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One Of The New Valve Linux Employees Is...
One of the first people I recruited for Valve when they were looking for good Linux referrals was Forest Hale, or better known within Internet communities (including the Phoronix Forums and Phoronix IRC) as LordHavoc. He was the lead developer on the DarkPlaces engine, which is the Quake-derived engine that was used by the open-source Nexuiz game and is now used by Xonotic as well. As can be seen when firing up the old Nexuiz or when running Xonotic, DarkPlaces is both technologically and visually impressive, especially for being a non-commercial GPL-based engine. Under contract he additionally was the lead on the Mac OS X and Linux ports of Quake Live. He's also done other Linux contract work, but for the work on the open-source DarkPlaces engine is where he's arguably most known.
Now nearly one month ago he began work at Valve as part of the team/cabal working on the Linux version of Steam / Source Engine. There isn't anything new to announce today about their forthcoming Linux-native games and other initiatives, but the reason I'm mentioning this recruit publicly now is that Valve still should be looking at hiring more Linux developers.
Part of what I've been doing the past month at UDS-Q, LinuxTag, the Phoronix meet-ups, and other European events has been trying to assemble another list of more recommended Linux developers for Valve -- I promised them another list of recommendations a few weeks ago. Though with the economy beginning to turn around and Linux developers always in high demand, many of the other well-experienced German Linux developers that I originally hoped would be interested are now happily employed by other companies, etc. So by making this hiring information public again, if anyone has any other highly-regarded Linux developer recommendations (though the common names to the Linux game porting scene have already all been mentioned to Valve...) or may be interested yourself, please contact Valve Software or you can contact me as well for possible referral to them.
Valve is quite a unique company and they aren't looking to just hire random "Linux developers" that are fresh university graduates without any real-world experience or social skills, but those with a great deal of Linux and open-source knowledge. I.e. been heavily involved for years with a worthwhile open-source project for years, etc. If I've written about your Linux / open-source contriubutions in one of the thousands of Phoronix articles or thousands of news items, I'm likely happy to refer you to Valve. You should also be able to work well with others and not need to be micro-managed. Another important item is that you must be willing to relocate to Washington, which has unfortunately been an issue for some other Linux developers.
Originally Gabe Newell came to me looking for Linux OpenGL developer recommendations, but their hiring isn't limited to that and are looking for those with kernel, file-system, device driver experience, etc. So if you're an amazing Linux developer even without game development experience, do let Valve know as this is an amazing opportunity you can be part of to change Linux and gaming in big ways. Would you rather be part of something big or just closing bug reports for some corporation?
For those that may be mad that this (closed-source) game company has poached the lead of one of the most impressive open-source game engines out there and continue to go after more all-star Linux developers, it shouldn't be too concerning. I wouldn't be referring these important open-source contributors if I thought Valve was just using it as a crude way to kill open-source software or in the secret pocket of Microsoft.
I'm very confident in Valve and their Linux intentions; the impact of their work can greatly benefit the entire Linux ecosystem in huge ways. Whether you're a Linux gamer or not, it's to everyone's benefit that Valve's striking Linux work is steaming with greatness. Without the very best developers the Valve Linux cabal could be left for dead or ricocheting through a portal that has a half-life that is too short to make everything a reality.
For those that missed it: Valve's Gabe Newell Talks Linux Steam Client, Source Engine, A Video Of The Source Engine On Ubuntu Linux, and A Special Linux Delivery At Valve Software.