With beta Steam Machines shipping out to 300 Steam volunteers, Valve also made beta version of SteamOS available for download on December 13, 2013. SteamOS is a Debian variant of the Linux operating system, based on Debian 7 (codenamed Wheezy). Valve has warned those that are eager to install the operating system on their PCs that the release is meant more for the technically savvy and not casual users.
The requirements of the OS are quite average by most PC standards and Valve claims that it has “achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing” through SteamOS:
- Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
- 4GB or more RAM
- 500GB or larger disk
- NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon!)
- UEFI boot support
- USB port for installation
There are currently two versions available and Valve recommend that you use a default installation method which is a pre-configured image-based install using CloneZilla. The other custom installation method is a bit more in depth and uses a Linux installer to do a clean installation, this way then requires you to run a few commands to finish the installation off.
SteamOS is designed primarily for playing video games so it does not have many built-in functions beyond web browsing and playing games. Users can, however, install other software like file manager or image viewer by using the inbuilt GNOME desktop environment. Though the OS does not, in its current form, support streaming services, Valve is in talks with streaming companies to bring the feature to SteamOS. It allows users to stream games from their Windows or Mac computers to one running SteamOS.
You can download SteamOS and get detailed step by step guidance at the official website here.