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SteamOS beta released

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  • User profile image
    Bass

    http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/

    This OS will also be shipped on special hardware called Steam Machines. A Steam Machine is a console without the "features" of a console. Smiley Unlike consoles they are actually PCs with an open architecture. They will also be made by multiple OEMs. And they can do everything a PC can do (including running Windows!). They are even powerful enough to run TurboTax.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    SteamBox example (same cost as Xbone, but can do 1080p at 60 FPS for current Steam games):

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2066983/first-look-at-a-steam-machine-ibuypowers-pc-has-solid-specs-xbox-like-price-tag.html

    Keep in mind these thing aren't just consoles, they are literally PCs with a fully open architecture. F*cking awesome really.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    @Bass:I like the notion of Cooperating System.

    C

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    I installed SteamOS to external USB hard disk. AMD GPU are not officially supported yet but AMD Catalyst driver is pre-installed so for example my Radeon 7970 works out of the box.

    SteamOS beta has still lots of extra software included like Linux desktop and development tools (GCC, Python, Perl, etc). Because of included extra software SteamOS uses about 2.5G after installation but is easily shrinkable to much smaller space.

    Games and software outside of Steam works without problems.

    I hope the final is going to be as open as this beta is. It will give people free hands to tune their SteamOS as they find best.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    I just don't know how this is going to work.

    Any steambox OEM won't have the buying power to build 25 millions units, so their $500 box won't compare to the PS4 or XBone... which is fine, but let's be realistic about the 60fps @ 1080 talks.

    So, presumably Valve splits their 30% takes (developers get 70%) with these OEMs, who are risking a lot for potential uptakes by people who don't already have a console.

    I just don't see that happening

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , Minh wrote

    I just don't know how this is going to work.

    Any steambox OEM won't have the buying power to build 25 millions units, so their $500 box won't compare to the PS4 or XBone... which is fine, but let's be realistic about the 60fps @ 1080 talks.

    So, presumably Valve splits their 30% takes (developers get 70%) with these OEMs, who are risking a lot for potential uptakes by people who don't already have a console.

    I just don't see that happening

    • A lot of OEMs have purchasing power much higher then Sony or Microsoft because they produce more machines. Remember these are standard PCs.
    • Also, SteamOS is royalty free. Valve make their money on Steam sales, not fees for shipping SteamOS.
    • Also the next-gen console aren't that great of a deal, they are probably not loss leaders anymore. Here is a much powerful machine then the PS4 or Xbone. Of course Sony/MS can lower their cost and keep blowing billions subsidizing consoles, but to what end? Eventually they'll want to make profits.
  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    Fail.

    Mark my words.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , BitFlipper wrote

    Fail.

    Mark my words.

    Duly noted.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    , Bass wrote

    they can do everything a PC can do (including running Windows!)

    same cost as Xbone, but can do 1080p at 60 FPS for current Steam games

    they are literally PCs with a fully open architecture.

    I have had several machines like these for years. Except they also ran all my other software, and the entire Steam catalog, rather than a subset.

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    SteamOS and Steam Machines has long way to go but this was impressive first step. It will take a lot of time to get game developers familiar with a new environment.

    As a user who uses Windows only for gaming, SteamOS is a big improvement. It's flexible so I can make wild variety of installations in any way I like. I'm able to use my external USB HDD installation with all my computers which is alone a nice improvement and having a bootable USB stick for gaming is quite nice as well.

    On my work computer I'm probably going to run SteamOS on Docker.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    , Bass wrote

    *snip*

    • A lot of OEMs have purchasing power much higher then Sony or Microsoft because they produce more machines. Remember these are standard PCs.
    • Also, SteamOS is royalty free. Valve make their money on Steam sales, not fees for shipping SteamOS.
    • Also the next-gen console aren't that great of a deal, they are probably not loss leaders anymore. Here is a much powerful machine then the PS4 or Xbone. Of course Sony/MS can lower their cost and keep blowing billions subsidizing consoles, but to what end? Eventually they'll want to make profits.

    Yes, Steamboxes are standard PCs, but so are this gen consoles. MS & Sony finally realized specialized Cells and PowerPC chips don't bring anything extra anymore.

    OK, true, I guess a Dell does sell more than 25 million units, but there's no way they'd want to get into the Steambox business. If somebody calls up for support for a Steambox, who eats that cost? Even if SteamOS wasn't free, it'd only be a tiny fraction of the entire cost of a Steambox. If you look at the Android handset model, I think the handset makers get a cut of your 2 year contract from the carriers. Valve's going to have to offer them a cut of game sales if the OEMs are going to participate.

    Thanks for the list of equipment, I didn't realize how cheap hw is getting these days, maybe time for an upgrade. BUT. That list cannot compare to the PS4/XB1. CPUs on the consoles are 8 cores, not 4. PS4 has GDDR5, not 3. Each system comes with an additional controller and a blu-ray drive. But you can't expect me, who has the purchase power of 1 to beat the big boys.

    I think MS will want to make money in this cycle... it's been a long game for them, and I think digital distribution is the key for them to start making a profit.

     

  • User profile image
    Minh

    , Bas wrote

    *snip*

    I have had several machines like these for years. Except they also ran all my other software, and the entire Steam catalog, rather than a subset.

    I bet you also paid much more than $500 for each system

  • User profile image
    Bas

    @Minh: I don't know where you usually buy your hardware, but no.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , Minh wrote

    *snip*Yes, Steamboxes are standard PCs, but so are this gen consoles. MS & Sony finally realized specialized Cells and PowerPC chips don't bring anything extra anymore.

