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Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta 353

New submitter jotaass writes "In news that is guaranteed to make the Linux gaming community (in particular, but not exclusively) excited, Valve has just announced that the Steam for Linux client Beta is now open to the public. A .deb package is available here. Interesting as well, they are using an empty GitHub repository solely as an issue tracker, open for anyone to submit, edit and track bugs, with no actual code in the repo."
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Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta

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  • Not taking their time with this one.
    • how do you mean, this is still "beta" just as the limited audience release was with beta version. now if they DON'T work out the bugs found and push it into production, then it would be rush-job. but so far not fair to accuse them of rush.

      • Not where I was going with that. I'm excited to see them making good progress so quickly.
        • Re:In a hurry, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:04AM (#42344887) Journal
          What gets me is that this story has been tagged "donotwant". Who is so cynical that they believe that games via Steam on Linux is a bad thing? I can understand an individual choosing not to use the service, but branding it as "donotwant" for all Linux users?
          • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:17AM (#42344935)
            It's called trolling. Ask for it by name.
            • Re:In a hurry, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2012 @09:11AM (#42346565) Journal

              It's called trolling. Ask for it by name.

              Or it someone philosophically opposed to the idea of closed source software running on an open source OS?

              People with that view do exist, and dismissing their point of view as a troll is a nice easy way of ignoring it without taking the time to think about it.

              There is also the fact that the console they produce is going to be a legal mind field as it will invariably involve lots of closed source software running on top of an open source OS. Surely this is going to have the same issues around it that Tivo had as the people who produce the games are going to demand that the steam layer remains closed source, including its limited DRM that prevents people selling games second hand after the bought them?

              Personally I have no trouble with closed source software be it running on linux or not. I also think Steam is great and would never sell games on to someone else after I finished with it even if I could so I think it is great that Steam is coming to linux.

              I bet if you went and asked RMS he would strongly disagree though and would have very valid and heartfelt reasons why he though this was a step in the wrong direction.

              Some people object to the mere idea of intellectual property existing at all so they would only be happy with Steam coming to linux if it was entirely open source and the only games available were also open source only. These people often frequent slashdot in case you hadn't noticed :)

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dbIII ( 701233 )

                I bet if you went and asked RMS he would strongly disagree

                That he can't do anything about it, and the NVIDIA drivers, and the many other things he objects to in linux distributions truly demonstrates that it is not and never was gnu/linux.

                "Debian gnu/linux" is of course a different story because Debian can call their distro whatever they like because unlike RMS they've actually put one together, and they can also keep out things they don't want in there.

              • Personally I have no trouble with closed source software be it running on linux or not. I also think Steam is great and would never sell games on to someone else after I finished with it even if I could so I think it is great that Steam is coming to linux.

                You wrote a well thought-out post that urges people not to dismiss different points of view as the writing of a troll, so I'm not going to harp too much on that one sentence, other than to say that, in my point of view, your logic is misguided. What you're saying is that since you wouldn't be one of the people who exercise the right to resell the games, it's alright if that right is taken from those who would.

                It's perfectly fine for you to choose not to resell games, and I understand how you don't feel lik

              • Or it someone philosophically opposed to the idea of closed source software running on an open source OS?

                People with that view do exist, and dismissing their point of view as a troll is a nice easy way of ignoring it without taking the time to think about it.

                But can't I do both? I've thought about the whole closed source binaries running on top of the open platform quite a bit since I've been using Linux on the desktop for a number of years now. My conclusion? Better an open OS with a few proprietary applications to fill the cracks than a closed OS and everything being the other way around. That's a personal choice though and I don't try to force it on anybody else. I may politely recite the as seen by me virtues if it comes up but that's about it. Besides, Lin

        • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:24AM (#42345625) Homepage Journal
          This is a byproduct of them working on a console they intend to ship. It'll run linux, so this beta is a nice way for them to test a bunch of their architectural design without actually putting the hardware in thousands of people's living rooms.

