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Happy Feat: Steam Linux Progressing Well

We heard that a Linux version of Steam was in the works back in April and now Valve have set up an official blog to share the details of their Linux team’s plans and progress.

The goal of the Steam client project is a fully-featured Steam client running on Ubuntu 12.04. We’ve made good progress this year and now have the Steam client running on Ubuntu with all major features available. We’re still giving attention and effort to minor features but it’s a good experience at the moment. In the near future, we will be setting up an internal beta focusing on the auto-update experience and compatibility testing.

Left 4 Dead 2 will be the first game ported and, indeed, there is already a working version. Before release, however, Valve aim “to have L4D2 performing under Linux as well as it performs under Windows”.

Exciting news for Linux advocates? I expect so. The eventual goal is to have a fully functional version of Steam running through Ubuntu 12.04, with Left 4 Dead 2 as its first, optimised title. Once that’s in place, more Valve games would be ported across.

There’s nothing quite as strong as the quote from Phoronix in April, in which this was said of Gabe Newell’s view of the situation – “His level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning” – but there’s a commitment to the philosophy of open source software, with a rallying cry for communication and feedback.

We also encourage you to leave comments and ideas for future postings. We want this to be a community of game developers, communicating with each other and talking about current efforts and future efforts in a powerfully creative environment.

After all, isn’t that what open source is all about – the idea that collaboration and teamwork achieve amazing things?

Some mornings I expect to wake up and find proof all over the internet that Valve’s headquarters are a Willy Wonka-esque world of wall-licking wonder or, more believably, that they are relocating to the moon. The Linux blog is a direct line of communication with developers and gamers from a company that can often be mysterious and opaque in its workings, and that in itself may tell us a great deal about how Valve sees the move. That said, I’m not expecting to find a golden ticket providing complete access to the underground development suites in my copy of Linux 4 Dead.

For anyone already devoted to the cult of the penguin, or concerned that the Windows of 8 might be more firmly shut than previous portals of transparency, Valve’s moves should be of great interest. Keep an eye on them here.

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Adam Smith

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