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Steam For Linux Will Launch In 2012 299

Posted by timothy
from the we're-getting-this-urgent-wire dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Gabe Newell has responded to an email asking if Steam for Linux will be released this year with the simple answer 'Yes.' That means at some point in the next 7 months anyone running Linux will be able to download Steam and start playing a number of games, including at least one Valve title (most likely Left 4 Dead 2). After that the emphasis will be on game developers to start porting their Steam games over to Linux. 2012 could be a great year for gaming on Linux. The news follows the revelation in April that Valve was indeed working on a Linux port of its digital games service. At the time though, and as with all Valve software, we had no idea when it would get released."
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Steam For Linux Will Launch In 2012

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:49AM (#40218197)

    ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HyperQuantum (1032422)

      Maybe this will indeed be the 'tipping point' for Linux. With those games coming to Linux, a gaming machine will become a lot cheaper. And they'll run faster too! (no antivirus or trialware running in the background)

      • by TigerTime (626140) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:58AM (#40218807)

        Games...and the fact that Windows 8 Tile interface without a typical menu system looks like an abomination. Windows users are going to be looking around. Apple will likely pick up most of them, but Linux needs to be in position to pick some up. Steam will help immensely.

        • by hendridm (302246) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:35AM (#40219231) Homepage

          Nearly all people don't give a rip about Slashdot pundits. They buy a PC at Best Buy or Dell.com's "For Home" section and it comes with Windows. Done deal.

          I'm a Linux advocate, but come on! To suggest that Uncle Larry will switch to Linux because she doesn't like the tile interface is absurd!

          • by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:04AM (#40219611) Journal

            To suggest that Uncle Larry will switch to Linux because she doesn't like the tile interface is absurd!

            They'll just do what my Dad does and run Windows XP on the 900Mhz machine with 256MB RAM I'm not allowed to upgrade because "it works the way he wants it to, even if it's a bit slow" while the new machine I transferred all his data to collects dust.

          • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:12AM (#40219733)
            I know a lot of not-terribly computer savvy people who avoided Vista and stuck with XP because of the bad press it got, so yes, people can and will avoid the current version of Windows if it gets bad press (from the nerds). As far as switching to Linux go: again, I know a lot of less-than-nerdy types who have strongly considered and/or used Linux (generally Ubuntu). Linux really has progressed a great deal in public image. No where near Windows-level of adaptation, yet, but it is progressing, which is all you can really ask for.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sound+vision (884283)
              "Avoiding Vista" is worlds away from "Actively seeking out Linux." The mantra last time around was "Stick with XP", this time around it'll just be "Stick with 7". (Or, in 10-15%, still stick with XP...) You say Linux has been progressing, and I'd like to know how you're measuring that progress. (No, I don't want to hear about Android. People don't know it's Linux-derived, plus we're talking about x86 desktops, not ARM smartphones.)

              I, even being a techie, have actually moved farther away from Linux. There w
          • by Githaron (2462596)

            I'm a Linux advocate, but come on! To suggest that Uncle Larry will switch to Linux because she doesn't like the tile interface is absurd!

            PC gamers tend to be tech savvy enough to consider it if their games ran on Linux. Unfortunately, most game publishers will probably not bother porting their games to Linux even after Steam adds support.

          • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:33PM (#40223691)
            That must be why internet explorer is still the dominant browser.
        • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:37AM (#40219257) Homepage Journal

          Apple will likely pick up most of them..

          Apple opposes you buying and using their OS if your computer isn't a Mac.

          If you buy a computer and it has Windows 8 preloaded and you hate it, Mac OS may be available to you as a pirate, but Apple's position is that your computer is a doorstop, not a ludicrously overpowered computer which can be salvaged by installing decent software. They aren't going to try to directly use that machine to increase their OS market share.

          They don't hope to get you as a customer until n years later when that machine is finally obsolete (and I think n is getting to be a pretty big number), and they're counting on you remembering how unhappy you were with your previous purchase being non-Apple hardware.

