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A Special Linux Delivery At Valve Software

Michael Larabel

Published on 28 April 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 68 Comments

After a week of interesting Valve Linux news on Phoronix, Friday afternoon there was a special Linux delivery at Valve's offices for their "Linux cabal" -- the team of Valve developers that are working to provide the Linux versions of the Steam client and various Source Engine-powered games natively on Linux.

After Gabe Newell allowed some of the Linux news to be publicly shared earlier this week on Phoronix from my time at Valve's offices this week, including the brief Linux video and the photos, a special Linux delivery was brewed before I finally flew out of Seattle on Friday night... On behalf of the Phoronix readers that are in support of Valve's Linux support and efforts, this special delivery came down to a gift for this Linux team, or "cabal" as known within Valve Software.

On Friday morning, a former Phoronix contributor (Adam Kadzban) and I were out at the Plugable offices nearby in Bellevue. Bernie Thompson, a former Microsoft employee and founder of Plugable, sent out an invitation to stop by their office. The Plugable visit ended up being very interesting and there will be a Phoronix article about that -- they are about to launch an incredibly interesting Kickstarter effort around a Linux device. I also didn't realize this at first, but Bernie is also the one that worked at DisplayLink previously (in his post-Microsoft days) and is now the DisplayLink FB driver maintainer within the kernel and continues to be involved with the various USB-powered DisplayLink Linux graphics efforts. Bernie provides open-source DisplayLink Linux support, his company's forthcoming Kickstarter project uses all open-source software (a Fedora Linux base with no binary blobs), and all around was a much more interesting visit than originally expected. More details on the Plugable Linux work will be shared next week on Phoronix as soon as their Kickstarter project goes public.

After the Plugable visit and lunch with their small team, there was a few hours between then and the scheduled Valve visit for Friday afternoon, so that ultimately led to this impromptu delivery/gift for these Linux developers. Beyond just being extremely grateful for Valve's Linux plans, other reasons for going ahead with this Friday afternoon fun was:

- Valve's Linux developers earlier in the week talking about how a 13-year-old boy had visited Valve's offices recently to hand-deliver Gabe a cake that his grandma had made... (I had also thought about a nice Tux cake for Gabe on Friday, but that didn't work out with the last-minute planning...)

- If other Valve developers find out about the special delivery in the Linux cabal, maybe more of them will move their desks into the Linux cabal and the Linux client work will be done faster! ;)

- Maybe the Linux developers will become consumed by the special delivery and release more details or binaries early... ;) Or at least plant some nice Bavarian "Easter eggs" in the Steam Linux client?

- Mentioning this delivery results in an extra Phoronix article and thus some extra -- and often entertaining -- comments this weekend within the forums from those that understand and trust the Linux client is coming and will see the light of day in the coming months and the usual minority of users that think this is some elaborate charade and that Valve really is still a Microsoft-front and they hate them penguin users.

- If those doubting the Linux client work try to contact Gabe or Mike but they will not comment directly on the Linux work, you can at least confirm with them that there was a gift for the Linux developers arriving on Friday.

- Relizing after the fact: If I show up in my Bavarian lederhosen with good gifts at the Valve office, maybe the Team Fortress 2 developers would find out and become inclined to create lederhosen as a special item for this game! (Only during my Valve time did I realize about these items within TF2 after foolishly asking why there were a bunch of weird hats hanging on a wall outside of the Team Fortress cabal... Well hey: there is not the native Linux client of TF2 yet, so I have never run the game!) On the other hand, if there are female characters in this game, maybe they can create proper Bavarian dirndl item too! Bretzn? Weißwurst? The new possibilities for TF2 items or even a complete mod are endless based upon Bavarian inspirations! ;)

- Beyond anything else, I'm just grateful on my part for being invited out to Valve's Bellevue location this week to learn about their ultimate and ambitious Linux plans from Gabe while being allowed to provide a brief public glimpse at what's expected to come down Valve's Linux pipe.

So the delivery was of....

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