Valve’s SteamOS has been out in the wild for over a month and has found a lot of favour with Linux fans itching to try out something new. The OS has been constantly updated thanks to feedback from the community and some of the openness that Valve has been espousing about the OS has borne fruit – Valve is now including some user mods that have been submitted to the company and some of them have been done incredibly quickly.
One of Valve’s engineers working on the SteamOS beta, John Vert, posted up a new ISO of the OS that now supports a number of new features, including the ability to set up a dual-booting system in the installer as well as support non-UEFI motherboards, simplifying the aches that many users had to endure to install the initial beta OS on their current hardware.
Along with that, Vert credits two SteamOS users who have done some incredible work to get things up and running much quicker than Valve could manage. Jo “directhex” Shields and Michael “ecliptik” Waltz have been working on their own customised version of SteamOS and have also been sending their fixes and tweaks to Valve. This was one of the things that Valve promised when first revealing their ideas for a Linux-based OS – that it needed to be completely open and configurable to suit users’ needs, but robust and secure enough to make any user feel comfortable with it.
Among the list of changes that have been made to the OS recently, directhex and ecliptik have added in options for power users to configure the OS, tweaked the way in which updates are delivered to keep the OS current (as this is a customised version, not the official SteamOS), added support for software RAID configurations up to RAID 10 and updated the default firmwares that come with the software.
A bunch of other tweaks have been made by these two intrepid Linux hacks and Valve is in the process of adding most of these features in to the official SteamOS installer. They also have lists of known bugs with the system and will be working to squish them. Check out the details below:
Improvements to Ye Olde SteamOSe:
SteamOS requires UEFI. Ye Olde SteamOSe works with UEFI or BIOS.
SteamOS requires a 2GB USB Stick to install. Ye Olde SteamOSe works from a DVD or a 1GB USB Stick.
SteamOS requires a real computer. Ye Olde SteamOSe has 3D acceleration on VMWare and Virtualbox, out of the box.
SteamOS says it needs 500GB of disk space, but that’s a lie. Ye Olde SteamOSe requires the same amount of space as SteamOS really does – 40.5GB minimum (of that 10GB and any more available is for games).
SteamOS takes over your PC. Ye Olde SteamOSe supports dual-boot.
SteamOS only supports Realtek networking, or firmware-free networking. Ye Olde SteamOSe supports everything a modern Linux does, including WiFi.
SteamOS monopolizes drives. Ye Olde SteamOSe can resize NTFS partitions.
SteamOS only outputs to HDMI audio. Ye Olde SteamOSe supports almost any sound card with a couple of clicks.
SteamOS only supports basic partitions. Ye Olde SteamOSe supports LVM and software RAID.
Known issues and workarounds:
3D support is broken in Big Picture Mode itself and in 32-bit games in VirtualBox. This is a flaw in the Debian packaging of the VirtualBox guest drivers.
Sound card selection, volume levels, etc, must be set with pavucontrol, not the GNOME volume slider.
Download links for the latest version of SteamOS as well as the customised version can be found below. Take note that the OS is mostly untested and has quite a few software quirks, including scrapping all the partitions on the drive you’re installing it to. Please make sure you do your backups properly and keep in mind that NAG Online takes no responsibility whatever goes wrong when you let Gaben invade all of your PC.
Processor: Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
Memory: 4GB or more RAM
Hard Drive: 500GB or larger disk
Video Card: NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon!)
Additional: UEFI boot support, USB port for installation