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Phoronix Confirms GNU/Linux Steam and Source Engine Clients 324

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the believe-it-when-i-see-it dept.
nukem996 writes "After initially reporting in 2010 that Valve was working on a native GNU/Linux client, one has finally been confirmed. Michael Larabel recently visited Valve's Bellvue, WA based office and has been able to see it himself. Included in the article are screenshots of the client running and speculation of a release." Valve has yet to officially comment, but you'd hope they wouldn't invite someone up to their offices and send them home to spew lies.
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Phoronix Confirms GNU/Linux Steam and Source Engine Clients

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  • Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:28AM (#39793713)

    I know this isn't going to be a popular sentiment on /., but a Steam Linux client is going to please the Linux community for all of about 5 minutes. The applause won't even have died down before they're bitching that there aren't enough games, it's not open source, it doesn't look right in their obscure distro of choice, etc.

    The Linux community *should* embrace and celebrate this, but my experience has been that a large (or at least largely vocal) part of that community is made up of idealists and professional bitchers who think everything should be open source and free. Introducing a closed source client that charges for games into that group isn't going to please them. Nothing is going to please them.

    Okay, now everyone mod me troll for pointing out something you know is true.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schitso (2541028) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:32AM (#39793749)
    While it's true that some people are like that, it's unfortunate that your experience with the Linux community left you with the impression that most are like that.
    That hasn't been my impression, at least. Maybe I'm too much of an idealist.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:35AM (#39793771) Homepage

    I don't think so.

    With Steam on the platform (closed or not), it provides an easy and viable source of customers for companies that produce games. Now there's no excuse not to make Windows, Mac & Linux versions when you already push out Windows & Mac versions.

    Sure there'll be a lot of die-hards but they can waddle off into their gameless PC's if they want. But the gamers who currently have Windows and Linux PC's - this gives them incentive to game on Linux, which gives others incentive to make games for Linux.

    A lot of the big indie titles already work on Linux, it's just a matter of there not being enough and Steam revolutionised Windows gaming when it arrived, why not Linux gaming now? There are any number of app-stores out there for Linux but a gaming-centric, game-developer-supported one is a big plus.

    Linux-native versions of quite a lot of games, and support for cross-platform programming being rife even if under-used, this could really boost the casual/indie game market and also mean that maybe some of the big developers that we've been telling people for YEARS should just be pushing out a Linux binary too might actually follow suit. There's no reason that gaming on Linux can't be as popular and successful as gaming on Windows.

    And having a few hundred indie games shoved onto the platform with a "one-click download" install that users are familiar with and might even get "free" games for (if they own the Mac/Windows version, for example) can't be a bad thing, even if it never really takes off.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:35AM (#39793779) Homepage Journal

    I don't think that's really true. There are some people out there who think closed software is a crime against humanity, but to be frank, those people are generally not gamers. Gamers are used to a system where you are lucky not to be forced to play on closed hardware, let alone just on closed software on an open OS.

    I think the reality is Steam is a good idea (if not implemented perfectly) and Valve are a company that are almost universally doing things right. They make some of the best games ever created, and do it pretty ethically. It's not really surprising they'd be the folks to look at Linux first.

    Valve care about the consumer, and that is more important, I think, that whether or not it's open or closed. If a product is good, I'll use it. I mostly use open source software as, for what I need, I find it's generally best, but there are exceptions (I'm a big fan of PyCharm, the python IDE which is closed source).

    Most people will love this, and for good reason. Good games on a good platform can only be a good thing, and it means we might start to see the barrier breaking down, and people producing for Linux because suddenly there is a way to do it more easily.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RoboJ1M (992925) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:35AM (#39793781)

    I won't.
    I'll be dancing in the goddamn street with a crowbar.
    I've been watching with interest the burgeoning Linux games industry and it's about to go critical with this, that's for sure.
    It's not just Steam, it's Source.
    So that's the back library taken care of.
    And now I can play keyboard/mouse games again for the first time since I abandoned the Windows world! YAY!

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:36AM (#39793801)

    It's not that most are like that, it's that most of the really vocal people are.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:41AM (#39793861)

    part of that community is made up of idealists and professional bitchers who think everything should be open source and free

    This may come as a shock, but GNU is maintained by the Free Software Foundation, so in some sense the entire point of GNU/Linux is to be free/libre.

