’m pretty sure you can use pavucontrol to achieve the same thing too.

      For the record, I’ve used Delta 44s, 66s and 1010LTs. They all use the same chipset if my memory serves so the whole line should work.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Assuming it’s a legitimate story (and given Phoronix’s track record, that’s a fairly sizeable assumption) they’ll do well out of it. Not game-changing but it will give them another small income stream on a similar level to the Mac stuff. There’s a noticeable lack of AAA stuff on Linux, but a lot of indie stuff gets ported across and seems to do alright.

    The games are there and already being sold, so it makes sense for Valve to set up a storefront and start taking a cut. But that’s it, anyone thinking that this would signal some massive shift away from Windows is being hopelessy optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on their point of view). The losers will be people like Desura and Gameolith.

  27. pipman3000 says:

    The New World Order needs to hurry up and take over so we can have one OS that everyone has to use.

    Hurry up Obama and EU!

  28. faillord_adam says:

    I believe this may be of some interest

    link to

  29. wodin says:

    WIndows 7 will do me fine until Wind 9 arrives and then I will see what thats like. I always miss a release. Which works out well as the last release I missed was Vista! I had XP and before that I missed 98 as I had 95.

  30. DickSocrates says:

    Steam comes to Linux. There will be an incredible 5 games available at LAUNCH with some more sure to follow in the coming years.

  31. HothMonster says:

    One step closer to the steambox?

  32. Ernesto says:

    Thank you!
    Finally someone puts money in the right place! I hope after Valve acts as the pioneer, a lot more providers/manufacturers/publishers hop on the wagon. I know many people who would love to try Linux but eventually don’t; only because games won’t run. It’s a huge market gap imho. Granted one has to invest a lot to get it started, but once it’s rolling…. Somehow it feels to good to be true.

  33. rustybroomhandle says:

    I demand Steam for AmigaOS or Imma bust some heads!

  34. Delusibeta says:

    Considering Phoronix has been claiming Steam is coming to Linux for years, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Read the article.

      • Utnac says:

        Article doesn’t actually prove anything, I distinctly remember a near identical article several years back including quotes from valve, screenshots of steam running in linux and the fact valve were hiring linux developers. Whatever happened that time?

        • byteCrunch says:

          I think it is mostly Newell spreading his bets this time around, with indies continuing to be popular with alot of them releasing both OSX and Linux versions, that combined with Windows 8 on the horizon, which will know doubt recieve a big backlash, unless something changes before then, driving some people to OSX and Linux much like Vista did.
          Also Linux still remains a relativly untapped market for games, its evident the users are willing to pay if you look at the success of the Humble Bundles, there is probably more than enough money in bringing Steam to Linux to make it worthwhile.

  35. jonfitt says:

    I have no loyalty to any operating system on my gaming machine. I want whatever operating system gives me the most games with the least hassle. Right now that is Windows. If it became Linux or OSX I would switch.
    So this is good news as it is potentially a step on improving the status quo.

  36. Norramp says:

    1. If this actually happens, it may end up being a long time before I boot into Windows again.

    2. They need to push for inclusion in the standard Ubuntu distro, that would really get things going.

  37. rustybroomhandle says:

    My prediction here is that whatever distro Valve chooses to primarily support (can’t give equal attention to all of them) will be the one that most gamers will end up running. In fact, I would not be surprised if a LTS distro of some sort pops up that has Steam+catalogue’s stability as its primary focus. I’m betting on Ubuntu(+ spinoffs like Mint & Bodhi, of course).

    This whole thing has the potential to cause huge stirs in the market. I guess if you are a company the size of Valve, with absolutely no shareholders, it’s perfectly ok to take risks like this.

    Valve is not new to Linux though. You can run a standalone TF2 server on Linux.

  38. Emeraude says:

    Really conflicted on that news. On the one hand, I’m probably one of the biggest Steam opponent around… on the other, this could be prove the beginning of the end of the Windows deadlock on games – the only reason so many people aren’t using an Open Source OS in the first place.

    Well, that is, if efforts are made to allow portability of their game catalog, that is.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      They don’t have much say in that beyond their own games – so I’m guessing no EA titles on Linux. Gosh darn it.

      • Clean3d says:

        Time to start the petition to get Origin ported!

      • Emeraude says:

        Yeah, that’s what I understood, too. But a sizable market growth on the Linux front; and the support of &a company like Valve could make investments toward that goal suddenly worthwhile.

        One can hope.

  39. malkav11 says:

    Steam access for Linux users is great, and hopefully heralds Valve’s own games coming to that OS. However, I fail to see how it has any real impact on Linux’s viability as a gaming OS (so far, that viability is pretty much zero). Steam is just a store. The software -on- Steam has to be ported to Linux in order for it to be particularly significant, and most game companies aren’t doing that for reasons much more compelling than whether or not they can sell it on Steam. Similarly, Steam has been available on Mac for a while, and unless I’m missing something, the Mac gaming scene has hardly taken off like a rocket. The userbase isn’t there and the API support isn’t there.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Steam on Mac has to compete with the Mac App Store, the de-facto channel for all things OS X software.

