Love gaming on Linux but don't have a taste for Wine? Look for a nice hot helping of Steam-brewed titles to come to the rescue sometime in the future. After a couple of years of rumors -- and denials -- that Valve was working on a Linux port of its blockbuster Steam service, it looks like the project is actually happening. Valve recently invited Mike Larabel, the man behind the Phoronix website for Linux lovers, out to the company's offices to give him a glimpse of the Steam for Linux in action.
Larabel's reporting of the experience is getting hammered and is only available intermittently, but here it is in a nutshell: Larabel was able to boot up an early, working version of Steam and Left 4 Dead 2 on Ubuntu while he was visiting Valve. The game loaded natively with the AMD Catalyst Linux driver -- no Wine conversion necessary. Larabel reports the company plans on porting other Valve titles to run natively on Linux and is bugging the developers of other Steam-offered games into doing the same, but the initial public beta version of Steam for Linux -- which Larabel says "is not too far out" -- could be limited to L4D2 alone.
Apparently, Gabe Newell himself has taken the lead on the Linux project to get it up off the ground, and he's been screening and hiring Linux OpenGL devs recommended by Larabel. The upcoming release of Windows 8 may be hastening matters; Larabel says that Newell's negativity for Windows 8 is "stunning."
Could we really see a basic version of Steam for Linux later this year? Valve has yet to comment on the report. Larabel and Phoronix have stellar reputations, though, so we're crossing our fingers and holding out hope.