Steam rumors are flying again, but Desura beat them to open source

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Steam rumors are flying again, but Desura beat them to open source

The Desura game client is not only available for open-source-loving players, but also now for developers. They've released the client on Github as Desurium under GPL v3.

Desura is similar to the Steam gaming platform in that they both are a way for gamers to buy

downloadable copies of a lot of really great games, often for equally great prices. Desura adds the option for developers to include Desura-only functionality in their games.

Desura first offered a Linux client last fall. Steam, however, lags on that option. Regular rumors surface about a Steam client being released for Linux, and this week saw the next round. The IronHammers blog pointed to a Valve job posting for a senior software engineer, which specifies one of the job's responsibilities as "port[ing] Windows-based games to the Linux platform."

Linux gamers are a ripe market, just waiting to hand their money over to someone who can offer the titles they want. When 2dboy released World of Goo on Linux, it accounted for 4.6% of the site's downloads after only two days and sold more copies on that day than on any day in history, beating the previous sales record by 40%. Those who buy the Humble Bundle--available both through Steam and Desura--consistently pay more for the games on Linux than other platforms. For the most recent Humble Bundle, the average Windows user paid $4.87, the average Mac user $7.61, and the average Linux user $10.45.

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Ruth Suehle is the community leadership manager for Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team. She's co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks (O'Reilly, December 2013) and a senior editor at GeekMom, a site for those who find their joy in both geekery and parenting.


I swear I read somewhere that Steam for Linux had been confirmed<a href="">*</a>.

Literally the only reason boot into Windows is for gaming. The rest of my time computing at home is done on Linux or on my Android Phone / Tablet. Give me the ability to play the games I want on Linux rather than Windows? And I'll jump at the oppertunity.

I'm still a mac-user, but with that understanding, I'm in total agreement about Windows. I have Windows 7 on my MBP, and I boot it to use Access for work-related necessities, or to play gobs of games. I also play many of the same games on the Mac, and have waited a decade for the market to reach Mac. Linux users have been waiting even longer -- I'm delighted that they are finally seeing some equity.

Games is one of the reasons why Windows is still useable on PC's.

The question is, *which* Linux? It seems to me you have a choice of a) targeting your commercial software to one of a tiny number of enterprise Linux distributions (RHEL, Debian, Suse Enterprise) that move very slowly and are server-oriented rather than end user oriented (for example, RHEL6 doesn't even have Remmina in it, which is the only decent GUI RDP client for Linux, because rdesktop from the pound sign is good enough for network admins using the Linux CLI to remotely contact their Windows systems), *OR* you target one of the mainstream distributions that move quickly and have end-user-friendly software / configurations -- Ubuntu, Fedora, or OpenSUSE -- and accept the fact that you're going to have to re-compile your game every year to run on the new release. *OR* you can target the Windows 7 API and it'll run for the next ten years without you touching the source code (yes, Virginia, games written for the Windows XP API still largely run just fine today on Windows 7, ten years later). Hmm.... if I were a mainstream games publisher, which of these would I do?

It's the same problem Loki faced that drove them out of business -- trying to do games for a server-oriented platform is nuts, yet the end-user-oriented Linux distributions move so fast that trying to do games for them is *also* nuts. For that matter, even releasing source code is no guarantee. Remmina is written on Debian and has been ported to Fedora. I attempted back-porting a Fedora SRPM to RHEL6 yesterday. No joy, even after fixing the spec file to account for a renamed rpm, RHEL6 lacks some of the dependencies needed for its protocol plugins, meaning the core GUI would run but it wouldn't connect to anything, meaning I'm going to have to back-port some of the dependencies too. Now pretend that this was instead a large complex games engine rather than a fairly small GUI for protocol plugins. At some point my time becomes worth more working on Windows software that's going to work for the next ten years without having to be back-ported and forward-ported to multiple Linux distributions even *if* the engine is released as open source and just the game run by the engine is commercial.

I doubt that that will happen in the next years. I use linux a lot of servers and laptops, but have one windows bucket for gaming and there are so many games that really don't run at all on wine. After messing around with it for years and years, I found it totally unusable. Microsoft changes things all the time so that the reverse engineering can not work, eventhough it is such an incredible amount of work. So having the steam client itself is pretty useless, considering that most games will not work in it on Linux.
And Valve knowing this, they won't port it.

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