Are you a reckless brave Linux user who wants to live dangerously during the holidays? If so, Valve, the company behind the Steam gaming marketplace, has just the experiment for you. The company has released their Linux-based gaming operating system for anyone with a spare hard-drive, an NVIDIA graphics card, and nerves of pure steel. Step forward Linux commandos!
The new SteamOS was designed for the specially-made hardware – the “Steam Machines” – which are now in the hands of 300 lucky people. Eventually the company wants everyone to have the operating system set up in their homes (the company says this should happen in 2014), but right now, the software is bleeding edge beta, and is only compatible with NVIDIA-powered computers with Linux installed (with Intel and AMD support on the way).
So if you are feeling like taking on a big challenge, you can download the necessary installation files here. PC World reports that SteamOS cannot install to a partition, so you need the whole hard drive for this. But only tackle this if you know what you are doing – and remember to back up your files before beginning! Even Valve has warned that “unless you’re an intrepid Linux hacker already, we’re going to recommend that you wait until later in 2014 to try it out”. And note that a System Restore is also provided, which might be a good insurance policy.
Before you go through all the hassle though of setting this up, bear in mind that Linux gaming is still pretty limited, compared to Windows. SteamOS will eventually rely on streaming the games via your home network, but at the moment, you are confined to just Linux games.