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Valve Blog Announces Dates For Steam Linux External Beta 183

An anonymous reader writes "In the third post to the new Valve Linux Blog, the Linux team has announced that starting next week they will begin their internal beta, with an external beta of 1000 users to begin mid 'some time in October.' There will be an external beta sign up page made available 'soon' according to the blog."
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Valve Blog Announces Dates For Steam Linux External Beta

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:39PM (#41484135) Homepage Journal

    but as someone who ditched Windows back when Win2K was still new I'm not really up on it.

    Is it closer to an iTunes like store, an Apt like installer, or is it some sort virtual machine running a standardized program, like Flash, Java, or a console emulator?

    Also - how does it compare to something like the Ubuntu Software Center I used to install Torch Light and the rest of the recent Humble Bundle stuff.

    • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:43PM (#41484161) Journal

      More like iTunes, plus the usual social additions expected of gaming communities (IM, chat, voice, achievements, etc.).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:46PM (#41484181)

      It's like an itunes store/software center, but for games. You can talk with your friends, even if you're both in games (shift+tab iirc will bring up an overlay in any game). Also they're porting the source engine (iiuc), so we'll (probably) have games like L4D2 and maybe even Half Life 2. More info on their blog: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/steamd-penguins/

      • So obviously if there's a background chat some component of Steam is still running after the game is started, so it's less like Apt. I'll look at the source engine thing later, I'm at work now, they block all links to game companies, I'm half surprised games.slashdot.org isn't blocked just for the URL.

        • by webmistressrachel ( 903577 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:58PM (#41484543) Journal

          Slashdot is miraculously blessed by IT departments. In one of the offices I work at, their connection is so limited it's untrue - even stuff like the Community Recycling Network (crn.org.uk) is blocked, and the block page says "Category: None" so it may even be a whitelist.

          Yet all the slashdot subdomains and the main one are completely unfiltered - along with, suspiciously enough, things like The Register and xkcd. So it's geeks policing geeks I guess. I get a free pass!

        • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

          It is blocked at my workplace (because it has "games" in the hostname), but any games.slashdot.org slashdot can also be accessed from slashdot.org.

        • by DarkTempes ( 822722 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @12:12AM (#41485041)

          Think of a webkit-based instant messaging client and app store mixed together. It keeps your games up-to-date, has really good sale prices, and makes it stupidly easy to play games with friends.

          The downside is that there is DRM (many games have to be launched through steam to play them) and it's kind of a pain to play games when offline.
          In the past Valve has said that if they were to ever dissolve then they'll release a DRM removal tool.

      • by crafty.munchkin ( 1220528 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:32PM (#41484433)
        iTunes wishes it was as good as Steam!!! This should be awesome, it'll be good to have some L4D2 games with the guys at work on our lunch break. We're running a mix of linux and mac systems here, so everyone should be able to play :)
    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      In my very limited use, it's closest to software center with a non apt back-end (so software center+aptish type system).

      It tracks purchases, allow downloads to multiple computers of purchases (like software center or iTunes), tracks the installs (I'm curious weather the Linux version will include it's own tracking, or use it's own installer/remover, commercial software appears to be 50/50 on that in generall).

      It also has some social aspects, much like Xbox Live.

      I should include that I really mean dpkg for m

    • Desure is an excelent comparison - though without the bonus DRM.

    • Think Ubuntu Software Center, combined with a launcher and some DRM. Software doesn't strictly have to be launched from the Steam client, but the client does need to be running for stuff purchased through it to run (not always online DRM, but definitely DRM, albeit about as unobtrusive as it can get). Software gets installed into Steam's directory, but with it's own file structure, and I'd guess what will happen is that there will be a recreation of the usual Linux directory structure inside the Steam fol
      • by Jartan ( 219704 )

        DRM is completely the choice of the publisher of the game being sold. Steam is not required for all applications to run.

        Plus there's also an extensive "overlay" that can be brought up inside games. Sort of like dashboards on consoles (but much better since it's a PC).

        • Strictly yes, but Steam is pretty clearly a DRM system in itself, or just bloody restrictive. Official Steam DRM or no you can't just go in and run the .exe steam installs, nor can you run it without being logged in or successfully turning on offline mode. Mind it or not this is a pretty big difference from Ubuntu Software Center, and one of the core things that differentiate Steam from being purely a package management system.
          • Depends on the game, and the publisher. I can run Company of Heroes directly without having to go through steam if I wanted to.

