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Valve Has Announced The SteamOS Built On Linux UPDATED

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As we’ve been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the conclusion that the
environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself.
SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen.
It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.

This is very interesting a true gaming orientated version of Linux for the living room, the OS is completely free and freely licensable for manufacturers enabling anyone to make a SteamBox (they already said they would do that previously).

What is interesting is that it notes it can stream games from your PC to your SteamOS box:
QuoteYou can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have - then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!

Note Linux isn't listed, the question is does Linux need this option? I don't think so since anything that works directly on the SteamOS should I hope work on desktop Linux.

The problem is though, this still doesn't give an incentive for bigger developers to publish for Linux/SteamOS since they will now say, "just stream it to a SteamBox", it just lines up another reason not to do a Linux version. Unless they really care about SteamOS+SteamBox itself, if it's popular and people start using it as an actual console, then they will need to start porting, so it remains to be seen how it will pan out for us all!

The next announcements will probably be:
  • 2) The first SteamBox from them directly
  • 3) A controller for SteamOS, possibly even with dedicated buttons for things like friends lists

I think for a SteamBox direct from them it would need to be partnered up with a big manufacturer to ensure it meets demand.

The big question for us is how well will they support the stand-alone Linux client after all this? They have put in a lot of work so far, will it continue? I really hope so they have done some great work so far, they do have different teams working on different things after-all so I hope it continues.

The next announcement is scheduled for two days time, so stay tuned on Wednesday to see if we're right on what they next two will be!

What are your thoughts? Could this be dangerous for the desktop Linux client?

UPDATE: So games targetting SteamOS will work on desktop Linux, looks like my fears for now can be laid to rest, AAA games here we come!
QuoteGot a response from Valve about games and the normal Linux distros:
My question:
I was wondering about the SteamOS and if games that work on it will also work on normal Linux distros (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc)?
And the response:

Source Article taken from
Tags: Editorial, Steam
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Shmerl 23 Sep, 2013
Quoting: Bumadartrue, choose between alienating ubuntu users or rest of the linux world, saying as they only officially support ubuntu it will probably be that which is a shame as I don't see other distro's using Mir since the licensing issue and more important that there is no promise for a stable frozen api.
I actually think there are higher chances of them picking Wayland in the future. Their whole focus on Ubuntu came before Canonical announced this Mir diversion. Now Valve will have to reevaluate where they are heading. With Ubuntu becoming increasingly isolationist, they might as well choose other distro / middleware as a base.
abelthorne 23 Sep, 2013
Quoting: ShmerlI see. The way they phrased it is kind of misleading. They had to add that other installation of Windows / Mac OSX is required for such cases.

I wonder though if they'll offer cloud streaming for example. I.e. their installations of Windows / Mac OSX on their virtual servers, and users's games "streamed" to the client. In theory this can work for some stuff, though performance probably can be an issue.
Yeah, it's a bit misleading but I guess that if you have Windows or MacOS games you already have a PC with Windows or a Mac. And that's not the machine you'll plug on your TV to run SteamOS. ;)

I've been wondering about the streaming on Valve servers (like OnLive) but I'm not sure it would work well because of latency. Besides, the Steam servers already have difficulties to handles players at times, I think it would not be an optimal experience if they had to stream games...
Shmerl 23 Sep, 2013
Quoting: abelthorneYeah, it's a bit misleading but I guess that if you have Windows or MacOS games you already have a PC with Windows or a Mac.

No Mac OSX, but I have quite a lot of Windows games and play them in Wine :) I'm not using any Windows computer at home for a while already.
hallo 23 Sep, 2013
QuoteAll the games you love

Hundreds of great games are already running natively on SteamOS. Watch for announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014. Access the full Steam catalog of over nearly 3000 games and desktop software titles via in-home streaming.

I don't think we have anything to worry about! :D
km3k 23 Sep, 2013
I hope they do Steam Linux to SteamOS streaming. My main gaming PC runs Steam on Arch Linux. I want to be able to build a super cheap PC to run SteamOS on and stream from Arch Linux to that. I'd love to be able to stream to something like a Raspberry Pi running SteamOS. Chomecast support would be awesome too.
Shmerl 23 Sep, 2013
Nothing to worry except that most of those probably will require Steam to run. But in general I hope it will boost DRM free Linux gaming in result as well.
Lord Avallon 23 Sep, 2013
I don´t think we have to worry, mainly because one of the greatest issues of people migrating from Windows to Linux is "that game doesn´t work on Linux even using Wine or have a lot of issues", I see this streaming feature as an incentive for people to keep SteamOS running in their computers and this can make the installed Linux base grow, attracting more developers and AAA titles. In my opinion a customized OS to run games from Valve itself will be awesome, I never saw a gaming oriented distro before (I don´t know if there is one), I think that investing in an OS is more viable than a console based PC, since a lot of people already have a computer, what could make them buy another one only to run their games in the living room? As an OS can be installed in the PC, with this licensing manufacturers will take care of the machines and Steam will focus on the software, it´s very clever in my point of view.
Joe 23 Sep, 2013
Let's hope we see Civ 5 for Linux announced soon :)
Speedster 23 Sep, 2013
As already noted, Valve is still pushing native ports with this strategy. Streaming will need to have good performance, but top performance would be native games. Won't matter for slow games, but there are plenty of AAA titles where it does matter.

My take is that Valve has a good record so far of telling upstream developers what they have found, so this is a good thing for Linux overall. Also should be a new source of nice Linux-compatible hardware from manufacturers who otherwise wouldn't care about Linux, like Chromebooks where you can install another distro on it if desired. 

I think SteamOS will be another debian offshoot, and ubuntu will diverge off by itself until they give up on mir. Or, maybe mir will have some graphics performance breakthrough that will lure Valve over into their corner, who knows ;)
adolson 23 Sep, 2013
Quoting: Sabun
Quoting: QuoteCould this be dangerous for the desktop Linux client?
To me it sounds like another Linux distro, except it's aiming for the desktop aggressively (like Ubuntu) and has financial backing from Valve. I'm actually pretty excited to try it out once it's downloadable.
Desktop? You mean television, right? Ubuntu isn't aggressively targeting the TV last I checked.
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