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back to article Valve taps testers for Linux Steam

Valve is seeking participants for its Steam for Linux beta test and has asked experienced users of the open source platform to apply. The company confirmed it would launch Steam for Ubuntu back in July, but failed to hint at any release dates. It did, however, promise a port of Left 4 Dead 2, and a month later claimed that games …

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Finally! Now just get the other games to run off linux before Micro$oft force people to use Win8 !

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One of the questions relates to WINE, so there may not be as much work involved as you think.

Pretty much everything runs in WINE with enough tweaking, and if Steam bother to make nice "bottles" of WINE configurations, it could be point-and-click setup quite easily. As a former user of Crossover Office and other packages, I know it can be quite simple to get a specific app to gold standard if you really have an interest in doing so.

That said, I'd hope more than indie studios (currently doing very well in the "bundle" stakes), and a large publisher or two would go properly Linux-supporting (i.e. recompilation) like many of the titles on my existing Steam account already do and hope that the rest of the world would follow suit.

If MS can push Windows on ARM, I'm sure people would be just as happy with Steam on Linux.

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Thought so

I haven't filled in the application because I'm not an experienced linux user, I'm a linux noob. But the idea of using WINE makes sense. So long as they state "natively supported" and "emulated" on the linux titles it shouldn't be too bad. I'd actually considered trying to get some of my games running via WINE anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thought so

"Emulated" ... Do you know what "WINE" stands for?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thought so

> Steam bother to make nice "bottles" of WINE configurations, it could be point-and-click setup quite easily.

WINE can be included at compile time to produce a sort of faux native executable. However I think the Source titles don't rely heavily (or at all) on DirectX so should be proper native builds.

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The problem with using Wine wrappers for Steam games is that a large percentage of those Steam games use DirectX. Wine as far as I understand has to convert those DirectX commands into OpenGL before the system can do anything with them which creates overhead. Wine also only supports OpenGL 2.1 which isn't fully capable of replicating all of the features of DirectX 11. Anecdotally, from what I've seen on the AppDB, when a Windows game has both a DirectX mode and OpenGL mode and is run on Linux through Wine, the OpenGL version can render up to 50% more frames per second than DirectX.

PS. Can API developers please stop giving their creations names with sporadic capitalisation?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thought so

Well, originally it was WINdows Emulator.

But more to the point, Wine is a compatibility layer. If you look at the definition of what a compatibility layer is, and what an emulator is, well... It's an emulator. Just becasue they say it isn't doesn't make it true.

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Anonymous Coward

Furthermore

Taken from the WINE FaQ

"Wine is not just an emulator" is more accurate. Thinking of Wine as just an emulator is really forgetting about the other things it is. Wine's "emulator" is really just a binary loader that allows Windows applications to interface with the Wine API replacement.

With that inherent statement hinting at that at the core of it, WINE is an emulator with additional bells and whistles attached.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah yeh, this will be good...

...people will be notified via their steam account. Ahem, i'm on Linux ... I don't currently HAVE Steam on Linux, so how am I going to get the notice that tells me whether I've been picked?

So we're off to a good start already then.

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Re: Ah yeh, this will be good...

You have to sign in via Steam to enter anyway, which is more a barrier to entry!

That said, you could be using WINE to run Steam (as many do, as it's very well supported), or on a Mac.

But getting "beta testers" who don't know how program is even supposed to work on Windows is a bit more tricky

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FAIL

Re: Ah yeh, this will be good...

Well you can login to Steam via the browser, there is also an Android app too, not sure about IOS or other mobile devices though.

I just hope they send an e-mail to let me know I have a message on my Steam account :-P

Rob

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You buggers!

I was hoping this would get as little publicity as possible to give me a better chance of getting in! :-p

The survey's a little flawed, though. They say they want as many hardware variations as possible, then only allow you to specify one in your response. I've got at least half a dozen machines I could test on, various form factors and powers, but I could only specify one.

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WTF?

Re: You buggers!

I really hope you don't know the meaning of that word...

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Re: You buggers!

There's a number of words in that post. You're going to have to point me at the one I'm apparently ignorant of. And if you're referring to the original meaning of "buggers", give it a rest, granddad.

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Re: You buggers!

Next he'll be complaining about "berk" - you do KNOW what that's Cockney Rhyming Slang for? I'll give you a clue - a famous hunt.

"Bugger" (and "berk") have been played out on TV so many times (and pre-watershed) that it's virtually part of the accepted language.

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Anonymous Coward

This is going to be funny

"Value increase sales by 0.001%, costs up by 10%."

