An In-depth Look at Steam for Linux

by Rob Williams on February 1, 2013 in Gaming

Though still in beta, Valve’s Steam client for Linux is stable, fast, and from what we can tell, matches the feature-set of the Windows and OS X clients 1:1. That being the case, there felt like no better time than the present to dive in, give a tour and relay our experiences with both the client and a slew of games.

Extra Screenshots

Crusader Kings II Running Under Ubuntu Linux
Crusader Kings II

Hacker Evolution Duality Running Under Ubuntu Linux
Hacker Evolution Duality

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP Running Under Ubuntu Linux
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles Running Under Ubuntu Linux
The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles

Spectraball Running Under Ubuntu Linux

Aquaria Running Under Ubuntu Linux

Cubemen Running Under Ubuntu Linux

And Yet It Moves Running Under Ubuntu Linux
And Yet It Moves

The Polynomial Running Under Ubuntu Linux
The Polynomial

X3: Reunion Running Under Ubuntu Linux
X3: Reunion

Page List

1. Introduction
2. Steam for Linux – Games
3. Extra Screenshots

  • DWisen

    Great article! I really hope this opens the door for future gaming on linux, to be honest. gaming is the ONLY reason I still run Windoze.

    • Rob Williams

      I’m in the same boat. It might be a pipe dream, but I am hoping that gaming on Linux will become popular enough where it eventually leads OTHER companies to start taking the platform more seriously. I sure wouldn’t mind Photoshop for Linux…

  • Chris Bittner

    Now if they could just lean on AMD/ATI to get there linux drivers (especially legacy hardware) in better shape I would be able to use my old laptop as a great little media PC. As it is I can play 90% of my games at medium settings in 720p in windows but only one or games are even remotely playable under ubuntu. I will say BPM with a shortcut to XBMC 12 is probably the greatest thing ever. They should definitely make it (or something similar) available through steam.

    • Rob Williams

      Up until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t even able to install a Radeon driver and have it function well, so I tend to agree. Things have gotten better, but NVIDIA is far ahead where Linux GPU drivers are concerned.

  • thisguy

    I’ve been using Steam on Slackware-14 64bit for the last couple of months. It’s been working well, but I wouldn’t call it *stable*. In December it was fairly stable, then one update in January broke the advanced fonts, and caused the client to crash a bunch. Then they fixed the font bug, and the client would still crash. Then they had another update, and the client was crashing even more. As of the update 2 days tho, the client has been much more stable.

    • Rob Williams

      I’ve been using Steam since early December and haven’t experienced issues like this. Were they wide-spread, or somehow related to it being run on Slackware? Maybe I just by some miracle managed to not log in during the span of days where problems were arising.

      • thisguy

        Yes, the crashing was sidespread from what I could see. People in the Linux Beta Access steam chatroom were reporting various random crashes. It doesn’t seem to be slackware-specific, but it could be a non-ubuntu and/or 64bit-specific thing. Also, the latest build hasn’t crashed on me yet *fingers crossed*

        • thisguy

          Bah, the client crashed while exiting Solar 2 for the first time.

        • Rob Williams

          That is very, very strange then. I got lucky in being able to totally avoid those issues, either in Gentoo or Ubuntu. Thanks for pointing it out though… I hope that’s the end of it.

  • Marfig

    Microsoft, eyes peeled! You are about to lose one of your largest user bases.

    Keep doing what you did to Windows 8. Keep doing it…