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Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta 211

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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  • Why nVidia only? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:02PM (#45686363)

    You are screwing a large group of people by doing that. Either that, or someone funding came their way to ignore AMD.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?)
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:51AM (#45686953)

    For my purposes (and, I suspect, most others') there is a difference between "sufficient for gaming" and "able to run certain games". Any computer can run games - Doom has been ported to damn near every 32-bit system, and many indie games may as well list requirements as "CPU: Yes".

    I'm not denying that you can play a respectable number of games on a recent Intel GPU. But it is enough of a restriction that you have to be aware of your hardware limits when purchasing games.

    Skyrim, incidentally, is not a very good example. It scales rather well to low-end hardware, especially on the GPU (it is less forgiving of CPU or RAM weaknesses). Looking at the same review, Battlefield 3, at minimum settings, 768p, runs at 37fps, which for a shooter is essentially unplayable. Civilization V was down to 15-20fps at low settings - not even remotely smooth, although I suppose since it's a turn-based game you could technically call it playable.

    Don't get me wrong - Intel is improving quickly, and they're already good enough that SteamOS needs to support them eventually. They're already good enough for occasional gamers. But they are not something purchased by anyone who considers "gaming" a primary concern - and SteamOS is purely aimed at gaming. If you're installing an OS that boots into a game menu, you're already in the gaming niche.

    That said, one of SteamOS's niches is as a game streaming box. Have a big, beefy (coughWindows-runningcough) box sitting elsewhere in your house, streamed to a small SteamOS box hooked up to your TV and controller. This is right up the alley for an Intel GPU, and I suspect this setup could become a primary use for SteamOS.

  • Re:Debian! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @02:23AM (#45687385)

    Also, Valve is telling developers to develop for a specific open-source runtime environment, rather than the OS:

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

  • Re:Why nVidia only? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @05:42AM (#45688003)

    Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that ATI drivers for linux have ALWAYS been terrible.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford