Valve seeks testers for Linux Steam beta

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you’ve probably heard that Steam is headed to Linux—as is Left 4 Dead 2 and quite possibly other Valve games, as well. Valve shared a number of details about the port back in July, and now, the company has begun recruiting beta testers.

A page entitled "Valve Linux Steam Client Beta Application" has gone up on Valve’s website. The page states simply, "We’re looking for Linux gamers to install and test our new Steam for Linux client. We are primarily interested in experienced Linux users." To sign up, users must log in with their Steam accounts and complete a survey, which includes questions like "What Linux desktop manager are you using?" and "Do you currently use Wine to play games on Linux?"

The survey also asks pretty pointed questions about users’ hardware configs—their processors, graphics cards, memory, displays, and so forth. On that topic, Valve explains, "For this beta program, we are interested in testing on a wide range of hardware configurations – ranging from a single laptop to a multi-monitor tower setup with the latest graphics card."

That’s about it as far as the details go—at least for now. Valve’s timing is certainly noteworthy, though. Back in July, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell stated in so many words that he hoped to back Linux as a more open alternative to Windows 8 for gamers. Windows 8 just came out last Friday… and now, here we are.

Comments closed
    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    Wow, not one comment about how this is good news for Linux users or how it’s good that Valve is trying to level the playing field a little bit.

    It’s not all about Windows 8 and it’s not all about you no matter who you are.

    • PenGun
    • 7 years ago

    Well my application is in. I don’t have much of what they use so i hope they will take my 15+ years of experience as useful and let me hack the client into my Slackware, or perhaps my Debian install.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Noob. 🙂

    • Silus
    • 7 years ago

    Valve:
    “Look, we can’t deal with competition! We follow the Apple motto and we definitely should not tolerate competition of any form, especially from Microsoft. Unfortunately, unlike Apple, our patent portfolio doesn’t contain silly animations, so we cannot sue.
    Our strategy will be much simpler. We will focus on a competing OS to Windows, that has a large following (3-4% maybe) to push our games portfolio into that OS. Our vast games portfolio (around 10 games ?) will certainly make strides and make gamers realize how awesome this OS is for gaming, which companies like id Software pioneered and were extremely successful. When this happens and the large following increases to something like 6% we will continue our strategy in the direction of convincing 99.7% of all the other developers that work with tools for Direct X, to change all that and spend millions in training with other tools, so that they can then port all their games to OpenGL”

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    Valve: Metro fanboys can go fly a kite, we live in reality and w8 [url=http://kotaku.com/5929067/gabe-newell-wants-to-support-linux-because-windows-8-is-a-catastrophe<]sucks eggs[/url<] so we're diversifying. There's nothing stopping you from running steam in desktop mode (yet), so your discontent is irrelevant and ignored, plus you can always use big picture mode. We laugh heartily at your [url=http://kotaku.com/5897763/three-killer-problems-that-threaten-windows-8<]misguided[/url<] worship of Metro. /Gabe Newell Of course the bigger reason is Valve would likely have to reprogram steam to run in WinRT, which is what Metro is, and steam might not work well in that environment. Diminishing returns vs making linux a viable alternative platform. I think I'd go the linux route too.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      I’m not sure you’re getting it. In Windows 8 RT, Valve cannot sell you games. You can only buy software from the Microsoft Store. They could make an app like they do for Android and iOS which lets you buy games, but not play them on those devices.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 7 years ago

        I’m talking about w8pro. Metro is not win32. You’re actually running RT (metro) [i<]and[/i<] win32 (desktop). You'd have to reprogram your win32 app for RT for it to be a metro program. w8 [i<]is[/i<] very much a [url=http://kotaku.com/5897763/three-killer-problems-that-threaten-windows-8<]schizophrenic[/url<] OS.

