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Beta Late Than Never (Steam Linux Beta) (valvesoftware.com)
328 points by phenylene on Sept 27, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 147 comments

I find this announcement kind of bitter-sweet. It's awesome, amazing and inspiring that a company like Valve has put this much effort in to supporting Linux, no matter what their underlying motives are. At the same time, it's really sad that this is the biggest thing to happen to mainstream Linux gaming since Loki and id/Epic since the early '00s.

As somebody who was briefly caught up in the "convert-all-the-things-to-Linux" evangelism of the early 00's to the "fsck it, I don't care who uses it. I like it." attitude, I sincerely hope this makes an impact. Forget the FLOSS ideals and morals; if this means more 'power users' realize there's a viable Windows alternative for gaming (and more), everybody wins.

I know a lot of 'purists' will inevitably complain about the influx of 'noobs', but, fsck it. No matter what beliefs/philosophies you follow, it's always a good thing to be able to show people that there are other options.

As a long-time follower & sometimes contributer to the free/open Unix scene, this makes me proud.

It's alright to say "fuck". We're all adults here.

Expletives just aren't fun to hear every now and then. It's probably not because there's anything intrinsically bad about them (it's just a sound), but we've been trained since we are young that they are "bad" words. And to some extent this is true, many expletives do ave "bad" dictionary definitions, but in the context they're used the meaning is never (or rarely ) implied.

I can see here that many people want to change this, and make expletives a common part of daily usage; but I don't see being a good thing overall. A lot of people hold to former way of thinking (that they're bad), and if you get into the habit of using such words it might affect you ability of form relationships with the majority of people who think they're bad.

In addition I think, even internally, it's hard to get that idea from years-of-training (and one that's held by the majority of society) out of your head. I know I'm probably going to be criticized for this, but using myself expletives gives me a "dirty" or "uncivilized" feeling. Finally, I also don't think they really add to a conversation in any significant way. There are much better words ou there (and more eloquent sounding ones, too) to imply emphasis (I presume this is the primary use-case of expletives), and a conversation does sound more "intelligent" and "cultured" like so.

I agree, and there are numerous times when I why away from using expletives because I don't want to use them. However, when I don't want to say "fuck", I don't write "fsck" instead, I just rephrase the sentence.

Louis CK sums this up very well.


Essentially, when you say 'fsck', I interpret that as 'fuck'. If you want me to think the word 'fuck', then take the responsibility and say it.

I've always like this quote: "Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly." - Spencer W. Kimball

Cursing is like salt: judicious use can improve a well-made dish, but overuse doesn't make bad food into good.

While the quotes are nice, at the same time ignoring curse words entirely is basically cutting off a significant portion of expression. While I'm not saying you should litter all of your sentences with them, they do get the point across much better than not.

A (long) view on the subject by Stephen Fry that basically points out we shouldn't lament language change and other ways of expressing ourselves. http://www.stephenfry.com/2008/11/04/dont-mind-your-language...

In my opinion swearing is less an indication of stupidity and more an indication of being cliche. You can swear all you want but you won't say anything inventive. Take for example the best f-bomb ever: YIPPIE KI-YI-YA MOTHER FUCKER. I'm pretty sure that only meant `fuck you` with some country-style rebelliousness thrown in. Awesome yes, deep it was not.

I have a related quote: "People who try to say profanity indicates stupidity can go fuck themselves" -- me.

Not stupidity, necessarily. Just laziness.

Proverbs then are exactly like profanity :)

In my honest and not-so-humble opinion, that's a load of motherfucking bullshit. I don't give a rat's ass how intelligent or uncultured I sound; my arguments and opinions stand on their fucking merits, not some lame-ass attempt to suck the collective cock of so-called "civilized society". I think if you were able to take a look at who, throughout history, actually built our civilization, you'd find a lot of people who say "fuck" (or its local equivalent) a lot.

Sometimes I curse like a fucking sailor, but that doesn't mean I'm incapable of not cursing when necessary/appropriate.

I bet most of us here on HN use expletives quite a lot in their everyday conversations among friends. It's just part of expressing yourself and your feelings.

Besides, the most vocal opponents of expletives tend to be religious. It's kind of sad when even the word "cursing" is so horrifying that you have to call it "cussing" instead.

Cursing is just another difference between the ways you speak in different situations. Imagine you're discussing the global recession with one of your friends. Which one of these sounds more natural:

  - "Those rather reprehensible individuals at Wall Street
    bear the brunt of the blame for this rather dreadful
    economic predicament we're in."

