Sale-ebrate Good Times: Steam Linux Goes Live

In recent years, Valve hasn’t proven too terribly consistent when it comes to, well, anything (cases in point: the recent ire-inducing layoffs, allegedly being a videogame company), but it can lay claim to one spotless record: Steam sales. If there’s an occasion, you can bet crazy Newell’s game, productivity software, wearable computing, and probably soon-to-be used car emporium will be on the spot to wheel and deal. Naturally, then, Steam Linux’s triumphant exit from beta is being heralded by a gigantic, Linux-centric sale. March past the break in a manner akin to that of a penguin for details.

If you don’t already have the Linux Steam client in some form, you can grab it via Ubuntu Installer. At that point, you will miraculously transform into a Real Person, imbued with the ability to choose from a hair over 50 entire games at your leisure. OK, maybe it’s not the most impressive number, but it’s a start.

Plus, all of them are on sale right now. For between 50 and 75 percent off, no less. Only problem is, the lineup’s fairly light on heavy hitters. I mean, sure, Team Fortress 2, Half-Life, and Counter-Strike Source (sorry, no GO) are present and accounted for, but other titles from major publishers are basically absent. Don’t get me wrong: some fantastic indies – Bastion, FTL, Amnesia, and Sword and Sworcery among them – have shown up for Linux Steam’s grand opening, but there’s still mountains of work to be done.

That said, it is a rather tantalizing sale for newcomers, and with Linux picking up steam by picking up Steam, it’s definitely worth keeping a discerning, gamerly eye on. So then, who’s considering belly-sliding into the OS ocean that is Linux? Especially in light of Microsoft’s questionable goals for Windows 8, are you planning on taking the plunge?


  1. Pobblepop says:

    I’m boycotting anything to do with Valve until I know why they fired Jeri Ellsworth.

    • Lacero says:

      I think for legal reasons you’ll only ever find out if she tells us.

      • Kapouille says:

        How about : “we hired her, but were not sure what she would bring us, apart from being an outstanding individual”. She sounds like a pretty smart lady, I’m sure she’ll be better off elsewhere in an outfit she can actually bring value to.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      She made an accordion out of Gabe’s i7 3600K, twin GTX680 powered gaming rig, then skated round the office playing Iron Man by Black Sabbath.

      You may now purchase more games.

      • solidsquid says:

        Dude, this is Jeri Ellsworth. Clearly she used it to build a pinball machine for the break room

      • x3m157 says:


    • ThereIsNoHiddenMeaning says:

      I predict 2 things:
      1. You’ll never find out why she was fired.
      2. Your boycott of Valve products will end the next time there’s a Valve product you actually want to purchase.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        I resent that remark. I am a man of principle. If you don’t stand up for the rights of the common man then where would we be as a socOH MY GOD XCOM AT £5.99 **click click drops credit card in panic**

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Don’t get my hopes up like that! :(
          I’ve just checked and it’s still £29.99. :(

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Lol sorry. It might be cheap on Amazon at the mo. It’s usually a better price there anyway :) I want it, for a tenner max! Ok maybe 12 but that’s the limit :D

    • matnym says:

      I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but theirs.

    • F. Lynx Pardinus says:

      Maybe it just wasn’t working out.

    • El_Emmental says:

      In-house hardware is suicidal for any company not specialized in hardware, no matter how much money you spend on it.

      The entire sector of hardware isn’t made for such hardware development, it took a few months for Valve to admit it, but now they had to face the truth and let the in-house hardware project go. They said they cancelled nothing – they actually (very probably) changed the project to be done with a small external company, which is a little more than “redirecting” a project.

      If Valve was going to make hardware, they had to start selling several devices (most of which would fail) and seal years-long deals for production in millions of products, and rely much more on marketing and business deals to get their products on the shelves (virtual and physical). Valve doesn’t have any serious connection with factories, engineers labs and hardware-marketing actors, that’s why they stopped the project there – they know how to make and sell games, they have 0 skills in the hardware sector.

      They’ll just switch to “cooperation with a small startup who will take all the risk of producing and selling hardware”, like all the other companies did in the past and are doing when trying to get new hardware out.

      • PoLLeNSKi says:

        Call me crazy, but why would Valve have to cooperate with a ‘small’ startup? My slightly leftfield money would be on an Apple/Valve collaboration for the Steapplebox.

        Arguably the greatest hardware distribution and the greatest software distribution companies of the present day are both looking at getting into each others territories anyways, all Apple needs to do is ship the next AppleTV/imac mini with big picture Steam pre-installed, make a controller, job done.

        Valve gets their standardised, iterative hardware (probably 2/3 levels of processing quality which get upgraded each year), Apple and Steam get a box into living rooms, forums get filled with Apple haters complaining about the colour white.