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      >Valve: Metro fanboys can go fly a kite, we live in reality and w8 sucks eggs so we’re diversifying. There’s nothing stopping you from running steam in desktop mode (yet), so your discontent is irrelevant and ignored, plus you can always use big picture mode. We laugh heartily at your misguided worship of Metro. /Gabe Newell

      The problem with this line of thinking is that history is littered with examples of companies that thought they knew better than the userbase. Remember how much we all hated Vista? Users loved it, and it outsold XP every year it was in release. Same for Vista R2 aka Win7. Or Nintendo with the 64 and GameCube – “The cartridge is technically superior! People will love our purple cube of wonder!”

      Research shows that people like Metro. Valve can either piss in their user’s faces, or get on board. The market rewards innovators. Always and consistently. Valve innovated the online store model and they were right. MS is following them now, and GabeN is pitching a Jobsian fit over it – when he should be working to fix the problems that he’s bitching about. And no, Linux is not a solution.

      >Of course the bigger reason is Valve would likely have to reprogram steam to run in WinRT, which is what Metro is, and steam might not work well in that environment.

      It already doesn’t work well in Win32. FWIW, WinRT is just a superset of Win32, so the idea that Steam wouldn’t run well in WinRT when it runs in Win32 is a little silly.

      Valve would have to change the location/functionality of the close dialogues and program to integrate with the charms menu. That’s about it.

      And based on their level of ‘execution’ for Steam on old fashioned Windows, it’s not hard to see why they would tremble in fear at the daunting task of shifting a few buttons around for Metro.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      HAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    This is the ultimate demonstration of the fact that Valve is astro-turfing its complaints against Win8: People hate Win 8 so much that they can’t even find enough people to beta test their Linux client.

    You know what happens when Valve wants to Beta test a new game or product or feature on Windows? There’s a line to get into the beta. There’s a line to donate your time to help Valve make money.

    We get it GabeN, you’d rather bash Win 8 than fix all the problems with Steam (performance, stability, store interface, community, games library, incessant installer and download issues). Blame MS, like every other developer. Meanwhile you earn all your profits on their platform – for free.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] People hate Win 8 so much that they can't even find enough people to beta test their Linux client. [/quote<] The have tons of people signing up for the beta. Just like when they get Windows and OS X users to sign up for the beta's.

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        They never had to send out press releases to get people into Steam for Windows betas.

          • kc77
          • 7 years ago

          Um you can’t really get beta testers if you don’t actually let people know you have a product.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          BS, Valve sent out a beta tester request when they made it mandatory for the Counter Strike beta testers (those who signed up for the CS betas.)

    • joselillo_25
    • 7 years ago

    valve is having what they deserve of years and years with 0 linux support. Now is pretty late. I like Steam a lot but this mistake will make them irrelevant in the game industry in a few years.

      • Scrotos
      • 7 years ago

      I like you; you’ve got just the right amount of crazy!

      “Valve hasn’t paid attention to a fragmented minority marketplace whose only notable gaming accomplishment was to see the only Linux gaming champion, Loki, driven out of business due to lack of sales and this, my friend, will be their downfall! Just you wait!”

      I imagine you to be an old homeless-lookin’ fella with a crazy eye and a pipe. But not a regular pipe, the one that Popeye had.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]driven out of business due to lack of sales and this[/quote<] Loki's biggest downfall wasn't lack of sales but mismanagement and someone skimming off the top.

        • shaq_mobile
        • 7 years ago

        [url<]http://i.chzbgr.com/completestore/2010/8/19/59dfde6e-4b89-4a31-9858-8cc37a63c1cd.jpg[/url<]

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    Besides official support from the game developer i suppose the big problem to solve would be continued driver support from video card makers. Since i presume that they inevitably made the GPUs more tailored to the DirectX API i presume it will be a long time until performance is on par compared to Windows. Anyone got some performance and IQ comparisons?

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Valve has already stated that their Linux ports offer better performance then windows.

      [url<]http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/faster-zombies/[/url<]

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        Well that’s nice of them, but what about the rest? As nice as Valve is, they are not the whole gaming industry.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Native ports of IDTech, UE and Aurora games to Linux have all given equal or greater performance in the past when compared to windows. No doubt a large chunk of the increase comes from lower overhead.

