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Gabe Newell, Founder and Managing Director - Valve Software, Talks About Linux Clients and Trade-offs

William and Glenn @ Podcast 17 recently interviewed Gabe Newell, Founder/Managing Director of Valve Software on their latest Episode.

Crusader form Linux Games quickly posted an article about it. So I downloaded and listened the latest episode. You can download the podcast from here

Below are some excerpts from the article and the interview. 

(At 0:2:10) Glenn: As a developer what is the motivation behind delaying next Half-Life game?

Gabe: I don’t think that our motivation is to delay the next Half-Life game. I think one of the things that’s useful for people to, at least understand is: Whenever you are trying to figure out what we are doing, it’s useful to know we have way too many things to do than people to do them. 

So we’re always sorta measuring things in terms of trade-offs; so we look at how much time something will take versus how many of our customers it’ll benefit. 

So for example on Linux, we obviously would like to have a Linux client and we’d like to have our games running on Linux, a lot of our. I mean our servers run on Linux, so we’ve been supporting Linux since ‘98 in terms of having server support, but whenever we look at that we have to compare that with “Okay, well we can take that time and spend that time making the Mac version better, or we can spend that making the Windows version better, or the 360″. 

Recently we started supporting the PlayStation 3, and for us that decision was mainly motivated by Sony’s willingness to be more open than the console companies have traditionally been around being an Internet client. And to us that seemed like something we should really get behind and that sorta tipped us over in terms of doing a PlayStation 3 version. But that’s the thing that we’re always faced with. It’s not “What would we like to do?” it’s “What five things would we give up in order to do the one thing we are able to do?”. And that is the constant frustration we have is, there are only so many hours in the day. Of course, we’d love to be doing all those things simultaneously.


News of Valve supporting or not supporting Steam on Linux have been appearing on various sites for past few years. Nothing can be said even after this interview but the possibility for a Linux client is not ruled out entirely. What are your thoughts on this?

Many thanks to Crusader from Linux Games for the news and a text excerpt from the interview.


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