  - "Those fucking scumbags on Wall Street caused this mess."
Something like the first one is necessary here on HN, because we're all civilized and shit, but the second example is how you'll speak among friends. At least if you're not some kind of prissy weirdo.

using "fsck" is worse.

Using 'f_ck' is worse. Using 'fsck' is a *nix nerd joke.

(Edit: couldn't type an asterisk without it wanting to italicise the rest of the line!)

Of course theunixbeard would be the only one to get it.

> It's alright to say "fuck". We're all adults here

How do you know? There might be kids reading here...

I don't even play video games anymore, but I played a hell of a lot of CS back in the day. Many years have passed, and I jumped on the Linux bandwagon about 3 years ago, and am now supposedly a productive member of society. But dammit, all I can think about now is plowing over AK-47 slinging bastards running through the top tunnel on de_dust with my pump shotty, or mowing people down with the UMP or headshots with the scout. I don't know, I loved the obscure weapons.

I would increase my consumption of video games from a non-zero amount if I could play CS on Linux.

Make it happen Valve. You got me, I'm now nostalgic.

Hah! CS was the shit until 1.6, when they completely crapped the physics and finally fixed the bug that'd allow you to switch instantly between your Desert Eagle and your AWP...

Oh... how I miss those nights wasted playing CS!

According to WineHQ that's already possible.


YMMV of course.

I wasted many hours of productive work time on running and playing CS on Linux via wine.

I nearly failed my damn GCSEs due to original CS. I was doodling map plans on the back of scrap paper in exams.

Good times.

Counter-Strike is such a game that will never go out of style, generations to come will look back on it as we now look to chess.


Like a boss.

It's about time a major player got behind Linux, I'm glad it's Valve as they are arguably one of my favourite game developers not just because they make great games, but because of their overall attitude and work culture. Hopefully this gives Linux a little needed spotlight boost and perhaps gains Ubuntu a few new users.

This isn't really a major player getting behind Linux. The move has nothing to with Linux the desktop and everything to do with a future Linux-powered console/SteamBox. Desktop Linux could quintuple it's number of game purchasing users and it would still be inconsequential. The ancillary benefits for Linux, such as non-shitty gpu drivers, will be great but let's not make this out to be something it isn't.

The fact that they state they want to test steam on as many different configurations as possible directly contradicts the idea that they're testing ground for a console. After all, a console will only ship in one hardware configuration by definition.

Maybe they haven't found that one hardware configuration yet.

You wouldn't call upon beta testers like this to decide upon hardware configurations. This beta process is definitely for a Desktop Linux client.

There is a chance that the rumours of a console could also be true as well though. There's no reason why they couldn't have a Linux console /AND/ desktop Linux support.

Why would they bother with all the Intel GPU work they have been doing? Whatever "that one" hardware configuration would be, it wouldn't include an Intel GPU...

you need to do some extrapolation plots to back your claim.

No problem, here you go: http://xkcd.com/605/ ;)

Without any real knowledge of the industry, extrapolation to back up my point seems fraught with error. How much of Intel's progress has been the low hanging fruit, and is that last 10% going to take 90% of the time? And what measures would you actually use to measure progress?

Unless their work convinces Intel they might be missing out.

I think even Intel would have a hard time producing something not just comparable to Nvidia/AMD's offerings today, but future-proof as well. Their stuff has gotten a lot better recently so I don't think there is any lack of effort on their part, there is just too much catching up to be done.

But they probably need to to a lot of testing until they find this configuration.

They've also said they're not terribly interested at doing very much hardware, and that they worry about Windows 8's usability as an OS.

I would argue that this does count as a major player getting behind Linux. While Valve might have additional longer term goals in mind, their plans to support vanilla Ubuntu will only benefit gamers who wish to run Linux.

IMO the question is not 'will more Linux users buy games', but rather 'what percentage of games-playing Windows users will decide they no longer need a Windows box'.

Very good question indeed.

I believe though, in the evolution of gaming and game makers, that the "brains" at Valve have taken one look at the "Windows Roadmap" and bet against it. Remeber that Windows 8 is the foundation of the "future" for microsoft. We going to see a massive shift in it's laws/legalities/processes for both gamers and game makers.

The change won't be over night, yes, but it's inevitable. Given a "free", open platform is now realitvely stable, why not move to it and not have the headache of having to "conform"?

I love linux. I don't mind Windows. If i have the option... it's an easy decision.

That Valve are working on a Steambox at all is pure speculation, it seems a bit of a jump to assume this all in service of a rumor. I think it's more likely Valve have been paying attention to stuff like the Humble Indie Bundle guys drawing about 1/4 of their revenue each time from Linux users. They may just be out to make money.

