Full Steam ahead!

For a long time Linux has been the purview of tech savy people, who some might call geeks or nerds. The days of command line only interfaces have long since passed, but the stigma still remains and indeed there are many who still prefer the command line to a fully fledged GUI.

There are several graphical user interfaces around for the various flavours (otherwise known as distributions) of Linux. Ubuntu is one such flavour and Unity (as of the current version) is it’s GUI. Ubuntu itself has shown itself to be a popular platform, although it has still been unable to make any serious headway into the PC market.

Is that about to change? Well, Ubuntu has had a competitive advantage with regards to cost over other platforms (Windows and Mac) since the beginning, because it is entirely free. Yes. That’s right. You can download and install a fully fledged operating system without spending a single penny. What is more, it comes with a suite of office applications for everyday use by default (Libre Office, Mozilla Thunderbird and Mozilla Firefox) all of which are also free. Yes. Not a penny spent and you can already write letters, send e-mails, fill out spreadsheets and create presentations.

However, one area where Linux distributions have traditionally suffered is games. The games industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world and breaking into that is a very big step forward. Well, soon it may happen. Valve is a well known brand in the gaming world and their application delivery system called Steam is just as well known, with titles such as Half Life 2, Skyrim and Borderlands 2 all available for purchase and download. Valve recently launched a beta of Steam for Linux, which is currently undergoing rigorous bug testing. When it is officially released to the public a very big market will suddenly open it’s gates to the Linux platform.

“But what about Windows?” I hear you cry. Valve have been openly critical of Microsoft’s new flagship product Windows 8. Even going as far to say that it is a “catastrophy”. In particular are the restrictions on what can and cannot use the new UI. A major sticking point with Valve and other developers. While it may be ridiculous to suggest that a major games development and publishing company will jump ship, it is certainly not ridiculous to suggest that the focus is going to change.

Ask yourself this question. If you could buy a computer where you only pay for the hardware, where the operating system and basic applications were all free and where you could also play your favourite games, would you still buy Windows?

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