        • newprince says:

          This is a joke, right? You ARE crazy. Apple’s TV or any box they made would not be able to be upgraded, they’d demand a cut of every game sold, they’d want involvement at every point end-to-end. It’d be a nightmare for Valve. Valve is talking about Linux, for God’s sake. I really think you were joking, right? *nervous laugh*

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            Is giving Apple a share of the profits worth annihalating the MS and Sony share of the living room market?

            EDIT: Thinking about it, why would they even need to give a share to Apple? FWIW, Apple users can download Steam for free anyway, so if anything Valve could charge Apple for using it’s branding and offering it as a service from purchase – Apple would make their extras on more hardware sales.

          • newprince says:

            I’m not sure you understand how Apple tends to operate. If it’s their hardware, they would want to throw their OS on it, and hobble it in significant ways that Valve wouldn’t be cool with. It would become an Apple device that can also run Steam (and can run Linux, but your average consumer wouldn’t know/care), which is not satisfactory to Valve. They’d want Steam to do stuff with their App Store or iTunes. Like I said, this would be a nightmare for Valve for all kinds of reasons.

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            Do Apple really have to encroach so much in their partners work? I don’t see Adobe/Ableton/etc being forced to sell their clipart/sample databases or effects libraries through the iStore or being tied into an exclusivity deal…

            Anyway, it is/was a crazy idea, but for me it makes a ton of sense. Valve needs a hardware/OS company to make a product for them. Using Windows is out because of the Xbox. Using Linux is a possibility but requires a company to step up, code a user friendly OS out of what the various Linux distro’s currently offer AND make a decent (modular/iterative) hardware system – I don’t really see a currently existing company being in a position to do this, nor a new company being able to afford to do this or drum up the initial sales volume to make it a Sony/MS competitor. So the final option is to make a deal with a company that has the same aims as themselves (living room domination) and has 90% of the end-product ready to go.

            Once any kind of steam based product is already in living rooms, it then opens the doors for third party companies to do their own hardware at cheaper prices than Apple.

        • El_Emmental says:

          “Call me crazy, but why would Valve have to cooperate with a ‘small’ startup? ”

          It would *have to* (= constraint) cooperate with a small startup because:

          1) A small startup will be at their mercy, following their order, barely able to criticize their decisions

          2) A big company will ask for a big share, control over the project, the business deals and so on. Steam would have to be constantly fighting with them over the project.

          3) Steam can not do that project by itself, because :

          a) It is not a publicly-traded company, so investors/factories/suppliers/business partners can NOT secure their investments (in the project, in their own infrastructure for the project) by acquiring share in Steam (to have voting rights, supervising and full access to all reports).

          b) Which also mean it can not leverage external funds to set up the production line, the marketing line and setting-up a B2B consortium.

          c) Throwing yourself into hardware, especially high-tech, new hardware, requires an enormous amount of money for the long run (R&D, securing supplies, technologies, patents exchanges, access to factories, etc) and several years until the mammoth is launched and running.

          d) The inertia is gigantic and even pouring tons of money in it doesn’t automatically result in success (even on the technological side), we saw it countless time in IT techs. Meanwhile, the video game industry is still accelerating its changing pace, and won’t deccelerate until the market is satured (both in terms of offer -and- demand), when all meaningful oceans will be red (swarming with sharks).

          What if Steam spend all its money on hardware development, and people start playing on mobile devices (not even smartphone as we know it, things like a foldable tablet/projector/glasses-goggles), and its neat new hardware… is not interesting for investors, developers, distributors, fastest-growing-type-of-consumers, because it’s still a “sit on a chair/sofa” device ? Everyone will call it a complete fiasco, waste of time, money, people.

          The only viable way the tech industry allow new tech (deployment in the market included – “anyone” with 1M can make neat prototypes), is either empires like Intel/Microsoft/Apple/Samsung/etc who have years of experience/tech/labs/people for that, or small startups growing extremely fast – until one of the empire buy them.

          If Steam is serious about making (and deploying) new hardware, they’re gonna work closely with a small startup, get other companies onboard (yay companies politics), and let the normal startup-innovation system either kill or nourish the project.

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            Points 1 + 2 – you obviously don’t understand the meaning of the word cooperate. Yes it would be a business agreement and various rates of payments would need to be sorted out before this gets off the ground – but since it’ll help one company sell more profitable hardware and expand the other one’s audience I don’t see a huge amount of arguing over the nitty gritty.

            Your various point 3’s are pretty much in argument against your first two points and in agreement with mine – Valve can’t do this by themselves, or by ‘controlling’ a smaller group because it’s such a huge step outside of their current sphere of influence and a massive gamble into the unknown.

