Below is an excerpt from a review of the beta Linux client I recently wrote - the whole thing was a little big to copy and paste here. The full article (with screenshots and many more words) can be viewed at Twolofbees.com !
On the whole, I'm finding the Desura client to be a pretty good offering. It's great to see a more community oriented platform that encourages and empowers both indie developers and mod creators. The content servers are nice and fast, maxing out my connection with ease.
Desura's lineup of Launch titles is also fairly impressive, currently consisting of fifty one titles with more to come. It's interesting to note that this list does not include older games such as Freespace 2, any of the Unreal Tournament games or any of the id Software games that have been ported to Linux. It does however include a number of Free/Open Source titles.
As I find with most embedded web apps, the interface feels slightly sluggish and there's always that moment where you don't know if you've hit a button and it's taking some time to load your page, or if you happened to miss-click and are going to wind up sitting, waiting, feeling more and more like an idiot as the seconds pass. This is pretty standard fare though, and I get the same experience with Steam.
The Linux client beta has suffered a few bugs (most notably a flash bug that causes the client to crash any time there is a news pop-up), but most of these have either been fixed with subsequent updates or have been resolved internally and will be fixed with the next release of the beta client. Those issues aside, I would say that the Linux client seems fairly close to release-ready (though my personal experience alone is not enough to confirm that).
If I had a wishlist for things I'd like to see included/enhanced with future updates to the Desura platform, it would probably include things like an option for setting a preferred starting tab, a "home" icon with a more appropriate clickable area, and an indicator for each game's total playtime. It'd also be nice to have a way of knowing which titles are Free/Open Source (currently they are all labeled "indie"). The only other problem I have is that in Gnome 3, the Desura download windows show up as a separate application, which is slightly irritating and interferes with the new ALT+Tab behaviour. I consider all of these to be very insignificant issues though.
Desura And The Future
I've had a lot of people ask me what the fuss is all about, and why I keep banging on about Desura specifically when there are other native Linux content distribution platforms and game stores around.
The thing is that there is a perception problem with Linux as a viable gaming platform. Yes there have been significant challenges to that in the past few years with the Humble Indie Bundles and increases in support from independent developers and so forth, but the fact remains that the platform is all but ignored by the gaming industry (perhaps even more so if you count the Unreal Tournament series' abandonment of Linux and the lower priority of a Linux client for id's Rage, two previously stalwart and reliable friends of the platform) as a whole - not just developers, but gamers too.
Whether or not you care about games, it has to be acknowledged that this impacts on Linux's perception as a "desktop platform" as well. Gaming is as much a part of the expected desktop experience these days as a web browser or a spreadsheet utility, and the prevailing belief that gaming on Linux is not possible is preventing people from feeling like they are free to choose their platform.
Though there are individuals within the Linux user community who "dual boot for games", the real hurdle to acceptance is the non-Linux using community. Projects like Djl and Lutris and Wine are great ways for existing Linux gamers to access games, but Linux gamers already know about those (please check them out if you don't know of them) and the impact they will have on the broader gaming community is negligible.
By publishing Free/Open Source titles with no status above or below other titles, Desura is also raising the profile of open source gaming (another area plagued by misconceptions). There are parallels between mod development and Free Software development that I don't think have really been explored, and there's a fascinating potential for synergy and collaboration as these two styles of development communities are brought together.
Desura, carrying with it ten plus years of Windows based gaming community is about to send a very powerful message. In the same way that Valve convinced the world last year that it's OK to play games under MacOS when they launched a native MacOS Steam client, Desura will be making waves by releasing their native Linux client, putting Linux forward as an equally viable gaming platform next to Windows - not only for gamers, but for developers as well, and that's the key.
Don't forget, you can read of the full article at Twolofbees.com