For those who are unfamiliar with Valve, it is the operator of Steam, the biggest digital retailer of games. It is also the creator of the popular Half-Life, Portal, and Left 4 Dead franchises. This is indeed good news not only for Linux users, but for Linux as a platform as well.
Gaming is one of the aspects of computing that had been rather weak on the Linux platform. While recently there has been a huge increase in the number of games being released for Linux, with Valve and Steam behind Linux, thing should get even better. It is important to note that Valve’s games already run quite well under Linux for those who use Wine to run Windows software.
Valve, has also launched a new Linux blog so that there is an official source of information about what Valve is doing with Linux.
According to the first post on their blog, they have been working on getting Steam running on Linux—just Ubuntu initially—since quite a while and in 2011 they formed a Linux team. They have used Linux internally as well for their servers—which company hasn’t—and while Ubunu will be the platform of choice to begin with, it will not be the only platform supported when Steam does eventually come out for Linux.
Left 4 Dead 2, one of their comparatively-recent games is already running on Ubuntu, and other Valve titles are also being worked on.
The Steam client itself is running on Ubuntu with “all major features available”.
Valve end the blog with the following:
“We want this to be a community of open source game developers, communicating with each other and talking about current efforts and future efforts in a powerfully creative environment.
“After all, isn’t that what open source is all about – the idea that collaboration and teamwork achieve amazing things?”
Which is rather interesting, since Steam is a essentially a DRM platform, and not really well regarded for that. Is this a hint for what’s to come in Valve? Other open source efforts? Time will tell. Till then Desura is a Steam-like gaming service and it has had support for Linux and an open source client since quite a while.