          As far as bug reporting goes, I doubt they'll prioritize stuff that's not relevant to their expected console architecture. Issues like, "Hey, I have dual monitors and steam blacks one out and it never comes back" are going to be pretty well ignored because the console is unlikely to support dual monitors. This is more about testing out scaling issues for the servers and verifying that updates are working as expected. A more exciting bug report for them would be along the lines of, "XYZ game released an update, but it requires my Steam client to by version 123, and I upgraded Steam to 123, but the game refuses to update."

          Oh, and the other thing that's important about this Linux release is that it be valid for the developers to test their ports on prior to the console being finalized. Those limited-run developer hardware kits are way more expensive to issue than just giving studios a Linux install CD and some basic hardware requirements. This beta is probably about making sure the Steam client on Linux isn't too buggy for the devs to work with. This way, when the console is released there will be a healthy selection of titles available right away.

  • Good for Linux. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dstyle5 ( 702493 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:08PM (#42344267)
    I got in the November wave of beta invites and so far I l like what I've seen. The only reason I've stuck with Windows at home is for gaming and if Valve can get enough traction behind Linux gaming I can finally cut out Microsoft. It will take years for that to potentially happen but Steam on Linux it can only serve to help Linux in general. Valve has already worked directly with AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Canonical to name a few companies and if consumers and game companies see some success more will (hopefully) follow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't count on it. Just go and look at the number of titles that aren't available for OSX via Steam even though the publishers have OSX clients and you'll see that either Steam doesn't take "3rd party" platforms seriously or publishers aren't as warm and cozy to supporting non-Windows sales as one would be lead to believe. And while Steam's support of the OSX client has increased in the past couple of months there is still a large and noticeable gap between Windows and OS X support from Steam.


      • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:20PM (#42344339)

        That's okay, a huge percentage of games are crap.

        We just need a number of really good ones.

      • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:26PM (#42344367)
        Actually the entire problem with Macintosh Steam is ASPYR Media. Those asshats want to run their own shitty web based store and aren't allowing Steam to publish any of their native ports. Since Most companies port to Mac through ASPYR they have the Mac market by the Balls. Linux doesn't have this problem most ports were done in-house by their respective companies or done by the now dead Loki Software. As far as I am aware those rights reverted back to the original software makers when Loki went Bankrupt. Games like Unreal Tournament1/2003/2004, and Quake/Doom's Linux ports should be coming to Steam.
        • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:35AM (#42345239)

          No. You danced around the actual issue while missing it completely, and ended up blaming the wrong party as a result.

          First off, Aspyr has no one by the balls. If anything, they're the one getting squeezed. None of these companies port to Mac through Aspyr. Rather, Aspyr (as well as Feral Interactive et al.) is licensing the rights for Mac versions of games from the original publisher. Historically, this was a gamble for the Mac publishers like Aspyr, since the Mac market was a lot smaller, purchasing those rights cost a lot of money, and even with porting AAA best-selling titles on Windows it wasn't a sure thing. Nowadays, however, the risk has decreased to the point that EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard-Activision, and the other big publishers are increasingly choosing to capitalize on the Mac market directly by offering their own ports, rather than only profiting indirectly via licensing fees. I'd say that only a fraction of Mac ports are actually done by third-party licensees these days, though admittedly they tend to be big-name AAA titles that attract a lot of attention.

          But to get to the heart of things, the real reason a lot of Mac versions of games are missing from Steam is because all Steamplay (a.k.a. cross-platform) titles are packaged together as a single sale. That's not a problem when both versions have the same publisher (e.g. an in-house port), but it is a complete deal-breaker when the Mac version is created by a third-party Mac publisher, since only the original publisher gets paid. Without setting up a revenue sharing contract with the original publisher (which would be incredibly messy for reasons I'd be happy to elaborate if you can't think of them on your own), or else selling the rights to the Mac version back, they'd have no way to earn money from purchases on Steam. Thus, your grousing is entirely misplaced, since this is a problem with the way Steam is structured.