        • Panda Powered says:

          Would Apple merry Steam to make a new Pippin? I would love to hear the wedding wowls when they put a ring on that finger.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s better for an employee that the reason for firing isn’t public. That way you don’t have dirty laundry all over the internet.

    • Greg_Robinson says:

      my co-worker’s step-aunt makes $61 every hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for five months but last month her check was $18946 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more…

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I implore you to purchase The Book of Unwritten Tales. It’s smashing, yo.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Eh. Why get it on Steam if you can get it on GOG or the like? Okay, for the Linux version, sure.

    • FuzzyPuffin says:

      Been waiting for this one to go 75% off.

      Hmm-hmm, call me crazy, but if given the choice I prefer Steam over GoG. I just have more games on it.

  3. jkz says:

    Running linux on my lappy, got a few games for it now, still have a windows desktop though and it looks like I will for the next few years at least.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    It’s more like 100 games. Crusader Kings 2 is also worth a mention. The Cave supposedly will be ready by Tuesday too.

    • zaript says:

      Yes, and that makes EU4 release on Linux quite possible.

      • ObiDamnKenobi says:

        FYI: EU4 for Linux is confirmed. CK2 runs great on my Mint install. between those two games, and maybe some TF2 don’t really need windows.

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      There are 56 games in the sale. And 60 Linux games listed on Steam (as well as 47 items of DLC) so I can see why both 100ish and 50ish appear to be correct figures depending on what you count. Hooray for statistics.

    • slerbal says:

      CK2 has certainly been a “big-hitter” as far as Paradox have been concerned and it is a great price for a great game. Blimey – I’ve sunk 331 hours into that game according to Steam.

  5. Col Sanders says:

    Baby steps for now but still if they can keep pushing this and it is taken up by a good few people then it will grow.

  6. elderman says:

    I would purchase the first Half Life, which I’ve never played, but the Linux version, strangely, has hardware requirements four or five generations more advanced than the Windows version, and well beyond my laptop’s capabilities.

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Poor Nathan, having to write all the articles today >:| Jim / John / Alec / Adam / Brendan / Cara / Lewie / Porpentine / dude who does tech / that bloke that did the level with me articles (did I miss anyone?) all on holiday? Stop drinking Long Island Ice Teas and help the poor fellow out.

  8. Ernesto says:

    I will try it soon. One thing is not clear to me, though: If I already own these games, can I play them on Linux now or do I have to purchase the Linux version?

    edit: Just found out that thanks to SteamPlay I can play the games I already own on any supported platform.

    • basilisk says:

      No, anything you purchase is yours for all platforms it’s available on. It’s to Valve’s credit they managed to push this model as the de facto industry standard.

      (The only exception I’m aware of is one of the CodBlOps games, because the Mac version is quite a bit cheaper, for some reason or other.)

      • phlebas says:

        Which is to say that even if you don’t use linux it’s still well worth a look at what’s in the sale.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I could be wrong, but I believe they changed content in the game to make it a “different” game.

      • MattM says:

        I think its because they outsourced the port to Aspyr Media in a deal that gives them a cut of the sales.

  9. Jamesworkshop says:

    I will

  10. RobinOttens says:

    I’ll stick with Windows 7 for now.

    But that’s a pretty good launch lineup right there.

  11. boundless08 says:

    Ubuntu? LoLz!!! Slackware or GTFO!

    • kikito says:

      Clearly you need this regular expression:


      You are welcome.

      Also, you forgot to add “noob” somewhere in your post – respect the standards. Noob.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Well, that’s malformed for sed. Did you mean s/Slackware/Gentoo/?

        • SominiTheCommenter says:

          kill Slackware

          • Nesetalis says:

            s/fedora|ubuntu|slackware/gentoo (or arch if you prefer that flavor :P)

            Though I actually usually use Sabayon on my boxes since most of my linux boxes are so under powered that compiling things is a pain.

          • LionsPhil says:

            “killall”, perhaps?

            Man, if you’re going to distro war over how leet you all are, at least do it right. :V

          • lijenstina says:

            Don’t forget to add the DE wars with the Gnome Shell sucks, Unity sucks, KDE sucks, Cinnamon sucks, LXDE sucks, Mate sucks, XFCE sucks, E17 sucks. Then someone blurbs his love for one of the mentioned DEs which waves the red flag at the legions of haters. In response to the assault, the fanbois rage and scream profanities. This shitfest could potentially move forever, but, in the end, the master trolls of Linux that are X display servers do get bored and crash all their precious DEs. :)

  12. smokiespliff says:

    yep. i’m making the switch, used to use linux at home a few years ago. went back to windows because i was playing too many games and was tired of rebooting. now i’m making the few tentative steps back towards linux,

    i have it installed on a separate hd and use the bios boot option to choose which os i boot rather than a bootloader. i took my time choosing which distro to go with. fedora 18 is mighty impressive, looks very professional. steam didn’t work right out of the box however, missing dependencies etc. so i chose mint instead ‘cos its not ubuntu.

    works great, TF2 runs at full speed, got lotro to run on it too. only issue now being getting the alternate buttons on my logitech mouse working the way i want as they don’t provide linux drivers. think i may buy a roccat mouse instead as they do. once i sort that i’ll start using linux as my main os again, and i’m really looking fwd to it :-)

    • Triplanetary says:

      Why do you dislike Ubuntu? Asking out of curiosity.

