Months after beginning work on it, Valve formally announced that its Steam client and Source game engine have been ported to Ubuntu, and that the two will be introduced to the Linux crowd with Left 4 Dead 2.
Finally, a big game studio and distibution giant took the leap of faith by porting its key IP to desktop Linux. Valve, in its latest official blog post titled "Steam'd Penguins," announced a fully-functional Steam client for Ubuntu. Valve's measured steps in Linux territory will be initially confined to Ubuntu, a popular desktop Linux distribution. Sticking to one distribution could help Valve minimize costs incurred in optimizing things for every popular distro. The client could work just fine on Ubuntu derivatives such as Linux Mint, and the community is free to get it to somehow work on other major (more enterprise-oriented) distros such as Red Hat / Fedora and SuSE, if a few requirements are met.
Valve doesn't indend to make a half-hearted effort, and want it to be as genuine as the Mac OS X port, which drew the Apple crowd to its fold. The company ported its key game development IP, the Source engine, to Linux. Source has already been rewired to work with the OpenGL graphics API on Mac OS X, and we'd imagine the Linux porting to have been a bit easier on the developers.
The very first game to feature on Steam for Ubuntu is the hit multi-player title, "Left 4 Dead 2" (L4D2). The developers are still in the process of optimizing the game to get the most performance (frame-rates) out of the Linux platform. The game could be launched with SteamPlay capability, letting gamers who already own the Windows or Mac OS X versions of the game to simply download and play the game on Ubuntu, at no extra cost. Other Valve game franchises, such as Half Life, Counter Strike, Team Fortress, and Portal, will join L4D2 in Tuxland, a little later.
Valve credits the Ubuntu port to Gabe Newell's interest in porting the company's IP to Linux. The company already has software for Linux, but those are merely servers for hosting multi-player games.
Good one, Gabe!