This is a fairly large and very long play. Right now, two years after launching, OS X accounts for 4.36% of Steam users [1]. In another two years time I can't imagine Linux users accounting for even 1/1000th of that.

Valve doesn't make business decisions out of kindness. They make them when it makes fiscal sense. Preparing Steam for Linux is a huge endeavor costing millions of dollars in salaries and an even larger opportunity cost.

This isn't just to make a few extra bucks from a handful of current Linux users. And don't be mistaken, the only extra money they'd see is from current Linux users who refuse to buy non-Linux games. If by some chance this converts large swaths of Windows users to Linux they wouldn't be new customers, just the same customers on a different platform.

[1] http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

> This is a fairly large and very long play. Right now, two years after launching, OS X accounts for 4.36% of Steam users [1]. In another two years time I can't imagine Linux users accounting for even 1/1000th of that.

1/1000? That's just plain ridiculous, at the very(!) most OS X has 10 times the number of users(probably a lot less). Also Apple plain doesn't care about desktop gaming, the only reason they care about ios gaming is that it became extremely popular without them and now it's such a big draw they have to care. I would assume most Apple users don't care too much. OTOH linux users are exactly the sort of geeky audience that tends to be gamers or potential gamers.

Your point about the users who simply use steam games on a windows box/vm/wine now that wouldn't add much to the bottom line hits much closer(Although the convenience/reliability of being able to buy games for their main computer could help existing users spend more freely) but I think that it is missing some like those who might use consoles less or those who aren't currently gamers but have decent potential to become gamers and customers thanks to the convenience of buying games on their main platform/pc.

Valve going into hardware is definitely one use of Linux support, however another is as an alternative to Windows 8 and OS X. Both Windows and OS X are moving towards an locked-down, app-store model and Gabe Newell recently expressed concern over that move. At the same time, Ubuntu is being sold pre-installed on computers worldwide (though less so in the US and UK, more in emerging markets). I'm not saying that Ubuntu will reach OS X's current level for Steam users straight away, but in 5 years or so, it's definitely possibly.

Yeah, I would rather believe that way of thinking. Who knows what Apple and Microsoft may do next to lock down their systems further, and extract more "tax" out of everyone publishing applications or games? The only way for a company like Valve to prevent a direct attack on their revenues is to develop a solution for an open system. It may very well be that it is not necessary in the end, but they are just planning for future scenarios like any other respectable company.

Ubuntu is also moving towards an app-store model, be it much slower. [citation needed]

Steam itself is an app-store model too.

They are however Canonical is not moving towards locking down the OS which Apple and Microsoft are doing (though fans of either won't admit it). That's what Gabe is scared of.

35M * 4.36% / 1000 = 1526

The first "Humble Bundle" got approximately 20000 Linux purchases. I'd imagine Steam would get significantly more than that at release.

> Valve doesn't make business decisions out of kindness.

Nobody every claimed that. Of course their support for Desktop Linux has nothing to do with kindness but is pure business.

Microsoft and Apple are forcing Appstores on their computers and naturally Valve sees this as a danger to Steam. That's why they want to support an alternative.

Valve has filed patents on a console controller:


Remember that the idea of Steam on Linux was itself just a rumour mere months ago.

Regards the "Linux users pay more" meme on the humble bundle, bear in mind you are still talking about people only paying something like $10 for about 5 games. I assume that Steam prices will stay the same across OSs as well rather than charging more for a Linux version.

It's obvious that they are getting more interested in hardware such as the Oculus Rift, also with hardware getting cheaper there seems to be a growing market for people buying hardware/software integrated solutions.

Whatever it is they are planning to do, they want to become a first class player in the gaming market rather than being whim to Microsoft who look like they are wanting to produce their own hardware.

The best way to do that is to take an already proven kernel with good performance and no licensing and work on from there.

My guess is that porting Steam to Linux gives them an eager powerbase of vocal power users to use as a test market. It's the same principle Apple uses by marketing to the "fanboys" first and letting it trickle out from there.

Hopefully they will continue to support "normal" Linux distributions however, it would be nice to be able to hook up their controller and a headset to my PC and run everything that way if I don't want to buy a "steambox" or whatever.

While its possible that its for some yet unreleased Steam based console, the controller Valve patented is much more likely to be for their recently previewed Steam big picture mode that can turn any computer into a "steam box" that you can plug in your television. It's quite likely this same big picture mode would be used on their console, assuming one ever exists.

In addition Valve have been playing around with biometrics a lot for their internal playtesting, and have expressed interest in bringing that to the living room (for example, the "director" in Left4Dead is supposed to adjust the difficulty of the game dynamically to keep you on your toes - data on your current emotional state and stress levels would be a valuable input for that).