      • who_me says:

        Probably because it’s “trendy” to dislike it.

      • slerbal says:

        I also prefer Mint.

        I went right off Ubuntu personally because of Unity – I actually like where Gnome and KDE have gone, but Unity really winds me up the wrong way. Other people really like Unity, and that is cool, my dislike is a personal thing :)

        • Bootstraps says:

          Yeah, Unity killed Ubuntu for me too. Unity looks like something you’d expect to find running on a mobile phone to me, not a desktop PC. Coming to think of it, it’s a similar kind of bad to Windows 8.

      • Randomer says:

        The last couple of big updates have removed or hidden functionality in order to make it more accessible to computer novices. Some of these changes I am fine with – it isn’t too much of a hassle to reinstall the “Open in terminal” functionality to the right-click menu, for instance. But other changes are really annoying:

        -They removed/relocated/hid a bunch of options from the System’s Settings menu.
        -They really nerfed the “Open with…” functionality from the right click menu. In fact, now you have to be much more linux literate to make a simple tweak to how files get opened (you’ve got to go modify .desktop files in /usr/share/applications)

        • Nesetalis says:

          This pretty much sum it up.
          For a proper linux box, it is terrible to use. For aunt Tilly’s first PC, its not so bad. But they dumbed down, stripped out, and wrapped in safety plastic just about every useful bit of linux.
          Hell, install ubuntu then try to get XFCE working… it is a serious pain in the dick! where most ubuntu distros, just apt-get XFCE… ubuntu tries to hide stuff so its less “confusing”.

          So you spend most of your time cutting back the user-safe cruft to get to the real meat.

          Instead I would rather use a distro that lets me set it up how I want it from the get go.

          Also the Ubuntu team has made some really stupid choices over the past few years. The GNOME team too for that matter.

          • Triplanetary says:

            Ouch. I haven’t used Ubuntu in a couple years, so I didn’t know they’d gone and Mac’d it up.

          • LionsPhil says:

            If you want XFCE on Ubuntu, that’s what Xubuntu is for.

      • smokiespliff says:

        i’ve always admired ubuntu for what they’ve done in the linux community, but also always envied it for being the cool kid who was way more popular than my chosen distro (mandriva).

        also, ‘trendy’. yes.

      • Naum says:

        My reasons for not particularly liking Ubuntu:

        1. Rampant streamlining as already pointed out above. Ubuntu seems to be pushing the Apple way fairly aggressively, which is the direct opposite of what I like about Unices: customisability, extensibility, focus on user choice, independent and specialised programs etc.

        2. Lack of collaboration with the rest of the Linux environment. Canonical has — at least in my perception — developed a habit of pushing their own solutions if they don’t like what’s on the market, instead of contributing to projects they don’t control. Examples include the move from Gnome to Unity, developing Bazaar instead of the established Git, or using AppArmor and not SELinux. While I’m certainly not against a bit of competition in the FOSS sphere, it seems that Canonical is slightly too quick when it comes to dismissing existing programs. Moreover, both the Linux kernel and the Debian distribution, which Ubuntu is a derivative of, have complained in the past that Canonical contributes little to but profits a lot from their software.

        3. Ubuntu seems to be becoming a quasi-standard for “Linux” and an excuse for developers who can’t be bothered to take the numerous differences between distributions into account. This may create a lot of unnecessary work for other communities who basically have to patch Ubuntu-specific stuff out of the software again, which is exactly what happened with Steam. It may also lead to a vicious cycle where Ubuntu becomes stronger due to getting third-party support and third parties only support Ubuntu because it is the strongest distro. That’s basically what has been happening around Windows as well, and I trust Canonical little more than Microsoft.

        4. On the technical side of things, there are naturally a large number of reasons why one might not like Ubuntu. For example: binary instead of compiled packages, lots of bloat with the standard installation, too infrequent releases, manual software updates are a pain in the arse, etc. Those are of course very much questions of personal preference.

