Steam and Source Engine being ported to Linux

Valve Software is reportedly a few months away from completing a port of Steam and the Source Engine for the Linux OS.


It seems like Valve is committed to bringing its prized digital distribution service Steam to Linux users at some point in the relatively near future. Recent news indicates that Valve has not only hired Linux developers to help port Steam and the Source engine to the OS, but Valve's Gabe Newell is now overseeing the port.'s Michael Larabel recently spoke with Newell about the porting process, and claims that Steam will become available for Linux in the next few months.

"Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point," Larabel said. He goes on to state that although Linux development has been going on at Valve for some time, Newell's personal involvement in the project (including relocating his desk to the Valve Linux Development camp), bodes well for the project reaching critical mass more quickly.

As far as the Source Engine port goes, Left 4 Dead 2 is being used as the test case, largely due to the solid nature of the game's code. Despite a few snags, Larabel asserts that the project is moving along at a good clip, and notes that the developer's flat management structure is at least partly responsible for contributing to delays in the port's development.

Larabel also claims that Newell isn't a big fan of the nearly ubiquitous operating systems like Windows or OSX, or the upcoming Windows 8, in particular. "His level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning," Larabel said of his meeting with Newell.

While it's reasonable to assume that a number of folks will be excited about finally getting some Steam in their Linux, the port of the OS could have larger implications. For example, one needs only look as far as the news that Valve has been exploring the possibility of creating some new gaming hardware and wearable computers.

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  • reply
    April 25, 2012 1:30 PM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, Steam and Source Engine being ported to Linux.

    Valve Software is reportedly a few months away from completing a port of Steam and the Source Engine for the Linux OS.

    • reply
      April 25, 2012 1:50 PM

      Interesting in view of the recent Valve hardware rumours.
      A linux box with only steam and webbrowser could work.

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        April 25, 2012 4:09 PM

        People keep hoping this is true, but I am not sure why or what the business case for Valve is. Unless there is a 100% sure fire way to run all Windows games on this box, what would be the advantage?

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          April 25, 2012 8:00 PM

          Well, If Valve could get all their games running on it then they could be in the business of selling a game console that has a 100% Valve-controlled OS and can tap into your Steam account.

          With all the Humble Bundle games making their Linux debut there might be a surprising number of Linux-able games. And knowing that there's a market for it might incentivize developers to do more porting.

          Maybe I'm wrong but the concept of buying a game and being able to run it on a "console" and a PC would be awesome. And the first flirtation with this was the PS3 version of Portal 2. And heck, Valve might have had bigger plans with the PS3 but the PSN downtime thing fucked them and made them realize if they want to get into consoles, it helps to not be contingent on another company.

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      April 25, 2012 2:02 PM

      Just consider the source of the rumor. Two years ago these same people made the same claims only to the rumors shot down by Valve.

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      April 25, 2012 2:15 PM

      this seems useful...

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      April 25, 2012 2:20 PM

      The screenshots of L4D2 running on linux look like they were taken in the valve building. I recognise the building across the way.

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      April 25, 2012 3:37 PM

      Wasn't it a windows.h dependency that prevented the Half-Life client from being ported to Linux? I seem to remember that from a Shack comment about 10 years ago, on how Zoid ported the dedicated server, then tried the client, and said it wasn't worth trying because of dependency hell, among other things.

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        April 25, 2012 4:01 PM

        I am pretty they have overcome that type of dependency problem when they ported the engine to OSX. The problem with Linux is more to do with the distribution fragmentation more than anything else. A good package manager every one could agree on might solve that.

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          April 25, 2012 8:02 PM

          This was with GoldSrc with Half-Life 1, so Valve probably saw their mistakes in code portability when they were creating the Source engine, but for Half-Life 1, it was too late.

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            April 25, 2012 8:10 PM

            It makes sense that in 1999, when Valve was a young company of former Microsofties they would have rolled a Quake 2 fork with tons of Windows dependencies. And with Linux companies like Loki, who put out Linux Quake 3, going under it makes sense that it wouldn't be worth it.

            Today though they've ported Source to the Mac and consoles so it makes a lot more sense now.

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        April 25, 2012 6:25 PM

        I'd be surprised, even then, if the platform dependencies weren't abstracted out behind a well-defined interface. In any case any commercial game engine written today will be structured so as to isolate platform specific API calls, which makes at least one aspect of porting much simpler.

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      April 25, 2012 8:15 PM

      Meh. The Mac port is of questionable quality and doesn't have many games. This will be even less interesting.

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      April 25, 2012 8:22 PM

      When that happens we will be closer to the year of linux

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