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SteamOS 3.4 rolls out in Preview for the Steam Deck - it's a massive upgrade

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Valve has done another weekend drop here, with a Preview version of SteamOS 3.4 now available for the Steam Deck. This is easily one of the biggest updates they've done to the system since release, and there's so many changes that improve the experiences across the whole device.

This includes massive upgrades to the Desktop Mode, an upgraded Arch Linux package base, the performance overlay was changed for Level 2 to show the details along the top of the screen instead of going down the left, external drive upgrades and a whole lot more.

New style of Level 2 for the Performance Overlay:

Looking good!

Currently SteamOS 3.4 is using kernel 5.13 (with various Valve patches) and Mesa 22.2.0.

Words and pictures are great but here's a video showcasing some of the changes:

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Here's the full list:

  • Rebased SteamOS on the latest version of Arch Linux
    • This update pulls in the latest performance, security and stability fixes for the underlying packages that are the foundation for SteamOS
    • Most notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck's Desktop Mode. Full notes on these updates can be found on KDE's website here, here, and here. Here are a few of the highlights:
      • New Overview view to see all open windows and virtual desktops
      • Updates to KRunner, the built in assistant for searching and running tasks
      • New touchscreen gestures
      • New themes and wallpapers
      • Updates to widgets
  • Performance profiles
    • New option to allow Screen Tearing
    • Changed performance HUD level 2 to use a horizontal layout. It fits in the letterbox space for games running in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Storage
    • Re-enabled TRIM for the internal drive as well as supported external storage devices, improving write performance
      • This includes a workaround ensuring that TRIM operations are safe for SD cards that advertise discard support but do not support it
      • Steam will periodically TRIM storage devices as needed
      • New button in Settings → System → Advanced to run trim immediately
    • Added an eject option for removable drives in Settings → Storage
      • This unmounts the removable drive, it does not physically eject it
    • External drives formatted as ext4 are now automatically mounted and available for use in Steam
  • Input
    • Disabled built-in DualShock 4 and DualSense trackpad → mouse emulation when Steam is running
    • Changed timing of virtual keypresses to improve game compatibility with on-screen keyboard
      • Fixes input issues with apps such as Street Fighter V, EA app
    • Fixed Steam Input's action set switching based on cursor visibility in Game mode
    • Re-enabled the built-in gamepad driver when Steam is not running in desktop mode
  • Audio
    • Fixed a case where the default audio device would display "echo-cancel-sink" and audio controls would cease to work correctly
    • Fixed a case where some applications would output audio to the wrong device
    • Fixed an issue with HDMI/DisplayPort audio going to sleep after being idle on external displays
  • General
    • Fixed a performance issue that could cause 100ms hitches during gameplay if adaptive backlight was enabled
    • Fixed issue with opening file managers if the gamescope session has been restarted
    • Fixed issues with sleep / wake for a number of titles
    • Fixed GPU clock settings sometimes not sticking if set manually (thanks to user xperia64 for the amdgpu kernel patch backport)
    • Fixed an issue with fan controller excessive sensor polling causing sporadic fan behavior and higher SSD temps on some NVME drives
    • New firmware for Docking Station
      • Fixes an issue where HDMI 2.0 displays are not detected during wake or boot up

Known Issue: Chinese Pinyin and Zhuyin input for the on-screen keyboard are not currently functioning correctly - we are aware of the issues and will address in an upcoming update.

Update 14/11/22: in my initial video above, I actually showed the wrong Overview Mode which was actually the original Present Windows. Here's a clarification and an additional bit on KDE Connect which is now included by default:

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Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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GeeksOnHugs Nov 13, 2022
Quoting: EikeHow do you press the mouse button on desktop mode with SD's own controls? I only know pressing the touchpad, which always makes the cursor move, especially with double clicks..

In game mode it is (Steam) + R2

That is you hold down the steam button and pull the right trigger for a left click.

I don't use desktop mode much (yet) but I think it may just be the right trigger by itself?

It would be nice if you could configure the track pad to register a click with a tap instead of a full press because of it moving the mouse when you fully press it.
efrenventura Nov 14, 2022

Amazing how valve is improving his OS... do you know if this update breaks too Decky? now is imprescindible to me for vibrant color plugin.

Thanks in advance
Liam Dawe Nov 14, 2022
Added a second video because I am dum dum.
Comandante Ñoñardo Nov 14, 2022
And yet, no Steam OS for desktop ¬¬
RedWyvern Nov 17, 2022
Quoting: jrepinA big regression that comes with this preview version is that in the updates Mesa hardware video playback decoding has been disabled for many codecs, because of stupid software patents.
This is especially annoying when streaming from Deck with Steam Link.
As I do not have a Dock and like to use the Deck as my primary controller, I use Steam Link a lot, in both directions.
In the Preview version, my Deck runs noticeably hotter when streaming from it, while also running down the battery quite fast.
I have been experimenting with installing some other Mesa version as a hacky fix, but have not gotten this to work yet.
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