        All that said, I do appreciate the popularity boost that Ubuntu has given the Linux ecosystem. Hell, I probably wouldn’t be using a Linux desktop myself if Canonical hadn’t provided a relatively pain-free starting experience. But I also very much fear the effects of that sudden popularity.

  13. rapchee says:

    i’m trying, but the display driver got in an argument with the system after i installed the updates, so no gui for me. sigh. i want to like ubuntu/linux but it keeps kicking me in the nutter

    • kataras says:

      I had the same problem after updating from jockey the Nvidia drivers. I don’t have the links anymore but basically google around how to purge+delete everything related to the new drivers and then re-install the older ones. But it does not end there!

      After that my welcome screen was borked, I could not logon to my account even though the password was correct and I found out that one of the files was messed up, which you need to delete and another one will be generated. After all that, the welcome screen is just bugged now, the first time it doesn’t accept the correct password and it has some artefacts, the 2nd time you can log on normally. Or just switch to using the non-lightdm (gdm? or something like that) manager.
      I don’t have the links anymore, sorry, but googling and experimenting will solve it eventually. It’s an unnecessary pain in the ass!

      • medwards says:

        I’m a very experienced Linux user and I have to say video drivers have been sticky for a long time. It’s pretty recent that it finally started working nicely. This has a lot to do with the difficult relationship for commercial drivers, open source ones always ‘justed worked’ but once you wanted Nvidia/AMD’s latest and greatest it frequently got painful. Anyways, many distributions have this much simplified now, but its difficult to use these systems to get bleeding edge stuff working. When the Steam Linux Beta opened I was very excited, but TF2 needed absolutely-latest-beta AMD drivers and installing them was like going back to 1999 for driver installation on Linux. I feel lucky to have gotten back to having dual-monitor support without any pain. So yeah, might be worth a pass until these bleeding edge drivers are included in the distro driver system, thats what I’m doing.

        • lorddon says:

          The Nvidia driver update is where I bounced off my attempt at running Ubuntu as well. Worked fine until Steam told me to update. then CLI from there on out.

          I want to like Linux, I really do.

  14. Mario Figueiredo says:

    A fantastic sale going on at Steal for Linux and one of the greatest highlights for Linux this year.

    I truly wish all the best for Steam on Linux and that this becomes the beginning of durable relationship. Despite being generally a grumpy old bear (and not about to stop) about all things Valve and Mr. Gabe, my hat off to you in this day, Valve!

    • slerbal says:

      Yes, whether of not Linux is your cup of tea I think it is great that there are more options out there and it is good to see Steam supporting linux

    • newprince says:

      Indeed. I hope this will:

      a) Attract developers’ attention to Linux (not just the recycled mantra of “DirectX, we’ll maybe do Mac and maybe after that Linux if we want”).
      b) Open up Steam a little bit. The Linux community is very vocal, but it’s because of the philosophy its founded on. Valve will have to become more involved in the Linux community, and I hope they’re ready and can be a champion for open source. Their developers seem honestly up to task, but they’ll have to become more responsive and transparent.

  15. NathanH says:

    My expert picks from the sale: Conquest of Elysium 3, Crusader Kings 2, Trine 2, FTL, Defender’s Quest. Probably most sensible human beings have most of these, except CoE3 which isn’t a great game but is good and especially at that price. Anyone who avoids tower defence games should still play Defender’s Quest, it’s really good.

    Is Polynomial any good? I love games that adapt to music.

  16. kikito says:

    I’m actually quite tempted by Unity of Command. Last episode in Three Moves Ahead made me want to try it at least. For that pricetag, I might certainly do so.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, I’d definitely go for it. It’s a really neat little game, halfway between a puzzle game and a wargame. Battles take about 15 mins, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome. My only issue is that the load times seem to be huge, but it could just be my machine.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      It’s also significantly less complicated than you’d be led to believe, although you’ll absolutely need to read the manual because the introductory scenario was never completed properly.

    • Ernesto says:

      Go for it! It’s a very accessible yet deep game.

  17. Odexios says:

    Has anyone played Puddle? Is it worth the 4.49 €?

  18. solidsquid says:

    With nVidia recently announcing they were going to be releasing an update to their graphics drivers for Linux (which, as I understand it, they had categorically stated they wouldn’t provide any more updates for) and Unity announcing Linux support in 4.0, it looks like Linux gaming has actually started getting some momentum since Valve started pushing it

    • eisbehr says:

      Nvidia had very good Linux driver support for years. They even built their driver in a way that allows them to use most of their code across Windows, Mac and Linux. Their drivers are the best you can get on Linux by far.

      The only thing they didn’t support and maybe still don’t were some fishy laptop parts.

    • Meat Circus says:

      “Very good” is basically a lie. It departs so far from the correct, normal way of doing things (no kernel mode setting, no GEM, no DKMS…) that it’s almost like NVidia are wilfully trying to go out of their way to make it terrible so they don’t have to admit that Linus was right all along.

