Valve's monthly Steam hardware survey/tech-peen comparison chart has been updated to reflect what users have been playing on through December. The big change this month is the emergence of Linux, after the open-source OS went into full public beta at the tail-end of last year.
Exact percentages are hard to discern, thanks to Linux's fragmented nature. 0.8% of Steam users (at least, of Steam users that opted-in to the hardware survey) are running an Ubuntu version. That number could rise as high as 1.51% when you factor in the Other category, which is presumably where the other Linux distributions live. The true figure is likely to be closer to 0.94% - reflecting the 0.14% rise in the Other listing - but this is inexact speculation on my part.
It's not a figure that's going to trouble Windows or Mac any time soon, but keep in mind that not only is the Linux Steam client in beta, but also supporting only a fraction of the full Steam library.
Elsewhere, Windows 8 continues to rise, gaining 2.24% to account for a respectable 6.93% of the gaming giant's user base. Has the Interface Formerly Known as Metro gained more widespread acceptance than previously thought, or are services that strip it down to Desktop only and restore the Start Bar - like Stardock's Start8 - making the OS' other improvements more attractive to gamers?
The new boys are certainly making a dent in Windows 7's gaming dominance, but they're unlikely to topple it any time soon. W7 dropped 2.09% in the last month, but is still propping up a huge 70.47% of Steamers. Note to self: never refer to Steam users as Steamers again.
Finally, last month's errant surge for Vista 64-bit has been overturned. It's back to shedding users, thus restoring the natural order of the universe.
Thanks, Slashdot .