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Valve's Gabe Newell Talks Linux Steam Client, Source Engine

Michael Larabel

Published on 25 April 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 2 of 2 - 197 Comments



It's Alive!

I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations. This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organization. Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point.

Right now the game they have been working on the most for their Linux client is Left 4 Dead 2. Why L4D2? Basically because it is a stable code-base to do for their initial porting. They have plans to bring their other titles to Linux as well as lobby other game developers using Steam and the Source Engine to bring their games to Linux -- natively. They are not using the Wine library or anything in terms of their native Linux Steam/Source engine work.


As reported earlier on Phoronix, they did have problems getting APITrace used for tracing their OpenGL calls in hopes of figuring out some Linux performance problems. Fortunately, I was able to figure out what was happening with their APITrace issues.

Without mentioning their current planned target for having their first Linux release, it is not too far out. If you have been waiting since I first talked about Steam on Linux, the current wait is not bad at all. By the time that my "annual pilgrimage" rolls around for 2012, those not in the land of beer and wonderful Bayerischen Frauen and delicious food, will hopefully have something new to be entertained by instead on their Linux desktop... But again, this is Valve time. The initial release will likely be in the form of a "beta" so that they can release earlier and this initial public version may be limited to just Left 4 Dead 2, but their grand plans for Gabe/Valve's support on Linux are nothing short of greatness. The wait should be worth the wait. I often cite Unigine Corp and their Unigine Engine as being Linux-friendly, but Valve has the potential for much more.


Valve's games on Linux should be great! I was a bit restricted in what I was allowed to photograph from their Linux development cabal, but it was all quite exciting.

Just having Steam and the Source Engine on Linux is not their end game. Gabe's / Valve's embracement of Linux is stunning, even if they only partially go after what was talked about. Valve easily has the potential of being the most Linux-friendly game company, especially with id Software still not having delivered any Rage Linux client, Epic Games not doing anything at the moment, and the other major studios not releasing their Linux clients.


Expect more soon... I did also record a brief video, but if this information isn't enough now, I have it for later.

Valve and Gabe Newell's interest in Linux goes beyond what would be expected of any normal game company, but Valve is certainly a unique beast. Listening to Gabe Newell talk about Linux for hours made me wonder whether he was a former ex-Microsoft employee (where he actually did work in his pre-Valve days in the 90's) or the director of the Linux Foundation. His level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning. In fact, as soon as I return to my office this weekend I plan to try out Windows 8 simply to see if it's as bad as Gabe states and because he's curious about my opinions of this latest Microsoft operating system.

Stay tuned for what should equate to some wonderful Valve Linux gaming news...

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