Gabe definitely mentioned at one point that there was a possibility of putting some basic biometric hardware into a controller, and they've also spoken about experimenting with new forms of input before (and have supported 3rd party novel input devices such as the Novint Falcon).

It's very clear they want to experiment in the controller space, and they have stated multiple times that they do not want to be in the console business, and would rather provide the software for other companies to build their own "Steam Boxes" - yet for some reason everyone fixates on the baseless rumour that they will be making a console, rather than the play that's right in front of them.

They may not do the manufacturing themselves, but it's clear that they see a future market for some form of Linux based games system for which they will be the main supplier of software.

It's either that or they are predicting a sharp upsurge in Linux usage after Windows 8 which seems like a very scary predication to make.

Gabe Newell has been publically denigrating Windows 8, but I think his real fear, and this idea would support the move to Linux, is the way Windows is moving towards a closed app store model, which brings it into direct competition with Steam.

Yes, I assume the idea is to integrate the Steambox and Ubuntu desktops together in the same way that Windows and Xbox go together although I would be surprised if they actually ditch Windows.

Assuming such a steambox does exist, what remains to be seen is whether they make it easy to turn it into a proper Linux PC.

That would effectively stealth install Linux desktops in millions of homes worldwide.

Meh, with the advent of Big Picture I see a console as even less likely. Why bother:

-adding a massive complication/cost in the form of a complete hardware division

-dropping a billion into upfront R/D, marketing and production

only to lose money per unit and only maybe make a profit in the end, when they can just charge Dell/Asus money for "Big Picture Certified" stickers and call it a day. Doing so on Linux just means they don't have to worry about the MS roadmap.

There's no evidence to prove that they're working on their own Linux powered gaming console and even if they were, it's still a Linux powered console at the end of the day and people will find a way to reverse engineer anything Linux based that Valve put out. So I would argue regardless of whether or not they develop a Linux console, that would still be a massive benefit to the Linux community.

If Valve a company that EA tried acquiring at a valuation of something in the vicinity of one billion dollars sometime ago isn't a major player, then you must have very high standards. Valve have produced so many cult classics and well-known titles that even years after being created are still played, modded and purchased — Counter Strike and Half Life anyone?

>The move has . . . everything to do with a future Linux-powered console/SteamBox

I doubt it. Right now Valve only sells software. To get into the console business is to radically change the nature of the organization. Just marketing a new console enough to give it a decent chance to break even would cost enough to require Valve to raise money. And since consoles are not a growing market, there is little potential financial benefit to the move. (In fact, the market is probably shrinking because of competition from tablets and smartphones.)

No, what Valve is trying to do here is make the Linux desktop a more attractive platform for games in order to give Steam a better chance to survive if Microsoft makes its survival on Windows untenable. Valve is worried by Microsoft's creation of an Apple-like app store because, well, Steam is an app store.

If they are sane, Valve does not want the hassle of creating and maintaining their own platform: they just want to be able to continue to deploy Steam on existing gaming platforms. They probably hope Steam will continue to be able to thrive on Windows and probably see their porting of Steam to Linux as an aid in negotiations with Microsoft.

I think they are working on something. Remember this from a few months ago: http://store.steampowered.com/bigpicture/

I agree that valve isn't a hardware company, but there are plenty out there for them to partner with. They could be taking the Windows/android approach to set top boxes. That would certainly be refreshing.

Does not compute. Porting to Linux Desktop takes much more effort than porting to a console. With a console you have fixed hardware specs and you can tune everything in your software stack to fit your needs. With their current effort they have to worry about all the different hardware setups, future Ubuntu versions, integration into Unity (or whatever DE). All that is unneeded for a console.

And so far the console are just rumours and support for Desktop Linux is going Beta.

And? They are making games for linux now. That's a win.

So the majority of the server market, and embedded market don't count as major players. (Also technicly android, but I think we are talking about GNU/linux)

"It's about time a major player got behind Linux [...]"

What about id Software?

They have a long-standing history of support for the platform, including John Carmack's philosophy and advocation of OSS that has driven his contribution of id Software game engine source code to the community, up to and including id Tech 4.

