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Valve opens Steam for Linux beta to all

Valve opens Steam for Linux beta to all

Steam for Linux, and the 40-some Linux-compatible games currently available through the service, is now available to all, as the closed beta opens up for anyone to play.

Valve has officially opened the doors to Steam for Linux to all comers, removing the invite-only closed beta restrictions in favour of a free-for-all testing process.

While still not ready for a formal release, Valve's Frank Crockett has announced that the software is ready for a full, public beta - allowing those who didn't get an invite to the restricted beta, and who don't fancy using various unofficial methods of getting the Steam for Linux beta running, their first chance at trying it out.

As well as opening the software up the Steam client has received a few bug-fixes along the way, resolving problems excessive CPU usage while running Team Fortress 2, a crash with the Steam overlay when running Cubemen, and tweaks to the Big Picture interface - the technology which is expected to form the heart of Valve's upcoming Steam Box PC-cum-console.

To help track bug reports, Valve has opened a GitHub repository for the Steam for Linux client - but before you get excited, the repository is empty and there's no indication that Valve will be sharing the source code to its popular digital distribution platform. Instead, it's using the service to track issues, with users free to open a GitHub account and report any problems they're having with the beta.

Finally, Crockett announced the opening of a Steam for Linux APT repository which can be added to Ubuntu and other Debian-derived operating systems for easy installation and maintenance of the Steam for Linux client software. Once installed - either by editing the APT sources.list file or through the apt-add-repository command - the operating system's package manager will take care of keeping the client up to date.

The open beta comes with access to 40 Linux-compatible games, with more promised to follow in the near future as Valve prepares for its Steam Box release and lessens its dependence on Microsoft's Windows platform.

33 Comments

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azrael- 20th December 2012, 11:35 Quote
Great news! And just in time for Christmas (and the inevitable Steam Christmas Sale :))....
ellism 20th December 2012, 12:38 Quote
Alas even after updating I am still getting the closed beta message.
SlowMotionSuicide 20th December 2012, 13:07 Quote
**** YEAH.
Snips 20th December 2012, 14:57 Quote
What are the official figures for Steam on Apple OSX?
fdbh96 20th December 2012, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
What are the official figures for Steam on Apple OSX?

Im not sure but I think the humble bundle usually says that the number of people on OS X roughly equals the number on linux.
Yslen 20th December 2012, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
What are the official figures for Steam on Apple OSX?

Im not sure but I think the humble bundle usually says that the number of people on OS X roughly equals the number on linux.

That doesn't necessarily mean anything; every humble bundle I've bought I've gone down as a Linux user because that's what I used to have on my laptop. Never played any of the games on there though.
fdbh96 20th December 2012, 16:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yslen
That doesn't necessarily mean anything; every humble bundle I've bought I've gone down as a Linux user because that's what I used to have on my laptop. Never played any of the games on there though.

It is only a statistic which of course most are flawed but I would be surprised if the actual number was similiar.
Star*Dagger 20th December 2012, 18:33 Quote
I hope this is the beginning of the end for Windows only gaming.

I would love to use Linux for gaming and delete Windows forever!!
Snips 20th December 2012, 20:09 Quote
This has no effect on me as I'll never use Linux ever as I love to use Windows for gaming.

I hope this is the beginning of the end for the myth that Linux is better since no one will be using it ;)
wafflesomd 20th December 2012, 20:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
This has no effect on me as I'll never use Linux ever as I love to use Windows for gaming.

I hope this is the beginning of the end for the myth that Linux is better since no one will be using it ;)


Seriously this. I think it's great that there will finally be some competition but linux has a lot of problems other than game support.

People with this kind of thought process are dilusional

"I would love to use Linux for gaming and delete Windows forever!!"
steveo_mcg 20th December 2012, 22:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Seriously this. I think it's great that there will finally be some competition but linux has a lot of problems other than game support.

People with this kind of thought process are dilusional

"I would love to use Linux for gaming and delete Windows forever!!"

why? I don't need or use it for anything else...


(My emphasis)
Icy EyeG 20th December 2012, 22:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

People with this kind of thought process are dilusional

I guess me and most of my family are crazy then.
Sloth 20th December 2012, 23:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Seriously this. I think it's great that there will finally be some competition but linux has a lot of problems other than game support.

People with this kind of thought process are dilusional

"I would love to use Linux for gaming and delete Windows forever!!"
If a person's only priority is gaming such as steveo_mcg above then Linux is an easy choice should it become equivalent to Windows for gaming. Two tools to do the same job, but one's free.

