After announcing in July this year that it would be launching Steam for Linux, Valve is looking for beta testers to test the Linux version of the client. The company is looking for about 1,000 beta testers to use the Linux client for Steam, and report any bugs they find. The company will select the testers through a survey that has been posted on its site.
Valve states on the survey page that it is primarily interested in experienced Linux users. The survey needs you to have a registered Steam account, and asks a number of questions to judge your expertise as well as the configuration of the Linux-based system you will be running Steam on. The variety and specificity of the questions in the survey are probably so that Valve gets to beta test the client on a wide variety of hardware and software combinations.
Seeking beta testers for Linux port of Steam.
The company had mentioned in its initial announcement of the Linux client that it was focusing on having a fully-featured Steam client running on Ubuntu 12.04. Valve stated that the reason it picked Ubuntu is because they want to first work on a single distribution, as it reduces the variability of testing space and makes early iterations easier and faster. Another reason for picking Ubuntu is because it is one of the most popular distributions of Linux, and “has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities."
The beta for the Linux version of Steam will include Steam itself, one Valve game, and support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above. The game that the beta testers will be getting will most likely be Left 4 Dead 2. This was the game Valve started testing on Linux to begin porting the Source Engine over to Linux. As this is a beta test for the service, those new to Linux are recommended to wait for the final official release of Steam, as Valve will probably have more features on the Linux version, along with the fact that the service will be more stable.
According to a report by Ars Technica, Valve Developer Croteam stated in a post on Facebook that Serious Sam 3 would also be available during the Linux beta, alongside Valve games like Portal and Team Fortress 2.
Valve had stated that on a considerably high end computer, Left 4 Dead 2 runs faster on Linux than on Windows. “Running Left 4 Dead 2 on Windows 7 with Direct3D drivers, we get 270.6 FPS as a baseline. The data is generated from an internal test case,” Valve said in a blog post.
The blog reports that originally, the initial port of Left 4 Dead 2 was only running at 6 FPS (frames per second). They then had to optimise the code to work better with the Linux kernel and OpenGL; they even had to optimise the graphics driver. After these modifications, the blog reports that Left 4 Dead 2 is running at 303.4 FPS on their high end testing machine. The tests were done on a machine running on Intel Core i7 3930k with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 GPU and 32GB of RAM. On the software side, they used Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit and Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit.