Valve has officially thrown its lot in with the world of Linux, joining the non-profit Linux Foundation as a Silver Member alongside the likes of Nvidia, ARM, BT and Sony.
The company's interest in Linux should surprise no-one: Valve founder Gabe Newell has been vocal in both his distaste for the current direction Microsoft is taking Windows and in his support for the open-source platform as an alternative for gamers. Newell is also putting his money where his mouth is, hiring Linux experts to put the finishing touches to the SteamOS distribution - which will be made available as a free download, as well as powering the company's Steam Machine consoles to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early next year.
In a video confirming the company's membership of the Linux Foundation, Gabe Newell shared some interesting statistics: Valve, and in particular the company's digital distribution platform Steam, is responsible for around 2-3 per cent of worldwide IP traffic; the company has ported its entire list of assets - everything from source code to models, animations and other in-game assets - to Linux; and, in Newell's own words, 'we love the performance, we love the reliability, and the robustness of [Linux].
Valve's support of Linux, it is hoped, will do the platform the world of good on the desktop. In the same video, project founder Linus Torvalds explained: '[Valve] is the one company that has a vision for how to do things, and I think that will force a lot of the other vendors around them to realise "hey, if this is the way Steam is going, we need to do the same thing because we can't afford to be different in this respect because we want people to be able to play games on our platform too."
'Joining the Linux Foundation is one of many ways Valve is investing in the advancement of Linux gaming,
' claimed Mike Sartain, Valve's chosen spokesperson for the announcement. 'Through these efforts we hope to contribute tools for developers building new experiences on Linux, compel hardware manufacturers to prioritise support for Linux, and ultimately deliver an elegant and open platform for Linux users.
Valve's Silver Membership status of the non-profit Linux Foundation is unlikely to break the bank: minimum fees for that level of membership start at just $5,000 a year and rise to $20,000. Gold Membership, as enjoyed by companies including AMD, Google and Panasonic, starts at $100,000; the Foundation's top-level package, the Platinum Membership chosen by Intel, HP, IBM, Samsung and others, requires a $500,000 a year commitment.
For more on Newell's appreciation for Linux, and Torvalds' inability to distinguish between the company Valve and its product Steam, have a peek at the promotional video reproduced below.