All evidence is pointing to Valve planning on a Steam for Linux beta launch next week during the Ubuntu Developer Conference (UDC). An external beta was already planned for this month with up to 1,000 external players being sought. If Valve intends to keep to its timetable that beta has to happen before the end of Wednesday next week.
UDC begins on Monday and runs through November 1. Valve software engineer Andrew Bliss is already scheduled to give a talk during the conference on Monday, and a page has also appeared on Steam for the official Linux Beta Access group, which already has over 2,500 members.
There’s also an Open Steamworks listing gone live that lists Portal, Serious Sam 3, and Team Fortress 2 as part of the Steam for Linux beta. That’s most likely the final list of games being made available for anyone lucky enough to get accepted into this external beta test. However, Left 4 Dead 2 has already been confirmed as the first Linux-compatible Valve game, so it would be surprising if that title didn’t also feature as part of the beta.
The games line-up makes sense as it consists of both single-player and multiplayer-focused games. The use of Serious Sam 3 also acts as a good test for a third-party title already setup to run on a Linux platform without any help from Valve’s development team.
All will hopefully be revealed next week. If not by Andrew Bliss during his talk, then over on the Valve Linux Team Blog. I’m also hopeful that by the time Steam for Linux launches we will be able to access at least 15 games, all of which are already on Steam and Linux compatible.