Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Dec 2013 00:14 UTC

As promised, Valve has released the first test release of SteamOS. From the FAQ:

SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called 'alchemist' and it is based on the Debian 'wheezy' (stable 7.1) distribution.

The major changes made in SteamOS are:

  • Backported eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing
  • Added various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack (Intel and AMD graphics support still being worked on)
  • Updated kernel tracking the 3.10 longterm branch (currently 3.10.11)
  • Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay
  • Configured to auto-update from the Valve SteamOS repositories

You need to have an NVIDIA card for it to work, since Intel and AMD graphics are currently not yet supported (work is underway).

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Some people were already proclaiming that Valve will lock everything down and make it as difficult to customize the installations as regular consoles generally do. Well, this luckily proves them wrong.

Yeah, I never bought into that argument - it doesn't make sense. How would locking things down help them in any way at all?

I mean sure, to an extent Steam Boxen will be competing with consoles (which are generally expected to be locked down), but their main competition, the one everyone is going to compare them to, is a custom built PC. If they cripple their platform in any substantial way, they are going to end up screwing their chances of it gaining traction.

On a different note, I wonder if the guys in Cupertino have realized how much this will benefit them in the long run? Every single game that gets ported to SteamOS is pretty much automatically going to get an OSX port. OSX and Linux, from the perspective of game development, are virtually identical.

I really do hope this catches on, if for no other reason than it might convince some of the bigger studios to develop for OpenGL first - anything that loosens the ActiveX stranglehold on PC gaming is a good thing...

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