          That's also why Aspyr, contrary to what you suggested, has no problems selling their games on other stores. For instance, Borderlands 2 was just ported to Mac by Aspyr about a month ago, and it's on the Mac App Store [] and GameFly [] (née Direct2Drive) in addition to their own store []. All of those allow Aspyr to be paid specifically for the Mac version of the game, which is something that's not possible with Steam.

          Now, none of this is to say that Steam should change in some way. Despite the fact that I think the blame for this issue lies with Steam's store model, I actually think it's better that all Steamplay titles are package deals, rather than allowing for stand-alone Mac purchases, that way you don't end up with a lot of Windows gamers accidentally purchasing Mac versions or other confusion of that sort. Just because I think they made the right decision does not mean they are blameless, however.

      • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:40AM (#42344775)

        My understanding was that SteamBox (or whatever it gets called) will be linux based, so I imagine linux support may actually surpass OSX support in time

      • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:47AM (#42344811)

        There is a huge and important difference between OSX and Linux though. Gamers want to have more control over their systems, and they demand the ability to assemble their own machines. In a practical sense, Mac offers neither but Linux offers both. Gamers hate pre-built systems because they are either gutted of any respectable performance, or they are outrageously marked up. Many gamers would prefer to move towards open software, but the DirectX ecosystem has them by the balls. If Valve can build momentum on the Linux side of things, there will be a greater shift towards Linux than there ever will be towards Mac. It will probably be slow at first, but it does have potential down the road. So I would not judge the motions of one by the other, at least not yet.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Gamers are on the upgrade treadmill because games put them there aka "But does it run Crysis?", not because they so desperately want to be. As long as the games are made to perform on the hardware people got, they're quite happy - just look at consoles. Yes, I appreciate the ability to pop open my case and put in a faster card but beyond that I'm not interested in tweaking it. Outside a very few competitive FPS gamers and overclockers who spend more time fiddling with settings and running benchmarks than pl

        • by Thruen ( 753567 )
          I think you're really narrowing down who would be considered a gamer. All of my close friends are gamers, but I'm the only one that can build my own gaming PC without help. None of them are Slashdotters, most of them really like Macs for their simplicity & stability (it's what I run when I'm not gaming, too), none of them give a damn about open software, and while a few of them are familiar with what Linux is, not one of them uses it. I'm not trying to say any one preference is better than another, but
      • The issue with OS X is that someone else buys the rights to do the mac port so the original publisher has no say and for whatever reason those mac devs don't seem to care for steam. I doubt that would happen with Linux since it would be starting fresh and doesn't have some rubbish legacy regarding ports.
      • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
        Maybe porting them for the OS of the Steam console [] could give some extra reasons.
    • Re:Good for Linux. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:57PM (#42344545)

      I never felt Windows was bad enough to cut out for gaming, until I tried Windows 8. I use Linux for a lot of things, even bought all the Loki games when they were around, but never had too much of an issue with Windows Gaming to say I would drop it if Linux caught up.

      I changed my mind. Windows 8 has been horrid on the desktop for gaming. I've had several crashes due to DirectX driver incompatibility.. Most of them due to having the XBOX 360 Controller plugged in. I have older hardware no longer supported - and no word if it will be. Metro isn't really that intuitive for launching games (although it is for buying them I guess). My AMD Radeon card has been overheating lately because their drivers aren't up to snuff on Windows 8, go figure... It's been overclocking itself. Which I know isn't all Microsoft's fault - but it does seem like PC Gaming is an afterthought over tablet gaming with the newest release. Seriously, bejeweled type games are at the forefront of the metro store.

      Gabe got a lot of flack for looking at linux as a platform that steam will run on, but I'm all for it. A game distributor gets all access to the OS that they will be delivering on? I'd be hard pressed to think of real reasons that game producers won't want to jump at it. Definitely like the idea of a SteamBox too... I can play the same game on my laptop, desktop and console? and have all my save games with me to jump right in at the same point I left off on? Sounds damn good to me.

