Steam might be headed to Linux, as well


— 5:12 PM on April 23, 2010

We already know Valve intends to provide a version of its Steam software, not to mention ports of its entire game catalog, to Mac users. What about Linux? We haven't heard the company announce anything yet, but according to Phoronix, code inside the Mac Steam beta hints a Linux flavor could be in the works, as well.

Specifically, Phoronix says an anonymous source has provided it with "the launcher that is used to launch Steam on Mac OS X." Said script uses the bash shell, and it includes this interesting loop:

if [ "$UNAME" == "Darwin" ]; then
PLATFORM=osx32
# prepend our lib path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH="${STEAMROOT}"/${PLATFORM}:$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH
elif [ "$UNAME" == "Linux" ]; then
PLATFORM=linux32
# prepend our lib path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${STEAMROOT}"/${PLATFORM}:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
fi

Hints don't get much stronger than that—a portion of the code is clearly meant to run on Linux systems. Phoronix explains, "For those not into scripting, this Steam launcher checks the platform so that the appropriate library path can be added to the respective environmental variable for loading Steam's shared libraries needed by the client and then it goes ahead and launches the Steam library while there is another conditional platform check in there too."

Porting Steam to Linux doesn't seem very far-fetched. Valve had to whip up an OpenGL renderer for its Source engine, anyway, and OS X and Linux share common *nix roots.

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