He even cares so deeply about the topic that he worked to keep id Tech 5 free from the shackles of proprietary code, because he wants to eventually release it as open source. He said (italic emphasis is mine):

"'Do we want to integrate some other vendor's solution, some proprietary code into this?' And the answer's usually no, because eventually id Tech 5 is going to be open source also. This is still the law of the land at id, that the policy is that we're not going to integrate stuff that's going to make it impossible for us to do an eventual open source release. We can argue the exact pros and cons from a pure business standpoint on it, and I can at least make some, perhaps somewhat, contrived cases that I think it's good for the business, but as a personal conviction it's still pretty important to me and I'm standing by that." [1]

I think the reality is that id Software has attempted to build the market-space, but the base just hasn't been there. For example, John had this to say recently at QuakeCon 2012:

"Other interesting sort of PC-ish platforms, we have... the Mac still remains a viable platform for us. The Mac has never required any charity from id, all of those ports have carried their own weight there; they've been viable business platforms.


Linux is an issue that's taken a lot more currency with Valve announcing Steam for Linux, and that does change, factor, you know, changes things a bit, but we've made two forays into the Linux commercial market, most recently with Quake Live client, and, you know, that platform just hasn't carried its weight compared to the Mac on there. It's great that people are enthusiastic about it, but there's just not nearly as many people that are interested in paying for a game on the platform, and that just seems to be the reality. Valve will probably pull a bunch more people there. I know absolutely nothing about any Valve plans for console, Steam-box stuff on there; I can speculate without violating anything.


So, it's enticing, the thought there that you might have a well-supported, completely open platform that you could deliver content through the Steam ecosystem there. It's a tough sell on there, but Valve gets huge kudos for having the vision for what they did with Steam, sticking through all of it. It's funny talking about Doom 3, where we can remember back in the days when they're like, 'Well, should you ship Doom 3 on Steam, go out there, make a splash?' ... I'm like, 'You're kidding, right?' That made no sense at all at that time, but you know Valve stuck with it and they're in a really enviable position from all of that now.

It still seems, probably crazy to me that they would be doing anything like that, you know, but, it's something that's not technically impossible, but would be really difficult from a market, sort of ecosystems standpoint." [2]

[1] http://www.linuxgames.com/archives/9374

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-iVFxgFWk#t=44m28s

At first thought this seems like a major blow for CodeWeavers and the commercial WINE consultation crowd; Steam and Valve games are among their staples, selling a large number of CrossOver licenses. However, on further consideration, if Valve wanted to make Steam/Linux a more seamless experience, one could see them becoming a major patron of CodeWeavers et al and/or becoming major WINE contributors themselves, in an attempt to ensure that most Steam games work perfectly on WINE.

This makes even more sense if one supposes that Valve ultimately intends to release a "Steambox" console. In such a condition, the question emerges: at what point does Microsoft feel WINE is damaging its profits sufficiently to revoke the free pass its enjoyed for a long while and bring out the legal banhammer? I think a Steambox that relied heavily on WINE would be excellent provocation.

Just because games will be distributed via Steam, does not mean that developers will stop depending on CodeWeavers and other WINE bundling techniques to actually create their ports.

I'll bet CodeWeavers couldn't be happier right now.

What could MS complain about. Interfaces are explicitly protected by precedent. And reverse engineering software is explicitly protected in the DMCA for the purposes of interlopability.

Would be better if they'd drop using DRM.

Let's hope GOG will follow with shipping native Linux games. With their DRM free stance - they'll be very well received by Linux users.

If you are interested, you can vote to show them that there is a demand for it:


I love how Valve is going way more than the extra mile to bring a very successful game store to Linux, and here we're just complaining about the DRM.

I don't think we're "just" complaining about the DRM, but it's something worth talking about. Do you suggest we all placate Valve, write them great big love letters, and ignore all their faults? It's worth exploring the full range of consequences, positive and negative.

I think it's established that gamers will be appreciative to have Steam running on Linux officially. Do you think we owe Valve something more than that, like pretending like potential downsides don't exist and that everyone's problems will be solved permanently by drooling at the Steam/Linux window for ten hours a day?

I suppose there's a risk that Steam becomes the defacto way to ship software for Linux which would in effect just assimilate it into being a closed platform.

OTOH that seems unlikely, hopefully it will be more like OSX with a healthy commercial ecosystem and an open source system living side by side on the same OS.

The problem is, that if it aspires to be a generic channel for distributing software besides games, the DRM side if it is bad enough to be concerned, even if it won't replace other open channels.

I'm not sure if it is bad in and of itself. As long as you are free to not install it and stick with your normal apt repos to get your DRM free open source stuff.

I guess it could become a disadvantage if an influx of good commercial software means that effort on open source stuff is diminished because there is less perceived need.

It's never enough for some people. If the DRM was gone there would be complaints about closed source.

While that may be true, the focus here is different. Whether the game is closed or open source is developers' decision, while using or not using DRM is the distributor's decision. So in this case the complaint is addressed to Valve as a distributor who promotes DRM. In contrast GOG as a distributor is against any DRM.