      Steam also gets some flack for pricing - but I always wait for the deals. Trine 2 cost me $4, a game I would've never tried unless it was on the Linux Beta, and loving it... so is my son.

      I'm not overjoyed.. maybe 8 years ago I would've been... When enlightment kicked Windows XP out of the water... When Linux Desktop was promising some hope... But, I would definitely replace Windows with Linux as my desktop if gaming went that way... Gaming sucks on tablets for me... and tablet OS's suck for gaming.. So maybe it is finally the year of the linux desktop.

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        The reason that tablets suck for gaming is that the touch interface is only good for a few specific types of games and the screens are too small. With more and more tablets supporting HDMI and bluetooth controllers starting to be supported, that could change.
        • Yes, it could change my opinion... Right now the developer mentality on them is write little and make a little.. Something like Witcher 3 on a tablet, or EVE-Online, or any of the mainstream MMORPG's that immerse the user would be key.... Vendetta Online, while a weak desktop game by today's standards found new life on a tablet... No reason other games can't make the jump... But the reason PC gaming still goes strong isn't always the power behind the game, but the way you play it. Keyboard and Mouse..

          • One last point to my horrid opinion on gaming... Back in the BBS days (yes, those), I used to be able to login and play the same game on my TRS-80 or on my friends Commodore 64 down the street... Tradewars... it's almost like pixels are finally catching up to ASCII in portability terms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HerculesMO ( 693085 )

        Windows 8 is based off the same basic architecture as Windows 7, with performance enhancements. Windows 7 drivers work in Windows 8.

        The fact you're having crashing means you either have crappy hardware (or bad drivers), or you have something else going on. I game better in Windows 8 than I ever did in 7.

        • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:10AM (#42345129)

          Maybe I have bad drivers, crappy hardware, and my capacity at gaming sucks.. But I feel like the old ladies that used to complain of upgrading from Word Perfect to Office...

          Maybe at 40 years old I should just put down my mouse, and order depends..

        • by n30na ( 1525807 )
          I agree that this is true in theory, but my experience thus far is that things are very.. quirky.

          I ran Win7 until I moved to Win8 about a month ago, and getting games that ran fine before to start is sometimes an issue, particularly games that use GFWL, ironically. Other weirdness is not uncommon as well.

          Another issue I'm having, though honestly it's hard to pin fault for this, is that every boot I need to reinstall graphics drivers (nvidia), or games will just crash if they use dx10/11.. the error c
    • if Valve can get enough traction behind Linux gaming I can finally cut out Microsoft. It will take years for that to potentially happen but Steam on Linux it can only serve to help Linux in general.

      Valve is openly discussing their forthcoming console. That sucker isn't going to include a Microsoft OS tax, so you better expect that Valve is going to set up strong incentives for developers to release on Linux. That's what their console is going to be built on top of.


  • \subject

    • Re:64 bit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by deek ( 22697 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:02AM (#42344877) Homepage Journal

      I'm running Steam on a 64-bit Debian system. I had to enable multi-architecture for i386, and manually install the 32 bit version of the glx libraries for the driver I'm using. Other 32 bit drivers needed were automatically installed with a simple "dpkg -i steam.deb" / "apt-get -f install" combo. Also, specifically for debian, I had to modify the steam package and rename a few dependencies by hand.

      All good and running TF2 beta beautifully. Also, Cogs was another game that worked. Many other games on the "Linux" list aren't installable just yet. I believe that Valve have to properly link them in their system first.

  • Nice! I'll gladly be a testing ground for their soon to be released linux console. if that means more games eventually come to linux it is a win / win. However, i really hope when the console is released that they still support both platforms and don't make titles linux console only. If you use the community to build a product, at least let us buy guys for that platform outside of your walled garden. Thanks!
  • Just got my HTPC built and running STEAM on WINE but its a bit slow to start up. Now the kids can fuck right off when I hear "Can you load up windows on our computers so we can play games" With my Winows 8 experience [] this is just another nail in the coffin.

