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Steam for Linux

Steam is now officially available on three different operating systems.

Valve updated the Steam client today to provide full compatibility with the Linux open-source OS. To celebrate the release, all 54 Linux-compatible games are on sale. That includes Half-Life for $2.49, World of Goo for $2.49, and Bastion for $3.74. This sale applies to Windows and Mac (when available) as well.

The free-to-play Team Fortress 2 is also available for Linux, and Valve is giving a free Tux item (the Linux penguin mascot) to anyone who plays it on the alternative OS before the end of the month.

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To make things easy, Valve is suggesting people try installing Ubuntu, a specific variety of the Linux OS run by a group called Canonical. Here’s what the Linux page on Valve has to say about it:

Ubuntu is our favorite version of Linux. Interested in giving it a whirl? You can install and run Ubuntu from a live CD or USB stick, or install it to run alongside Windows.

Grab an Ubuntu installerfrom Canonical and see what it’s all about.

“The introduction of Steam to Ubuntu demonstrates growing demand for open systems from gamers and game developers,” Canonical director of consumer applications David Pitkin said in a statement. “We expect a growing number of game developers to include Ubuntu among their target platforms. We’re looking forward to seeing triple-A games developed with Ubuntu in mind as part of a multiplatform day and date release on Steam.”

If you already own any of the Linux-compatible games on Steam, you can simply install Steam on your Ubuntu systems and start playing them.

“We’re huge fans of Linux. It’s like the indie OS — a perfect home for our indie game,” Croteam (Serious Sam) chief technology officer Alen Ladavac said in a statement. “And who better to lead the charge into Linux gaming than Valve? With Steam distribution on Windows, Mac OS, and now Linux, plus the buy-once, play-anywhere promise of Steam Play, our games are available to everyone, regardless what type of computer they’re running. That’s huge.”

Valve chief executive officer Gabe Newell seems very keen to get away from Microsoft’s Windows platform. Newell called Windows 8 a “catastrophe for everybody in the PC space” at a conference in July. Out of that distaste for Windows, Valve began pushing to get Steam on Linux.

The software company also plans to release its own so-called “Steam Box” hardware, which Newell said will use Linux.

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