          Except that when that day comes, you may have been running Mint for n years and probably don't actually have negative feelings about your hardware purchase. Turns out, the non-Apple hardware was fucking awesome (probably; most of today's shittiest garbage computers are just incredible, or at least in my experience). It's the preload you have bad feelings about.

          There are a few angles; maybe you will keep Windows on the machine despite your unhappiness, so the bitterness will last longer. Maybe your otherwise useful machine has something weird for which drivers are hard to get or don't work well (e.g. realtek wifi), so you can't ever upgrade the OS. Maybe you'll recommend Macs to your friends and family, so someone else might get a Mac due to your purchase of a Windows-preloaded box.

          There are opportunities for Apple, but most of them seem pretty fringe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:50AM (#40218205)

    The bigger question is, will it motivate developers to port to Linux?

    • by The MAZZTer (911996) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (tzzagem)> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:53AM (#40218225) Homepage
      Thanks to efforts like the Humble Indie Bundle, there are already a bunch of games on Steam that have Linux ports, in addition to whatever Valve ports.
    • by buanzo (542591) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:54AM (#40218241) Homepage
      Yes. Steam already has the market. I'm pretty sure they are making this move with good pre-analysis. Gamers that only boot Windows to play games will definitely support it, to say the least.
      • I have stuck with windows for the past 10 years for specifically this reason. I'm a Linux admin by trade. I see no reason after steam games are stable on Linux to stick around. (except the crap feast which is origin.)

        • by Bengie (1121981)
          Hell yeah. With Steam on Linux, it's the beginning of the end of me having to boot Windows. I hope it plays well with BSD. I've been Windows only for years(would have Linux if I had more than 1 computer). Finally.
          • by Bonobo_Unknown (925651) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:50AM (#40218711)
            Except that most of the games on steam won't be available on Linux (as they aren't on os x either).
            • by Bengie (1121981)
              Linux has a fairly well-funded user-base and a low entry point being a free OS. While I do agree that many of the current games may never get ported, I can see an up-swing in Linux only or multi-platform games in the future. I would be willing to repurchase many indie games if they made a new Linux version.
              • Multi-platform yes. Linux only, what on earth would be the point of that? It's hardly an ideal gaming system - my Nvidia drivers crash on me every week - but if you're supporting Android and OSX already, why not offer it too?

                I notice that multiplatform games have done much better on Kickstarter. Probably a lot of gamers are pro-Linux in principle, but will buy the Windows/OSX version anyway if that's all that exists - and the companies know that. That logic does not apply for Kickstarter funding, though - t

        • by yincrash (854885)
          Wouldn't mind a Linux Netflix player as well.
    • by Deorus (811828)

      Considering how tiny the Mac library is, I doubt it. Porting from Mac to Linux is relatively easy compared to porting from Windows to anything else, but when you speak of Linux you speak of a number of distributions that do not agree about a number of different things, drivers that lack proper support or adherence to established norms, etc.

      Can Canonical make a difference with free software where Apple with its tight control over their platform is failing? I don't think so, BUT don't lose hope yet, the Lin

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:28AM (#40218531)

        I would bet on your last point above all. Valve wants their own console, they are afraid of windows 8 for good reason. Making a linux steam client paves the way for their own steam box.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Would be great for all... looks like Win8 games will just be ports of cell phone games.

        • I would bet on your last point above all. Valve wants their own console, they are afraid of windows 8 for good reason. Making a linux steam client paves the way for their own steam box.

          Wish I had a mod point for you. I hadn't thought of that, but you've probably hit the nail right on the head. +1 insightful. Most valve games run on relatively low end hardware (compared to pretty much any other game), so it would make the valve console super easy to create.

      • by DrXym (126579)

        Considering how tiny the Mac library is, I doubt it. Porting from Mac to Linux is relatively easy compared to porting from Windows to anything else, but when you speak of Linux you speak of a number of distributions that do not agree about a number of different things, drivers that lack proper support or adherence to established norms, etc.

        Most Mac titles are just Windows titles recompiled using Transgaming's Cider environment which is basically a commercial WINE derivative for OS X. It seems likely to me that Steam for Linux will operate along similar lines or perhaps Steam might even pack a version of Cedega or native WINE under its hood. So it won't be so much as porting games as testing and running them against WINE. There may be a smattering of genuinely native games but I expect most will be appear through this route.