    Really though, there are more than just philosophical reasons for proprietary software in GNU/Linux being a bad thing. If I compile my program in Ubuntu, will you be able to run it in Gentoo? There are an enormous number of incompatible distributions out there, and I doubt that Steam will be available on all of them. In practical terms, proprietary software for GNU/Linux is difficult to push for this very reason, so there are two outcomes:

    1. Whatever distros popular proprietary software is available for become the distros that people use, thus allowing proprietary software vendors to exert control over the community. This already happens with some packages; we really do not need more.
    2. Steam becomes irrelevant on GNU/Linux because it does not work everywhere, and then the short-lived experiment dies. This has also happened with other software in the past.
  • by javilon (99157) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:42AM (#39793879) Homepage

    There are a number of users that will be happy to buy from steam if it is available for Linux. I am one of them and here is the description

    I have grown used to buying apps for my Androis phone. The reason are:
    - It is convenient
    - prices are not outrigeous, so I can do impusle buying

    Now, I don't use Windows and I don't feel like rebooting into it just for playing. I don't feel like maintaining the Windows OS, so I don't play games except the few Free/free Linux games coming in my distro. But I will purchase and play some of the classic games if they are available in Steam for Linux.

  • Re:What games? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:43AM (#39793881) Homepage Journal
    Well, if you bothered to read even the title, you'd see that says Source, which is Valve's game engine. That's a lot of games and mods, not to mention that they are all very good games. There are also a fair number of titles on Steam with Linux versions anyway, and this opens the way for more to happen. You can't expect it to be instant, but this gives devs a reason to release Linux versions, and a way to reach Linux users.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:50AM (#39793943)

    Whatever distros popular proprietary software is available for become the distros that people use, thus allowing proprietary software vendors to exert control over the community. This already happens with some packages; we really do not need more.

    Your logic fails here. If you, as a libre proponent, don't want to use proprietary software then just don't use it. How could proprietary vendors exert any control over you if they aren't offering anything you care to use? If there are people in the Linux community who want to use proprietary software, then let them, and if they are "controlled" by those vendors then so be it, as long as they are happy. Their choice of software does not limit your libre software selection, and as such you shouldn't be trying to limit others' choices (regardless of your philosophical stance).

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:05AM (#39794103)

    They should mod you down for being wrong. Those you speak of are the loudest voices only. In reality lots of linux users are already running these games in wine, and would welcome official support. I am one of those users.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:08AM (#39794147) Journal

    I know this isn't going to be a popular sentiment on /., but a Steam Linux client is going to please the Linux community for all of about 5 minutes. The applause won't even have died down before they're bitching that there aren't enough games, it's not open source, it doesn't look right in their obscure distro of choice, etc.

    The Linux community *should* embrace and celebrate this, but my experience has been that a large (or at least largely vocal) part of that community is made up of idealists and professional bitchers who think everything should be open source and free. Introducing a closed source client that charges for games into that group isn't going to please them. Nothing is going to please them.

    Okay, now everyone mod me troll for pointing out something you know is true.

    I suspect that it won't be a major issue: Obviously, Free Software Only people aren't going to bite; but that is to be expected. Non-gamers won't care, also expected, and pretty much anybody gaming on Linux is already probably resigned to closed source binaries: their graphics drivers if nothing else(and presumably most of the games that they've coaxed into working under WINE(maybe there are a few OSS games with such strong Windows ties that WINE is easier than a port; but I'm having a hard time thinking of any). Intel OSS drivers are OK; but intel GPUs are not really gaming material. AMD is on the right trajectory; but the latest more-or-less-fully-ironed-out FOSS 3D support is for R200 parts, which aren't exactly screamers, and Nvidia's position on OSS drivers is "Well, it needs to be good enough so that the customer can see what they are doing as they download and install our binary driver."

    I don't know how the numbers break down between purist users and nonpurist users; but the ratio of 'do-unto-others' purists to everybody else is tiny. Even the big, bad, Godfather of GNU himself merely advises that using closed software is not a good idea, and requests that you comply with the license of GPL software you use. Not terribly scary.

    On a somewhat different topic, this linux release of theirs might have some ties to the persistent rumors of some sort of Valve-blessed hardware configuration providing a console-like package. If they suspect that they can even break even on Steam/Source for Linux, that might improve their prospects of being able to release a valvebox spec that leaves buyers with the extra $100 to spend on games, rather than on Windows. Even people who don't care about freedom care about free, after all.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:10AM (#39794185)

    Ok ok, lets lay off the "best games ever made" rhetoric. There are at least 2 posts on this thread where you are claiming this. I agree with what you are saying, but lets stay away from the absurdly subjective topic of "best game ever". It adds nothing but flame and controversy.

