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Linux Top 3: Steam, Sabayon and Ubuntu Phones Home

  • February 18, 2013
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

Linux is moving ahead into the consumer marketplace with new phone and gaming efforts.

1) Steam for Linux

Gaming on Linux has long been a hit and miss exercise in frustration. Some steamusers tried to get WINE working well enough to run Windows games on Linux, while others built Linux native games.

As of last week, Linux users won't need to struggle nearly as much to get great games. Valve announced the official debut of Steam for Linux. With Steam for LInux, users will now gain access to a large library of titles including Counter-Strike, Half-Life and Team-Fortress 2 that will run on Linux.

"We’re huge fans of Linux. It’s like the indie OS–a perfect home for our indie game," said Alen Ladavac, CTO of Croteam, creator of the Serious Sam franchise of games. "“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 is also getting into the Linux spirit by enabling players of Team Fortress 2 on Linux to get a free in-game tux Linux mascot that they can carry with them.

2) Ubuntu Phone

Efforts to built out another Linux phone option are also moving forward. Canonical announced that on February 21st the Touch Developer preview of Ubuntu Phone will become available.

"This release marks the threshold of wider engagement - both with industry and community." said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. "For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylish mobile interface around."

The release of the developer preview comes just ahead of Mobile World Congress which starts next week in Barcelona, Spain.

3) Sabayon Linux

Games and phones are great, but so too are new Linux distribution releases.

This past week, Sabayon Linux 11 was released. Sabayon is based on Gentoo Linux, and has been on a rolling update schedule.

"As many of you know, Sabayon is a rolling distribution with some tweaks to the model to make the experience less painful and more predictable," Sabayon founder, Fabio Erculiani wrote in his release announcement. "This also mean that our official releases (or snapshots) are becoming stale very quickly, which is a reason why we have "daily" live media images available as well. Now, we want to take it further and, in the near future, offer semi-automatic monthly (or bi-monthly) releases. "

Sabayon 11 can boot on UEFI systems with SecureBoot enabled. Erculiani is making use of Matthew Garrett's shim in what looks to be a very elegant solutionto an in-elegant problem.

Sabayon is also (like nearly every other major Linux distro) moving away from MySQL in favor of MariaDB for its open source database of choice.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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