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Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way 572

CyDharttha writes with news that the Mac version of Steam went live today, along with Mac versions of Portal, Team Fortress 2, and many other games. Valve plans to make more games available every Wednesday. Several publications are also reporting that a Linux version of Steam has been confirmed, and is expected within the next few months. Quoting Phoronix: "Found already within the Steam store are Linux-native games like Unreal Tournament 2004, World of Goo, and titles from id Software such as Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Doom 3. Now that the Source Engine is officially supported on Linux, some Source-based games will be coming over too. Will we finally see Unreal Tournament 3 surface on Linux too? Only time will tell, but it is something we speculated back in 2008. Postal III is also being released this year atop the Source Engine and it will be offering up a native client. We have confirmed that Valve's latest and popular titles like Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Team Fortress 2 are among the first of the Steam Linux titles, similar to the Mac OS X support. The released Linux client should be available by the end of summer."
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Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way

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  • by chocobanana ( 974767 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:20PM (#32185466)
    Great news! I'm really looking forward to see what Steam, as a mainstream game distribution platform, will do for Linux and Mac.
  • Re:But, for now.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:21PM (#32185482)

    No but they obviously wrote an opengl backed for Mac OSX.

    Since that's done, it's trivial to port the renderer to Linux (which also uses OpenGL for native 3d hardware access). The renderer is probably the most complex part of the engine, so that means adding Linux support is much cheaper than it would have otherwise been.

  • Re:What to do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:34PM (#32185654)

    Show your support for a model which not only works, but is actually being done correctly. Companies like Ubisoft and EA are great examples for how to completely ruin a distribution platform like this. Valve is, and has been for many years, an excellent example of how to do it right. This type of protection is no more "evil" than requiring the CD to be in the drive (that being said, I still refuse to purchase GTA4 even over Steam because of the additional DRM added by Rockstar). Show companies like Ubisoft and EA that you reject not the concept of online distribution, but their specific implementation of it, by supporting a company like Valve which is committed to a good experience for its customers. Just as companies who make terrible decisions against their customers deserve to be boycotted, companies who prioritize a good customer experience also deserve to be rewarded.

    In other words, help Valve prove that Linux is a viable market for games, and that even free software folks are willing to pay for high-quality games. It will give companies like Ubisoft a lot to think about.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#32185700)
    Steam Achievements?
  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:39PM (#32185704)

    What exactly does Steam have to apologize for? Steam is a practical, high-quality, professional distribution service and Valve is a company committed to its customers. What is there to apologize for? When games were requiring the CD to be in the drive did that also just positively infuriate you? What about when you installed Ultima 7 and had to read off map coordinates, were you going around looking for the map coordinate apologists?

  • Re:Painful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:46PM (#32185776) Homepage

    I'd been looking forward to this for a while now. Having installed I find out that Steam doesn't support case-sensitive file systems.

    Oh, that's hilarious.

    WTF is the point of porting something to Linux if you expect a case-insensitive filesystem??? Heck, I'm not sure I've ever *seen* a case-insensitive filesystem on any UNIX-like OS.

    Too funny.

  • Re:What to do (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danieltdp ( 1287734 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @03:52PM (#32185858)
    Note that you can't lend, sell or give the game away to other people. It is stuck to you forever
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:03PM (#32186026)


    For fucks sake, it takes your users to actually post the important parts of the story slashdot, come on.

    User driven content is one thing, slashvertising for some other site that doesn't even have the information your users care about is just retarded.

    Thank you FooAtWFU for providing the one bit of information I actually cared about (And joe_bruin below for the free portal linkage)

  • Re:What to do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:12PM (#32186124) Homepage

    They can still take away access to your legally purchased games. This is actually one of the most unreasonable DRM schemes in existence.

    Spoken by someone who is waiting to hear if they disabled his account, if his account got hacked, or what, since he's unable to log in with the new client.

  • Re:I am happy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:21PM (#32186236)

    Right, but the same applies to Mac ports - they're generally treated equally since they both essentially require similar technologies for graphics/audio/networking - and the new Steam for OS X is exclusively native games (if you consider the handful of Flash games to be native I guess).

    And that's one of the few benefits I see in the uptick in Mac popularity. You want to make your game work on Mac OS X, then you have to write it to be able to use OpenGL instead of Direct3D, and write it with a Unix environment in general in mind.

    Now, that doesn't mean that a Linux port is merely a recompile away, but it DOES SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on the amount of extra work you'd need for a Linux version of the game. The publisher still might not put one out (ie, Blizzard puts out MacOS clients for all it's games, but still no Linux versions - shame, because the ONLY thing I'm switching to my Windows machine for now is the Starcraft 2 Beta. Everything else is on Ubuntu), but it increases the likelyhood by a lot.

    That said, this might mean that I finally have to start buying "real" graphics cards for my Linux machine. Previously my position was "buy the slowest version of the latest generation" for features alone (VDAPU for example), but if games actually start coming out I'll need to rethink that.

