For those of you wanting to play Rust again on Linux desktop or Steam Deck, it sounds like it's still some time away as Facepunch continues thinking on Easy Anti-Cheat support.
While for some developers it may just be a case of ticking a box, or putting things in the right place, we know that's not always the case. Outside of the technical implementation, developers also need to think on EAC's effectiveness and about opening their games to another platform to protect against cheating.
In the case of Rust, it seems the biggest issue is the protection that Easy Anti-Cheat can offer and if it's worth the time involved in setting it up and supporting it in a public environment.
On Twitter, Facepunch's Garry Newman mentioned in reply to a user:
We're working through some issues, trying to justify it. It would be a lot of extra work to put on EAC, we can't do it if it's detrimental to the main Windows player base..
When I replied asking about Steam Deck, Newman replied:
Well that's what we're evaluating. Steam Deck compatibility is the only reason to do it at all..
As a follow-up when asked what the issues are Newman said:
It's not one issue. I worry that by opening another platform we're forcing EAC to spread themselves too thin. I don't want to put that pressure on them if it's going to reduce effectiveness of their team on Windows. When we had a Linux version before we...
... noticed that while the majority of cheaters were on Windows, a good chunk of actual cheat makers used Linux and stayed undetected for a long long time. Trying to persuade EAC to hunt these handful of people down wouldn't be a great use of their time considering their impact..
.. on the overall population of the game. So internally we're talking about whether this is a door worth opening. This isn't a linux thing, it's a "another platform" thing.
It's hard to argue such a clear explanation of the issue at hand. Developers of games that are primarily multiplayer will always be thinking hard on opening them up to another platform.
That said, Easy Anti-Cheat must be somewhat effective even on Linux / Steam Deck as it seems it's good enough for EA / Respawn with Apex Legends which has a player base multiple times larger on Steam compared with Rust. But, one size does not fit all of course. Newman mentioned this too in a reply to a user asking about it and it's another fair point:
I don't know too much about the cheating situation in Apex to talk about it. Rust is really sensitive to cheating. A cheater doesn't ruin a single 10 minute match, they ruin 3 weeks of hard work and grind.
Something to make you think, not something specific I had actually considered before either about the vastly different use-case for a game like Rust.