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Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta 211

Posted by timothy
from the actually-sounds-pretty-cool dept.
An anonymous reader writes that, as promised, "Valve has put out their first SteamOS Linux operating system beta. SteamOS 1.0 'Alchemist' Beta is forked from Debian Wheezy and features its own graphics compositor along with other changes. Right now SteamOS 1.0 is only compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards and uses NVIDIA's closed-source Linux driver. SteamOS can be downloaded from here, but the server seems to be offline under the pressure."
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Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta

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  • Torrent (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:55PM (#45686317) Homepage Journal
    An alternate submission [slashdot.org] links to another article about the use of a Debian base system [muktware.com] as well as an unofficial torrent [steamdb.info].
    • by cusco (717999)

      Slashdotted even before the story hits SlashDot?

      • by gangien (151940)

        do sites even get /.ed anymore?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Not really, no. Usually by the time Slashdot runs a story these days it's been on other, more popular sites for a week for more.
  • Debian! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:58PM (#45686339)

    The one distro to rule them all!

    • Re:Debian! (Score:4, Funny)

      by gagol (583737) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:33PM (#45686509)
      Amen brother.
      • Re:Debian! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sayfawa (1099071) on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:04PM (#45686605)
        Amen, Amen. Based on what people in the know said, I was really starting to think that this would be some tivo-like garbage. So glad it's going to be a traditional distro. And the fact that it's Debian-based; icing on the cake.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Also, Valve is telling developers to develop for a specific open-source runtime environment, rather than the OS: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-runtime

          You could in theory run Steam and the games on any Linux on which you can get the runtime set up.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:10PM (#45686627)

      Although Debian is not one of my desktop distros (which are Gentoo and NixOS), I recognize that it has become the most reliable and best supported distro with the largest community and the most respected pedigree. It's also the most common base or parent for other distros like Ubuntu, so clearly it has the largest slice of the pie. And here's a little secret that is no secret: it just works.

      I use it occasionally on little ARM boards like the awesome BeagleBone Black, where you have to overwrite the pile of junk Angstrom distro that comes on the board out of the box. Debian is totally painless and just works in that role. If you need a replacement distro that you can depend on, Debian never disappoints.

      It's the "distro franca" of Linux, the GOTO choice for those who don't like pain.

    • Re:Debian! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:51AM (#45686951)
      Valve forked the graphics subsystem. Keep forking and letting everyone be their own little fiefdom of incompatibility Linux... That's the way to the desktop (set top?)
      • Re:Debian! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Saturday December 14, 2013 @01:54AM (#45687271) Homepage Journal

        For a console system, you need sprites, high-speed polygon placement, built-in shaders and deadline-based updates (it has to be damn smooth, if it's going to compete with the alternatives).

        What you do not need are windows (beyond picture-in-picture), client-server overheads (consoles aren't likely to be connected to X terminals in a different room, city or country, unless you're using a VERY big monitor), memory overheads from components never used in this context, or support for multiple users with one or more displays each on a single console.

        Now, I haven't inspected the code yet, so can't say how far they've gone. Nor do I know if anyone still works on KGI or GGI, although those would be far closer to console requirements than X.

        (Hey, I love X, I actually have made a lot of use of redirecting screens several hundred miles for diagnostic purposes, I think there is a lot of life in the system yet, but vanilla X is totally wrong for consoles and even modded X won't give the experience console addicts crave.)

        Besides, Valve isn't a desktop flavour. If you want a desktop flavour, one that wows desktop users (just as the desktop market starts dying horribly, it's anguished cry half-drowned in the blood and tabletness flowing forth like a monstrous, misshapen river) then you need to make one.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          the games wouldn't be compiled against this new compositor, afaik. too much work in that. just opengl, but this is for the steam portion of it. I'm not so sure it makes any difference that they went this route vs. doing it in x and memory overhead is neglible from that anyways.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          For a console system, you need sprites, high-speed polygon placement, built-in shaders and deadline-based updates (it has to be damn smooth, if it's going to compete with the alternatives).

          Sure, you do need all of those things.

          What you do not need are windows (beyond picture-in-picture), client-server overheads (consoles aren't likely to be connected to X terminals in a different room, city or country, unless you're using a VERY big monitor), memory overheads from components never used in this context, or support for multiple users with one or more displays each on a single console.

