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.