I really don't like DRM in general. Valve's move to Linux has its pluses, I'm not denying it. But DRM is a fat minus.

DRM in general is terrible, though. It adds no value at all for legitimate consumers, and in fact makes their experience far worse than it is for those that pirate your games (seriously mis-aligned incentives there!)

Steam is DRM, of course, and it definitely causes hassle for some users. Where Steam is different however is that it does actually add value, and for many users (myself included) the trade-off is worth it. I wouldn't dismiss software out of hand because "it's DRM" - there's a whole spectrum of good and bad software within that definition.

I'm not sure what you mean. How does DRM add any value to Steam? I.e. what would be worse there if it could drop DRM?

The way I see it - DRM never adds any value, and it's a two fold problem. The practical aspect of it - it degrades usability for legitimate users as you pointed out. And the ethical aspect of it - it's a preemptive policing technology that treats users as potential criminals by default. In my opinion it doesn't have any reason to exist at all. And actually you can dismiss it just for the fact of promoting DRM, since DRM means disrespect to users by default.

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean that the DRM in Steam adds value - but taking Steam as a whole, Steam itself is viewable as a DRM system that adds value (in all the ways that make Steam awesome).

The core DRM in Steam (if we ignore the flakiness of offline mode at least) is clever, consumer-friendly, and unbeatable: You simply do not deliver the executable to users until the game is out (but they can pre-load assets, which can optionally be encrypted to stop any pre-release leaks from them).

That's not to say Steam might be marginally improved without that, but in my day to day it has never caused any problems that wouldn't exist without it - in contrast, CD ROM based DRM such as Securom has caused me several headaches.

It's also worth mentioning that the DRM on Steam is opt-in: While the big publishers see fit to ship extra DRM on top of Steam, many of the games I have installed through Steam will actually run fine if I launch the executable directly, without starting Steam.

It sucks.

Lose internet unexpectedly? Your downloaded games are inaccessible.

Especially given how many games on GOG are old dos games that just run in DoxBOX and would be trivial to make bundled linux packages for...

I've had great success installing dos-based GOG games through WineBottler (http://wiki.winehq.org/WineBottler), diving into the package, moving the relevant files out, and stuffing them in Boxer (http://boxerapp.com/) and they run pretty awesome on my mac.

For GOG installers you can simply use innoextract to unpack all the files, to avoid using installer through Wine:


The proposal above is really more about giving an option of native Linux games when they are available. Often GOG offers a Windows version, while Linux or Mac OSX variants aren't offered even if they exist.

Having a DosBox / ScummVM games packaged for Linux is good, but that's not the main point of that vote.

> would be trivial to make bundled linux packages for...

Boxer makes this especially trivial on OSX, there's no reason similar (or even the same) game containers could not be created for Linux.

"GOG.com will also be announcing that it is bringing best PC games from throughout history to a new operating system."

Source: http://en.thewitcher.com/community/entry/296 about a Special Event on the 18th of October

Though, that will probably be OS X.

May be. They said they are interested in feedback though. Request for supporting Linux already got 6000 votes. At some point I hope they'll start paying attention.

I really hope this breaks the horrible Linux feedback loop.

We don't have games because we don't support games. We don't have hardware support becuase we don't have anything that requires hardware support.

I'm hoping they will provide access to the Humble Bundles as they do on Windows. It is a pain keeping up to date with them manually.

I just got the latest Humble Bundle (6) and I've been able to install all of the games through the Ubuntu Software Center (sweet!) with native Linux versions.

Seems that game developers have an incentive to do this since, according to my latest glance at the Humble Bundle website, Linux purchasers give much more than average ($10.13, as compared to $5.48 for Windows and $7.27 for Mac).

Developers are going to care more about total revenue and support loads. Ubuntu SC only covers the most recent HB or two - I paid for 8 different ones all of which are available via Steam on Windows. Also I don't trust Canonical much these days.

That probably depends on the developers of the games. Some of the Humble Bundle games already list Linux as a "ValidOS" in the Steam database.

I have Steam for windows installed through wine, and haven't had many issues getting my titles which I purchased from the humble bundle running. Since many of them have linux native versions already, I don't suspect we will have any issues.

I assume you mean you are running the Windows versions that Steam installs, via Wine? I want to run the native Linux packages.

Such a small set of testers especially considering how many of them will go to friends/industry probably means they are expecting to get buried under a shit storm of bugs.

With such a wide range of kernel versions, OS differences and various flavours of drivers from open, proprietary and closed sources, yep it's going to take some work.

