A voluntary monthly Steam survey that tracks operating system usage indicates that the number of Linux users on Valve's digital distribution service increased significantly during its first official month in operation.
During February 2013, the month in which Valve officially released the Linux Steam client, 2.02 percent of all participants in the survey used a form of the Linux operating system, which includes several versions of Unbutu 12 as well as Linux Mint 14 Nadia 64 bit and Linux 64 bit. Only 0.8 percent of participants reported using Linux in Valve's December 2012 survey, the month in which the product entered open beta.
For comparison, Mac respondents comprised 3.07 percent in February 2013 and 3.72 percent in December 2012.
Because participation in the survey is optional and anonymous, it may include a selection bias, and Valve does not portray its surveys as a definitive accounting of all hardware used with Steam. Rather, Valve conducts the Steam Hardware & Software Survey "to collect data about what kinds of computer hardware and software our customers are using," and uses the information to "make decisions about what kinds of technology investments to make and products to offer."
The company also tracks statistics like processor and video card usage by manufacturer, Mac system RAM and the distribution of various versions of DirectX.
Linux support became official on Feb. 14, and Valve discounted 50 Linux-compatible games to celebrate. Earlier this year, Valve head Gabe Newell confirmed that the company would enter the hardware business with a Steam Box running Linux.