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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It seems like there are many reasons for Valve to get behind Linux, foremost of them being Gabe Newell's stated dislike for Windows 8.x, and his presumption that many gamers in his target audience feel the same way.

Valve's goal seems to be putting its games and gaming PC's in the hands of people who normally play console games, while expanding its base among PC gamers at the same time. With Steam OS (and Linux in general,) Valve can keep their hardware prices lower (no "Windows Tax") and avoids being captive to the whims of Microsoft.

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