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            That’s news to me, but also very encouraging. Got some links? Would like to read to see how they tested and what hardware was used. BTW any news on what version of Linux will be supported? I never used it but i already know there is a huge number of versions. If things progress fast enough and publishers/developers get on Valve’s bandwagon, i might give Linux a try.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            As far as “linux versions” go it is basically boils down to when your hardware has been supported in the kernel. Many linux games, even new ones state Linux 2.2 or higher but if your hardware wasn’t supported back then a newer version is required. Any of the recent releases within the last couple of years should be fine.

            • Narishma
            • 7 years ago

            He’s talking about Linux distributions, not the kernel.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            The advice is still the same, any of the recent releases within the last couple of years should be fine.

            • Narishma
            • 7 years ago

            Ubuntu will be the only distribution supported at first. But no doubt people will get it working on other distributions in short order.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            IMO it makes a lot of sense for them to focus on Ubuntu initially. It is the distro with the largest desktop share, and the one least likely to intimidate Windows users.

            Trying to support all of the major distros right out of the gate would be a nightmare…

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Have to disagree there. Windows users are more then likely going to be more comfortable with the KDE desktop where the layout is very reminiscent a traditional Windows desktop vs Ubuntu’s Unity.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Point taken; I’m not a big fan of the default Unity interface either. (This is in fact one of the reasons I’m still running the 10.04 LTS version.)

            However, Ubuntu is [url=http://www.kubuntu.org/<]available in a KDE version[/url<] (I assume you already knew this). It is also trivially easy to add the KDE desktop to an existing Unity-based installation.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Oh I do know that you can install KDE on ubunutu or use kubuntu but their implementations have typically been…. well… lacking. If you want the most refined KDE distro out there that is just as simple to use as Ubuntu but not castrated to Canonical standards you would be better off using Magia or openSUSE.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            HERE IS WHY LINUX FAILS ON THE DESKTOP.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            It’s no worse than all the people recommending the installation of alternative shells to get around the Windows 8 Metro interface. I’m just a bit disappointed that Ubuntu seems to be “tabletizing” their default UI (just like Microsoft).

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            The difference is that in linux, you have a choice of desktop. In windows you have one shoved down your throat.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            JAMMED RIGHT DOWN YOUR THROAT. TAKE THAT LOSER WINDOWS USERS!!!

            • PenGun
            • 7 years ago

            Indeed the ability to run a stripped down GUI is a huge advantage when you look at how broken and dumb the ‘Integrated Desktop Environments’ in both windose and lunix have become.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, and anyone with moderate Linux knowledge will probably be able to get this to work with any Debian based distro.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, but once they get past the beta, their target audience is people with [i<]little or no[/i<] Linux knowledge.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Good to hear. Hopefully this trend continues going forward.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        …on one game, with one specific hardware configuration. IMO it’s a bit premature to say that their games perform better on Linux overall, but this is certainly encouraging.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, OpenGL drivers are perpetually playing “catch up”. But the capabilities OpenGL aims to provide parallel those of DirectX quite closely, so I don’t really see the hardware evolving to become too DirectX specific. As DirectX evolves, OpenGL will evolve to offer similar features (albeit via a different API).

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      I read a Wine devel blog a long while back talking about DX11 support and they said DX11 is well documented, stable, and well engineered and made OpenGL look “messy”.

      Their main hang up was lack of Linux driver support and lack of DX11 games. My understanding is interfacing with DX11 should be very easy. Too bad most games are DX9. Even better would be OpenGL.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        OpenGL *is* messy. It has a lot of historical baggage that it is still carting around. They’re working on fixing it, but it is an evolutionary process. Version 4.0 was originally supposed to be a complete revamp, but they backed off from that.

        On the plus side, it is vendor-neutral and open. It is also quite widely used in embedded applications where the driver conundrum doesn’t apply since you’re targeting a single specific piece of hardware.

