A first look at Valve's gamer Linux SteamOS

Steam Engine

Article from Issue 160/2014
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Valve has big plans for SteamOS, the new Linux that will run on the first generation of Steam machine gaming consoles.

Valve's Steam game platform has stirred up much discussion in the Linux gaming community since it was first ported to Linux two years ago. Like other popular game platforms, Valve is not just a developer tool, but also a distribution system, digital rights management framework, and communication tool designed to offer a complete, self-contained gaming universe.

According to Valve, the Steam platform now supports "over 2000 games from Action to Indie and everything in between." The community consists of more than six million online gamers.

Steam for Windows has been around since 2003, and Mac OS support first appeared in 2010. Linux came later, but since the arrival of the first Linux version in 2012, Valve has pushed swiftly into the Linux space. The reasons for this strong Linux emphasis became clear when Valve announced it was working on a hardware gaming console, which would be known as the Steam machine. What operating system would run on the Steam machine? Valve would need a system it could shape to its own needs – and develop free from the business agendas of closed-source OS vendors. They knew they would need to build their system on Linux.

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