Linux isn't used on the desktop, it barely has working sound and graphics acceleration doesn't really work. Beyond a few neckbeards sat in their mom's basement, no one is going to use this.

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Re: This is going to be funny

In case you missed the memo, almost all the indie games released lately are released on Linux at launch too. Cross platform development is the norm and hasn't ever been easier (and if you're intending to sell - as a lot of games do now - on Windows, Mac, Android, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, iPad, etc. then adding another Linux platform is nothing).

Not everything is about the latest FPS - but, hell, just Half-Life 2:Episode 3 on Linux one day early would make me install it just for that!.

All Valve titles, plus a ton of existing indies (and indie doesn't mean "homebrew game" any more but things like Trine 2, Magicka, etc. as well), for how much effort exactly? A recompile of a codebase already multi-platform, changing the Source engine *once* (which has historical roots in Quake-based engines that were already cross-platform) and hitting performance gains of magnitude enough to interest "gamers" (which provides sufficient impetus behind gaming hardware enough to even attract sponsorship from various graphics manufacturers etc. to "optimise" their code for a particular combination), adding in another platform to the database instead of just Windows / Mac, and porting the Steam client code... not a lot compared to, say, a few hundred thousand purchases of a dollar each just to start. In fact, it's profit before you start just by the initial publicity if you have the momentum that Steam have.

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FAIL

Re: This is going to be funny

"This is going to be funny"

It wasn't.

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NB
Meh

Re: This is going to be funny

Obvious troll is obvious, 0/10.

And not a single jimmy was rustled that day...

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Re: This is going to be funny

Linux isn't used on the desktop

Explain the popularity of Ubuntu then.

it barely has working sound

I recorded a sixteen track song in Ardour running on a Linux box last night. I didn't have to do anything special to get it working - I just installed the Ardour package itself from the Debian repository.

graphics acceleration doesn't really work

Valve's work on Steam for Linux would seem to prove otherwise.

Beyond a few neckbeards sat in their mom's basement, no one is going to use this.

I've never had a beard, live in my own home and have a wife. Judging by the IT departments I've worked in, that's the norm for my fellow Linux users as well. And I'm really looking forward to using Steam on Linux.

Conclusion: you're a troll.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

Funny? Here, have your downvote for being a retard

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JDX
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Re: This is going to be funny

Lee if you think making your app work on another platform is as simple as hitting "recompile", even if you write it with cross-platform in mind, you're sadly mistaken. Even Java doesn't work that smoothly!

And then you probably need to rewrite ALL your shaders to GLSL from HLSL.

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Re: This is going to be funny

>>Explain the popularity of Ubuntu then.

What popularity? How are you getting your information on desktop users and where is it? Or does 1% count as 'popular' in LinuxLand?

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Re: This is going to be funny

JDX: If you're a professional programmer, using proper techniques, established libraries, and standardised code, the cost of the platform-dependent parts is absolutely minimal compared to the rest of the project.

My point is not that the "second" platform you add to a program is cheap, but that once you have the first, second, third, fourth and fifth already, the sixth *IS* literally just a recompile and you're done.

And Java is the same - so long as you know what you're doing. It doesn't matter the language, actually, it's the way you program that determines that.

But a game, written to run on tablets, iPads, phones, PC's and Macs? Linux compatibility is a couple of weeks work at most and if you're good probably comes for free with a compile option or two. That's *why* the indie bundles are full of multi-platform games - it's literally fire-and-forget if you started off with that in mind.

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Windows

Re: Pop-u-lar

Just like Windows 8 isn't.

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Re: This is going to be funny

Because obviously Valve decided to do this on a whim and did absolutely no research on the subject.

To be honest though, I don't think Valve is expecting a big increase in sales at all. I really think this is one of those moves that's more about making existing users happy (lots of people have been wanting this for years) rather than attracting new users from a different corner of the market. I believe they are expecting that gaming in general is breaking away from the Windows platform (the number of games for OSX has been increasing steadily lately, indie games from Humble Bundles always work on Linux and OSX) and they're jumping ahead to establish Steam as the standard gaming solution on Linux.

I have Windows installed on my desktop for the sole purpose of playing games. If the games I play the most were available for Linux, I'd drop Windows entirely. I don't think I'm the only person who's like this and Steam for Linux is the first big step in that direction.

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Re: This is going to be funny

"Linux isn't used on the desktop, it barely has working sound and graphics acceleration doesn't really work."

Oh, I guess I must have been hallucinating when I thought I was playing TF2 on Xubuntu last night...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

Dear neckbeard,

1. Ubuntu *IS NOT* popular. The install base of Linux versions added together doesn't even reach 1% Get over it.

2. Just because you are a highly experienced IT professional and get run Ardor etc, does not change the fact the sound and graphics on Linux are a joke. Bought a new laptop? Your graphics card won't work because Linux doesn't support it. Want to watch a Blu-Ray? Whoops! Linux doesn't support that either.