There are only three things needed to achieve this:
-Games availability to match Windows.
-OpenGL to match DirectX.
-Driver support to match Windows ease of install and performance.

We're seeing the first with Valve push of Steam and development of their own game, THQ's cost analysis, and the many indie games seen in the Humble Bundles. The second is driven by the first as number of developers increases. The third is driven by a combination of the first two, this can been seen recently with Nvidia's latest release. It's very much a "build it and they will come" situation where we're dependent on the risk-takers in the industry to begin the process. When/if all three come together what's the point of gaming on Windows? You've got some non-gaming related issue with Linux? Unfortunate for you, but doesn't make the rest of us delusional.
wafflesomd 21st December 2012, 00:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Seriously this. I think it's great that there will finally be some competition but linux has a lot of problems other than game support.

People with this kind of thought process are dilusional

"I would love to use Linux for gaming and delete Windows forever!!"

why? I don't need or use it for anything else...


(My emphasis)

What do you do in linux that you can't do in windows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
You've got some non-gaming related issue with Linux? Unfortunate for you, but doesn't make the rest of us delusional.

It's not even remotely as user friendly as windows is. I usually try a few distros every year just to see if it's to the point where I want it to be and it never is. I always have the same issue and that is that I need to baby sit the OS. I've never had a windows update break my installation but that has happened to me in linux a few times. Not worth the hassle IMO.
proxess 21st December 2012, 00:54 Quote
Then you're probably trying them out in hope that they will be like Windows. They're not.

But this isn't a bash Windows/Linux thread.

I've been playing TF2 and Amenesia on Ubuntu 12.10 with the Catalyst 12.11 Beta drivers and they're running quite smooth. A bit of work has to go into TF2 though.
fdbh96 21st December 2012, 07:25 Quote
Surely this is going to make things worse. Some developers cant even manage compatibility with windows 7, so adding a whole world of alternate possibilities is going to be a nightmare to get things working right.
steveo_mcg 21st December 2012, 09:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
What do you do in linux that you can't do in windows.

Very little though there is some stuff which works better, headless clients, thin clients, low powered completely silent machines etc etc.

Given all I use my computer for is web based stuff, gaming and some light photo editing (gimp) what is the advantage of running windows when I don't find Linux hard to use? It has less system overheads than windows so assuming decent driver support there really is no advantage to paying for a copy of windows.
Gareth Halfacree 21st December 2012, 10:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
I've never had a windows update break my installation [...]
Yes, that never happens. Oh, wait, no. The other thing.

Not that I'm saying Linux is wholly innocent in this regard: while rare, mistakes do happen - but usually to beta or 'unstable' branches, like the time an update to Ubuntu 10.04 Beta (from memory) prevented X from loading. The problem was fixed in a couple of hours, but it was still an awkward moment for beta users - non-beta users, meanwhile, were fine.
Icy EyeG 21st December 2012, 11:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

What do you do in linux that you can't do in windows.

In my case, it makes my life much easier. I program lots of things in perl for college, and Ubuntu makes it much easier to work with. Moreover, in my experience, all the software I generally use (mendeley, calibre, Inkscape, dia, gimp, libreoffice, gnumeric, etc.) are much faster in Ubuntu, and a lot easier to upgrade (because Ubuntu has a centralized update system).
One very important aspect as well is the amount of money I've spared in Windows licences, by using Ubuntu on 5 computers in the last 2-3 years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

It's not even remotely as user friendly as windows is. I usually try a few distros every year just to see if it's to the point where I want it to be and it never is. I always have the same issue and that is that I need to baby sit the OS. I've never had a windows update break my installation but that has happened to me in linux a few times. Not worth the hassle IMO.

I completely disagree. I've been using Ubuntu full time since 10.04, and never had any problems. I've also installed Xubuntu 12.04 on my of my relatives' laptops and they are quite happy with it. Moreover, they are not geeks like me, they just want a laptop that works and can't afford to buy a new one. As far as I'm concerned they don't need to worry about the OS until 2017, provided they keep it up-to-date.

Yes, I only use LTS releases with them, because that's how it should be if you want absolute stability and a "geek-free" experience. If you are new to Linux or want to install and forget go (X)ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Granted I installed some packages that didn't come with Xubuntu, like google chrome, libreoffice and gnome games. However, it takes a lot less time, because when they were using Windows, every time I did a factory reset on their laptops, I'd have to uninstall all the crap, demos and trials that came with it.

