Work on Steam for Linux in progress

It appears that Valve is not done yet with ensuring their games will run on all major operating systems on the PC platform. With the public release of their Mac OS X Steam client and some of their games ported to OS X next Wednesday, they will now focus on doing more of the same to Linux.

Phoronix has been tracking the existence and progress of the Linux Steam client in recent weeks. The first piece of evidence towards the existence of the Linux Steam client is written plainly in the bash script used to execute Steam on OS X:

#determine platform
UNAME=`uname`
if [ "$UNAME" == "Darwin" ]; then
   PLATFORM=osx32
   # prepend our lib path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH
   export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH="${STEAMROOT}"/${PLATFORM}:$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH
elif [ "$UNAME" == "Linux" ]; then
   PLATFORM=linux32
   # prepend our lib path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH
   export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${STEAMROOT}"/${PLATFORM}:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
fi

Following this discovery, Phoronix writer Michael Larabel found more references to Linux inside the Steam client binary, as well as a text file on Steam's servers. On Saturday, a Phoronix reader provided a screenshot of the unfinished Steam client running natively in Ubuntu:

Steam running in Ubuntu

Steam running natively in Ubuntu. Shown is the unfinished login screen.

Linux environments are currently used to run game servers for Source-based games such as Counter-strike Source, Team Fortress 2, and the Left 4 Dead series. But sometime this year or perhaps the next, they will soon serve all PC gamers as clients, whether they run Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.

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48 Comments

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Probably a stupid question: does that mean that the games will work too?! (Told ya.) Or would we need to install Wine + Direct X, etc etc?

KenR7A said,
Probably a stupid question: does that mean that the games will work too?! (Told ya.) Or would we need to install Wine + Direct X, etc etc?

Good question... I would like to know that myself. Sound like it is?

Is Steam runs on Apple natively? If it is then surely same goes for Linux.

Edited by MrRoberts, May 4 2010, 1:35pm :

KenR7A said,
Probably a stupid question: does that mean that the games will work too?! (Told ya.) Or would we need to install Wine + Direct X, etc etc?

Only games developed for Linux will work. And no! Valve will not PORT games to Linux. The developers need to do that.

Valve is just a distributor, ffs!

(Stop with this stupid thing already.)

Edited by lalalawawawa, May 4 2010, 1:32pm :

Steam runs natively on OS X and the Valve games have been ported to run natively using OpenGL. So initially there will probably just be the Valve games (HL2, TF2, Portal etc) available and perhaps some of the already-cross-platform games like Penumbra. It'll be up to the developers to make the linux and OS X versions of their games.

KenR7A said,
Probably a stupid question: does that mean that the games will work too?! (Told ya.) Or would we need to install Wine + Direct X, etc etc?

OpenGL game should work when ported to Linux.

A couple of years ago when i was at school i had a class about Unix Shell Script. We installed GLQuake (open GL version of Quake) on Linux and it worked like a charm.

I'm sure you folks feel clever with your "Year of the Linux desktop" and market share jokes. MacOS gets a Steam client, and Valve is the second coming of Jesus. Linux gets a Steam client, and it's the funniest thing evar. Nevermind that there is less than a 5% difference between Linux and MacOS marketshare. Or, if you believe Steve Ballmer, Linux and MacOS marketshare are neck and neck.

Operating System Fanboys. . Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

The ONLY reason I used Windows is for games... Everything else is on Debian/Ubuntu.

Once Valve ports games for Linux, no need for Windows.

Not having a dig at linux users (really) but while Windows and Mac users are accustomed to paying for software (p|r8z excluded), linux users are used to getting everything for free. I'm not sure how profitable a market it would be for Valve. In the case of games that are available for all platforms like the Penumbra games I'd be interested in seeing the sales figures for each platform.

I actually think Linux users might buy more stuff than Windows and Mac users, since they get everything for free and thus have a larger 'budget' to spend on other software. After all, it's easier to 'justify' (for yourself) buying a game when the total amount of money you have spent on software already equals zero.

The following blog post (not mine) combines a lot of available information regarding sales and such: http://somethingmild.blogspot....o-buy-things-after-all.html plus a lot of good arguments as to why someone should support Linux (the "big fish in a small pond" argument seems very solid, to me. Linux and gaming is a very untapped market at the moment, so anyone who's investing in it will have no competition whatsoever!).

As for penumbra, they did very well too it seems: http://www.frictionalgames.com/forum/thread-2890.html

I really don't think that's true or fair to say; most Linux users use Linux because they want/prefer it/need to use it; if someone doesn't want to pay for Windows or Mac OS X then they'll probably pirate it in some form, not turn to Linux. I would agree with blabblab - the fact users don't pay extortionate amounts for the OS/Office software will probably mean they'll have more and be more willing to spend money on games.

blabblab said,
I actually think Linux users might buy more stuff than Windows and Mac users, since they get everything for free and thus have a larger 'budget' to spend on other software.

Good point. I didn't think of that. And that blog link was very interesting. I guess if you're a Linux user and have more games available that you can run natively without having to use Wine/Crossover or booting into Windows you're more likely to buy those.

why are people so dismissive of anything that they don't use? if there was an 'ultimate' operating system there would only be one ... each operating system has its negatives and positives.

xfodder said,
why are people so dismissive of anything that they don't use? if there was an 'ultimate' operating system there would only be one ... each operating system has its negatives and positives.

im not being dismissive and as i said i use linux for years. But its not a major operating system. People go to a store and buy OSX, and go out and buy Windows. If linux distro companies said no more free. its 199 for upgrade and 299 for fullversion the marketshare would hit 0% overnight. Its a hobby and an alternative for people that want free stuff.

tablet_user said,

im not being dismissive and as i said i use linux for years. But its not a major operating system. People go to a store and buy OSX, and go out and buy Windows. If linux distro companies said no more free. its 199 for upgrade and 299 for fullversion the marketshare would hit 0% overnight. Its a hobby and an alternative for people that want free stuff.

'Major' operating systems aren't dictated solely by workstations in use by businesses and consumers. Beside servers, they are also good as educational workstations.

Edited by Denis W., May 4 2010, 12:19am :

Chasethebase said,
Once they had it running on Mac OS X, it was only a matter of time until it was going to come to Linux as well.

Yep, Mac OS X has a UNIX Core. It was only a matter of time.

Dammit Valve, can you focus on getting some DX10/11 implementation in your Half Life series as well has TF2 and work on some Episode 3? Jeeeze.

Billus said,
Dammit Valve, can you focus on getting some DX10/11 implementation in your Half Life series as well has TF2 and work on some Episode 3? Jeeeze.

I'm sure they are different groups

Billus said,
Dammit Valve, can you focus on getting some DX10/11 implementation in your Half Life series as well has TF2 and work on some Episode 3? Jeeeze.
Who says they aren't?