Valve seeking beta testers for long-awaited Linux version of Steam

Valve logoLinux gamers are used to being an afterthought when it comes to most major game releases, but Valve seems set to change that soon. The company announced a pending beta test for a long-awaited Linux version of its popular Steam distribution service. Valve is seeking to fill 1,000 spots for the closed beta through a Web survey for existing Steam users, asking them to detail their gaming system and experience with Linux.

The Steam for Linux build is being targeted at the Ubuntu 12.04 distribution, as Valve announced back in July. The initiative will include 2009's Left 4 Dead 2 as the first game ported to the system. Developer Croteam also let slip on its Facebook page that its Serious Sam 3 would be available during the Linux beta, alongside Valve games like Portal and Team Fortress 2. Further announcements regarding Steam on Linux are expected during the Ubuntu Develop Summit this week.

Valve's support for the free operating system has come a long way since 2010, when the company said it had no plans to port the service to Linux. In August, Valve boasted the Linux port of Left 4 Dead 2 actually outperformed the Windows version, reaching 315 frames per second on a high-end testing rig.

Aside from any performance improvements, Valve head Gabe Newell said he sees the Linux version of Steam as a hedge against the coming of Windows 8. Newell notably called the OS a "catastrophe" for the PC gaming space. On the other end of the spectrum, GNU founder Richard Stallman said the introduction of a closed-source system like Steam into the open-source world of Linux is "unethical." Even if those two aren't completely happy with the state of things, Linux gamers should be glad to get some more access to top-tier games on their platform.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, Linux, Steam, Valve

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