      • Steam recently added the ability to have multiple folder locations for the game installs (maybe it's because I'm opted in for beta clients if you don't see it under settings) so you can specify what hard drive or folder you'd like to install your library of games to.

    • Its iTunes for borrowing software. You pay them believing you are buying something, but deep down in the eula lies a nice "licensed to use" line.

    • Anyone else find it a little odd that asking what steam is can be modded "+5 informative?"
  • 1000? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:42PM (#41484157)

    "an external beta of 1000 users"

    Wow, they are rolling it out to the entire Linux gaming community at once with plenty of spots to spare.

  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:44PM (#41484167) Journal

    Heart skipped a beat there.

  • by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:07PM (#41484331)

    The intent is more to get Steam users off Windows and onto Linux than to take advantage of the current Linux market.

    With Windows 8 announcing an app shop and scaring the hell out of small time developers we could finally see a real push for Linux adoption.

    • by an unsound mind ( 1419599 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @12:34AM (#41485123)

      Another way you won't have to use Steam to benefit from this: The Steam development effort has already brought a lot of driver patches along, improving mostly 3D performance.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This is something we have needed for a long time. Reducing overhead in OpenGL could trickle down to Windows users as well and may give other development houses an incentive to drop Direct3D. The fact that Valve was able to get AMD, Nvidia and Intel to work towards better graphic drivers is almost Herculean.
    • by Barryke ( 772876 )

      No, the intent is to control their own software stack as to not be dependant. And when its finished they can sell us the Steam console, which strangely nobody sees coming.

  • "Next week"? "Some time in October"?

    This is some new and exciting definition of the word "dates" which I have not yet encountered.

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:25PM (#41484407)
    if Steam works on Linux with enough games I may just skip Windows 8 and everything after that.
  • Support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above

    It's not really "Linux support", but rather Ubuntu support. A huge disappointment for long-time *nix users/power-users, who, generally, don't use Ubuntu.

    • by pnot ( 96038 )

      long-time *nix users/power-users, who, generally, don't use Ubuntu.

      Is that conjecture/anecdata, or verifiable fact?

      (Not being snarky, genuinely curious.)

    • Re:Linux != Ubuntu (Score:4, Informative)

      by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:52PM (#41484979)

      They're doing the initial beta (and possibly initial release) only under Ubuntu, to limit the number of complications.

      Why Ubuntu? There are a couple of reasons for that. First, we’re just starting development and working with a single distribution is critical when you are experimenting, as we are. It reduces the variability of the testing space and makes early iteration easier and faster. Secondly, Ubuntu is a popular distribution and has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities. This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu will be the only distribution we support. Based on the success of our efforts around Ubuntu, we will look at supporting other distributions in the future.

      Source: Valve Linux blog, entry "Steam'd Penguins", posted July 16 2012 [valvesoftware.com]

      And all that means, really, is that they currently only "support" it on Ubuntu - it will quite likely run fine on other distros, although probably with some work involved. And, if it's a reasonable success, they may make it supported on other major distros.

    • Quite, don't they understand it would run 5-10% faster under Gentoo?..

      (Is Gentoo still a thing? I mean, I haven't heard anything about it for a while. Did the ricers find a new thing to latch onto?)

  • Whilst I can see that Valve will port their games natively to Linux, how many other big dev houses will do the same by the time Steam goes gold on Linux? Without other houses involved, Steam surely will fail on Linux, so could some sort of WINE layer help matters? Valve devs would be ideally placed to fix issues with non-Valve games under WINE and once a game passes testing under Linux+WINE+Windows version of game, it could be added to the Steam store on Linux (though each game update would have to be re-te

    • Well, Steam + TF2 already works in wine, with a few quirks. I'd expect them to start from there and slowly spread to other major distributions starting with Ubuntu, there's only so much you'd want to support this early in the game.

      Although I'd wish Value would go Linux-native (I'm not sure if they have confirmed this), it would indeed take much more time to port each non-Source third-party game and having Valve actively supporting wine would mean more improvements for wine in general. It would be a big step

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Without other houses involved, Steam surely will fail on Linux

      Quite a few titles in Steam's catalog already have pre-existing Linux ports.

      I'm also a little surprised about how only one exact version of one exact Linux distro (OK, Ubuntu 12.10 too when that's out next month) is supported, yet Windows Steam supports three (about to be four) different versions of Windows. No love for Fedora or openSuSE then?

      You're assuming it won't run on other distributions. With the correct libc and dependencies, it should

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