Another concern that has crossed my mind is whether Valve would welcome tons of "junk" applications like the ones you can find in the mobile software space. Nothing would be worse than hundreds of junk applications and hardly any compelling ones in the Steam store. It's my hope that we find a balance between quantity and quality with regard to paid Linux software titles.
I'm not one to put too much emphasis on a single solution to any problem, therefore I acknowledge that Steam alone might not be the only method of delivering paid software titles to the Linux-using masses. But my question then shifts to: if it's not Steam – what is the solution? We've seen distributions like Ubuntu make attempts at bringing in paid software titles and clearly, the results haven't been all that great.
I do give props to Ubuntu for their attempts at getting new titles submitted into the Software Center, thanks to their App Developer Week. It's a great idea and for casual apps, it's been fun to see what new titles have come out of the event. Sadly, though, I don't see this luring Adobe or Microsoft into making highly requested titles available for non-Microsoft and Apple platforms.
In the end, are there genuinely viable alternatives for paid software to make their way into the Linux landscape? In the enterprise realm, it's already happening.
Based on my personal experience, I honestly don't see a future where paid applications will gain a major foothold on the Linux desktop. But I do see paid applications making major waves in the future on the Linux server. Like most things Linux, it's on the server where the money is earned; through services and enterprise grade products.
So even if Steam can align itself to become a distribution tool for paid applications, I fear it won't be that desirable for the enterprise space. On the flip side, perhaps we'll be able to revisit this in the future, and Steam will indeed be in a place to distribute paid Linux software for consumers and not just great games.