Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:15

Valve Working To Port Steam And Games To Ubuntu and Other Linux Distros...

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Does anyone remember the format wars for video tapes? How about Blu-ray? In both of these there were two competing technologies each with their own pros and cons.  In the end both of these were settled by one industry. In the “PC” industry there we have competing operating systems that are all vying for your attention and support. Although we have more than two in competition for your business the winner (believe it or not) is also still picked by one industry. Here that industry is gaming.

Now this might sound far-fetched, but if you were to ask a gamer if they would own a Linux or a Mac you will find their answers very similar and all relating to a lack of games and drivers for their video cards. It is one of the reasons we saw Windows XP stick around for so long (many gamers did not like the drop in performance found in Vista). So what happens when one of the leading game distribution sites slips in the news that they are working on a Linux version of their online distribution software we have to wonder if the powers that be are changing their minds about Microsoft and their new direction.

This is exactly what has happened though. It seems that Valve now has a team of engineers working on a Linux version of Steam and many of their games like they did with Left for Dead 2. Valve has opened a new blog just for their Linux team which has its first blog post up now explaining the origins of the team, their goals and their progress. It is some interesting reading to be sure.

Right now the team has picked Ubuntu as it is one of the most common distributions of Linux and in their words “has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities”. They are quick to add that they will not stop with Ubuntu though, but do need to focus on a single distro to start things off with. The next steps are pretty simple;

getting the Steam client onto Linux with full functionality
optimizing a version of L4D2 running at a high frame rate with OpenGL
porting additional Valve titles

As far as this project goes the team says they have the Steam Client working with all of its features on Ubuntu 12.04, but still need to do some additional testing to make sure the auto-updates work properly. After that they will completely port L4D2 to Ubuntu 12.04 through Steam. Right now L4D2 does work natively, but it does not have the same level of performance that you can get from the same Windows based system (which is why they are working on optimizing it for OpenGL).

The push by Valve to Linux is an important move and one that is sure to create larger support for Linux in the entire PC community including hardware vendors. We expect to see more developers jump on this bandwagon which will in turn bring Intel, nVidia and AMD along for the ride. Now we wonder how long it will be before we see the first Linux gaming systems pushed out the door by the boutique PC makers followed by the big companies like Dell and HP. If these things happen fast enough it could has a serious impact on Microsoft especially considering how they are treating their OEM partners at the moment.

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Read 2876 times Last modified on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:35

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