Valve talk Steam for Linux beta, launch and DRM

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Why Linux? Why now? These are the questions Valve engineer Drew Bliss has been bravely fielding at the Ubuntu Summit in Copenhagen. Echoing boss Gabe, he cited “closing ecosystems” on Mac and Windows and admitted there was an element of “self-interest” in the distributor’s plans for Linux.

“Open platforms allowed Steam to exist. If we tried today it probably wouldn’t be possible,” said Bliss, recorded by OMG Ubuntu. He added that Linux had become a “viable, alternative platform”.

“We chose Ubuntu to start because of its broad user-base, strong community, and a strong company backing it in Canonical. Ubuntu was a simple choice to make.”

Bliss revealed nothing about a beta beyond the current limited applications phase, but promised that users wouldn’t have to wait until 2013 for keys. Nor would he be drawn on specifics about a full launch, instead deferring to Valve Time. We’ll have news on a release “when it’s ready to approach”, apparently.

Finally, Bliss confirmed that no “industrial strength” DRM would be in place for Steam’s Linux version, but noted that copy-protection would be available to developers should they want it.

Have you applied for Steam for Linux’s beta? Let us know your thoughts.

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