NOTE: Steam for linux is currently being developed. Soon enough there should be a native client and some more native games.
Steam is slow even under windows, however it does work using wine, which means you can download your games under linux, and play some also.
To install, go to the steam website, download the steam installer for windows.
Open a terminal, cd to the directory you downloaded it to (i.e.
Install using msiexec as such:
Now, Steam will be installed under the wine directory.
You can launch steam but hitting "alt + esc" and typing steam
The path is long, so to make things easier for yourself, make a symbolic link in your home directory:
This will make a symbolic link (shortcut) to your Steam directory in your home directory.
Why would you need that?
To avoid having to download games you already have downloaded i.e. in windows.
Games are stored under: C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/common
To create a shortcut from windows to your home directory you can do the following
ln -s /windows/C/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam ./winsteam
So to avoid having to download a game, you can copy it from your winsteam/steamapps/common to your Steam/steamapps/common
You will tell Steam to download the game, it will check the files, and you will be able to launch the game within minutes.
The best place to see if a game works under wine is here:
Here are some games that I have played successfully:
These are some games that failed to work:
There are also linux games that you can install and play.
Simpy open the software installer, hit "alt+esc" and type "software management", start the tool.
There is a games category that has plenty of games to choose from.
It is probably best if you install the games repository for a complete list of games that are kept up to date.
hit "alt+esc", enter repositories, add community repository, games repository.