So much for that Linux version of Steam we'd been led to expect by a hidden code snippet. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Valve's Doug Lombardi stated in no uncertain terms that a Penguin-friendly version of the game browser-cum-social networking tool isn't in the works after all:
Q: Final question, and one I'm sure you're not super-keen to answer, but I promised one of our tech guys I'd ask it. What truth is there to rumours that you're also working on a Linux version of Steam?
Doug Lombardi: There's no Linux version that we're working on right now. ...
Linux gamers will, it seems, have to boot into Windows (or Mac OS X) to get their fill of Steam games for the foreseeable future. Steam won't make Linux a viable gaming platform on the PC, at least for now.
Porting Steam to desktop Linux would likely involve more work than just retrofitting the OS X version. Although Apple's operating system has *nix roots and also supports OpenGL, it runs on a much more limited set of hardware—and there's only one distribution of it. A Linux version of Steam would need to be tested on multiple distros with a much broader set of hardware configurations. The fact that Linux still has a tiny market share on the desktop probably doesn't help, either.