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Valve Picks Up Another All-Star Linux Developer

Michael Larabel

Published on 14 July 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 2 - 24 Comments

With Valve Software's ambitious plans for Linux, they have just picked up another Linux development all-star. Their latest hire has been working on Linux games for more than a decade, is a former Loki Software developer, and he's the creator of SDL.

The latest person that Valve just hired to join their Linux cabal is Sam Lantinga. Sam Lantinga was one of the original Loki Software developers where he worked on porting games to Linux like Rune, Tribes 2, Railroad Tycoon II, and many others in the late 90's.

While at Loki, it was Lantinga that created the Simple DirectMedia Layer, a.k.a. the extremely popular and widely-used SDL project. The SDL multimedia library is extremely popular not just on Linux but Mac OS X and Windows too, being used by a number of games for graphics/sound/input support.

After Loki went bust, Sam Lantinga went to work as a lead software developer at Blizzard, toyed around with the commercialization of SDL, and did a stint at 38 Studios. Now he's on the Valve Linux client team! He's publicly confirmed the move to Valve in a posting to the SDL list on Friday evening.

Lantinga is just the latest high-profile hire by Valve for their Linux team that's up to some great work (really!). For those not keeping track of the other Phoronix articles and information about Valve's Linux team, for what's allowed to be released, below are some of the other team members:

- Mike Sartain is one of the key members of the Linux team at Valve. Mike Sartain is a former Microsoft employee from the 90's who worked on Exchange and then went on to their Xbox team. After Microsoft, he went to work for RAD Game Tools where he worked on the Pixomatic software renderer and in the process (through Intel's Pixomatic acquisition) ended up being heavily involved in designing Intel's Larrabee GPGPU architecture. (Sartain worked on the Larrabee architecture with Michael Abrash, another Valve Linux employee who is currently working on wearable computing.) Sartain has been with Valve since 2011 and is heavily involved with the Linux (client) efforts. Sartain is also the one spotting Linux kernel bugs.

- Gabe Newell, at least last time I was out to Bellevue, was still sitting within the Linux cabal. His desk was right next to Sartain's. Gabe has also been showing off the Linux work to Valve's partners.

- Rick Johnson has also been involved with the Linux work. He started out at Raven Software more than two decades ago where he was one of the original developers, worked at Activision for a number of years after that, went on to briefly work at Gearbox, and then has been with Valve Software since 2008.

- Scott Ludwig is another person that's been involved with Valve's Linux work. He was a Microsoft developer going back to the 80's with Microsoft Windows 1.0 before leaving in the late 90's to find some new companies, ended up at Google in 2004 for a few years, then went back to being the co-owner of iPhone software development company, and then joined Valve.

The list continues on the next page...

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