One of the longest-running and most rampant rumors surrounding Linux in the past couple of years is that Valve has been making a Steam client for the platform. Up to this point, there’s never been solid evidence of it happening, and a couple of years ago, Valve head Gabe Newell just came out with it and admitted nothing was in the works. Since then, a lot has changed, as it appears Valve is now working on a Linux client, and in full force.
Phoronix’s Michael Larabel paid a visit to Valve’s HQ in Bellevue, Washington, and there got some hands-on experience with the Linux client, and also got to see where it’s headed. At this point in time, Valve is still hard at work trying to get the its own games, especially Left 4 Dead 2, to work under Linux, but things are looking good.
It doesn’t surprise me at all to learn of Steam coming to Linux, but I am beginning to wonder just how it is Valve is going to be going about things to make the overall experience smooth for gamers on that platform. It goes without saying that getting a game to work across all distros is a lot more difficult than having it run on Windows or OS X, so what’s Valve’s gameplan here?
To be fair, Desura has had a Linux client for a little while, and things seem good there. But Valve is an established company who has to make sure that its Linux client could be installed and used by anyone. Simply getting Steam to work isn’t the big issue here, but getting all the Linux games to run fine would be. After all, you can’t simply assume that a user is going to have all the dependencies they need, and as any Linux user knows, the steps to get said dependencies differs between distros.
It’s hard to speculate at this point, and it could be that Phoronix will continue to divulge information as time passes. I do foresee Valve only supporting the biggest mainstream distros out of the gate, but I do hope they will give the option for gamers to use the client on their non-supported distro of choice also, just at their own risk.
Any way you look at it though, for Linux gamers, this is easily one of the most exciting things to happen for the OS ever.