From the post, it looks like they are only supporting Ubuntu. Not that that will stop it being repackaged for other distributions when it's released. From the collaboration with Intel, it will be interesting to see how much attention they pay to the other drivers.

Even just supporting 1 version of Ubuntu, you will have to support a wide range of kernels and configurations. I'd say that using a custom kernel isn't too far out of the norm.

The kernel won't matter. The hardest part with compatibility is library versions (for matching API and ABI), and the opengl rendering of the graphics driver (which Valve is working with Intel on).

While it's great they're putting support behind Linux I'm not getting my hopes up. Just look at the poor selection of Mac games available on Steam. There are plenty of great indy titles but very few big budget games. Linux support will be even worse.

Is the 3 at the end of the URL a subtle jab?

My vote is for almost-certainly yes. At the very least, it's a conscious marketing move.

Even after all this time (it's been longer now since HL2:E2 than the gap between HL1 and HL2 itself), the hype is so strong that if they released HL3 for Linux so much as a few hours earlier than the Windows version, it would cause a significant spike in Ubuntu downloads.

I doubt it. It's probably the third revision of that blog post, the other two are just unpublished.

That would be amazing!

That would also be genius marketing if they wanted to "flex nuts" and see just how strong of a following they could get if they ever did want to try to lure more users away from Windows, given Valve's Win8 complaints.

Of course, if it failed, it'd look odd.

Of course, also, if they gave out Ep3 for free with a Linux account like they sometimes do Portal... Well, half the gamers with PCs would be swarming boards to get help booting Linux partitions. Then Steam would just have to get other publishers on board the "offer Linux too" train, like they did with the "one purchase for PC and Mac" strategy.

> Of course, also, if they gave out Ep3 for free with a Linux account like they sometimes do Portal...

Er... unless Canonical is paying for the license, I can't see how that'd happen, Ep3 (if it ever exists) won't be a 2~3-hours side-game bundled with two "full-fledged" games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orange_Box)

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I did muddle that. See, sometimes they give Portal away completely for free. They've done it two or three times now. What I'm suggesting is that Valve gives everyone a free copy of Ep3 (or HL3, whatever they call it,) for Linux. Then I'm confident you'd see large numbers of gamers installing Linux partitions. And they could still charge for the Win/Mac version.

Of course, that's insanely unlikely. But I think it would be their strongest card in the "let's get everyone off of Windows" . I also think luring everyone to Linux (by filling in their catalog with "one purchase, all platforms" games) is probably cheaper for Valve than creating their own console.

But then, I may well attribute more good will to them (that they'd rather home computer gaming be on an open platform than another closed one, even if it was their own) than they deserve.

/edit: Ohhh, you mean "Portal wasn't a full fledged game, so... Unlikely." I get you. Sorry. Yes, I agree. Like I said here, insanely unlikely. But, as a tool to get more people to get away from Windows and the Win8 store... It would be irresistibly strong bait. And that's definitely in their long term interests.

HL3 will be a huge money maker for them , I'd be amazed if they gave it away for free.

I suppose making it a Linux exclusive for some period of time might not be outside the realms of possibility. But I can't see what that would do apart from piss people off. Especially people who have no idea how to setup dual boot or who have hardware that isn't very compatible with Linux.

There may well be some perks for new Linux users, but probably more along the line of some extra skins for multiplayer or whatever.

> But, as a tool to get more people to get away from Windows and the Win8 store... It would be irresistibly strong bait. And that's definitely in their long term interests.

They wouldn't have to give it away to do that. Just offer the Linux version 12h before the Windows version at normal price (and pre-announce it) and they'll burn Canonical's server into the ground under the load of gamers trying to get HL3 a few hours in advance.

Seconding this. If you remove the '-3' at the end, it redirects back to the URL above. Cheeky, I like it.

Doesn't actually seem to be an intentional redirect, though—if you truncate everything past the "b" in the URL, it still works (and similarly for other blog posts). I have a feeling it's just doing a "best match" based on the URL.

That's just Wordpress. It is just doing a closest match on the slug.

Also works if you remove 'eta-late-than-never-3'.

Coincidentally, I thought you meant here at HN.

Nah, just means they can count to 3. Still holding out for HL3.

it's the third post on the blog, more likely it's just the post ID.

None of the other posts on the blog have a number at the end of them.

It only does it when it needs to disambiguate between posts with the same "slug" (i.e. URL-friendly name). My guess is that in their drafts, there are two posts with the same slug, so WordPress added the -3 to disambiguate.

half life 3 confirmed!

Can't wait! Here's hoping Steam Linux - in combination with the Microsoft's terrible decisions on Windows 8 - can be the catalyst for a mass exodus of gamers from Windows to Ubuntu/Linux and end an era of Windows PC gaming dominance that has long been overdue.

