Valve has released a public beta version of SteamOS

Saturday, 14th December 2013 15:03 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Valve has released a public beta version of SteamOS, its open-sourced Linux-based operating system. According to the firm, it’s best if you have some level of experience with the OS before trying it out.

According to the FAQ, SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. SteamOS 1.0, which is the first version released, is called ‘alchemist’ and it is based on the Debian ‘wheezy’ (stable 7.1) distribution.

Debian is a particular distribution of the Linux operating system, while Wheezy is the current stable release of Debian, which was used as the basis for the SteamOS distribution.

The major changes made in SteamOS thus far 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 can read over the FAQ which contains system requirements, installation instructions and more through the Steam website.



  1. sam_spade

    Shame I don’t have a spare hard drive, an Nvidia card, experience with Linux and a super PC close to the TV. Otherwise I’d be on it like jam on a teacake.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. pukem0n

    @2 nobody does or wants that, so Steam OS is going to fail in my eyes

    #2 10 months ago
  3. DennoCoil

    @2 And nobody has $1,500 for a Mini-PC when a Mini-ITX mobo and a good graphics card for half the price will do the same job.

    The controller uses trackpads. Something that’s as accurate and with less features than a touch screen.

    It’s an OS designed for Steam and nobody else to use, unless a store\publisher designs a competing tablet\console style store front for Linux.

    The only reason why people are so in love with is because “IT’S FUCKING STEAM! ALL MY GAMES ARE ON LINUX!” (Quote a random fanboy who has the same blind ignorant devotion as an Apple user.)

    I’ve got 500 games from sales on Steam. Only 100 of those are Linux compatible. VAST majority is from desperate small time indies.

    AAA titles and publishers (the same assholes who give us crappy PC ports, draconian DRM, artificial limits, forced upgrades, and low-res games based around a 7 year old console) say Fuck You to linux.

    There’s a lot of shit that say only a minority will ever have the love, patience, knowledge, wisdom, or money to try this sucker.

    #3 10 months ago
  4. manamana

    We will see how it turns out. A console is just as good as the games running on it. If the Steam machines have no outstanding games, it’ll die. Gabe is a clever person, so why would he send a console to die? He wouldn’t had greenlighted the developement for SteamOS, if he wasn’t shure about it’s future.

    And about the potential of consoles with that OS. It might be a longer process but He must prove next year what the Steam Machines can do for gamers, because now is just the right time, seeing the new consoles are out and games are developed for them…

    #4 10 months ago
  5. Phoenixblight


    Its not like he is investing a lot of money into this because he really isn’t. He is using the stuff that is already out and about. Then made it Open source. Its just dipping his pinkey toe into the water. There is nothing about Steam OS that is about making a splash. Its more or less MS attempt with the Zune.

    #5 10 months ago
  6. Dragon

    I don’t know what is so different about these “steam machines” that people are getting excited about. They are just PCs with a new controller, aren’t they?
    Plus Valve itself will never publish a steam os exclusive, as said by themselves. Dont know why this thing is any different from a normal windows PC, except having less games.
    The only significant “investment” I see is the controller, which isn’t a costly thing to do.

    #6 10 months ago
  7. Phoenixblight


    Its not even that because I can use that controller on other platforms so if it is the best controller for PC games I don’t need Steam OS to utilize it.

    #7 10 months ago

    Seems like a reasonable idea at first, but then I saw this: and started to wonder why anyone would want to take a PC, and restrict themself to a few simple gaming features…

    It’s like taking an iPhone, removing all of the apps, and using it as nothing other than a phone.

    I know it’s a beta, but I think it’s a long, long way from being a proper alternative to a living room console.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @6 I’m assuming the whole point of the concept is meant to be “accessible PC gaming”. They’re banking on the idea that there is a sizable portion of gamers out there who want to get into PC games, but find all the tech jargon and foreknowledge involved in having a gaming PC difficult to penetrate.

