Steam for Linux
Each real gamer which uses Linux wished at one time or another to play Windows games. Despite the fact that there are more than 250 games for Linux, most of the popular games can’t be run on Linux without special tools. Reason for this is different architecture of Windows and Linux and the solution is code porting. This practice is well established in the industry and games are ported from one system to another if authors conclude it’s profitable. Projects like Humble Indie Bundle proved that GNU/Linux users want quality commercial games. However, GNU/Linux will never be gamer’s operating systems without Steam in the background. That’s obvious to players, development teams and the Valve company. We are talking about the network of 50 million users, and 100% of them are gamers. That is a critical mass which encouraged developers to port their games.
Closed beta version was intended for users of Ubuntu and its derivatives. Installation file comes as .deb file, and it is installed through a tool intended for this kind of package. x86 and x64 systems are supported. Binary files are placed in usr/bin/steam while everything else, including installed games, is in ~/Steam. To do this successfully it is recommended that you install new owner’s drivers for graphic cards; all major manufacturers like nVidia, AMD and Intel are supported. If you used Steam for Windows, you’ll feel just like at home, because this version is basically the same with an addition of support for Big Picture mode, which makes your life easier if you want to use this software on big HD TV’s. Library has an additional group, which only displays games for Linux. However, there are few problems which ruin the impression like some games which require installation of additional libraries and occasional lag.
It’s still early to say anything, maybe one day GNU/Linux might be the main system for gamers, but that day didn’t arrive yet. Steam is still in the early phase of development, it looks promising and we are convinced that Valve will bring this application to perfection. The real question is will the major developers follow it, or will there be a bunch of small games by independent authors, we’ll see…