Valve Steam, Source clients heading to Linux

April 26, 2012 | 13:06

Tags: #gabe-newell #left-4-dead-2 #linux-gaming #pc-gaming #source

Companies: #steam #valve #wine

Valve has confirmed that it is working hard on porting its Source game engine and Steam digital distribution service to Linux.

Rumours surrounding Valve's support of Linux have been doing the rounds for years, but little official information has leaked. While it's possible to get Steam and Source games running on Linux using the wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) Windows compatibility layer, it's not ideal - and Steam, in particular, exhibits some odd behaviour when run in this manner.

Now, however, Michael Larabel of open-source news site Phoronix has visited Valve at its headquarters, getting confirmation from Gabe Newell himself that Valve has serious plans for Linux systems.

According to Larabel, Valve has a team working on developing native Linux clients for both Steam and Source-based games. As proof, he has supplied images of zombie-themed first-person shooter Left 4 Dead 2 running on a Linux box as a native application.

Phoronix first broke the news of an impending Linux client for Steam back in 2010, but silence from Valve and the continued failure of such a client to appear led many to wonder if the site had been confused in its reportage. Not so, claims Larabel: 'Valve's Linux work is finally soon to see the light of day in what will more than likely be the coming months.'

Valve boss Newell is reportedly overseeing the development personally, having moved his wheeled desk - as explained in the employee handbook - to the Linux client team. 'I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations,' writes Larabel. 'This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organisation. Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point.'

Sadly, neither Valve nor Larabel is indicating when the software will be ready for release, but one thing is clear: when it does come out, it's likely to prove the shot in the arm that Linux gaming so desperately needs.
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