In my experience, people can adapt very easily to Xubuntu, and are quite thankful, because they don't need to buy a new laptop in the mid-term (because Xubuntu is much more responsive than Windows in 4-year-old laptops).

Also, using Unity on Ubuntu is as difficult to adapt as it is to Mac OSX, if you are coming from Windows, except it is free.
steveo_mcg 21st December 2012, 11:29 Quote
Muggles (as Nexxo would say) generally have less issue with Linux (UI's) than windows power users. The power user is used to knowing where everything is and how everything works, when confronted with change they react with anger and an element of fear. Happens every time MS fiddle with the core of Windows.

The Muggle is just as powerless in Windows, OSX or Gnome etc so generally just work out how to get around and load the apps they want to use.
Icy EyeG 21st December 2012, 12:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Muggles (as Nexxo would say) generally have less issue with Linux (UI's) than windows power users. The power user is used to knowing where everything is and how everything works, when confronted with change they react with anger and an element of fear. Happens every time MS fiddle with the core of Windows.

The Muggle is just as powerless in Windows, OSX or Gnome etc so generally just work out how to get around and load the apps they want to use.

Never thought in that perspective, but makes a lot of sense on how many of my relatives switched to Xubuntu. :)
blacko 21st December 2012, 13:16 Quote
now we want Steam for AmigaOS.....
Snips 21st December 2012, 16:21 Quote
Wow, the linux minority are really keeping everything crossed that you'll listen to them and how was it put "delete windows forever!"

Not gonna happen, not in your wildest dreams will that happen.
Anfield 21st December 2012, 20:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Not gonna happen, not in your wildest dreams will that happen.

QFT..

Schools have no choice but to teach kids Windows as anything else would be delusional, Windows is what they would face if they entered the world of work one day and the kids parents will be familiar with Windows from work, making them far more likely to use Windows at home as well due to familiarity, which means the kids get exposed to windows at home as well. That circle isn't going to be broken too easily.

Steam for linux is going to end up the same way the Warcraft / Starcraft ports for mac did, they'll just provide another option, but hurt windows? nah.
djzic 21st December 2012, 20:48 Quote
double post - sorry
djzic 21st December 2012, 20:49 Quote
Honestly, how can you say something as inefficient as windows not only rivals, but BEATS linux? An LTS release is more stable then windows for sure - I've never, ever had a kernel panic, but Windows gets so many BSODs, just from a 'user-friendly' driver even. If you're praising windows for ease of use, and aren't prepared to accept a challenge, you're not really a power user...

I mean, look at ISOs for example. Up until Windows 7, you had to install a program to burn a disc, something so simple xD where as Linux has had support since 2002-03 I think. Microsoft is still catching up - there are lots of examples. Linux, as a benefit, is OPEN SOURCE. Nothing comes without compromise, and the compromise is that you have to give up the Windows UI you're oh-so used to. Not for your average person maybe, but I thought this community was about performance...
AmEv 21st December 2012, 21:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
What do you do in linux that you can't do in windows.

Powerful command-line-only interface.

I can easily get rid of the GUI altogether, and just use a command line. In Windows, the closest equivalent is DOS. However, DOS has not seen an update for over a decade. And has poor memory management.

Why would I want a CL interface? Servers. A GUI takes up a LOT of resources. You're not always there to look at it. So, you can used those spare resources in the server-specific tasks. Rendering, game server, to name a few.




I've been in the Linux scene since 2008. The only problems I've had with Linux are crappy hardware, and a flat-out lack of drivers. Only time I've had a kernel panic is when I pushed an overclock too far. The ONLY time.

I admit to having a PS/2 port dying due to a bad driver (regression), but that was patched the day after it occurred. Good luck getting a driver patched in a day on Windows.
azrael- 21st December 2012, 22:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmEv
Powerful command-line-only interface.

I can easily get rid of the GUI altogether, and just use a command line. In Windows, the closest equivalent is DOS. However, DOS has not seen an update for over a decade. And has poor memory management.
<snip>
I generally agree with you, but there hasn't been a DOS in Windows since Windows Me. You're thinking of the command prompt, which looks like DOS but otherwise has nothing in common with it. As of 64 bit Windows you cannot even run it in full screen, for instance. Personally, I'm using 4NT, or TCC as its current incarnation is called.