        • by Svartalf (2997) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:42AM (#40219337) Homepage

          Heh... Steam's native. The games they're currently porting are native.

          I could tell you more, but I'd have to kill you... >:-D

        • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:45PM (#40221133)
          The people that have a problem with games being ported via Wine are really shooting themselves in the foot. Modern software is loaded with layer after layer of abstraction. Wine is just one more layer. If the game is tested and works, there is no good reason to care how it was coded. The standard "It doesn't run as good as if it was written native" has two answers. 1) Ported via Wine certainly runs better than not written at all native. 2) No. It doesn't. Fewer abstraction layers will sometimes bring faster code, but 'native' does not mean fewer abstraction layers. We are way past the point of developers eeking out every last bit of performance from the hardware. We are well into the age when developers use abstraction layers to ease development. And that is all Wine is in this case.
  • Humble Indie Bundle (Score:5, Informative)

    by De Lemming (227104) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:52AM (#40218219) Homepage

    Great!
    Remember that all games from the current and previous Humble Indie Bundles [humblebundle.com] (overview of all games [wikipedia.org]) have a Linux version, and most of them are on Steam too. So that's already a nice range of games to start.

    • True but for non techie users just working which of the various Linux install packages to download will stop them dead. Steam should remove that roadstop and maybe we'll stop needing to hack configurations or guess which dependencies the installer didn't deal with.

      I gave up trying to install games for my wife under Kununtu, it's been easier running many under Wine than getting native builds to work.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Desura handles this very well. Not sure the recent bundles have keys for it, but it is very steam like and runs on linux.

  • by hort_wort (1401963) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:54AM (#40218235)

    DRM in Linux is practically nonexistent, and I'm glad to see this gap filled! I was starting to feel lonely without being groped by a lawyer.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:04AM (#40218325)

      Steam is a lesson in how DRM should be done. Ever used it? It's really nice, could storage of saves by default, all your games accessible wherever you are with your steam password. It actually makes your life *easier* than piracy which is practically unheard of for DRM. Valve seem to understand that money, like water, follows the path of least resistance.

      • Agreed. I don't pirate games now... solely because of steam. Steam makes paying for the game easier than pirating it. Steam also solves all sorts of general issues that have plauged gaming for decades. Centralized billing... losing CD keys, storage of media, losing your saved games, centralized password, REAL bans for hackers (their account is linked to their steam account) I wish Valve would issue an IPO so that I could invest.
        • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:25AM (#40219911)

          I wish Valve would issue an IPO so that I could invest.

          No, you don't, because then Valve would be forced to answer to investors, which means a focus on quarterly-earnings, which means rushed games and restrictive DRM and bullshit like that. Look at what happened to Ubisoft, EA, and Activision-Blizzard. Valve manages to be better than most of the other publishers in large part because they are a privately owned company who can afford to mess around if they want (and because of their unique management structure, i.e. they don't have one). Also means their employees are extremely well paid, which pays off in the long run with talented employees sticking around.

    • Well take your pick, either you get the games with DRM, or you don't get your games. You still have that choice now, you don't like the DRM, then dont get Steam For Linux.

      Remember these are just Games, Entertainment, They are really not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, heck they probably distract you from having a lot of life's great moments.

      • Remember these are just Games, Entertainment, They are really not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, heck they probably distract you from having a lot of life's great moments.

        Stop undermining my rage!!! You and your logic....

    • by Deorus (811828) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:26AM (#40218513)

      They lock my games to a single account and that's about it. In exchange, they backup my saves, backup my games, allow me to install my games wherever I wish, provide me with free voice chat services that I would otherwise have to host or pay for, provide me with awesome deals, etc.

      Thanks to Steam promotions alone, my game library there has 273 games that cost me an average of $6 each, so I don't know about you, but $6 per game in addition to all the other advantages is quite a bargain in exchange for their "DRM" that is more permissive than what you can usually find in the retail versions of the same games.

