GAMING PORTAL Steam has announced it will ditch official support for Linux Ubuntu starting with the next release.
Last week, Canonical announced it would not be offering 32-bit builds of its software in future, and Steam responded with an almighty "erm - no".
Steam has pledged to do everything it can to avoid leaving anyone in the lurch but will be moving its attention to a yet-to-be-determined alternative Linux flavour soon.
The big problem for Steam is that so many of its classic games were only ever made available in 32-bit. By dropping support for the ageing architecture, it is essentially putting Steam in a position of borking half of the games in its library, whether that be by hiding them in the GUI or having them throw up an error code. Either way, it's not a good look.
Although there are lots of options, alternative operating systems, custom builds, emulators and so on, it's not the same as having an out-of-the-box experience.
The biggest frustration will be felt by existing Ubuntu users who face the option of either migrating altogether or having to play their games on a secondary operating system, neither of which have ‘win' written on them.
Ubuntu's actions may seem a bit draconian, but with some analysts saying that Ubuntu Desktop has reached 'make or break' time, slipstreaming the system to 64-bit only will make it a lot easier to keep on top of from a support and compatibility point of view. And although Steam is a significant part of the gaming market, it's not a significant part of what Ubuntu does, making it a low priority and an acceptable bit of collateral damage.
That said, those Linux users are a feisty lot and there's every chance that this isn't as over as we think. There's still over a month until 32-bit Ubuntu is officially done with, and there's a long-term-support version edition that will keep you going for another 4 years anyway, so it's not all bad. μ
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