Valve's Steam Linux Beta About To Drop?
Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 6 September 2012 at 08:59 AM EDT. 52 Comments
A lot of Phoronix readers have been writing in this morning with the feeling that the Steam Linux Beta is likely about to happen.

Many of those writing in, tweeting, communicating via IRC, etc are citing this forum post as part of this thread with the thinking that the long-awaited Linux beta is likely about to get underway.

The initial Steam Linux client beta will namely be targeting the native port of Left 4 Dead 2. Again, as has been stated on Phoronix and by Valve, the "official" support target initially will be Ubuntu 12.04 with the Unity desktop. If you're using the stock Ubuntu drivers, best support will be found with the NVIDIA binary blob followed by the AMD Catalyst Linux graphics driver. While Left 4 Dead 2 can run on the Intel Mesa driver, this is only with bleeding-edge code not found in Ubuntu 12.04 (or even pressed well in Ubuntu 12.10). With the other open-source drivers, the experience is likely to be troubling, basically for now you will want to be using the binary blobs. The Steam Linux client should hopefully work on other distributions too besides Ubuntu 12.04, but that's what Valve is initially limiting their official support to due to the large user-base.

Is an imminent beta surprising? No, it should hardly be surprising if you're a faithful Phoronix reader. I've said that the beta should be soon with a full blown push looking like February. This initial beta might be a bit closed to begin with but will hopefully open up more as any remaining bugs are worked out (or so I would assume, I haven't been communicated that from Valve yet).

If the beta is about to drop one of these days, the timing couldn't be more perfect. Back in April of this year I wrote in Valve's Gabe Newell Talks Linux Steam Client, Source Engine, "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."

Wiesn construction from a few weeks ago... Prepping for Oktoberfest while Valve developers half-way around the world work on the Steam Linux beta.

For those that don't know my annual pilgrimage reference, that's Oktoberfest. Some picked up on this back in April while others did not (the serious Phoronix readers should know by now that most Phoronix beer references aren't limited to my love for good German beers but often to send discreet messages ;)). My Oktoberfest reference did factor in Valve time based upon the original timeline I heard back in Bellevue and back then their request to not reveal a specific date publicly. So if the beta is officially announced within the next 16 days, it will be right on time. Oktoberfest this year is happening in Munich from 22 September to 7 October.

Yesterday morning on Twitter I also tweeted, "#big announcement soon. #Linux" But is this about a Steam Linux beta or something else very interesting for the Linux desktop? Stay tuned to Phoronix - and consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium - to find out!

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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