      • Thanks to Steam promotions alone, my game library there has 273 games that cost me an average of $6 each, so I don't know about you, but $6 per game in addition to all the other advantages is quite a bargain in exchange for their "DRM" that is more permissive than what you can usually find in the retail versions of the same games.

        Yep, when the prices get that low I usually snatch them up too. They do some good stuff. I'm just *very* hesitant to buy a game full price because it feels like such a commitment. It took a couple friends to talk me into getting Skyrim, which I considered to be worth every penny but didn't know it until afterwards. A lot of people who got Diablo 3, I believe, didn't fare so well.

      • This is more-or-less the same thing I've been saying all along: Steam DRM itself is really benign, but in exchange for the DRM you simply get so many advantages that it is worth it. My favorite features are that all my games are accessible from anywhere as long as I have Internet so I don't have to bother with physical discs, or keeping the damn CD-keys safe, and that all my games are kept up-to-date without me having to do anything about it. My collection of games is something a bit over 100 games at the m

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:56AM (#40218253)

    Nope, just kidding. Still, excellent news!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:58AM (#40218269)

    Seeing as just about all of the Valve games on the Source engine have been ported to Mac, would I be correct in thinking that it is a vastly reduced job to then bring them to Linux?

    Anyway, this is great news.

    2012 - Year of the Linux Desktop!!

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Actually, the games were probably a pretty easy port. The server logic has been ported for years - there have been Linux dedicated servers pretty much since HL2 came out. All that was really needed was input handling, and a renderer. The Mac port handled the renderer, and at least made sure the input system was able to be ported to a new system easily, not heavily DirectX-dependent.

      Most of the difficulty was probably making it run *well*, not making it *run*. As well as porting Steam itself - I know that it

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jo_ham (604554)

        It's a shame that the Mac Steam client is the way that it is - you'd expect it to perform well, but it's a resource hog (especially CPU) on lower-end systems. The internal html engine is Webkit, yet the steam store inside the client (with the videos, sliding graphics etc) is pretty sluggish, but the same content viewed in Chrome or Safari on the same machine is perfectly fine.

        Not sure what it is that Steam is doing wrong there, but it's annoying.

        Mac-native games, however, are excellent. I also like that I c

  • 2012 Valve Time? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Valve_Time

  • It'd be awesome if they can integrate WINE into this. If so, maybe some of the good Windows titles will work regardless of Linux ports.
  • that sucking sound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:06AM (#40218363)

    That sucking sound is all my productivity flying out the window when this goes live. The last few years since the dvd drive on the family Wii console died I have gotten so much done. After all, on linux we all know the fun is in the coding and productivity tools (albeit a rarified kind of fun that you gotta immerse yourself in). If steam goes live with good games, well, I could see the 15 minute break I take when stumped by a coding challenge stretching into a week...

    • by miknix (1047580)

      You damn right about that. There were only a very few games (curiously Valve produced) that after all these years actually made me install Windows to play them. If more games start showing up in my Linux boxen at a distance of a few clicks and dollars, I might very well just drop my time from random opensource projects and game on a little.

      • by miknix (1047580)

        By the way, this might not be the year of Linux on the desktop after all since we will see a mass slowdown on kernel.org development cause everybody will be playing HL2 EP3 on Linux :P /joking

    • Please remember Steam is a distribution platform, nothing more. So all it does it make it easier to get games. It doesn't bring any new games over, it isn't a system for porting or emulating games. So it will only have games already available for Linux, with the exception of any Valve games they port.

      You can see this on the Mac version now. If you look at the games for Windows and games for Mac you find that there are major differences. Some titles are listed as "Steam Play" meaning they run on both, howeve

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      You know you can attach a USB hard drive to the Wii and load games from it, right? :^P

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:19AM (#40218451) Journal

    Considering the direction Microsoft is taking with the desktop (Windows 8) and rumours I've heard about Gabes opinion on Microsofts decisions with 8 (apparently extremely unhappy / disapointed) I suspect Valve is looking towards a future where linux is on significantly more desktops than it is now.

