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SteamOS 3.6 Preview for Steam Deck brings numerous big new features

By - | Views: 38,027

Valve have now put SteamOS 3.6 into Preview for Steam Deck, so those willing to test can jump in now and check out more big new features.

It's only in the Preview channel, which you need to manually change over to in the Steam -> System settings. In the drop-down box change it to Preview and then your Steam Deck will need a reboot. After you should check for updates and see SteamOS 3.6 available.

There's plenty of great stuff in it like an updated Arch Linux package base that includes newer GPU drivers, a newer Linux kernel, microSD card improvements, Mura Compensation, KDE Plasma 5.27.10, overclocking on the LCD Steam Deck, improved SteamOS updates and so much more.

It's going to be a fun weekend of testing! Seems like this fixes and improves some of the big stuff people have been requesting for a while.

Full changelog below:

General

  • Updated to a more recent Arch Linux base
  • Improved pairing experience with Apple AirPods
  • Improved session recovery speed after GPU crashes
  • Fixed some connectivity failures with access points supporting WPA3 security
  • Updated Linux kernel to version 6.5
  • Improved speed of subsequent OS updates
  • Improved reliability of certain microSD card usage scenarios
  • Fixed game session cursor offset alignment
  • Worked around misdetection of some SanDisk microSD cards
  • Fixed an issue where a thin grey line could appear at the bottom of the screen during boot in some situations
  • Fixed an issue causing temporary files to accrue when using Flatpak
  • Enabled support for Bluetooth A2DP and BAP profiles
  • Improved connection speed of some Bluetooth devices
  • Improved performance and stability in memory pressure situations
  • Fixed an issue where the Performance Overlay would spuriously enable itself under certain conditions
  • Added mechanism to configure which Bluetooth device categories are allowed to wake the system from suspend
    • By default, controllers are the only devices that can wake the system from sleep
    • Finer-grained UI configuration options will be available as part of a future update

Display

  • Improved display uniformity, under some conditions (Mura Compensation)
  • Improved display color balance (reduced green tint) at lower brightness levels, under some conditions
  • Improved gamma uniformity (yellow tint), under some conditions

Graphics and Performance

  • Updated graphics driver to Mesa 24.1, with many performance and correctness improvements
  • Improved responsiveness of the Steam UI

Desktop Mode

  • Updated to KDE Plasma 5.27.10
  • Enabled thumbnail previews for videos in the file browser
  • Fixed an issue with desktop use that could cause subsequent microSD card auto-mount to fail

Deck Dock

  • Added support for some HDMI CEC features:
    • TV remote input
    • TV wake up
    • TV input switching
  • Updated Dock firmware, with compatibility fixes for high-refresh-rate VRR displays

BIOS

  • Added overclocking controls on Steam Deck LCD
  • Fixed not being able to set the SDCard as default boot device
  • Adjusted power LED slow charging threshold
  • Fixed spurious power LED blinking in S5

Development and Modding

  • Modified files in /etc are now migrated to new OS versions based on a whitelist
    • Fixes numerous issues with incidentally touched /etc files becoming 'sticky' and persisting unexpectedly
    • Additional whitelist entries can be added via config fragments
      • See /etc/atomic-update.conf.d/example-additional-keep-list.conf
    • Added /etc/previous/ containing modifications from the previous update to prevent unexpected data loss
      • Up to five previous snaphots of /etc modifications will additionally be retained in /var/lib/steamos-atomupd/etc_backup/
  • Added support for {ssh,sshd}_config fragments

Known Issues

  • Frequent session switches can result in the sound driver crashing, needing a system reboot

Let me know how you get on with the update in the comments!

On top of Proton 9.0 being released recently we're seeing again constant improvements from Valve. Always great to see. Linux and Steam Deck gaming just keep on getting better.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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15 comments
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Arehandoro May 10
QuoteAdded support for some HDMI CEC features:

TV remote input
TV wake up
TV input switching

This is very interesting! Soon I'll be able to turn on the TV, sit on the sofa... and not having to curse and get up again because I forgot to turn the Deck on


Last edited by Arehandoro on 10 May 2024 at 1:20 pm UTC
Jarmer May 10
I wonder why it's running kernel 6.5 ...? Current stable is 6.8 and even the lts release is at 6.6.
creedda May 10
Quoting: Arehandoro
QuoteAdded support for some HDMI CEC features:

TV remote input
TV wake up
TV input switching

This is very interesting! Soon I'll be able to turn on the TV, sit on the sofa... and not having to curse and get up again because I forgot to turn the Deck on

This is the most important update I have heard about in a while. Also note:

QuoteAdded mechanism to configure which Bluetooth device categories are allowed to wake the system from suspend

By default, controllers are the only devices that can wake the system from sleep
Finer-grained UI configuration options will be available as part of a future update



So if I am reading this right, I should be able to plop on my couch, turn on my controller, and my steam deck should wake up from sleep, turn my tv on, set it to the right input and i can put in my pin and game.

Very exciting!

However, when I updated my deck and dock to test it out, none of it appears to work...

Hopefully they work out the bugs and get it working though this is super important for casual players who just want it to function like a switch.
Liam Dawe May 10
Quoting: creeddaSo if I am reading this right, I should be able to plop on my couch, turn on my controller, and my steam deck should wake up from sleep, turn my tv on, set it to the right input and i can put in my pin and game.
As far as I know, this is still specific to the OLED. Before this update, headphones would even turn it on lol. So they're tweaking it to make sure they don't.
ToddL May 10
Quoting: JarmerI wonder why it's running kernel 6.5 ...? Current stable is 6.8 and even the lts release is at 6.6.

I suspect that they stay on 6.5 since it works great for their needs and there's no need to move up a version unless there is something that they provide that 6.5 doesn't.

Quoting: ArehandoroThis is very interesting! Soon I'll be able to turn on the TV, sit on the sofa... and not having to curse and get up again because I forgot to turn the Deck on

I know what you mean because I have to turn on the Steam Deck with the Dock plugged into it in order to see the Gaming Mode appear before I plug the adapter into the outlet to get it to run from power. It's a fight I have to deal with every time I want to use the Dock but hopefully SteamOS 3.6 fixes this issue like they say in the release notes.
iGom May 10
Mesa version is 24.0.5 not 24.1
creedda May 10
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: creeddaSo if I am reading this right, I should be able to plop on my couch, turn on my controller, and my steam deck should wake up from sleep, turn my tv on, set it to the right input and i can put in my pin and game.
As far as I know, this is still specific to the OLED. Before this update, headphones would even turn it on lol. So they're tweaking it to make sure they don't.

Darn that's deeply disappointing if its OLED only.

I wish they would highlight that in the patch notes.

Guess I'm hoping for Steam Deck 2 to come out in the near future so I can justify an upgrade...

Thanks.
satoridepon May 10
Quoting: creeddaDarn that's deeply disappointing if its OLED only.

It was said on OLED announcement that Bluetooth wake is only available on it afaik. However, I guess HDMI-CEC wake means that your TV should be able to wake the deck now too?
Liam Dawe May 10
There’s a bug with double inputs on external gamepads, will be fixed in next Preview: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/SteamOS/issues/1500#issuecomment-2103926599

Killer for me so I’m rolling back for now.
numasan May 11
QuoteFixed an issue where the Performance Overlay would spuriously enable itself under certain conditions

I can wait for the stable release, but have seen this bug quite a few times, so cool to see it fixed.
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