  • Re:What to do (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:30PM (#32186338) Homepage Journal

    Getting screwed with automatic updates is better than having your non-DRM'ed game stop working when you upgrade your OS. IMHO, of course.

  • Re:What to do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:30PM (#32186350)

    One person can share a steam account as much as one can copy a CD. Multiple people can even play online should it be a non-valve game.

    I'm not worried about copying a CD, but i do like being able to move them from PC to PC. After I finished portal, I'd like to *give* it to my brother. But unlike a normal game, that's not possible. Either I give him my whole steam account (which is against the ToS), share it with him (which is against the ToS), or create a separate steam account for each steam game i buy (which makes steam a hassle, is frowned upon by valve, and may even be against the ToS, and then give him that... which is against the ToS)...

    Steam kills the right of transfer and resale. They do it by claiming you are entering into a perpetual rental agreement instead of a sale in the fine print. (Despite advertising that you can "buy" games.)

    I'd rather just get a CD.

    I don't want to live in a world where the rights of property ownership have been subverted by making all purchases perpetual rental agreements with onerous terms and conditions. How long before you go into a store and buy a pair of ice skates with fineprint that you are entering into a rental agreement, and that you aren't allowed to lend anyone the skates, or give them away, or cover the sponsored logos, and that they've been implanted with sensors and rfid tracking technology to enable them to enforce these rules... and you aren't allowed to tamper with it... not because of a DMCA... but simply because its just a rental after all. You don't even really own them.

  • Re:What to do (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:44PM (#32186502)

    now many people can argue that they say that but woln't do it BUT out of the different publishers and networks Steam seems to be the only one actually doing GOOD work - and i have YET to see them re-nig on something, and there for will give them the benefit of the doubt and my money - until they give me a reason not to.

    The trouble is, if that situation were ever to occur it means that Valve was going out of business... and who knows if the ethical people would still be there at that point?

    I see no reason why Valve can't write that guarantee into the Terms of Service. Then we'd really (officially, legally) be assured of it!

  • Re:What to do (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:45PM (#32186520) Homepage Journal
    Ooh! Ooh! Pick me, teach, I know these ones!

    How is we can take your games back at any time for no reason good DRM?

    One's man 'no good reason' is another man's good reason. Provide some cases so we can judge on the merits, not your wild rantings.

    How is asking permission to play with your legally purchased toys good DRM?

    Fuck, I don't even know what this means. Start Steam-->Start Steam game != 'asking permission'.

    What happens if Steam goes offline?

    You get to play your games. Seriously, the servers were offline yesterday, and I was quite busily shooting people in the face.

    What happens if there's simply a screw up and you loose access?

    Like, what, forgetting your logon details? That would just make YOU stupid.

    You have no legal recourse due to the contract you signed.

    Spouted like someone who's never had to sit through contract law classes. Leave the hard work up to the adults, mmkay?

    You have no first sale rights without Steams approval.

    Whoa! Something approaching a useful point. Yes, that's technically correct, but I could theoretically 'give' or 'sell' my Steam account to someone else, without any hassle from Steam, so I'm not sure how histrionic we need to be.

    Steam is the worst possible DRM.

    Spoken like somebody who does fuck all gaming these days. Ever hear of Securom? You know, the DRM that keeps getting front page articles here on Slashdot? Yeah, I think that'd win a poll of 'Worst DRM' by a landslide.
  • Re:Painful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:53PM (#32186614)

    Whats hard? No one would ever notice really, with a GUI the issue is moot unless you care about it.

    Or until they hit "sort by name".

    You really have to be a douche bag to make an app that cant' deal with case sensitive file systems. It takes effort or absolutely unacceptable programming practices to accomplish what they've done.

    Then don't use it, and relax a bit. It's not like you're out anything: you didn't have access to Steam yesterday, and you don't today.

  • Re:What to do (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:01PM (#32186692) Homepage Journal

    Valve may at any time at their discretion close your steam account, or stop their servers, with no obligation to deliver you a working copy of the game. This has happened to severe hackers on their more popular titles, such as Counter Strike and Team Fortress 2.

    I do have to say though, I don't lose any sleep over this. You 'signed' the ELUA, and you went and acted like a jackass ("hacking" in a multiplayer game is nothing but being a jackass) and the consequences for such an act was meted out. It's not like they were innocent.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:02PM (#32186708) Journal

    Most blizzard games run very well under wine. I'm not sure why exactly, I assume it's a combination of developer excitement over the game and Blizzard devs writing good code.

    Blizzard tends to have good Mac support, which means using OpenGL. That means that WINE is only needed for input handling, context creation, window management (trivial, since the games tend to just create a single window), sound and a few other less-complex things. The OpenGL, OpenAL, and so on, stuff is just passed straight through to the native version. They use a very small cross section of the Win32 APIs, so it's pretty easy to make them work correctly, compared to something like MS Office.

  • Re:What to do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smelly Jeffrey ( 583520 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:05PM (#32186726) Homepage

    and i have YET to see them re-nig on something

    The word you are looking for is renege.

