Steam's Linux PC game store officially opens

After months of both closed and open beta testing, Valve has now launched its Linux portion of its Steam PC game download service. The company has been working on this project for some time, starting with a port of Team Fortress 2 to Linux.

At the moment, the Linux version supports Ubuntu, with the Steam client available for download at the Ubuntu Software Center. David Pitkin, Director of Consumer Applications at Ubuntu company Canonical, states:

We expect a growing number of game developers to include Ubuntu among their target platforms. We’re looking forward to seeing AAA games developed with Ubuntu in mind as part of a multi-platform day and date release on Steam.

The Linux port of Steam includes support for the Big Picture mode, which gives Steam a UI that's best suited for a big screen television. Valve has ported several of its games to Linux, including Half-Life, Counter-Strike 1.6, and Counter-Strike: Source. The free to play shooter Team Fortress 2 is also playable on Linux and players of the port can get the famous Linux penguin mascot as an in-game item exclusive.

Over 50 games, mostly indie titles, are currently available in the Steam Linux store. At the moment all of those games are on sale for the next week with price cuts of between 50 to 75 percent off.

Source: Steam | Image via Valve

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11 Comments

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I just purchased the Penumbra pack for $3.99. They need to port more games like Fallout 3, New Vegas and Skyrim. Then most would be happy.

OpenGL, like DirectX, is a wrapper for hardware. Games for consoles are written at a much lower level since there's no need to abstract away the hardware, it's always the same. This is one of the reasons they exploit the hardware so efficiently compared to PC games. So, no, PS3 version doesn't mean anything regarding OpenGL compatibility.

That said I strongly doubt the availability of Steam on Ubuntu will provide a sufficiently strong incentive for developers to port games to it. It's still an insignificant portion of the PC market, and a poorly supported platform in terms of hardware and drivers.

Poorly supported? Perhaps, but that's pretty much all new software. With Valve behind this there has been talks between NVIDIA and Valve (not sure about ATI) and new drivers have come out that fix bugs for better support for games already. Only time will tell but I will support this with my wallet along with everyone who loves Linux.

Edited by Tekkerson, Feb 15 2013, 5:15am :

Yeah, on Linux it's always "just one more year" and all my driver glitches are fixed. I've been waiting for years, then I figured that they always manage to introduce new bugs while fixing the old ones. Then my halfbaked driver goes legacy (coz 5 years have passed already) and that's about it. Not to mention that in the meanwhile there will be a sh*tton of new hardware that is yet to be supported. And even nowadays, I can't have a single day on Linux without a random crash of a random app. So thank you but no thank you. There's a reason for that <1% share. And oh no, it's not that huge and evil beast MS or Apple FORCES me not to use it, it's Linux that forces me not to use it, because it sucks @ss from a straw. And please don't tell me to use the source code and fix it. No, I have better ways of spending my free time than patching and compiling kernels or VGA drivers and hacking on endless, unreadable config files. Been there, done that. My computer is a device, not a purpose, I'm using it, not maintaining it, sorry. And not because I couldn't maintain it (oh yes I could, guess what, I'm a sysadmin in a heterogeneous environment, but I leave work to my workplace), but because I DON'T WANT it. Just like most other computer users. For a computer user it's unacceptable that the display goes black after a driver update, or the OS fails to boot after a GRUB update, or the kernel goes to panic after a kernel upgrade, or an app's certain feature gets borked because a library it depends on makes an API change that breaks it without the ignorant package maintainer ever figuring it, and I could go on and on and on... and these do happen on Linux all the f*cking time.

Edited by bviktor, Feb 15 2013, 8:49am :

bviktor said,
Yeah, on Linux it's always "just one more year" and all my driver glitches are fixed. I've been waiting for years, then I figured that they always manage to introduce new bugs while fixing the old ones. Then my halfbaked driver goes legacy (coz 5 years have passed already) and that's about it. Not to mention that in the meanwhile there will be a sh*tton of new hardware that is yet to be supported. And even nowadays, I can't have a single day on Linux without a random crash of a random app. So thank you but no thank you. There's a reason for that <1% share. And oh no, it's not that huge and evil beast MS or Apple FORCES me not to use it, it's Linux that forces me not to use it, because it sucks @ss from a straw. And please don't tell me to use the source code and fix it. No, I have better ways of spending my free time than patching and compiling kernels or VGA drivers and hacking on endless, unreadable config files. Been there, done that. My computer is a device, not a purpose, I'm using it, not maintaining it, sorry. And not because I couldn't maintain it (oh yes I could, guess what, I'm a sysadmin in a heterogeneous environment, but I leave work to my workplace), but because I DON'T WANT it. Just like most other computer users. For a computer user it's unacceptable that the display goes black after a driver update, or the OS fails to boot after a GRUB update, or the kernel goes to panic after a kernel upgrade, or an app's certain feature gets borked because a library it depends on makes an API change that breaks it without the ignorant package maintainer ever figuring it, and I could go on and on and on... and these do happen on Linux all the f*cking time.

In defense of Linux, if you have "The luck of Hardware" as i call it, Linux will run great.
I'd personally stay away from Ubuntu (one release everything works a 100%, one later and somehow there is no more sound driver for your motherboard :? cant count the many times my ubuntu broke or i had to fix other people using ubuntu thanks to their dependency on Debian Sid [WHICH IS UNSTABLE FOR A REASON PEOPLE! people using Linux over the last few decades should know supporting an UNSTABLE branch is a bad thing, and it shows)

But yeah the legacy support is horrible and when libraries have API changes these dont work back.
Or the libraries are named different among distros, so for some software you're forced to get the source, change parameters or lib requirements and then manually compile it. Very time consuming and frustrating.

And im sick and tired of the average bobo being talked into getting Ubuntu, as those who talk people in it, are not skilled enough to go digging deep through Linux to find what tiny library makes a system or range of applications unstable and I end up fixing systems of friends, family and coworkers. (which i fix nowadays by telling them to get Windows 8 (or 7 for the bobo's that heard 8 was the devil,usually from the same idiot friend who got them to install Ubuntu)

I do suggest people to use OSX or Windows (even tho i personally really hate OSX) because its harder for the average bobo to destroy that OS. Compared to the average bobo only taking 5 minutes to entirely bork a Linux OS. (Like people deleting the kernel and wondering why the system wont boot after a restart)
And if people really want Linux, I tell them to get Debian stable. Not ubuntu, mint or other crappy Distro's.
Debian Stable = Stable, if it runs (or sometimes with some effort get it to run) it will continue to run untill the end of time. Do not use testing or unstable and even upgrades will be effortless and smooth.
The most hilarious are people running Ubuntu servers :') Due to the dependency of Debian Sid, a branch where Debian developers give a rats ass about security and only focus on making features work properly... these apps with no focus on security, are whats powering the Ubuntu (and ubuntu-viariants) repositories... So enjoy your 'security'

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Feb 18 2013, 5:54am :

AAA titles on Ubuntu? Wow...

Granted the PS3 runs on OpenGL so it shouldn't be incredibly hard to port AAA titles into Ubuntu.

Tekkerson said,
AAA titles on Ubuntu? Wow...

Granted the PS3 runs on OpenGL so it shouldn't be incredibly hard to port AAA titles into Ubuntu.


It supports OpenGL, however most games are not using it.
Also Sony uses their own libraries for OpenGL, these are not included with your usual Linux distro.

And if im not mistaken, it supports OpenGL ES as well.