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Get your big-screen Linux gaming on with a new GamerOS release

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The SteamOS-like big-screen Linux gaming distribution GamerOS has a fresh release out, with some surprising new features integrated and it's looking slick.

Providing an out of the box couch / sofa gaming experience, thanks to the Steam Big Picture interface along with their own homebrew integrations for using things provided outside of Steam, GamerOS continues to be a fine choice for a dedicated big TV box.

GamerOS 22 went out on January 12 upgrading the main internals like Linux Kernel 5.10.5, Mesa 20.3.2, NVIDIA 460.32.03 and updates to their web-based Steam Buddy tool and the Steam Tweaks tool. It gets more exciting when you look at the rest of the work done which includes:

  • New Steam Buddy platforms: GOG, 3DO
  • Automatic download and installation of Proton GE
  • Added Boxtron compatibility tool for DOS games
  • Improved reliability of Steam Tweaks database file updates
  • Adjusted some default emulator configurations for better performance
  • Improved GameCube game compatibility
  • Fixed DualShock 3 configuration for emulated games
  • Added Xbox Series X|S controller configuration for emulated games
  • Added support for Hyperkin Duke Xbox controller
  • Improved handling of Bluetooth dongles
  • Compositor fix to allow Far Cry 5 (and possibly other games) to launch correctly
  • Compositor fix to hide system tray icons
  • Fixed failures when uploading many large ROM files
  • Added podman to allow for running additional background services

With the GOG support now hooked up, it does include some caveats like DOS games not launching, no download progress and updating games not yet being supported. GOG support for GamerOS is only "preliminary", so hopefully we will see it improve in the next release.

The developer has also "certified" more games to work with GamerOS, which means they've been setup and tested working properly. Games tested include Linux supported games, and also Windows games run through Steam Play Proton. Here's what's newly certified: Children of Morta, Indivisible, Overcooked! 2, Shining Resonance Refrain, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Gris, Struggling, Yuppie Psycho, Path of Giants, Ancestors Legacy and BattleBlock Theater.

Want to download and try GamerOS? Find out how here.

If you missed it, the developer did a talk at the last Arch Linux Conference to go over the main details. You can view the video below:

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pb 16 Jan, 2021
Quoting: alkazarIt is possible to use Stadia and also probably GFN through Chromium installed via Flatpak. The downside is the Flatpak version of Chromium cannot access gamepads. For some reason native Chromium fails to run on GamerOS and Google refuses to let you login via Steam's built-in browser.

I tried to install chromium using the instructions from github, but it didn't work (didn't show up in steam buddy). But since, as you say, I wouldn't be able to use a controller, then it's useless anyway, as it's a couch gaming pc used mainly by the kids and they wanted GFN to try Fortnite and Stadia for Crayta.

QuoteSorry to hear you had a poor experience with GamerOS. /etc is read-write so you can definitely add additional disks.

Well I couldn't create any mount-points in /opt or /mnt so I didn't go as far as modifying fstab but if it's writable then it should be fine, thanks.

QuoteWe are looking into ways to make that kind of use case work out of the box. The goal of GamerOS is to be a plug and play system, sometimes that means sacrificing some use cases, at least in the short term.

I understand the primary goal but I guess for me it's far too restricted and therefore frustrating. SteamOS isn't perfect but I like it better, because I was able to just fix stuff like outdated drivers (to play Hitman 2) or install java and Minecraft (btw I appreciate it's far easier via SteamBuddy but I really don't like flatpak...). So I'd say GamerOS serves its goal of being a console-like experience rather well, I just didn't like that experience.

BTW Two other issues I had: 1) installer would hang when booted in UEFI mode, I had to switch to "plain" boot to even install the system; 2) no sound; 3) when playing today, the system just went to sleep (suspend) a few times for some unknown reason...

Last edited by pb on 17 January 2021 at 4:12 pm UTC
scirocco 2 Feb, 2021
Quoting: NanobangI'm simply not wired to listen to someone as calm and tranquil as this for even ten minutes, let alone forty-four, so I haven't watched hardly any of this video. I wonder, then, if he mentions GamerOS having, or having plans to include, media playing abilities, streaming Netflix etc., or playing local video and music ... features I saw introduced during the life of my X360. (Without these standard console functions, I think SteamOS was sort of doomed from the start.)

I'm perfectly happy with my current Linux living room/TV computer at the moment, but my other one, my Windows 7 box, its days are numbered --- and will not be extended by "upgrading" to Win10. It seems like a perfect candidate for a future version of GamerOS.

An exciting project, to be sure!

Yes you can install kodi which makes it possible to play videos and use netflix alltho the interface for kodi netflix is a bit clunky.
scirocco 2 Feb, 2021
Quoting: pb
Quoting: pbI will probably try this on my old machine, but before I erase SteamOS , can anyone confirm that Stadia and GeForceNow work fine on GamerOS with xbox controllers? I couldn't get them to work in SteamOS' browser, I guess it's too old.

I'll answer myself. It's not possible to use Stadia or GFN on GamerOS, because, like SteamOS, it only has the internal Steam browser, with no way to install Chrome or Chromium, so neither of the services work. My overall experience with installation and 3h usage of GamerOS has been rather terrible, worse than SteamOS anyway. With the system being read-only I had no way of modifying any launch settings, such as mounting another disk, where I have all the games installed. I'm sure it's better than SteamOS in subtle ways, such as newer drivers and more games working, thanks to compositor fixes (like Dead Cells), but for me it's fundamentally broken, it might have been the first way I had a worse experience with a Linux distro than with Windows.

Well its an arch based distro so you can install anything that's available to arch if you unlock it, I think the command was fzrz unlock or something like that.
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