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Left 4 Dead Demo Includes Linux Steam Client Libraries 217

SheeEttin writes "If you've been longing to play games from Steam on your Linux machine, you may not have to wait much longer — the Left 4 Dead demo includes some Linux libraries, in particular, one named 'steamclient_linux.so.' While the game's full release does not include these libraries, their apparently accidental inclusion in the demo suggests that Steam games will have native Linux clients in the near future. (A job listing at Valve looking for someone whose responsibilities would include 'Port[ing] Windows-based games to the Linux platform' would seem to support this.) The libraries also include several strings nonessential to a pure server, including references to forgotten passwords. Hopefully, this indicates that at least some Valve-affiliated games will have native Linux clients."
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Left 4 Dead Demo Includes Linux Steam Client Libraries

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  • by evilNomad ( 807119 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:02PM (#25925233)

    Well, maybe Valve decided that if they were going to port some features for the dedicated server, they might do them all when they were at it.. But no one but Valve will know.. :)

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:23PM (#25925349) Homepage Journal

    The way I see it, if you play an involved game like most Steam games are, you're no longer multitasking. The game, not the OS, is what you interface with. So why would you want to force it to run using something like wine, when it would be less painful to reboot into Windows and run it natively?

    wine is useful when you need to run a native Windows program from within the context of Unix. But it will never provide the full Windows environment, and if you're not going to interface with the OS, why bother what the OS is?

    I know there may be people out there who don't have any Windows licenses, but I think those are few and far between. Especially those who can also afford games from Valve. I must have half a dozen unused Windows licenses here, because whenever I buy a computer, I get one, no matter whether I then blow the OS away and install Linux.
    wine, ndiswrappers and other stuff that tricks Windows programs into running more-or-less as intended is something I see as a last resort, not first.

  • by Loibisch ( 964797 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:45PM (#25925521)

    Who still believes any of the stuff they're writing?

    Those libraries are used by the Linux SERVER, so they can pull updates over Steam. Yes, Steam in Linux...shocking, ain't it? That says absolutely zip about game capability.

    Phoronix sees a handful of .so files and weaves a huge story about any Source games are just around the corner for Linux.

    There's absolutely _nothing_ noteworthy about this...

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:47PM (#25925533) Journal

    The Linux Dedicated Server distribution includes all kinds of things that aren't needed -- including Windows DLLs, sound files, etc.

    I'd like to see an actual comparison with the current Linux dedicated server before I jump to conclusions.

    That said, I'll also be first in line if they ever do release a Linux client.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:07PM (#25925733) Journal

    Because it's actually more painful to run it in Windows, for some of us. Here, let me count the ways:

    Linux has pretty good 64-bit support. The last remaining broken piece was browser plugins -- Java has been ported, and Flash will be soon. Windows 64-bit sucks before Vista, and Vista sucks in so many other ways that 64-bit is hardly a concern.

    And yes, Valve games can use 64-bit and multicore. And I do have 4 gigs of RAM, which means XP can only see 3.5 gigs.

    I also run Linux for everything other than games. That means, not only is there the irritation of having to reboot -- somewhat mitigated, as I can hibernate one and boot another -- but that I have to maintain Windows, which is much more work for me than maintaining Linux -- on top of which, I still have to maintain Linux. (Example: Ever try to hunt down XP drivers for a made-for-Vista laptop?)

    Steam also insists that I install/update games via its client. That's great, if I'm running Windows anyway -- and I'm on fiber, so it's fast. But it means I can't download while on Linux. What's more, I can't play a Steam game I've already got while I wait -- as soon as Steam sees me playing a game, it kills all downloads. I suppose it's to keep me from lagging -- thanks, but it reacts the same way if I'm playing a single-player game.

    If there was a Linux client, I'd just leave it running and not care.

    And then there's the fact that Steam itself is a good deal more than just a game client, now -- assuming they've finally gotten the Friends feature working, it's also an IM client. That would be nice -- a friend IMs me, inviting me to a game, and rather than rebooting, I just click "yes" in that window -- and he can IM me from the game, he doesn't have to alt+tab to some other client to a Pidgin-friendly service.

    Now, granted, I could run games under Wine. I do, for some games -- MMOs, I pretty much demand that they run windowed on Linux, because I absolutely do multitask with those. But with Steam, there's a performance hit (all Valve games are DirectX only, now), there's again 32-bit only (no Win64 support in Wine yet), and none of it is supported, meaning if I have any problems, I'm on my own.

    Still, it's not as though there would be no benefit. Even if these end up being winelib'd apps, at least they're supported, and it's a step in the right direction -- next up would likely be an OpenGL port. It also means that some of the non-Valve games on Steam which have native Linux clients would also work in Steam.

  • by mattbee ( 17533 ) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:22PM (#25925887) Homepage

    i.e. Half-Life 2, Team Fortress, Portal, right here on my Ubuntu laptop. There *is* a native version of Steam for Linux, albeit one without much of a front-end, just for running dedicated servers. So I suspect this is a non-story. Valve would be insane to worry about porting their games to Linux (at least) before they ported to the Mac, so I really think it's unlikely they're considering it. There's no common programming framework between Steam games, other than the copy protection & integration, so every game would be a separate porting job - not going to happen!

    However if they could wrap up Steam, wine, Ubuntu together into a neat physical package, they could be in an interesting position to flog PC-based games consoles with a library of download titles, and *that* is the only reason they might be interested in supporting their own games on Linux. With Popcap and other cheap smaller titles making up the majority of their catalogue (even if those are not the most popular overall) and some hardware partner on board, they might have a shot if they could price a console at the low end of things.

    Still- while they have an interest in keeping titles out for the XBox 360, taking on a huge platform project to compete with Microsoft would take balls of steel and plenty of money.

    No, this is all crap, undoubtedly. But nice to speculate occasionally :)

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bucky0 ( 229117 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @02:16PM (#25926375)

    How, exactly, is D3D "better" than OGL? The language is obtuse (a COM interface versus a simple state machine), amongst other things.

    I'm not trolling, just curious about why you would think that.

Trap full -- please empty.