Sorry for the long reply, I've been AFK for a few days and haven't had chance to reply. I've replied to most of the key points. Duplicates and unconstructive comment have been omitted...
Sounds pretty mild, approximately 0% normal users care sbout dependancies unless it is causing a problem. It uses a few GBs of space, and that is the price you pay for the client and the games which need it. How big is your hard drive? 10GB? Maybe you need a bigger drive. It makes sense that they use their own auto update, standard update managers don't support the DRM which Steam needs to make their platform a reality, and using their own auto update to test their DRM laden update process makes sense.
The size of my hard disk is fine. My point is that separate builds on Linux for 32-bit and 64-bit is pretty standard. Hopefully there will be a 64-bit client by the time the beta is through. I guess I'm just more aware of it since Arch doesn't include any 32-bit libs by default, and downloads them on demand.
Regarding the updater. I'm not talking about the game update process, I accept that that has to be done through the client, I'm talking about the updater for the application itself. Whenever Steam requires an update, I see this crappy popup box that downloads and installs the update. I don't see why this can't be handled with pacman or apt or yum or <insert package manager here> unless there's some need for Valve to keep the Steam client constantly up to date, which is always possible.
Valve have said that Ubuntu is currently the only supported distro, hence it trying to use apt-get to install stuff it needs. So it not working properly on Arch isn't surprising.
Very true, but why did the game decide to do this? Using a specific package manager to download a component is needlessly limiting, especially since the Humble Bundle version of the game worked fine on every other major distro.
I think a lot of my concerns revolve around the fact that I thought that Valve were extending the beta to other distros since I was invited as an Arch user to the private beta. Unfortunately it appears this wasn't the case, I just got an invite regardless.
So what, you expect them to make a Pacman, Debian, RPM, ... -compliant update process? Nah. Makes sense they just use their own, as they have to keep complying with their contracts with the game makers.
Why not? If there's some dying need for Valve to keep the client up to date constantly, then I guess it must be done, but there are advantages to package manager support for users. It's not an insurmountable task. If the likes of NixInstaller, Google, Mozilla, Apache and Oracle can manage it, why can't Valve?
Interestingly, someone later in this thread mentions that Valve have a PPA for Steam in Ubuntu, so maybe they are doing the Package manager thing and it's falling back to some in-built auto-updater for other distros? Hopefully they're support other distros' package managers in time.
I don't care either way if they make Steam for Linux, but sometimes I think people forget what the hell a beta is.
I guess we're not allowed to complain if software is buggy? If anything, the time TO complain is during the beta, lest people keep their mouths shut and the bugs make it into final.
.(Before anyone gives me crap for "not complaining to Valve", Valve are hopefully aware of all these issues since they've been brought up on the forum. I was, like I said in the OP, ranting for the mostpart).
"Fourth, and probably most importantly, where's the quality control in the games? Of all the games that are "available for Linux", in my experience about 50% are 'private betas' that need a password to play or simply don't install."
I've got a lot of linux games and they all work fine.
Store -> tab 'Linux Games' lists only linux games.
"SpaceChem trying to use apt to try and install dependencies"
Haven't seen that happen but agreed fully, should be up to steam and using config files that you set up yourself for your system/package management system.
I've been impressed with it since I got invited to the beta, seems fine to me all in all for a beta.
I've got the Linux games list up, but of those, half the one's I've tried (notably Psychonauts and Snapshot) are both in "Private Beta" meaning that I can't play them without a password. Seems kind of harsh to include them in my games list if I can't actually play them. Earlier versions of Steam tended to install just the application icon for a game, and not the game itself, meaning the game would silently fail.
Interestingly, this brings me to another thought. Games launched from within Steam tend to fail silently when they crash, and there's no way to redirect output from within the Steam client AFAICT. That'd be a nice addition.
I just find it amusing that Gabe ranted about Windows 8 being a closed platform and then of all distro's to base development on chooses Ubuntu! I'm not going to slag Ubuntu off but it's guilty of a lot of what Windows 8 is apparently guilty of, has a store that sells games, it's x64 builds are multi-libbed by default etc. Of all the distro's you can choose Ubuntu is without doubt doing it's own thing and forcing it's internal ethos on the users, just like Windows 8!
Anyway, then there's the games, some of the ports are sloppy, not Valve's fault, HiB guys are guilty of rushing ports with really silly, lazy bugs, these all have Steam keys now. Also, game choice is not very good, apart from Valve's own and a few others you can get the rest of the games elsewhere and it alleviates a lot of the problems, can get a native x64 Amnesia-TDD for example that means you don't have to multilib, then again if you use Ubuntu you don't care about multilib.
The steam client doesn't adhere to EWMH, as such won't work on tilers properly, the Valve guys were given viable alternatives to updating outside of package managers but weren't interested, actually thinking about it Ubuntu and Steam perhaps belong together and target the same users who don't care about all of this stuff, and that's fair enough I guess.
I was mad at first but now I've realised that it's a mainstream product targeted to mainstream users who typically don't care if they are decent Linux citizens or not, the type of users who think Ubuntu IS Linux, and I hate to say it but a lot of the Linux users here on Neowin fall into that category which is why most reply's on this thread don't understand the grievances OP mentioned. I don't mean this in a nasty way, but most here have never stepped outside of a DE and discovered what really sets Linux apart, and if you've not done this how would you be expected to know any different?
Agreed for the mostpart, but I bolded the thing I found extremely relevant to me. The "Steam for Linux" beta is really just a "Steam for Ubuntu" beta, with lip service paid to other distros. Regarding the ports situation I agree, but I don't really understand why the ports have gotten WORSE under Steam. Many of these games were completely functional without Steam, I wouldn't have imagined that adding Steam support would have been that big of a task.
Stop using it on an unsupported OS then, Ubuntu only for now.
Well I was invited to the private beta, so I guess they wanted me to try it. Besides, if I was using an unsupported OS, why didn't they call it "Steam for Ubuntu"?
The situation is the same on Windows apart from the 64 bit steam service. I'm guessing developing 2 clients side by side would increase support costs but it would be nice to see Valve throw more weight behind 64 bit computing given how many of their gamers use 64 bit versions of Windows.
Don't keys for third party repositories have to be signed? could be that they're not really happy with having such little control over the process. Besides with the system Steam currently has you're auto updated as soon as you log in which means they don't have to support a whole bunch of people using outdated clients. If they relied on software repositories it's likely users wouldn't always update so frequently.
The rest of your complaints sound pretty much like they're explained by it being a very early development version. If you were expecting it to sparkle and have a huge library of games available after such a short amount of time in development i'd say your expectations were probably a touch too high. Steam wasn't great when it was first released for Windows but I am confident it will eventually come good on Linux.
I hope so. I know it's only a beta, but it's certainly buggier than a lot of betas I've tried in recent years. I guess they have a lot on their plate though and I think my expectations probably were too high, which is the problem here. I'm looking forward to the final release, I just hope the final support extends beyond -buntu.
I just want to point out that I'm not hating
the Steam on Linux beta, after all, I'm glad it's coming. I think I just expected more from this beta.
Thanks for the input folks, even if your views differ to my own, it's still good to hear em