  • Re:Painful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lederhosen ( 612610 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:11PM (#32186780)

    There is no debate. Everyone that has some programming experience with unicode and multi language support knows that the *only* sane way is to have case sensitive file systems. Maybe the right thinking people (at apple and other places) should realize that the current locale should not influence if two file names are to be treated as equal (the reason is that not all languages agree on which characters are uppercase/lowercase versions of each other).

  • by AlgorithMan ( 937244 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:29PM (#32186950) Homepage
    I think we all should buy a hell of a lot of games... just to show that linux is a damn good marketplace for games... this would hopefully lead to more developers releasing for linux which would take away the last argument for windows...
  • Re:What to do (Score:4, Insightful)

    by devent ( 1627873 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:40PM (#32187026) Homepage
    But it is still completely within their power to take away every game you've purchased through Steam. When you use Steam, you agree to the EULA, which basically states that you are not buying the game, you are purchasing a license through Valve.

    How is that different for any other EULA for any other proprietary software you bought? Check your EULA for WindowsXP/Vista/7 there is the same crap that you only got a license to use and that Microsoft reserve the rights to cancel the license at any time for what ever reason.
  • Re:Painful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:53PM (#32187140)

    Case-sensitive filesystems may be sane for PROGRAMMERS, but they're not sane for USERS.

    As a user, I couldn't care less about how hard it is for you to deal with it. I'm not a machine, I don't want to start thinking like one just because the programmer working a layer or two beneath me can't figure out a way to make it work for people that think like humans.

    MS and Apple have no problem doing it, and their systems are just as multi-language as any Linux release.

  • Re:What to do (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asdfghjklqwertyuiop ( 649296 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @06:02PM (#32187228)

    Steam has put out notices in the past that in the event that the steam network was to go away they would push an update removing the need to auth on the client so that it wouldn't stop working..

    Notices where, exactly? In the terms of service? In the license agreements? Is the source code in escrow?

  • Re:I am happy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @06:14PM (#32187312)

    AWESOME. If CS:S and HL2 run well in Ubuntu, I now have no reason to keep my Windows partition.

    What I'd be interested in is to see how well Linux ports do on Steam if/when it comes to Linux.

    I have a suspicion that Valve and other games that launch today for the Mac will see a notable spike in sales. Mac users are known for being willing to pay for software. Linux users, not so much. Games, however, are one of the areas where the anti-proprietary sentiment is at its weakest, so it'll really be interesting to see how well Steam would do on Linux. A successful Steam launch has a lot of potential upside for Linux in general. Either way, it will tell a lot about the Linux market as a whole. I hope it does well, but I'm not terribly optimistic. I know there's a good deal of desire for games among Linux users, but X11 OpenGL drivers, audio libraries, different package managers and repositories, etc., do pose technical challenges that are mostly absent on Windows and Mac. Fortunately, by going native with OpenGL, the Mac launch has covered the most significant hurdle, which is breaking reliance on DirectX. WINE/Cedega/Cider are far from being a sufficient solution to this (as the no doubt countless "I can finally ditch my Windows partition" posts to come from Linux users will attest to).

    On the Mac side, I can't see how this will be anything but a success. There have always been more Mac games than people commonly make it out to be, but having a single "iTunes for games" type of thing is huge. This should make native ports much more numerous, as this will do a lot to allay fears that a developer might have about putting effort into porting a game yet failing to recoup the costs.

  • Re:What to do (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @07:37PM (#32187934) Homepage Journal

    So what happens when the industry moves on and CD drives are no longer available, and future optical drives do not support the bastardized CD copy protection used? Before you laugh - it already virtually happened with floppy drives (certainly 5 1/4" floppies already).

    Your games requiring physical media will either:

    • not work
    • require a patch from the publisher - if they're still around
    • require a hack from the community - which is a DMCA violation

    In short, you're potentially screwed.

    Physical media protection (CD) is just as bad, or potentially worse than online protection these days.

  • Re:I am happy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @08:19PM (#32188230)

    Mac users are known for being willing to pay for software. Linux users, not so much.

    This [slashdot.org] may have some relevance to the above comment.

    Not really. It's not indicative of the norm.

    It's worth noting that you didn't include my very next sentence, which reads:

    "Games, however, are one of the areas where the anti-proprietary sentiment is at its weakest, so it'll really be interesting to see how well Steam would do on Linux."

    In other words, games are one of the few things which might buck the trend of Linux users be averse to buying software.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @08:53PM (#32188442)

    Simple: because it works, works well, and is simple.

    Screw with dependencies and in 5 years when everyone is running version 5.0 of the library that you coded against the 2.0 version of, then things are going to break.

    Put the install files in /home/user (or at a MINIMUM /opt) and they are easily trackable, contained, and not likely to be misplaced.

    And you CERTAINLY don't want half or more of your potential customers having to hit Howto's and archaic command line tricks to get the thing working.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @10:49PM (#32189088)

    Case-insensitive filesystems already preserve whatever case you originally named the file as (on Macs: back to the original HFS in 1984.) This is already a completely solved problem.

    Nice try, though.

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