3. Releasing anything on a different platform is not just a magic button press away, not matter how well your delusions of grandeur make you think you can code. At the very least you need a few test runs and that costs money. Money you won't get back from the piddling Linux market.

4. Just because a few no-name software housess release a game that runs on Linux in a desperate bid to earn an extra cent, doesn't mean Linux is a gaming platform (see above).

5. When you have to call in the hardware maker to write you custom drivers, of course you can make it work. And that is how bad Linux support is - if you want something done you have to run begging to the likes of Intel.

And finally, are legions of gamers going to run out an buy new rigs just for Linux? And they'll need new rigs because Linux won't support their current one. No. Are they going to squeal with glee every time they use a command line like you neckbeards? No. They want to play their game, and on the desktop that means using *THE BEST* gaming OS *BY FAR* which is *WINDOWS*. It supports all your hardware and *JUST WORKS*. This is why it is w-a-y more popular than an version of Linux (or all added together even).

Enjoy your sub-1% popularity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

"2. Just because you are a highly experienced IT professional and get run Ardor etc, does not change the fact the sound and graphics on Linux are a joke. Bought a new laptop? Your graphics card won't work because Linux doesn't support it. Want to watch a Blu-Ray? Whoops! Linux doesn't support that either."

Congratulations on confirming that you have no clue at all about what you are talking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

"Congratulations on confirming that you have no clue at all about what you are talking."

Oh? Here are the instructions for the "popular" Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/BluRayAndHDDVD

Seriously...that's the kind of crap you neckbeards this is easy to use and qualifies as support? On a proper OS, you put in the disk and press play. That's it. No wonder no one uses your little OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

"2. Just because you are a highly experienced IT professional and get run Ardor etc, does not change the fact the sound and graphics on Linux are a joke. Bought a new laptop? Your graphics card won't work because Linux doesn't support it. Want to watch a Blu-Ray? Whoops! Linux doesn't support that either."

Yes I did just buy a laptop thanks for your interest, and indeed I booted into Mageia v2 and sound, graphics, and bluray all worked. Thanks for your interest in my laptop though

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Re: This is going to be funny

I think 1% of users choosing to build there own machines ( as I do ) or installing LInux over Windows or as a dual boot is an extremely good percentage as probably 90+% of users never think about it all as their machines are either provided by the company or already have Windows installed when they buy them.

(no I don't build my own laptops but I've netbook that has never seen Windows and a laptop that was recycled from a relative that gave up on it after a Windows update trashed the hard drive)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

"Bought a new laptop? Your graphics card won't work because Linux doesn't support it"

That's strange because it's supported all the laptops I've ever installed it on (~6)

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Re: This is going to be funny

" And they'll need new rigs because Linux won't support their current one"

WHAT !?

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Re: This is going to be funny

That's strange because it's supported all the laptops I've ever installed it on (~6)

I'm up to more like 40...

Just ignore the tool. He's doing the usual "I can't understand Linux therefore it's shit" ranting that I've heard a million times and still don't give a flying goat's knacker about. Let's play Gaming For Retards:

1) Linux attracts nerds. Lots and lots and lots of nerds.

2) Nerds fucking love video games. Especially RPGs.

3) Linux users pay more for software more willingly than anyone else. Your brain will reject that immediately because you haven't thought about how Linux works.

4) Plenty of people dual-boot or keep Windows around (bumping its market share) because they want to keep gaming. I'm one of them.

Several of my friends have already said that if gaming comes to Linux properly, they're ditching Windows on the spot. I wonder what an untapped market looks like...

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Linux

Re: This is going to be funny

> Dear neckbeard,

The people that actually matter aren't listening to you.

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Linux

Re: This is going to be funny

> Oh? Here are the instructions for the "popular" Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormat /BluRayAndHDDVD

Is that really the best you can do? The HOWTO for a DRM format that is not supported on Macs either?

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Re: This is going to be funny

> Value increase sales by 0.001%

It won't even be that, they're going to give it away to all those as beta testers :)

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Devil

Re: This is going to be funny

Stop feeding the troll!

He clearly hasn't kept up with Linux since the late 90's.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

@Ian Yates - I have. That link was to the *current documentation* for the "user friendly" Ubuntu and it is a sad joke. The average user cannot be expected to jump through those hoops just to watch a movie they bought.