      • eisbehr says:

        It’s no lie. Driver performance is great and in my years of using Nvidia cards with their proprietary drivers things worked great.

        They could do stuff better, like Intel does with their drivers but if you want to play games it’s still by far the best choice, works stable and as expected, and implements the most recent OpenGL versions.

      • Nesetalis says:

        Pretty much, yeah…
        graphics drivers and linux have been a terrible terrible thing for years. I suppose Intel has done well with their Meas drivers, but Nvidia has been actively fucking over linux distros and users.. while AMD has been ineptly releasing bits and pieces and building terribly functioning binary blobs to go with.

        so no, linux and graphics drivers do NOT go well together.
        Dude might have had some good experiences, but until these companies start open sourcing their drivers.. then its not going to be play time.

        (Also, why the fuck do they close the driver source?! its not like they make money off the DRIVER, they make money off the hardware… releasing hardware API specs and the drivers in open source means they have to spend less money porting and more money on features! I’ll never understand these companies.)

        Though in the next year we should have fully open sourced Radeon drivers for the 8000 series… hopefully. Those might get back ported to the 7000/6000 series too by intrepid developers.

        • MentatYP says:

          Can’t let the competition see how you’re doing things. That’s the idea anyway.

  19. Gap Gen says:

    I work on Ubuntu, and I really like it for what I do, but my machine occasionally forgets it has an ethernet card, say, which can be frustrating if you’re not a fan of using the command line.

    Oh, also a bunch of games work well under Wine (a tool for running Windows .exe files in Linux). Alpha Centauri worked without a hitch when I tried it, but modern 3D games might suffer from driver issues.

    • elderman says:

      Nice one, Gap Gen. What’s your job on Ubuntu?

      I like to chip in with bug reports, hardware support reports, the regular stuff you do as an engaged use, but I haven’t yet really put my hand in.

    • LukeNukem says:

      I’ve used Linux, but only for office software etc, so is Wine a Windows emulator?

      • darkChozo says:

        Considering that Wine is a backronym for “Wine is not an emulator”, no, Wine is not an emulator.

        That being said, yes, it’s handwavingly a Windows emulator.

      • Chuckaluphagus says:

        WINE isn’t exactly a Windows emulator, more of a re-implementation. It’s not quite perfect, but it’ll allow you to run almost any Windows game that doesn’t require higher than DirectX 9, and almost any other Windows software to boot.

        They have a massive database where you can check whether a program is running well.

        • C0llic says:

          WINE is more like a set of libraries that allow windows games to run semi-natively. Hence the wine is not an emulator stuff. That and linux geeks love their snarky anacronyms :) At least that was how I always understood it. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, I’m sure.

    • Brigand says:

      Wine is wonderful! The majority of games I’ve tried work fine and the ones that haven’t are easily enough fixed with a small bit of messing around. Works on Mac too.

  20. Sakkura says:

    Too bad they aren’t offering Borderlands 2 on Linux, that would have made it a fantastic day for capitalism.

    • who_me says:

      Borderlands 2 works with wine and Crossover at least. As with Windows, the better specs your machines has the better it will run.

  21. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Yay! Osmos works!

    Flash doesn’t seems to like webkit browsers on my installs of 64-bit linux, but I at least got it working in Steam after a little searching. (Steam’s instructions weren’t very helpful.) Hopefully this will save some people some time if videos aren’t working on the store pages. I’ve added a couple terminal/console/command-line commands for folks who aren’t afraid of it but don’t know many commands yet. You can do everything via GUI, too. Also for the new: “~” is a completely functional shorthand for your home folder on linux. And there should be no line breaks in the commands below…just in case they get split up.


    Grab the .tar.gz 32-bit linux version of Flash from here: link to
    wget ""

    Extract it.
    tar -xzf install_flash_player_11_linux.i386.tar.gz

    Create the folder: ~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/plugins/
    mkdir -p ~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/plugins/

    Move/copy the plugin there.
    mv ~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/plugins/

    Restart Steam. (Note that you may have to use Steam’s “Steam>Exit” menu option to really exit Steam. Or run “killall steam“, but that’s not very nice.)

    If anyone spots errors or something, let me know. I’m still waking up.

    Edit: Seems execute permission isn’t needed (user-only read-only seems to be sufficient), so I removed that step. Also, I hadn’t noticed all the other (seemingly unimportant) files that were being extracted from the archive until now, so I added something to just extract the useful file.

  22. aego says:

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but is there any reason for me to try running these games in Linux if I’m happy at the moment with Windows (I also do other things beside gaming)? Is there a performance boost or any other advantage? Or am I just not in the target audience of Steam Linux?