    That being said, porting Source to Linux is almost a bigger deal than Steam. I think this will usher a new era of well produced indy games and cross-platform compatibility. (Presuming people can get their video drivers working.)

  • Re:Good luck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:13AM (#39794225)

    In turn, sorry to break it to you, but all the Linux users I know are gamers, and would welcome a native Linux version of Steam. The more games we can play without having to reboot the better.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#39794661)
    Aaaand point proven, thank you ever so much.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:14AM (#39795119)

    Yeah, totally. I'm probably the target market for this kind of thing. Incidently, I do exist.
    I don't run Windows at all, ever. My Linux box single boots to Linux.
    Also, I love games, in several genres, and have disposable income.

    Better Linux support makes me happy, and when I'm happy I spread my cash around more than when I'm unhappy.
    My current major source of unhappy is the growing number of .NET 3.5+ games on Steam that I'd really like to try (WINE seems to have some serious heartburn with .NET 3.5+ that hasn't been going away.) Yes, I know in theory this should spur me to go out and help fix things, but it's some pretty specific code in an area I'm not familiar with, which makes the entry cost really damn high.

    To be honest, while I don't think DRM helps the publisher as much as they think it does (ie: It's useless), I really don't care if it's there as long as the game **WORKS**. If the game works, I'm happy, and companies will profit just a little bit more. If the game doesn't work, or even worse, doesn't work just because of DRM, then they should DIEDIEDIE. Steam's move here is good for me. They are trying to make sure that THEY are not what prevents me from playing (and buying games). That's good, since there are a lot of good games coming through steam.

    I am pleased.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slydder (549704) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:24AM (#39795255) Homepage

    light-handed DRM

    You're joking, right? Steam is one of the most intrusive DRMs out there. You need to be online to install games.

    which means you can install your game on ANY PC you are on and in case your PC should die, get shot, involved in a car wreck or what have you and all your originals are gone; you still have access to your game and do not need to buy another CD/DVD/BR because the Publisher doesn't want to give you a replacement.

    You need to be online to play games. Allegedly there is an offline mode but that only works 50% of the time if you don't plan ahead and go offfline while you actually still have a working connection.

    Offline mode works just fine. and some games you don't even have to activate it. Now, of course there are some games that don't work offline. But most of those are multiplayer games anyway and are useless without the connection.

    Let's not forget the mandatory client that wastes resources, bombards you with ads and adds minutes to the start-up time of games unless you always keep it running; and who wouldn't want to have an app running that logs what software you have installed and what/when/how long you play.

    Yeah. A whopping 13 MB of memory used. If you have memory crunch because of that then you have other issues to address and once you do you won't be missing those 13 MB. As far as the ads go. Well, I would personally like to not have them. But it helps support the platform because the games I buy I only pay for once. Running costs do need to be covered and this is about the least painful of the options available to them. The rest of the comment I won't even bother to address. Just not worth my time explaining debugging and such.

    Aside from that there is no guarantuee that Steam will let or will be able to let you play your games in the future. If the publisher has a change of heart or Steam gets sold/goes tits-up, you'll potentially lose all games you have on that platform.

    Other than the fact that Steam has one of the best business models in the industry and that they would be completly off thier collective rocker to cut and run. Nope, no guarantee. But then again all you get from the others is a CD. And I personally make backups of my CD/DVD and Steam games. So even if they do go to the be hunting ground in the sky I will still be able to play my games in offline mode and also have backups for the future.

    Think I'll stick with Steam. Thanks a bunch.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:16AM (#39796045)

    While I also use Steam and find it to be mostly ok, the GP does raise a valid point: offline mode doesn't always work. If your connection fails during an attempt to connect, for example, offline mode will be broken until you can connect again, which on my case can take a full weekend. Also, on my admittedly crappy connection (512kbps and very flaky at that), the client takes at least one minute (at peak hours about seven or eight) to start. And some games take two or three extra minutes to even start loading, which is kind of a drag. But those are mostly faults with my connection, and while I'd appreciate a little more consideration with us rural folks, I'm sure they are non-issues for anyone with a 1mbps+ stable connection.

    Oh, and yes, I did download a bunch of 6 or so Gb games with my POS connection. It usually takes about a week of almost constant babysitting for each. Feel free to build a statue of me anywhere you like.

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