    • you don't have to buy Windows 8, you can still buy win 7 online. Microsoft sure made the major brick and mortar retailers pull it from the shelves quickly though

  • by RedHackTea ( 2779623 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:37AM (#42344757)
    Just had to do this:

    $ sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i steam_latest.deb
    $ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    $ steam

    System I tried it on:

    $ uname -a
    Linux XXX 2.6.35-32-generic #67-Ubuntu SMP Mon Mar 5 19:39:49 UTC 2012 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    $ lsb_release -a
    No LSB modules are available.
    Distributor ID:____LinuxMint
    Description: _____Linux Mint 10 Julia
  • Two minor warnings (Score:5, Informative)

    by Psicopatico ( 1005433 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:53AM (#42344843)
    1) The client is currently shipped in .deb format.
    If you use an .rpm based distribution, the Alien [] script will do the conversion so you can install it (hint: -r steam_latest.deb --scripts ).
    2) The client requires GlibC 2.12 or later. So if by any chance your distribution was released prior to may 2010, you're out of luck (example: my OpenSuse 11.4, released on march 2010 :( ).
  • How are they handling Direct X? I assume it's not simply a WINE port.

    • by smash ( 1351 )

      My bet is they're not supported DirectX at all.. GOG use Wine on OS X to support the Witcher, Dragon Age 2 on OS X uses Wine also.

      On OS X, the steam library is fairly limited - not all games work, and games will only work once an OS X (or Linux in this case) version has been ported.

      I use Steam on both OS X and Windows...

    • How are they handling Direct X? I assume it's not simply a WINE port.

      There is no DirectX under Linux, so obviously Steam cannot support DirectX at all. If you want to play a game the game itself must use OpenGL and support Linux natively. And no, Steam for Linux does not use Wine in any way or form.

  • Where do run Steam? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Crass Spektakel ( 4597 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:17AM (#42345151) Homepage

    Don't take my writing too serious but what hardware is Steam4Linux supposed to run on?

    My P3-Dualcore@1,33Ghz doesn't offer PAE so Ubuntu doesn't run.

    My P4@3,2Ghz offers PAE but its Geforce 6800 - although technically within specs - fails starting TF2 because of some GL-extension missing. As the 6800 is the best native AGP solution available this is a dead end. At least it runs Penumbra although every level change will reduce FPS by 90%.

    My Core-Q9550@3,4Ghz with its Geforce 260 is technically speaking just fine but officially I may only use Ubuntu 32bit and waste half of my memory (yeah, easy to work around) but still I need the uttmost updated bleeding edge drivers just to move the steam window around. Ayeah, 3D-unity and Steam hate each other. And every 3D game hates 3D-unity and Steam at once. So better disable 3D unity and close steam before launching the game or you will have 5fps.

    My i7-3770K and also its Geforce 670 are too new for Unity. Couldn't get both running useful.

    The only system running out of the box (mostly - WLAN runs better with hand compiled driver) is my netbook EEE 901 from 2008. Oh but I might mention that Steam needs between 10 and 25% of CPU even with all windows closed and doing nothing at all. So better learn to use cpulimit or your battery will be empty in no time.

    Still its an interesting experience.

  • by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:47AM (#42346041) Homepage
    I've tried it on OSX a few times but I'm always put off that it's so totally Windows centric. Search for something and most of the results will be Windows-only. It's full of "OMG try this new cool game!!" recommendations and when you click them you find out that it's only available for Windows. I'M RUNNING THE OSX CLIENT SO FUCKING STOP SHOWING ME WINDOWS-ONLY GAMES ALL THE TIME! FUCKING TEASERS! Until the implement a "only show me stuff I can actually use" configuration option I'm not going to bother more with it.
  • First impression: so far they seem to have feature-parity with Windows; You run Steam and it launches into a download-without-resume upgrade immediately, from a window that you cannot select from the task selector (you have to uncover it by minimizing other apps) and which has no icon.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.