And Microsoft has actually created a replacement for the command prompt. It's called Windows PowerShell and has been a part of Windows since Vista I believe. Sadly, most people are completely ignorant of PowerShell and Microsoft doesn't really do anything to promote it. Understandable, since it's the complete antithesis to "the Ui commonly referred to as the UI formerly known as Metro".
AmEv 22nd December 2012, 01:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
And Microsoft has actually created a replacement for the command prompt. It's called Windows PowerShell and has been a part of Windows since Vista I believe. Sadly, most people are completely ignorant of PowerShell and Microsoft doesn't really do anything to promote it. Understandable, since it's the complete antithesis to "the Ui commonly referred to as the UI formerly known as Metro".

You're right. The only reason I knew about PowerShell is because I was just digging around in the settings. Dismissed it because "cmd.exe is there and works, what's this for?"
Andy Mc 24th December 2012, 21:48 Quote
Why is it that every mention of Linux on here lately turns into a tit for tat argument over which is better? It never used to be like this here.

I use both OS's but I much prefer Linux, even though it is a secondary OS at home. I had my late mother in law running Ubuntu on her PC and I had a lot fewer support questions. It also never crashed, not once.
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-

And Microsoft has actually created a replacement for the command prompt. It's called Windows PowerShell and has been a part of Windows since Vista I believe. Sadly, most people are completely ignorant of PowerShell and Microsoft doesn't really do anything to promote it. Understandable, since it's the complete antithesis to "the Ui commonly referred to as the UI formerly known as Metro".

Funny you should mention Powershell, as MS purposely engineered it to map common unix commands over to windows equivalents, as they wanted to attract *nix users over and wanted to make it as painless as possible. Shame it didn't really work.


I have been running the steam beta for a few weeks and I've had only 1 or 2 issues, the main one being the "big picture" feature which uses up almost all system resources on the nettop I am using. To be fair I also find big picture to be a bit crap on my main, windows, pc as it seems to hog resources there too.
The only other issue the Linux client has is with the steam overlay/system notifications on my lubuntu 12.10 install, but considering this is still beta it is hardly a major issue.

Performance wise I do find the linux client, and the games, run better than the windows equivalents and I guess this is just down to the lower overheads of the OS. I remember running Americas Army on Linux back in the day, as it performed much better than the windows client
impar 25th December 2012, 13:38 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Why is it that every mention of Linux on here lately turns into a tit for tat argument over which is better? It never used to be like this here.
Since W8 there is a new type of Microsoft fanboy, more... "active". Its not only here.
Yslen 25th December 2012, 14:36 Quote
I am definitely a Linux gaming sceptic, sorry. Its not that I don't like Linux, it has its strong points, but for the sake of the cost of the OS why would you severely limit the gaming performance and flexibility of your living room PC?

Also, the latest Ubuntu is dog-slow and infested with Amazon adverts. Windows 8 is much nicer to use on my laptop as well as faster, plus it actually plays games, runs Photoshop/lightroom, plays flash video properly, has decent battery life... As nice as the UI is, there are just too many flaws with the Linux experience for me to want to use it for anything other than a server.

Anyway, that's my reasoning behind most of the pro-windows arguments I make. Its not that I hate Linux, it just doesn't make sense to me that anyone would want to use it except in very specific circumstances.

In the case of gaming, I really don't see a steam box taking off. We can all build superior windows machines, other companies can sell superior windows machines... why buy a locked down, restricted OS that limits the choice of the user to a few titles from (presumably) one store? More to the point, isn't that exactly what Valve were complaining about with Windows 8 (where its not the case in any way)?

Just the way I see things. If we can suddenly run all existing and new games on Linux with identical or superior performance to windows I'll consider it, as its free. I'd probably still buy windows though, for compatibility with other software.

Merry Christmas y'all! :-)
teppic 25th December 2012, 15:07 Quote
People who rely on Windows for Windows-specific apps aren't going to switch to Linux, it wouldn't make much sense. But the vast majority of people don't rely on anything like that (the best selling computer consistently on Amazon is the Chromebook).

Valve will have negotiated with the game studios about ports. I can't see them launching a box that can only run Valve's own games and a few indie titles. I don't think old titles will be ported, just as games that don't run in Windows 7 will never be updated to support that, but it's almost certain that new releases would be available for both platforms, and possibly a set of existing ones.

Valve's big advantage with the Steambox would be that all the games they sell would be configured to install and work without any issues, since they'd know the hardware and software being used. At the moment you could look on the forums for any title sold through Steam and there will be people who can't get their Windows game running for lots of different reasons. I think the box is looking to be really attractive (and definitely not aimed at people who use their PC mainly for Photoshop).
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