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Steam on Linux - Disappointing

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+Majesticmerc    872

Disclaimer: This is basically a rant thread.

So I've been using the Steam Linux beta for a few weeks now, and I've come to following conclusion: The Steam Linux beta sucks.

It's not like I don't appreciate what they're doing, I mean after all, Valve are the only publisher that's really taking Linux (except they're not, I'll discuss that later), but still, the execution of the whole thing is farcical.

First of all, why is the client 32-bit only? I honestly can't remember that last time a Linux application came with only a 32-bit binary. This decision means that everyone on an x64 Linux build has to install 32-bit libraries in order to run Steam. Why not just provide a 64-bit binary and save us the bloat of having to install multilib libraries purely for Steam? I can't imagine that the difference between x86 and x64 would be so much that it'd be impossible to develop both at the same time.

Second, what's with the auto-update process? Most Linux distros have pretty solid package management. So why not just leave it to the package managers? This problem is SOLVED in Linux. Why use some [****-poor] auto-update process when mature platforms already exist for exactly this problem?

Third, why does the client feel compelled to screw with my cursor. This is probably a problem with my setup rather than Steam, but it's the only app on my system that insists on reversing my mouse cursor. Oddness.

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. To make things worse, it doesn't actually tell you that when you buy the game, so you are at risk of buying a game you can't actually play. The funniest thing I find about this is that a lot of the games that don't work are also former Humble Bundle games, so I can play the game perfectly well without Steam, but then can't play the Steam version of the same game. What the hell is up with that?

This inconvenience is compounded by failures like, for example, SpaceChem trying to use apt to try and install dependencies on my Arch install (for those that don't know, that doesn't work), and including libraries that don't work on 64-bit installs. There are threads with distro-specific hacks to get games working, but why isn't Steam doing this for us? I don't expect them to cater to every OS, but they could at least give us some hints. Make the developers provide a list of dependencies, and then check against installed libraries to determine which ones I need to install to get a game to work, and then tell me.

The games overall seem to be the 32-bit versions of the games (which I guess makes sense since the client is too), so I'm installing a lot of 32-bit libs for all the games too. It's gradually turning my Arch install into a glorious mess of libraries. Not really an issue per se, but an annoyance for someone like me who tries to keep a minimal install as much as possible.

I don't know, I guess this beta is giving me a bit of a bitter after-taste. They're touting it as the "Steam Linux beta", when in reality it should just be the "Steam Ubuntu Beta" since non-Ubuntu user's are pretty much out there on our own hacking it together to get it to work.

Overall, I'm finding more success playing games outside of Steam than I am within it. One of the best things about the Windows client is the convenience factor. On Linux I just get the overall impression we're testing the steam box client, and getting a buggy DRM client out of it. I don't think Valve are really taking Linux seriously like they're making out, they're just getting us to iron the bugs out of the client so they can release a bug-free console. Linux games will be a fortunate side effect of the Steam box, but not the primary focus IMO.

Not impressed.

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ShMaunder    102

Was surprised yesterday when I got in and saw Half Life Beta sitting in the library. Installed and started playing. That wasn't even ported to Mac!

Awaiting for CS 1.6 now, followed hopefully by Portal 2 :D

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f0rk_b0mb    699

Ubuntu 13.04 looks really nice from the videos I've been watching. I might give the beta a try later this weekend. The last one I tried was 11.04. I've been using Fuduntu for the last week, but it doesn't play nice with Steam. Every time I launch Serious Sam 3 BFE my X crashes. Everything else about Fuduntu is perfect, IMO.

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guitmz    103

I must say I found the native steam client stupid on linux. It works and everything else but it won't let us to download any games besides the ones that were made for linux (we can't even download those that works 100% with wine). For now I'm using the windows client with wine and it's a lot better just for that single reason... But well, it's a start for valve, they should improve the service soon

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ShMaunder    102

I must say I found the native steam client stupid on linux. It works and everything else but it won't let us to download any games besides the ones that were made for linux (we can't even download those that works 100% with wine). For now I'm using the windows client with wine and it's a lot better just for that single reason... But well, it's a start for valve, they should improve the service soon

Yea, I'm hoping that Valve put "experimental" WINE options in the client. If a game works 100% in WINE, then I don't really care if its native or not as long as its transparent. It might also encourage game developers to contribute to WINE to get their games working.

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guitmz    103

well said!

wine is a great platform...it really shouldnt be used just as a second option... many apps already uses wine as they own "Linux version" such as teamviewer

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torrentthief    314

i believe counter strike 1.6 was added earlier today not just half life.

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medhunter    31

Yay, testing now

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