Valve has confirmed that an official port of the Steam client is on its way to Linux, and will have a native version of Left4Dead to accompany its release. Gabe & Co have shown off working prototypes of both to top Linux blog Phoronix (opens in new tab) , and say that there are plans afoot to bring other titles to the platform too.
According to Phoronix, Newell is personally involved with the Linux project at Valve and something of an evangelist for the OS. Which is great, as it always helps to get the non-mangers on your side.
Author of the article, Michael Larabel, says this the Linux clients at Valve are beyond the experimental stage, and Valve is actively hiring more developers (opens in new tab) .
“I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations. This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organization. Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point.”
He also suggests that Newell may share concerns about Windows 8 that have been frequently raised here.
Historically, the only major developer to get really get involved with Linux was id. Ironically, Carmack et al appear to have lost interest just as cross platform engines like Unigine (opens in new tab) and Unity (opens in new tab) are gaining ground.
I make absolutely no apologies for the fact that this might, just might, be the most personally exciting news I've read about PC gaming in years. As regular readers will know, I use Linux exclusively for work and also write semi-regularly for sister mag Linux Format. And yes, I do photo and video editing on a Linux box too. Being able to game without Wine or Windows wouldn't make my life complete, but it'd improve things by an order of magnitude...
Do read the Phoronix (opens in new tab) piece. There's no confirmation of timescales for the beta Steam for Linux release, although the impression is that it could be by the end of the year.