    Admitedly, it's highly unlikely but you never know, Microsoft really are making a mess with Windows 8

  • How about no? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Robert Zenz (1680268) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:38AM (#40218613) Homepage
    Wait, so Phoronix has a screenshot from *someone* which shows an e-mail from Newell...and this is "evidence"?! What the hell is wrong with the Internet?!
  • Oh no! If that happens, my productivity will go down! I'll be playing games suddenly!

  • No technical commentary at all? Come on /. try harder.

    I'm curious how they'll integrate with the numerous distros and numerous desktop environments, or sadly, more likely not integrate at all.

    I've often thought an interesting add on for apt-get and friends would be the limited support required to set up a "for pay/for donation" app store. Anything other than a really ugly hack would require lots of work.

    Several puzzles to solve. Proper place in the file system hierarchy? Assuming its some place in /opt,

    • Ubuntu can and does sell some software through their software manager, so you're interest in the "apt-get donation" has sort of been addressed, though not directly as an apt-get add on.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > I'm curious how they'll integrate with the numerous distros
      > and numerous desktop environments, or sadly, more likely
      > not integrate at all.

      What exactly do you need to "integrate with numerous desktop environments". Try to be precise and not just engage in vague mindless FUD.

      It could probably just operate as an alternate package manager and ignore the underlying distribution for the most part. This would annoy a vanishingly small (but noisy) number of "purists" but would likely be very effective.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:43AM (#40218661) Homepage

    While Steam on Linux isn't a bad thing, a screenshot of someone's gmail window is hardly evidence of anything, due to how easy it is to fake. Hell, even if it is a real GMail window, Firebug makes it trivial to add new output directly to a live page.

  • Even though it's lacking a little in some areas (like accessing resources from different threads), OpenGL 3.3 and OpenCL are more than enough for running the most hardware stressing games currently coming out for the PC and consoles, and nowadays driver support for it is excellent in both AMD and NVidia.
    Given that Macs now support OpenGL 3 with Lion, and that mobile world is almost exclusively OpenGL ES 2.0 (which is mostly forward compatible to OpenGL 3), I'm still puzzled that PC developers almost exclus
  • Just a new way to get Sudoku games?

    I am not a gamer, but here is to the hope that it provides "real" games. It's good for all of us that use Linux as our everyday OS. It encourages support in other areas as well...

  • If games are linked to your steam account, will that mean someone who bought a title for windows will automatically be able to run that same title on linux or mac if its available?
    I would certainly hope so, i hate the idea of having to pay again for a game i already bought...

    This would greatly benefit those who dual boot for the purposes of gaming, depending on the games they play this could eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of time they spend booted into windows... On the other hand, if they have to b

  • Whomever gets the first well supported opensource drivers for their mid-grade GPU first, stands to win the affections of the Linux community. AMD vs nVidia. Intel could possibly be a contender if they had a mid-grade GPU to offer.
  • Only One Reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zero0ne (1309517) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:28AM (#40219119) Journal

    There is only one reason STEAM is doing this, and it's pretty simple.

    When they decide to release their own console (oh and they will), they want to make sure their platform will work on it, and that game developers have already started thinking about porting them over to *nix. Why pay a licensing fee for some OS to put on a console (or a licensing fee to XBOX or Sony to get STEAM on their platform), when they can instead make sure their platform works flawlessly on *nix, and then create a console using *nix.

    the desktop *nix community will be like a beta test for their console, without all the demands of "I want a fix yesterday" that you would get from the Windows community.

    Long term, they will end up taking a significant chunk of the current consoles market share.

  • by smash (1351) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @05:49PM (#40225775) Homepage Journal

    Given that games are being ported to the mac now (library is still small, but) - which is using OpenGL, OpenAL and OpenCL, then porting to linux if a mac port is already done should be relatively trivial - all those libraries are cross platform.

    Don't expect DirectX ports any time soon though, the mac doesn't appear to get them either. But, its a start. Also, the beauty about Steam is that if the game is available on Linux as well as Windows, you can deinstall Windows, install Linux and not have to re-purchase. This works on the Mac at least.

    The "barrier to entry" of having to re-purchase all of your software is lessened somewhat.

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