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.