          Memory is cheap now, and you definitely need support for windows for all kinds of features. You don't need the rest but it doesn't weigh much by modern standards.

      • Re:Debian! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Microlith (54737) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @02:22AM (#45687379)

        I'll wager that this compositor is temporary until Debian ships Wayland and Nvidia has drivers that work with it. This thing is still running Xorg, just using a customized compositor.

      • Pretty sure Valve has their own priorities, and (gasp) they probably arent the same as yours or Linus'.

        The good news is that their effort doesnt stop anyone elses efforts to the contrary.

      • by pev (2186)

        Of course they forked, they wanted to spend their time and effort developing a product to ship instead of constantly justifying their own decisions to a project gatekeeper. Sounds fair to me, its their time... Democracy is great but dictatorships get things done MUCH faster...

      • Eh, forked the graphics subsystem? They are running X with a modified XCompmgr as compositor, the latter has been around for ages and was likely chosen because it runs on anything that can run X.

        There's no 'fiefdom of incompability' here.

    • Imagine if they had chosen Shuttleworth's os. Now they still support his os, but also many more, apart from itself.

      Hail Debian, the mothership.

  • TORRENTS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stonebit (2776195) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:59PM (#45686347)
    When will the clods learn... need to share something big to a lot of people? TORRENT!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:04PM (#45686373)

    Seeing as i cream my pants every time Valve announces something, it is now time for some new underwear.

    At least it isn't like the time I got an auto-reply to my job application at Valve. Sure, they didn't end up hiring me into their utopia, but if you ask me one shitty bed is a fair price to pay at heroin-like bliss.

  • by visualight (468005) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:09PM (#45686399) Homepage

    UEFI boot support is in the list of HW requirements, which I've managed to avoid so far. There's no mention of TPM but maybe that's the reason?

    • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:43PM (#45686753)

      You don't realize how much easier UEFI makes things until you figure it out and start using it.

      UEFI can do other fun stuff, but by default it runs "\EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi" on the first fat32 partition it sees.
      No more dealing with trying to backup custom bootloaders, or trying to figure out why grub install isn't letting you dual boot. Just rename a shell with a default script to bootx64.efi and you're good to go. Hell, those shells even include their own editor.

      I wonder how many people realize that UEFI means that as long as a USB drive is fat32 they can just drag and drop the files without worrying about formatting the thing with a bootloader.

      • by dshk (838175)

        as long as a USB drive is fat32

        Does this mean that I am paying to Microsoft if I buy an UEFI motherboard? AFAIK they still extort money for their FAT file systems. Why did somebody choose FAT? If I am clever enough to dual boot than I am also clever enough to format a drive with the completely free ext2.

        • as long as a USB drive is fat32

          Does this mean that I am paying to Microsoft if I buy an UEFI motherboard? AFAIK they still extort money for their FAT file systems. Why did somebody choose FAT? If I am clever enough to dual boot than I am also clever enough to format a drive with the completely free ext2.

          Because just about every OS and it's mother reads fat32. I run Linux, but all I ask from motherboard manufacturers are easy to follow open standards. Like it or not fat32 is the de facto inoperable file system.
          Are you really saying that you want bios coders to understand NTFS and HFS+? Because you can't have them reading ext2 without those as well. Plus all the OS's touch the EFS partition. If anything you should be grateful that one of those two didn't win.

          Besides, I use btrfs not ext2. Expecting bio

          • by dshk (838175)
            I did not intend to say that motherboards should understand all file systems. But they should understand at least one non-proprietary, non patent-encumbered one. I mentioned ext2 because that is a relatively simple one. I am afraid you confused ext2 and the current, more complicated ext4. But the actual file system is not important, except it should be patent-free.
          • Like it or not fat32 is the de facto inoperable file system.

            (Emphasis mine.) That's worth a chuckle, at least.

    • by tom229 (1640685)
      It looks like they didn't want to provide a BIOS bootable image at this time. Whether they will do that in the future, who knows.

      Regardless, I'm sure there's already BIOS supported images out there as it's not difficult to make a usb drive bootable and install grub on it. You could even do it in Windows [sourceforge.net].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:52PM (#45686563)

    The Catalyst and Mesa drivers are present on the system, but SteamOS Beta 1 is being advertised as NVIDIA-only.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU0MzY

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