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        Pretty sure i heard something about Wine and Steam not getting along and some accounts being baned, but i can’t recall the specifics right now. I don’t think that this version (distro?) will be one of the supported ones.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t recall steam accounts ever being banned because they were used through wine. I do know however that was the case for a while on Blizzards Starcraft II and WoW servers and that may be what you are thinking of.

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            Oh, was it Blizzard? My mistake.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Wine is surprisingly good at playing games. For a heavy Linux user like me who plays some games (but is not hard-core), I have had pretty good success at getting stuff running.

        Case in point: Borderlands 2 is already running relatively well under Wine according to the latest reports (there are sound issues however, like I said, not perfect but it can work). After my HW upgrade next year I’ll probably snag a discounted copy and try it out.

        For all you super-hardcore Windows gamers: I’m not saying that Wine is as good as Windows or as easy to setup. I am saying that you can run a pretty good selection of games with reasonable success under Linux, and if you can do that under Wine, you should also be able to do it with native clients.

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    Steam can install in desktop mode. I understand Valve is upset because they don’t want any competition from Microsoft. But did they try to release a Windows Store app yet? Maybe they should while they look for more open alternatives.

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think they like needing permission from Microsoft to get in the store. It has the potential for developers/businesses to get locked out.

      The ones that stick to the traditional way with desktop apps may loose out thanks to the incompetence of the typical computer user that can’t google for programs to download, but buy apps from the metro store instead.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        i don’t like needing to go to the pants store to buy pants. i have 2 choices:
        1. buy pants at the pants store
        2. go naked

        ultimately, steam has the same sexy, sexy choice.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          3. Go to another store.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            ALL PANTS STORES ARE FASCISTS.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Wrong, it’s more like all fascists wear pants. ;D

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          Make your own pants
          Buy used pants at a discount store.
          Wear pants given to you by a friend.

          Edit: For those who don’t get it, these are anologies to things that you *cannot* do on Windows 8 RT.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          You’re married right? Obvious solution: have wife buy pants for you.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Why would she buy them for him since she is the one that wears the pants in his family?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

      • designerfx
      • 7 years ago

      anything other than the windows store is a more open alternative by definition

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      -5 there’s still time for you
      Time to buy and time to lose
      -5, there’s never a wish better than this
      When you only got 100 years to live

      • YellowApple
      • 7 years ago

      If it was all about the competition aspect, then Ubuntu would be equally unattractive, it having the Ubuntu Software Center, which sells games already.

      And I have actually gone through the process of creating a Windows Store app. It’s a royal pain to register as a developer.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Are Metro apps not able to be storefronts like Valve, where the transactions then go around MS and its store? If not, I understand Valve’s concern and Gabe’s ‘Win 8 sucks’ stance, but if they are Valve just needs to make a Metro app storefront and get over it.

      • Game_boy
      • 7 years ago

      Microsoft has to approve all Metro apps.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Doesn’t answer my question, unless you have something more to add. The only thing i can think you’re getting at is MS would not approve a Valve Metro app. I don’t know what legitimate reason they could come up with, but if it’s ‘competes with MS software storefront’ MS would quickly get some scrutiny from the DoJ.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] The Windows Store transaction platform has full support for in-app purchases Lots of apps already have business models that depend on a particular transaction provider or that benefit from ties to other lines of business. Customers of those businesses want the trust and efficiency of a familiar, trusted transaction experience. Content publishers, for example, have their own transaction platforms that integrate into their CRM systems so they can keep track of their subscribers. The Daily Telegraph, a British daily newspaper, was founded in 1855 and today has more than 600,000 subscribers. They’ve built an engaging Metro style app for Windows 8, using HTML and JavaScript. The app uses The Daily Telegraph’s existing authentication to acknowledge its print subscribers, and offers the digital version as an added value for those customers. Developers who want to use their own transaction platforms for in-app purchases can do so with the Windows Store The Daily Telegraph can deepen their audience engagement, and reach new customers, via the Windows 8 app model and Store distribution—all without having to rebuild their authentication and transaction base. Marketplaces that limit transaction choices can constrain certain models. For example, eBay is building its Windows 8 Metro style app so that it manages transactions using PayPal in the same way the eBay website currently operates—the way eBay customers would expect. [/quote<] from [url<]http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsstore/archive/2011/12/06/announcing-the-new-windows-store.aspx[/url<] basically, i don't see how MS would object. and, i would expect, valve is currently working on a winrt port right now. 10000th edit: i wonder how this post will be rated. will it get the -'s for explaining win 8 store positively, or will it get + for explaining