      Steam for Linux will only need to provide better value and or customer experience than Ubuntu Software Center and better everything than Apt-Get, which should be doable.

      I sense that GabeNs alleged gripes may stem from the fact that Win8 will bring its own App store.

  40. Tams80 says:

    I don’t use Steam any more for anything other than the games I have already bought or ones that force me to use it. That said; I’m glad Linux user will get the opportunity to use it.

    Regarding Windows 8: I wouldn’t call it terrible; after all some of it is still the same as Windows 7 (lol). As it is I won’t be moving from Windows 7 and in the future might even go to a Linux distribution if Windows stays on the same track (mainly not being about windows any more). Windows 8 isn’t going to change for what I consider the better by what its developers have to say (the opposite in fact) and this doesn’t make me think future Windows OSes will be better. Unless Windows 8 fails of course (one can hope).

  41. El_Emmental says:

    error: could not find “Eyes of the Staring” tag, will reboot in 30 seconds.

    good news to hear the main video games digital distribution platform can now works on Linux, and will soon add linux versions of games :D (if only big devs were still making linux versions…)

  42. Shortwave says:

    I hate the way Windows 8 feels so far but love 7. I see it as the new XP, and 8 as the previous Vista. But worse. Even though I quite enjoy 7 and feel it’s best for most people, I will have no issue instantly jumping to Ubuntu if the video drivers don’t have any issues and theres full game support.

  43. InternetBatman says:

    I’m excited for this. I haven’t really tried Linux because I’ve never had a separate work and game PC, and having two operating systems on one PC is really unnecessary. I’d like to try it though. MS looks like it’s focusing more and more resources on making a more closed environment with all its programs, and that environment will connect to windows servers with cloud features.

    I think MS is up against a wall with Windows 7. People don’t want to upgrade when something works well, and Windows 7 works really well for me. I think they’ve gotten to a point where they have to force innovation because marginal or under the hood improvements don’t sell as well. That’s what the ribbon in Office was.

    Eventually problems reach an equilibrium where they’re either solved or they get as solved as they’re going to be for a while. After thirty years, basic software should be nearing that point. I think that eventually free software will catch up to that point if code patents and a contentious community don’t stop it.

  44. Rapzid says:

    Speakin as a linux system engineer… Completely unexcited.

  45. Darkchef says:

    I don’t really see how this is that unbelievable. You only have to look at the humble bundle to see that there’s a market of linux users crying out for games on their OS. Why wouldn’t Gabe want to tap into that market? He did it with Mac, how is that different?

    And sure it would take some work but they could make the source engine run OpenGL to get valve games running. Personally, I think games haven’t taken off on linux due to there being no commercial interest but with steam on board we could see decent video card drivers and a ton of new games for linux.

    …and yeah windows 8 is very flawed so this may not be such a bad move. Steam may be DRM but its not half as bad as GFWL and some people prefer it for convenience.

  46. Cameron says:

    It seems to me that it’s easier for companies to write software for Windows. Windows has lots of libraries that you can not distribute but you are free to use in your closed source application. Linux has lots of libraries that you are free to distribute but you must open your source code up if you wish to make use of them (as per the GPL).

    There was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with the LGPL but then the FSF go right ahead and ask people to stop using it because commercial types are writing closed source software.

    Commercial, closed source software isn’t going away, if you want it for your platform then you need to be a bit more inviting to developers. If you want everything to be open then you need to make do with what you can get.

    I use FreeBSD, Linux and Windows; they all have their strengths. Placing a war banner and declaring one the clear victor is just binding your hands together.

    • jrodman says:

      A little knowledge…

      Dynamic linking vs gpl libs has no license repercussion to your code.

      • Cameron says:

        Actually if you do a bit of research you will find that general consensus is that it’s unclear and will remain so until tested by a court. Nobody has yet definitively answered the question about if dynamic linking is ok for GPLed software. Some say it’s probably fine (Novell) some say it’s not. Even though it may be considered ok there aren’t many companies out there that are willing to go out on a limb legally like that, especially for an operating system that they don’t have to provide software for.

        If the header file is covered under the GPL then the author may argue that any use of that in an application constitutes a derived work.

        If you want to see how far the GPL can be pushed but going slightly off-topic then look at wordpress. The creator of wordpress argued that themes and addons are covered under the GPL because they interact with WordPress.

        Here is a bit of reading for you: link to

        All said, I am obviously not a lawyer but smarter men than I see it as a legally grey area.