>> We will be using a sign up page for the external beta. Information about the sign up will be announced in a future post.

Now I need to bookmark that blog. :-)

Hurray! This is my year of Linux on the desktop.

The ''one game'' in the private beta is left 4dead 2, or is there any indication it might be something else?

Heh. Judging from the URL of this post, it might be Half Life 3.

Hopefully they add basic RPM bundling as well; as much as I like Ubuntu I think if you are distributing binaries we should be able to expect support for the latest Fedora as well.

Personally, I'm hoping they don't. Or rather, that if they do, they find a way to do it while expending zero time and energy on it...

Fragmentation in the Linux world is one of the major things that is stopping developers from jumping on board. Valve should focus on supporting one distro and supporting it well.

I agree to a degree, but at the same time simply choosing one distro to succeed is also not beneficial in the end either.

oh, steam on linux? really? it's will possible if Valve will do create the distribution of Linux and will support and further developed its.

This is a great thing, next year will be the year of linux... definitely...

Meh, the year of Linux for me was around 2007, when I started using Ubuntu. Stop worrying about whether other people are using Linux and just start using it (and contributing to the community). That's how you build up the userbase.

Well, the year of linux has been around for a long time. The list of devices that use Linux is staggering.

Now, Linux as a desktop... Maybe. We'll see.

Yesterday I connected a webcam to Windows 7, I had to download drivers (about 100MB of it from Logitech) only after this it started working.

Also the same day I wanted to install my old HP 4300C scanner, connecting it to Windows 7 and using some old driver for windows xp didn't make it work. There are no drivers for Windows 7. The ones for XP are also quite old and are some kind of a "remastered" Windows 95 version sometimes they don't work.

When I did the same on linux (Debian Wheezy, default kernel 3.2.x) both devices just work I didn't have to do anything apart from running an application that uses them (Skype or scanimage).

I also see the benefits of having a Linux distribution over Windows 7(or 8). The driver hurdle is annoying on Windows. I recently helped a family member install Ubuntu 12.04 (this family member is not technically inclined at all!), I sat back and watched her install Ubuntu. No driver installs, no "enter in your license key" crap, no activation crap. It all just worked out out of the box. Even her wireless. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't needed anymore.

You and I may see the Linux desktop, but most people don't. Which is very sad, in my opinion. It'll come, I suppose. I just have to be skeptical.

How old was the webcam?

It's Logitech C100 (http://www.logitech.com/en-my/support/webcams/6424) not sure how old it is, I borrowed it from colleague.

In the time between when the "year of the desktop" meme was coined, honestly I think the goal posts have shifted.

It shouldn't be the goal or focus of Linux to win on the desktop, because the desktop is increasingly being relegated to a niche player. Winning on the desktop today would be a rather pointless victory IMO.

Linux is already right now, today, amazingly incredibly successful in all domains which I think are most relevant for the future: servers (a given) and mobile (Android, Firefox OS, Web OS, Ouya, etc, etc.)

I was first told the Year Of Linux On The Sesktop would be 1997, when it would overtake Windows 95 by being better/prettier/more functional. Just as soon as they fixed the issues with sound support...

I'm sure someone here heard it before then.

I too remember 97 as the first year of Linux on the desktop, when people gleefully predicted that Microsoft would collapse under their own weight.

Feels kind of cute, in retrospect.

Well, sound support was sort of finally properly fixed in 2010-2011. :)

>I was first told the Year Of Linux On The Desktop would be 1997


I knew Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was going to make a difference. I've been using it in my desktop and I love it, everything works out of the box (sound, video, etc), and you can find anything you want in the software center. Now I only use Windows for games.

Unless you have an AMD graphics card, in which case you get to deal with all kinds of corruption in general desktop use.

Opensource radeon driver is pretty good if you don't need 3D. I would actually say that it is much better then the AMD one - there are no problems with suspend and the card initializes more quickly.

I take it you will need 3D if you are in the market for Steam.

I also went through all sorts of hell with proprietary AMD/ATI drivers, and I needed them for OpenCL. To this day my Desktop is a pain to use but OpenCL works fine. Sadly they make the best cards for this purpose by far, otherwise I would get something else.

Yes, except for power usage. The blob is much, much better at keeping my laptop's battery alive.

Or an Nvidia, or an Intel, or ... All accelerated cards have had their share of bugs.

Intel run pretty flawlessly. They're just comparatively underpowered for gaming.

That has not been my experience, but admittedly it has been many years since I bought anything with Intel graphics.

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