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07 November 2012, 11:29

Valve launches Steam beta client for Linux

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Zoom Steam running on Ubuntu 12.10

Valve has launched its anticipated beta programme for bringing the Steam software distribution platform to Linux. The beta is currently open by invitation only and Valve has said that it plans to test the Linux client with a "widening group of users" selected from participants in the company's Linux hardware survey.

The client is supported on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and later, but during a talk at the most recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, Valve employees said they would not actively block users of other Linux distributions from running the client. Meanwhile, enterprising users of the online community reddit have found a way to trick Steam into letting them launch the Linux client even without being officially part of the limited beta programme.

Currently, the client supports Team Fortress 2 and over 20 other games are also reported to work. The client also includes Big Picture mode, which is a ten-foot interface designed to be used with a console-type controller and a large screen. Valve says that once the stability of Steam for Linux has reached a satisfactory level, the company will make the client available to the general public.

Alongside the Steam for Linux launch, NVIDIA has released new Linux drivers for its GeForce R310 video card that were developed in coordination with Valve and several game developers, and promise increased performance on Linux. NVIDIA says the drivers are the product of "almost a year of development" and that they have been tested with the Linux version of Steam.

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