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Valve Announces Linux-Based SteamOS 510

Today Valve Software announced SteamOS, a Linux-based gaming operating system designed for, as Valve puts it, "living room machines." They say, "In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we're now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases." One major feature they're touting is the ability to use the SteamOS machine to stream video games from other Windows and Mac computers in the house to your TV. They mention media streaming as well, but without much detail. "With SteamOS, 'openness' means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they've been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation."
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Valve Announces Linux-Based SteamOS

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  • Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:16PM (#44925583) Journal

    You know, when I think back on my first Linux install way back in 1993 or so with Slackware, who would have thought that Linus's project would end up on hundreds of millions of servers, smartphones, tablets, game systems, embedded hardware and the like. I find the whole thing rather breathtaking. Linux really is one of the great successes of the computer age.

  • by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:18PM (#44925621)
    This has the potential to end Windows as the dominant gaming platform; maybe even as a gaming platform in general. Once that happens, one of the biggest obstacles to mass desktop Linux adoption will be gone. Excellent.......
  • SteamOS and XBMC? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kieran Evans ( 3181069 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:20PM (#44925637)
    Now comes the question, How well will XBMC integrate with this? If they both behave well together it's going to make for a damn good HTPC setup. Any word on if this is a completely own-rolled Linux Distro, or is it, as I suspect, an Ubuntu/Debian derivative due to their previous interactions?
  • Re:Compatibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:26PM (#44925715) Homepage

    2014: The Year of Linux on the Living Room!

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:30PM (#44925763)

    You can't enforce DRM effectively until you lock down the device completely. So, of course Steam wants to control the OS. SteamOS sounds exactly like Microsoft's strategy of embracing, extending, and then extinguishing open standards.

    So, yes, SteamOS will bring the Linux kernel to the masses, but as to the actual *benefits* of Linux -- transparency and freedom -- Valve is going to kill those.

  • Re:If you notice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:47PM (#44925931) Homepage

    The icons appear to be...

    "O" - A gaming OS
    "[O ]" - A box running the gaming OS?
    "O + O" - A gaming network?

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:55PM (#44926005)

    I've been wanting to stop dual booting for nearly two decades. The purists complain that locking you out of the OS (DRM) components is vehemently prohibited in the spirit of Open Source and basically creates the very problem OSS was designed to get away from.

    On the other hand, software companies complain they need to lock you out in order to combat piracy and protect their digital assets. Without doing so, they have no way to protect their revenue stream.

    I have never found a good solution to this problem. It's been a good 20 years, and nobody else has either so those of us who straddle the fence between purity and utility still dual boot.

    I do not like the idea of SteamOS. I would really like the entire computer industry to be based on open formats, source and standards but that is a crack dream that will never happen. Something needs to give. Maybe this is it. I prefer to believe I trust Valve more than anyone else with something like this.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @03:02PM (#44926779) Homepage

    Here's what this will mean: game developers will test their games on SteamOS and nothing else, making SteamOS the gold standard for Linux gaming. (In fact there will probably be a single "reference" SteamBox used for the development and testing.)

    The distros will need to include compatible versions of all the libraries used in SteamOS, to get the games to run. Users will be able to file bugs that say "$GAME runs perfectly on SteamOS but does not run correctly on $DISTRO."

    Since SteamOS is just Linux with a particular set of libraries installed, this is feasible. All the distros will have a clear target for which to aim.

    Overall I think this is a win for gaming on Linux. The current situation is far too fragmented for Linux ports to be profitable for the game developers. SteamOS will defragment "Linux gaming" to a single platform.

  • Re:Compatibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @03:56PM (#44927345) Journal

    IMO Origin is the best thing that ever happened to Steam: now I won't accidentally buy a game to discover I had been fooled by the ads and it was EA shovelware. Now if only the other "pile our own DRM on top of Steam's DRM" jerks would also leave!

  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @05:15PM (#44928181)

    Linux is only successful when X11 isn't involved. Like Android. Like servers. Like embedded. Pretty much everywhere Linux is a big deal, X11 isn't. Hope Wayland changes this.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter