Valve confirms Steam and Source engine for Linux

By on April 25, 2012, 10:30 AM

It's been a long wait but it looks like Linux users will finally get some native gaming action on Steam soon, according to Michael Larabel of Phoronix. Despite denying the existence of a port last year, the revelation comes straight from Valve's headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, where Larabel met with Gabe Newell to discuss their plans for the open source operating system.

Apparently Valve has been working towards a Linux port of both the Steam service and Source engine for a while, but given the company's flat structure and absence of managers assigning tasks, there has been no real direction and focus on the project -- like some of you joked when the employee handbook leaked. Developers worked on the Linux client when they could and wanted to, but now Newell has become personally involved in the project, prompted by a seemingly newfound love for Linux and his disappointment of Windows 8.

According to Phoronix, Valve has already hired at least one Linux OpenGL developer and is looking to hire more. Exactly when the Linux version of Steam will arrive is unclear, but the photo above offers some proof of progress, showing Left 4 Dead 2 running natively on Ubuntu 11.10 with AMD Catalysts drivers.

Larabel says Valve chose Left 4 Dead 2 for their initial port because of its stable codebase, but once the Source engine has been successfully ported other AAA games will follow. The company also plans to lobby other game developers using Steam and the Source Engine to bring their games to Linux natively.

Lastly, the report claims Valve and Gabe Newell's interest in Linux goes beyond what would be expected of any normal game company. Though Larabel didn't elaborate on that, one possibility is that the company might be looking into Linux to power its "open hardware platforms", which they recently expressed an interest in, to create 'mobile and living-room devices' as an alternative to existing proprietary console technologies.




User Comments: 30

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Very interesting. I've been saying for years that a Linux build might be a great backbone for a "PC console" gaming system, but the lack of mainstream titles doomed it. Then there was the story about Valve looking at building gaming hardware, and my first thought was that Linux could be great as the heart of whatever they develop. And now, here we are with Steam and Source on Linux... Starting to think my wishes may have an actual chance of coming true!

Guest said:

I really hope they can put out something this year. At least a beta.

Guest said:

If 'Valve' confimed it then where is their press release and/or official statement? Oh right, 'Valve' didn't confirm anything. Ths just another Moronix rumor.

Guest said:

Right, a rumor that includes a screen shot of L4D2 running on linux with drivers.

-ikesmasher

Guest said:

love it! Finally. Linux users have been waiting for this eagerly. Great move.

Guest said:

There were also screenshots of UT2k3 running under Linux. So what? It's not unheard of for there to be multiple versions of software in internal builds for other platforms that don't ever get released. One again, if 'Valve' confirmed this where is the official statement? There isn't even a single quote in the article from Moronix to back this up. So, no, 'Valve' confirmed nothing.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I'm so happy for this, I actually laughed out loud when I read Gabe's thoughts on 8...

Finally the time might come when Windows gets a real beating from Linux!

Just think if all games sold on steam would support it, then there would be a real alternative!

Guest said:

Good move on Valve's part. If apple can get a client, linux should get one as well.

Guest said:

i want play my games i do wow windows ! no linux

Timonius Timonius said:

I guess I'll be the first to say it here: I don't care!!! Bring us Half-Life 2 Episode 3 or whatever it'll be called!

bandit8623 said:

this is huge, the only reason i use windows is because of games.

if i wanted to just use a operating system for typing docs? i would use linux

if i wanted to use for watching movies? i would use linux

im honestly trying to think of something linux cant do that windows can besides games atm.

and contrary to belief ubuntu is now really user friendly. looks just as good as windows 7 too.

Leeky Leeky said:

Aye, I think I'm in the same boat as many others that use Linux in being kinda stuck to Windows in at least some form due to gaming.

I've had limited success getting the client to work in the past via Wine, but a native client would be fantastic. I'll remain optimistic until I see it arrive though. But fingers crossed!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

im honestly trying to think of something linux cant do that windows can besides games atm.

The only reason I built my HTPC using Windows was because I couldn't stream Netflix on Linux. Besides access to my Steam library, of course. I hate Silverlight for holding me captive... Bleh

Guest said:

So you're going to switch to Linux where you won't be able to run 90+% percent of the games on Steam? And you think that's a smart idea?

Guest said:

"im honestly trying to think of something linux cant do that windows can besides games atm."

Play the entire catalog of 1600 Windows games that are on Steam?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Guest, you are making a huge assumption that everyone is jumping ship to Linux today. This is news of something in the works, not something ready for prime time at this moment. I would imagine that, by the time Linux Steam (I shall call it Steamux from now on) is ready for public consumption, there will be at least a handful of titles available on it, with more coming at a decent pace. You know, exactly like they did when the OSX version was made ready?

Maybe slow down on the nay-saying and wait to see what happens first.

Guest said:

Wow... A handful of games? Year of the Linx Desktop is now assured! Oh wait.... Why would anyone switch to play a handful of games that have already been available for Windows for years? Again, what a dumb idea.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I'm so happy for this, I actually laughed out loud when I read Gabe's thoughts on 8...

Finally the time might come when Windows gets a real beating from Linux!

Just think if all games sold on steam would support it, then there would be a real alternative!

I agree with you 100%. This type of news could de-value Windows quite a bit.

If this becomes a reality, I can see Microsoft trying to find some reason to take Valve to court to delay it though.

1 person liked this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wow... A handful of games? Year of the Linx Desktop is now assured! Oh wait.... Why would anyone switch to play a handful of games that have already been available for Windows for years? Again, what a dumb idea.

Guess it's a good thing you aren't in charge of technology in our world. There would never be any innovation or new products, since, you know, it's stupid to even think about trying anything new or giving people options outside of what is already being done.

Tygerstrike said:

It will be nice to see some new innovations comming out. I know all the ppl above, slamming Valve for trying to do something new, dont want advancment. Im sure the new and different scares them, so we must take pity on them. Perhaps educating them on the pros of what Valve is doing would help to change their perspective a bit lol.

But seriously its a lot of good news. If Valve can get their products working on Linux that MIGHT mean we will see a new gaming console. It would be nice to see Microsoft go soft and lose some of that gaming market share. Everyone poo-poo'ed Sony when they first came out. Same with Microsoft.

Guest said:

Free Chrome desktop and cheap Valve games sounds good together.

1 person liked this | ramonsterns said:

I, for one, welcome our new Linux brothers.

Viva La Videogames!

sapo joe said:

If Linux supported more games, and with Windows 8 being such a crap, I'd be happy to move.

Who knows, in some time we'll be using a free OS that runs games and more mainstream programs?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Linux penetration is still minuscule, I wouldn't plan out Windows funeral just yet.

As I said before, the only way Linux would achieve any sort of widespread penetration would be to create a distro that basically is as (relatively) ***** proof as Windows is. Which would probably mean locking out most of the functionality that makes Linux Linux. And IMO I don't think the purists in the community would support that sort of thing. They'd probably say if you want to turn Linux into Windows, just go ahead and use Windows.

Guest said:

Gabe Newell confirmed in a podcast interview last week that employees at Valve were working on Linux.

fimbles fimbles said:

All competion is good.

And though i have never used linux this is awesome news.

Guest said:

All windows games already work on linux that dont require a 2nd party client for activation/Purchase/blah blah e,g Origin,Steam.

Guest said:

Does anyone really think a Steam-based Console would run Windows? A Linux-based Gaming Console would be SWEET, not to mention a lot cheaper for them to take to market.

Like MS would let them release a windows-based console to compete against the 360 or their next-gen console... lol

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