How I forked SteamOS for my living room PC

SteamOS 3 (“Holo”) is the Arch-based Linux distribution built for the Steam Deck, Valve Software’s portable PC gaming device. It’s a very interesting Linux distribution even when you only focus on how it updates itself: updates are performed atomically by downloading a new read-only root filesystem to an inactive partition, then rebooting into that partition. But consumers can also run steamos-devmode to unlock the root filesystem, put the pacman database in working order, and give them a working Linux distro with a normal package manager.

This A/B atomic updates system is pretty standard for OSes these days, but there’s a lot going on in SteamOS that makes them work even with heavy customization by the end-user. I wanted to explore that while still being able to make changes to the root filesystem images. steamos-devmode is the easy way out; I wanted to make a proper fork. Here’s how I did it.

↫ iliana etaoin

This article has sparked my interest to build a living room PC for Steam gaming for my wife and I, so we can play couch coop Steam games on an actual couch instead of behind our PC desk. Very detailed and in-depth, this article also teaches a lot about how SteamOS works under the hood.


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