The Valve team has set up a blog specifically about their GNU/Linux and Open Source initiative so as to crush the rumors and misinformation out there. In the first blog post the team admitted that they have been working on 'moving Steam and the Source game engine to Linux.'
For some time, Gabe has been interested in the possibility of moving Steam and the Source game engine to Linux. At the time, the company was already using Linux by supporting Linux-based servers for Source-based games and also by maintaining several internal servers (running a 64-bit version of Ubuntu server) for various projects. In 2011, based on the success of those efforts and conversations in the hallway, we decided to take the next step and form a new team. At that time, the team only consisted of a few people whose main purpose was investigating the possibility of moving the Steam client and Left 4 Dead 2 over to Ubuntu.
That doesn't mean Steam will be available only on Ubuntu and other distributions will suffer. The team is using Ubuntu at the moment as they wanted to target one distro where they are experimenting as it 'reduces the variability of the testing space and makes early iteration easier and faster.' The popularity of Ubuntu is also one of the reasons of picking it. The company has assured that depending on the success around Ubuntu they 'will look at supporting other distributions in the future.''
The team is currently focusing on three key areas:
- getting the Steam client onto Linux with full functionality
- optimizing a version of L4D2 running at a high frame rate with OpenGL
- porting additional Valve titles
The goal of this project is to bring a fully-featured Steam client running on Ubuntu 12.04. The team will be setting up an internal beta focusing on the auto-update experience and compatibility testing. They are also porting L4D2 to Ubuntu as a client itself is nothing without a game. They have made great progress with it and it now runs natively on Ubuntu 12.04. The team is working on improving performance.
Our goal is to have L4D2 performing under Linux as well as it performs under Windows.