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            If you want the Metro app to be like the iOS and android apps, then, yes, this doesn’t limit them. If you want it to be like the desktop PC/Mac ‘app’, then this isn’t the limit, it’s that the Steam app won’t be able to install the games they sell you with the app. *That* is the issue.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            CITATION NEEDED.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Funny you should ask for it that way, but: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_RT[/url<] [quote<]Unlike other Windows operating systems, it will only be able to run software that has been certified by Microsoft and placed in the Windows Store.[/quote<]

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i’m familiar of the stores policies. what i’m not familiar with is why you think they couldn’t sell additional software and keep it all under the steam app umbrella. i know it won’t run desktop apps, but what about steam games compiled for winRT as a subset of a winrt steam app. also, besides that, what’s to stop them from making a metro launcher for the windows 8 users.

            there may still be plenty of options available for steam. they just qq instead of seeing how to solve them.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Since Steam can run on the Windows 8 (non-RT) desktop (do I need a citation for that?), that platform isn’t an issue.

            That leaves RT. In RT, you can only buy apps from the Windows store. The apps are cryptographically signed by MS. Third parties cannot sign software and signature checking can not be disabled. How the heck do you think Steam could sell anyone apps?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            they have a “steam” app that sells apps internally within the app, as part of the app. then they launch from within the app. same as they do now. it’s just the front end is written in RT vs win32

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            MS will demand 20% of Valve REVENUE for this.

            Also technically it will be one app and will be refused as it break the API design of the store.

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            30%, but MS will also be providing hosting, patching, distribution and promotion.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            MS will provide hosting for the distribution of the software and patches. Unfortunately MS (or any other online distribution store) isn’t exactly the fastest to get those items up on their store. They will not provide the patching. The promotion consists of displaying it on their store. Nothing more, nothing less. While a centralized online store concept is OK for mainstream applications it does virtually nothing for developers that offer specialized solutions where frequent and critical updates could be pushed out to customers in a matter of less then an hour (and I sure as hell would not give MS $4000-$40000 for every application sold which what it would cost to distribute the last piece of software I was developing).

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      WELL FIRSTED

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Thanks Bro Montana. I didn’t even feel like FIRSTing in any blatent way. I must be getting senile.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          that’s what happens when you’re old. luckily, there are some young bedwetters around to carry the torch.

            • yogibbear
            • 7 years ago

            FRIST! posts are only worth +internets on shortbreads.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i don’t agree with that. MMO’s dedication deserves props where ever it displays itself. and props are given. he consistently maintains positive status even when firsting. people recognize that he is one of my boys, and as such, give him the respect he deserves. we’re kinda like the mob, only better looking.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Not legaly or technically possibly.

      And even if Vavle was able to bypass both (MS would sue them with all their might as they are betting the company on this) MS would be the toll collector making it unfeasible for developers.

      Anyway you look at it MS is a gate keeper, toll collector, law maker, etc.. of the ‘Modern’ PC
      MS is 100% in control and collect 30% of all money transacted on the platform.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        you’re just posing random crap that you have nothing to back up (like usual…), even against things that have already been cited in the discussion. you should read more.

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        >Not legaly or technically possibly.

        Except it is both legally and technically possible – because this is how the Kindle app works right now. Open the Kindle App, and click on store. It doesn’t take you to an in-app storefront, it links you to Amazon’s online store through your web browser. So this is BS, and you’d do well to retract it.

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      No, they do not. The Kindle App goes directly through Amazon.

      EDIT: Uh-oh, the truth! Better downvote it!

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