This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, folks. You may not know this, but I’m writing this article on a computer running Ubuntu. I’m one of more than 10 million people who use the open source operating system. There are a variety of reasons for this, and if anyone is interested, say so in the comments below and I’ll write an article or two about the advantages and disadvantages of Ubuntu.
It’s one of those disadvantages that I want to talk about today. Well, a former disadvantage. Last night, game developing and distributing giant Valve made a few lengthy comments that blew me out of the water. Firstly, that there is going to be a Valve blog specifically for Linux (i.e., open source software) users to discuss, share ideas, and get the latest news of Valve’s development of Linux-based products. This is huge news. As I’ve said previously, using open-source software has a few disadvantages. Unless you run two OS’s on your desktop, or have a laptop that specifically runs Mac OS or Windows, it’s very difficult to get access to any mainstream games, and expect them to run properly. Valve telling the world that they’re going to dedicate themselves to make Linux-specific products is a huge win for the open-source community.
There was another piece of news, almost nonchalantly mentioned in their opening paragraph: Valve has officially announced that they will port Steam to Ubuntu 12.04, the exceptionally popular Linux OS. There have been hints of this in the past, but Valve has repeatedly denied any claims that they would do so. Until now. Their goals are simple, and direct: achieve full-functionality between Ubuntu and Steam, and port several of their biggest games, including Left 4 Dead 2 and other Valve titles, to run at a respectable quality. This is huge. Gaming and open-source software have never been on the best of terms, and this could be just the shock that the gaming community needs to port more PC games for Ubuntu, and in the future, make them compatible from the start.
There’s a history to this. Firstly, it’s known that Valve has several servers that run on Linux, and was their method of testing how the software was compatible with their products. Secondly, as I’ve mentioned before, there have been several small leaks about the development, including a video of Left 4 Dead 2 running on Ubuntu, all of which was denied.. But this has clearly been on Gabe Newell’s (co-founder and managing director of Valve) mind for a while.
It’s been on his mind so much, that he’s already looking beyond Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the most popular name in the Linux community, and has gained the trust of gamers and developers alike, so it was a natural starting point, but in their blog, Valve talks about utilizing other “distributions” based on the success of this latest project. Lastly, Valve asks for your input, so they have an idea about what direction they should go. If you’re at all interested, leave a comment or two on their new blog.
So what do you all think? Just a means of getting more money out of the gaming world, or an honest effort to support the open-source community? Is it even worth it, since so many Ubuntu users already have Steam accounts on other OS’s? I have my opinions, but I want to hear yours. Leave them below, and let’s talk this out.
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