    Even as a gamer who enjoys the PC myself (mine is nowhere near top of the range) I can kind of understand that. It’s a nice idea at its core. The machine could go either way though. I doubt they’re planning to ship anything close to console numbers. That would probably be an unrealistic expectation.

    @8 I think a more accurate analogy would comparing the iPhone to an iPod Touch. They probably want to start off simple and add stuff lately. That’s often the best approach to take with hardware and software, or you risk ending up with a mess.

    #9 10 months ago
  10. freedoms_stain

    @8, That video only shows Steam OS running Big Picture, it has a Desktop mode too (you even see the option to allow access to the Linux Desktop in the video you linked, and the option is unticked).
    this video shows the Desktop. It will look quite familiar to anyone who has used a Ubuntu distro recently, there’s clearly a quite a bit of Steam customisation in there though.

    #10 10 months ago
  11. marcinrybus

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    #11 10 months ago
  12. sebastien rivas


    You do not make sense at all buddy.
    Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo use their own OS’es. Should that mean you to throw all your Xboxes, all your PS’es and all your Nintendo?

    No offense but your statement is a state of the art for ignorance which is not bad but wake up….

    Of course, it is not or better, it may not be any better than any Windows or Apple OSes out there. That is not the point though. The point at least me is the fact to have a dedicated TV gaming console with hardware options and choices and also get online (probably google and alike).
    Sure I use my laptop and plug it via HDMI to my TV, sure I could build a PC rig and plug it through HDMI to my TV but here here comes multiple facts:
    1) None of my PC is based on a Micro PCB
    2) Even if I were to build a PC rig, then would it not make Xb1, Nintendo, PS not obsolete but unnecessary because even an average rig would make BF4 and alike play at actual 1080p and 60+ fps…
    3)Now if I were to build a PC rig, then why not grab Steam OS instead of PAYING $200 for Microsoft to play games and search the net for VG247 for example :)
    4) finally Steam provide you with options just like for PCs whereas you are NOT satisfied with a component then you add or change. I mean what do you think PS, Xb, and WiiU? a 5 years of exponential visual breakthrough? No it is not, I really do hope MS and Sony come up with updates t allow gamers reach better performances but in all honesty saying it is going 2 times better in 1 year or even 1.5 better in 1 year is a real risky bet! I do not expect more than 10~15% increase in performance within 2 years and what does that do? It blocks all AAA developers around the world to adapt their game plan for those consoles. Again I can only talk about what I know, when you see Shangai, it is freaking empty. You have 2 cars there, 1 car here and ho yes, a skycrapper that collapses… why? why not more? mesh density is already reached and well beyond that point actually so the game cannot be at 1080p on either machines, nor can MP reach 64 players in my understanding.

    For all these little annoyance, I cannot spend 400 to 600$, there is no way because there is no future proof or reassurance of any kind.
    The fact is Steam machine come in a very tough tough time, right after every kid around the world got their nintendo, ps, and xb1. Otherwise they would just drop in like a ticking nuclear bomb.


    I agree with you. The machine could go either way but I really do hope that get strong attention from devers + have the ability to overcome debunking steam credibility as a hardware and platform.

    To me, the fact they try linux is a great promise. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know anything about Linux, yet, changing horizons from two major giants in terms of hardware + giving options for hardware choice and finally attempting to pierce in a very tight competition means to me they have really strong balls and I feel some kind if fresh air coming up.

    #12 10 months ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    The first 2 iPhones did not have an open app store, that was added later on with the 3GS.

    #13 10 months ago
  14. Hunam

    I just think the biggest obstacle for me is that I probably have 15 years worth of games my PC can play, Linux just doesn’t have support for legacy gaming which is why I’d never abandon windows.

    #14 10 months ago
  15. monkeygourmet


    People moved on to PS4 / Xbone even though it potentially meant losing there backlog.

    I know what you mean though B/C is a good feature to many.

    #15 10 months ago
  16. foofly

    @14 There are plenty of older games that don’t run on newer versions of windows. I’d also say a lot of them can be emulated with little or no problem on linux.

    #16 10 months ago
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    #17 10 months ago

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