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10 years ago Steam released for Linux

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I'm starting to feel old. I remember a time before Steam for Linux, back in the dark days even before the first set of Humble Indie Bundles, it's truly crazy how far Linux has come overall as a platform for gaming. 10 years ago today, Steam for Linux left Beta and released officially and what a difference it made!

Many issues along the way, a number of missteps from Valve directly too (hello Steam Machines), but we got there in the end didn't we? Linux Gaming is no longer a thing that people will constantly laugh about. It's here, it's a thing and many people now with a Steam Deck likely don't even realise they're using Linux — that's just how good it can be.

Life changing of course for me too, GamingOnLinux is my job and 99% of that is thanks to Valve's effort.

I'm not going to rehash everything, since I've gone over many milestones before like my previous article Faster Zombies to Steam Deck: The History of Valve and Linux Gaming from 2021, which is worth a read if you're somewhat new to Linux gaming (and Steam Deck!).

Happy 10 years, Steam for Linux! Cheers! Here's to the next 10 and many more.

What do you expect over the next 10 years and what have been your favourite moments?

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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egocanis Feb 15
Quoting: dpanterSteam ended pirating games for me, that was a big thing.

You too? 😄
Quoting: mr-victoryAs I read the comments, a few things make me feel weird:
1. Most of you are Linux users for a long time, while I use Linux since 2020 and play on it since 2022.
2. Despite only recently starting gaming, it was nowhere near an OOB Just Works experience. I dealt with forcing games to use Nvidia GPU, any Vulkan application freezing due to a driver bug, Apex Legends stuttering even with GPL and mod problems with HOI4. I even patched Proton (only a week ago!) so Paradox Launcher would well behave.
3. In 2 Steam accounts around only 5 games were purchased in total (and only 1 pirate game which I can't acquire in a different way) while everyone else here has hundreds if not thousands.
In general, I totally get you. Although for me, it's all OOB experience because anything that doesn't work I just shelve and play something else. Like Galactic Civilizations III, for a long time my only ever non-Linux-native game purchase. It didn't work, but I never tinkered with it, I would just try every year or two to see if Wine/Proton had started working (when it finally did, I was quite disappointed in the game and wished I hadn't bothered). Vampire Survivors doesn't work for me; maybe one day it will. But there are plenty of other games so I can't be bothered to tinker trying to get it going.

One tiny specific I-don't-get-it . . . you patched Proton to make the Paradox launcher work . . . why would you be using Proton with the Paradox launcher at all? Aren't all their games Linux native?
Vardamir Feb 15
Quoting: Purple Library GuyGalactic Civilizations
This is such a shame, because I remember when Stardock was a cool company, producing OS/2 games. Now they are just yet another boring Windows shop.

I ditched Windows long before Steam for Linux. I remember, my only concern back in 2005 was, if WoW would work. It did in wine just fine :D

When I heard the first rumors, that Steam might come to Linux (in a Phoronix article, IIRC) I was curious. Installed it as soon as I could get my hands on it. First game I bought just to support their effort with my wallet. It was Serious Sam 3 BFE, btw.
slaapliedje Feb 15
Quoting: TurkeysteaksAmazing to see how much gaming on linux has grown since then.
I've used linux all my life that I remember; playing BZFlag as a kid blew my mind. Then got hugely into Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory which worked amazing on linux, and then got really into linux gaming with the Live Linux Gamers distro. It was a live distro that came with maybe 10-20 games preinstalled (still playing Urban Terror today!). Made a few other stops along the way before I finally joined steam in 2014.

So many hours spent troubleshooting games, getting them to work under linux or solving weird issues. It's mindblowing to me these days that you just click install on regular ol steam and then click play, and boom - it's working. It's the case with so, so many games that I'm used to it now. Never thought plug & play would become the norm but I'm so happy it has.

Thanks for 10 years steam!
I think I'm mental. Part of the fun to me is getting the actual game to work. Most of the games I start up, play for a few hours, then it scratches that 'itch' then I ignore the game until I get the itch again. Now though I have the problem of 'I'm in the mood to play a game, which one? An RPG... okay I have... a lot... meh, I'll just watch YouTube.'

Sad that the state of affairs is that now I have so many games to play on Linux, I can't pick one to actually play!
STiAT Feb 15
And to celebrate it:

Thanks Pierre/Valve. I hope they really nailed that, was annoying me out of my pants to have daily shader downloads of 10gb+.

Last edited by STiAT on 15 February 2023 at 6:44 pm UTC
mr-victory Feb 15
Quoting: Purple Library Guywhy would you be using Proton with the Paradox launcher at all?
A specific HOI4 mod (Europe in Flames: Agora) doesn't work with native HOI4 while it works on Windows, macOS and Proton. Also my PC is shared with a hardcore Linux hater (I may be exaggerating, but still) so even if I don't want to use the mod, Windows version of HOI4 will stay installed no matter what and I will have to either flip from Proton to native or have 2 copies of the game.
IIRC you asked this before.
mr-victory Feb 15
Quoting: STiATAnd to celebrate it:
YESSS! Do I need to opt in to beta for the fix?
STiAT Feb 15
Quoting: mr-victory
Quoting: STiATAnd to celebrate it:
YESSS! Do I need to opt in to beta for the fix?

No, that's a server side fix according to Pierre, I've verified that with BF5 (160kb download instead of 3gb).
You need to re-download the full shader caches once, after that you get increments. At least that's how it seems for me at the moment :-).

And hopefully only if increments happen, but we'll see that over the next days.

Last edited by STiAT on 15 February 2023 at 8:10 pm UTC
shorberg Feb 15
Quoting: mr-victory
Quoting: shorberglaunch date driver bugs
Isn't this still a thing with AMD for GPU launches and both AMD and Nvidia for new games?


Perhaps next generation will have that sorted. Or the one after that. Surely the one after that will have games work the day they are released on standard hardware!
Maxine Feb 16
I started my fulltime linux journey 4 years ago and am still amazed at the progress made in such a short time.
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