Most high-performance servers use the latter case. The windows build of the standalone dedicated server can optionally be run with a graphical front-end. The build of the dedicated server which runs on the GNU/Linux system does not include a graphical front-end due to the fact there is no interest in making one from developers so inclined as the dedicated server is non-free ("free" as in Freedom not price) software.
Most often commercial game server hosts choose the GNU/Linux build as GNU/Linux is regarded as a more flexible server operating system with higher performance.
The HLDS can not be audited for intentionally malicious or intrusive behavior, potential exploits, nor disruptive bugs that could be caused by bad programming practices as it is non-free (Free as in Freedom, not price) software and is by non-novice System Administrators almost always run on GNU/Linux in a chroot jail to protect the rest of the system.
Each game has its required files hosted on the Valve content servers, along with all of the other games available on the Valve servers. When given the appropriate command each game capable of running a server through HLDS can have the sources downloaded and then used.
To acquire the Steam-based HLDS, one must simply go to the tools section in their Steam client and install the “Half-Life Dedicated Server”, which is not to be confused with the “Source Dedicated Server”. The Source Dedicated Server is for running a server for games based on the Source engine. However, the standalone Dedicated Server can run any Valve-hosted multiplayer game based on either engine.
The standalone version can be found on this page. It contains links usually found in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. The upsides of this version of the program are that the user doesn’t need to have the game installed on the computer, and that there is no need to have Steam installed on the computer, at least not for the Windows stand-alone server. For the GNU/Linux system, a proprietary text-mode Steam client is provided.
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