It amuses me so much that you neckbeards don't see a problem when it is shown to you "Works for me! You need to learn how to use a computer! RTFM!" Well that doesn't work in the real world and it certainly doesn't work when the "M" contains crap like I linked to.

sub-1% penetration: there's a reason for that y'know.

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Re: This is going to be funny

Coming back to a topic a day later to continue trolling? I applaud your dedication.

Oh, as to your point on "New laptop? Linux won't support the hardware" you're correct, on my laptop Linux didn't support all the hardware, until I updated and WHAM full support.

The windows 8 disk I have though? Yeah Installed it, even less of my laptops hardware worked, as in it made my laptop unusable (and not just because of the interface). And since the windows 7 disk no longer exists, my laptop is now 100% Linux.

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Re: This is going to be funny

"It amuses me so much that you neckbeards don't see a problem when it is shown to you "Works for me! You need to learn how to use a computer! RTFM!" Well that doesn't work in the real world and it certainly doesn't work when the "M" contains crap like I linked to.

sub-1% penetration: there's a reason for that y'know."

Where to begin......

After finally deciding I would like to get a Linux distor working, having never used it before, it was quite possibly the easiest thing I've ever done.

My first step was getting an ISO to burn, and the ISO I got was from a mirror that was unmetered from my ISP. After all of 3 minutes of downloading and burning and but 2 clicks of user interaction I rebooted my computer and began the install process.

Before installing though, the disc prompted me if I would like to "Trial" Ubuntu before continuing, this feature was nice because it gave me time to adjust and quickly find out if *RANDOM FEATURE* did actually work. After deciding it would an icon on the desktop was all I needed to click and it started installing.

The install process, for a noob, can be summarized in the "Enter" key. The disc auto detected pretty much everything, much like windows or osx.

Once it was finished, I used the Ubuntu Software Centre to install a couple of games and some other programs. And without realizing it, the drivers required for my hardware were auto installed and didn't require my attention.

All in all I never touched a terminal, untill I decided I wanted to. And OMG it was so much fun. I learnt how to use APTGet and instantly dump the Software Centre. Then learnt about other window managers and found OpenBox and decided that it was the single best bit of software ive ever used.

So, no, you don't need to touch the terminal, just like in windows you don't need to touch the Registry or .plists in OSX. But when you want to, it's there and fun can be had by all.

When Valve announced Steam and Source for Linux I did flips in my chair, promptly followed by a "Bout bloody time!". Now can I not just dump the insecure and massively overpriced bloat ware that is Windows. Now I can play my games on an OS that I have not just free roam to customize what ever I want, but also have a massive support base to help me.

So to you comments, all I see is someone who hasn't experienced the joy of setting up a Linux box.

Oh, and FUCK YOU

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny @Bush_rat

Well, your final sentence just goes to show you've truly joined the Linux community. Not to mention paragraph after paragraph gushing about installing an OS, of all things. Using the word "noob" - classic sign of someone who's used Linux for about a week. Sad. So very, very, sad. But not in the way that implies you deserve pity rather than contempt :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny @Bush_rat

^AC above is just butt hurt because he's too retarded to install an OS on his own. He probably went out and bought an entirely new PC when windows 8 came out because he was too inept to install the OS on his current system without somebody holding his hand.

It's pitiful really but then again, that's what years of inbreeding will do to ones intellect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny

"Oh? Here are the instructions for the "popular" Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/BluRayAndHDDVD"

You picked one extremely locked down format as your example? Hell even OSX can't play BluRay without third party software. As for every other restricted format, you should be offered an option during the initial OS install, you can install them via the admin menu, or you could go here and click the install hyperlink.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny @Bush_rat

Thanks AC - you just prove how hostile to people you neckbeards are, and when you can't refute a valid argument (backed up with evidence) you resort to personal insults.

That sub-1% you have? There's a reason for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is going to be funny @Bush_rat

"That sub-1% you have? There's a reason for that."

Yup, the reason is that Windows comes pre-installed on the vast majority of PCs. FYI there are plenty of asshats that use Windows as well.

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WTF?

Surely they shouldn't be...

Looking for experienced Linux jockeys? At some point they'll need to see if Steam Linux can be installed by people who can just barely install Linux itself but will just stare blankly at you if you mention the terminals, sudo, man pages etc.

Unless they can't get Steam to run on Linux and are looking for help?[/joke]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely they shouldn't be...

" At some point they'll need to see if Steam Linux can be installed by people who can just barely install Linux itself"

At some point yes, but experienced Linux users are better at diagnostics and bug reporting, which is more important at the moment. Once testing is complete, I'm sure they'll get the client added into the distro's repositories making it installable via the Ubuntu Software Center/package managers etc.

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