    • Chuckaluphagus says:

      No, if you’re fine with Windows than there’s no reason to switch just for Steam. I prefer Ubuntu Linux to Windows 7 (I think Windows 7 is pretty good, mind you), so I’m happy that Valve is doing this, but it certainly doesn’t qualify as a killer app.

      • slerbal says:

        Agreed – use whatever you like.

        I think the main bonus here is that if you happen to like/want to try Linux this is making it far more appealing for games. Even better that Steam give you all versions of the (non-CODBLOPS) games on all their available platforms, so should you ever shift you will have at least part of your Steam library available :)

    • soldant says:

      Not really. Some people might claim that there’s a performance boost (in some cases they might be right too) but it can be a lot of screwing around to get things working properly. If you’ve got a few hours with nothing else to do you could give it a whirl I guess, but if you’re looking for something actually better then no, it’s not worth worrying about.

    • newprince says:

      No, there’s no compelling reason. But it’s never a bad idea for anyone interested in computers to try out Linux.

    • C0llic says:

      Linux is great if you like to geek out over things. Theres a lot of scope for user customisation, scripting etc. If you’re the kind of person who thinks you would get a kick out of compiling your own version of mplayer or vlc so it runs high def video even smoother, or want to write scripts to automate grabbing and unpacking files from usenet/torrents, you’ll probably have fun with it :)

      If you have any kind of broader interest in IT, it’s also a great OS to be literate in.

    • aego says:

      Thanks for the answers guys. Yes, I’m a little curious to try Linux, but I’m also usually short on free time, so I guess I’ll save tinkering with the thing until some rainy afternoon.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Ubuntu can easily install on top of your Windows 7 without a bootloader or separate partition. I expect performance to be worse than on a native install though.

      Anyway, that’s exactly what I’m doing just to test the waters and see what works out of the box. Hopefully my Linux login will also show up on Valve’s statistics so they know that this is something I want.

      Edit: It’s a bit different from how I remembered it. Also, the “windows installer” version couldn’t find my HDD, so I’ll probably be going with the “try-before-you-install” option on the ISO version.

  23. Artist says:

    Eh, whats “Linux”???

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      A type of poisonous snake primarily found in Africa, though it has become an invasive species in several south-west US states, namely California.

      (if you are actually wondering, it is an open-source operating system)

  24. InternetBatman says:

    Psychonauts is finally up on Linux too, which is nice. For whatever reason I’ve had far better luck with games played through Steam than directly downloading the same version from HIB, so I’m excited.

    Also, 50 games is not exciting. However, think about that as 50 (generally very high quality games) at the start of Steambox. That is really interesting considering the normal launch strength of a console.

  25. LionsPhil says:

    $ dpkg -S /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list
    steam:i386: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list
    $ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list
    deb (a repo, but rps won't let me comment it) precise steam
    deb-src (likewise) precise steam


    Also it doesn’t import the public key to go with that. Very little of Steam itself is actually owned by the package, so it’s very WinDOS-like “just write some files and don’t expect them to ever be cleaned up”. It even seems to have convinced dpkg, but not APT, it’s not actually installed again afterwards, although can’t see anything in the postinst to do that. Bad Valve, bad. Naughty.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hmm. Supports Ubuntu LTS 12.04, they say? Well it presents this dialogue and then quits:

      Your system is running older proprietary nVidia® video drivers. Steam requires driver version 304.22 or higher.

      I’m running the version packaged by my distro, Valve:

      $ lsb_release -d && sudo apt-get update -qq && apt-cache policy nvidia-current
      Description: Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS
      Installed: 295.40-0ubuntu1.2
      Candidate: 295.40-0ubuntu1.2

    • Naum says:

      Unfortunately, Valve have indeed not done a particularly good job of adapting to all manner of Linux conventions. The package is not much more than an installer, while Steam still insists on doing the patching itself. Moreover, last I checked games were by default written into ~/.steam/, which is a horrible abuse of the home directory.

      Basically, everything that would require substantial changes to the Steam client’s codebase has not been done. If Windows were a console, I’d say Linux has received a straight, bare-bones port. Wouldn’t necessarily blame Valve too much — small market and all that –, but it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity in my eyes.

  26. thatfuzzybastard says:

    It’s thanks to this sale that I discovered The Polynomial. Which I’d never heard of before, and which turns out to be Rez + Descent + Bit.Trip + Geometry Wars = Pure stoner awesomeness.

  27. newprince says:

    I had the beta Steam on my Mint netbook for a while now, but obviously only really had the juice to play Dungeons of Dredmor. Now that this is out, I’m going to run a partition on my Win7 PC for some Ubuntu action. I’m looking forward to / dreading trying to get my video card drivers in working order, but I love this kind of stuff. It’s almost like I’m a kid again and messing with DOS trying to get a Command & Conquer expansion pack to work :P

  28. uh20 says:

    the tf2 Linux misc. they are giving out attach to your butt like a furry parasite

  29. gerafin says:

    The only time I ever boot up windows any more is to play games, so it’s definitely nice to be able to stay on LInux for some of that time. Unity of Command, TF2, X3, FTL, CK2…

    As for the people asking ‘why use Linux’ – It’s hard to go back to Windows once you’ve gotten used to Linux’s speed, flexibility, and extensibility. You can change every little aspect on a Linux system. After a bit of work, you can have it match your aesthetic sensibilities perfectly. EVERY tiny thing can be modified. A beautiful desktop is a productive desktop. There are also so many amazing little features that, when taken together, you’ll wonder how you lived without them. (And, as you could probably guess, if there’s a feature you don’t like – you can replace it with something else or take it out entirely. Modular, yo)

    I would recommend Linux mint for those just starting out. Just remember, google is your friend – if you’re having trouble getting something to work, chances are, somebody else has had the same problem and has come up with a clean solution. If you’re not using any Windows-only software that ties you down, give it a go. It really is faster, partly because unlike Windows, which requires almost an entire gig of RAM for itself, Linux will hum along quietly on a fraction of that. And unlike Windows, when you close a program in Linux, it will remain in RAM until that RAM needs to be used for something else. It’s just as easy to keep those 1’s and 0’s in RAM as wiping it al and storing just 0’s. And that means that when you go to use that program again, Linux doesn’t have to re-load the RAM, it’s already there. Also, no disk fragmenting, etc. etc. It really does all add up to a better experience.

    • Nesetalis says:

      also, a good thing to add… if it IS running slowly, you can track that down, turn it off or replace it with something better.
      commandline> ps ax
      is your friend, will tell you everything that is currently running, and what kind of processor time its using.
      Recently had problems on an EeePC with XFCE, seems they changed the desktop application xfdesktop in some way, that made it really really slow. So I just disabled it, and replaced it with PCmanFM –desktop
      now that is the fastest part of my GUI XD

  30. lucky jim says:

    Seems like the Linux update caused a lot of CS 1.6 issues. People reporting problems with mouse accel/negative mouse accel, movement, many rendering issues, unable to download custom files from servers n such.

    I didn’t notice too many of those issues myself, but the aiming does feel different and a lot of options have changed and the default option makes no sense to me. Maybe that’s what some people are having issues with, other than the rendering bugs.

    Oh, and I now automatically join on startup, the last server I had played on before the update. Annoying as hell, but I haven’t really fiddled with it to try and correct it yet.

    Leave it to Valve to break a 13 year old game, or however old it is.

  31. princec says:

    Please throw some love the way of Droid Assault, linuxy types! It’s been totally ignored by the press.

    • b0rsuk says:

      I second this. It’s a very satisfying and pretty hard shooter game. Great atmosphere (sound, text descriptions, punchy effects), very solid mechanics, and the main trick makes the game very fun. You are a virus sent to pacify a rioting battle droid factory. You can take control of any non-boss robot you can see as long as you have enough points. The best part is your previous shell doesn’t disappear, but keeps fighting on your side. Actually it’s highly profitable to capture new robots as soon as possible.

  32. wererogue says:

    My cinemabox runs XBMC standalone on Ubuntu, so I jumped into the beta. With a little messing around I got steam launching in big picture from the login prompt, and then promptly undid all of that and installed thor27’s steam-login package, which basically does everything I’d done but now I can let someone else worry about maintaining it.

    link to

    So I effective have my steambox now, except that it’s also my HTPC. Been enjoying Amnesia and Psychonauts again, and I’m definitely going to have a bash on TF2 this weekend, although I may have to do something creative with piling books on the sofa to get a decent mouse surface.

  33. captain nemo says:

    Yes – I got Mint running the other weekend. I’m trying to run it off a usb key at the moment but have a couple of issues. Might get one of my old xp boxes and turn it into dual-boot

    I like what I see so far. Want to play more with LibreOffice

    Do not trust MS as far as I could throw them

  34. Dowr says:

    Welcome Linux users; all 3 of you.

    Sorry, that was mean – all 43 of you.
    There we go.

  35. Gap Gen says:

    Oh, and don’t use Wubi. Don’t use it. It may work fine, or it may make crying happen. Make a new partition.

  36. nemryn says:


  37. AzureBlu says:

    Untill drivers work out-of-the-box (My sound was a no go when i tried it on an usb stick today, for example) i won’t switch. Later, maybe. I’m happy with win7 for the time being