    The use the hardware of standard PCs, but they are locked down. I'm sure someone will crack them both eventually, but it's a battle because the manufacturers don't want them to be used as standard PCs. This will be one of the key differentiators between a console and a Steam Machine. I think there will always be a model in the price range of the consoles too, but there will also be more higher end models.

    , Minh wrote

    OK, true, I guess a Dell does sell more than 25 million units, but there's no way they'd want to get into the Steambox business. If somebody calls up for support for a Steambox, who eats that cost? Even if SteamOS wasn't free, it'd only be a tiny fraction of the entire cost of a Steambox. If you look at the Android handset model, I think the handset makers get a cut of your 2 year contract from the carriers. Valve's going to have to offer them a cut of game sales if the OEMs are going to participate.

    There are a couple of announced OEMs already. I wouldn't say it is impossible for Dell to sell a Steam Machine in the future. I mean they started selling Chromebooks just recently, and they have a history of selling non-Windows machines as well. It's not like a huge investment for an OEM to offer a Steam Machine.

    , Bas wrote

    *snip*

    I have had several machines like these for years. Except they also ran all my other software, and the entire Steam catalog, rather than a subset.

    Then you are already assimilated into their ecosystem. Valve doesn't care if you are using Steam on Windows or Steam on SteamOS. This is for people without beefy gaming PCs already, or people who like the form factor of consoles and what not. It's a open architecture console really.

    Also for established PC gamers who are ready to upgrade PCs. Next year when I am probably going to buy a new PC, why wouldn't I buy a Steam Machine? A console isn't a PC upgrade, but this is a high end PC, something I run whatever I want on. The only reason I wouldn't buy one is if I will yet again build a machine from parts.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , Erisan wrote

    SteamOS and Steam Machines has long way to go but this was impressive first step. It will take a lot of time to get game developers familiar with a new environment.

    As a user who uses Windows only for gaming, SteamOS is a big improvement. It's flexible so I can make wild variety of installations in any way I like. I'm able to use my external USB HDD installation with all my computers which is alone a nice improvement and having a bootable USB stick for gaming is quite nice as well.

    On my work computer I'm probably going to run SteamOS on Docker.

    Yeah of course you can also run Steam on many Linux distros. SteamOS is basically Debian Stable with a Valve-modified real time Linux kernel and Steam configured to run in BigPicture mode.

    But I can see them diverging further in the future, both with increasing their modifications to the Linux kernel to enable better performance on games, as well as moving to Wayland or direct GEM/EGL calls for rendering. So you'll have a machine that will make much better use of the gaming hardware then a unmodified Linux distro or Windows can.

    And just to completely go off a tangent. Docker is really interesting. How is it working for you?

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    , Bass wrote

    *snip*

    Yeah of course you can also run Steam on many Linux distros. SteamOS is basically Debian Stable with a Valve-modified real time Linux kernel and Steam configured to run in BigPicture mode.

    Yep, I was using Steam on Fedora earlier but now I switched it to SteamOS. At the moment SteamOS LightDM has three sessions configured: GNOME (3.4), GNOME Classic (fallback mode) and Steam (Big Picture). It's interesting to see if there's any other sessions or desktops installed additional to "Big Picture" session in final version.

    Debian stable with longterm kernel (3.10.x) are excellent choices but unfortunately for example GNOME is already very dated - and it has weird configuration. If they are going to have some desktop pre-installed in final version I hope they will spend more time finalizing it.

    But I can see them diverging further in the future, both with increasing their modifications to the Linux kernel to enable better performance on games, as well as moving to Wayland or direct GEM/EGL calls for rendering. So you'll have a machine that will make much better use of the gaming hardware then a unmodified Linux distro or Windows can.

    It's going to be very interesting to see how SteamOS is going to evolve and how Debian's decisions are going to affect to it. At the moment Debian developers are having a discussion about if they are going to switch to Upstart or systemd. Wayland is very interesting topic as well.

    And just to completely go off a tangent. Docker is really interesting. How is it working for you?

    I have seen Steam running in Ubuntu+Docker so it shouldn't be an issue. I have done just some small testing and at least Debian Wheezy is working nicely:

    $ debootstrap --arch=amd64 wheezy ./wheezy
    $ tar -C wheezy -c . | docker import - wheezy
    $ docker run wheezy <command>

    systemd-nspawn or plain chroot works as well.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    @Erisan:

    I'm not too familiar with Docker (only read about it a little). So you can run Debian Wheezy basically, on a machine that's Ubuntu? It's all about overlays right, so like if your host is Ubuntu and your Docker doesn't depending on Wheezy, it doesn't need the Wheezy overlay? Does this all work well by the way? I heard it's kind of experimental.

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    , Bass wrote

    @Erisan:

    I'm not too familiar with Docky (only read about it a little). So you can run Debian Wheezy basically, on a machine that's Ubuntu? It's all about overlays right, so like if your host is Ubuntu and your Docky doesn't depending on Wheezy, it doesn't need the Wheezy overlay? Does this all work well by the way? I heard it's kind of experimental.

    I'm not too familiar with Docker myself either yet but since it's hot tech at the moment I will give it a try. I'm using Fedora 20 as host.

    Hard way (own rootfs):

    $ dnf install docker-io debootstrap
    $ docker -d &
    $ debootstrap --arch=amd64 wheezy ./wheezy
    $ tar -C wheezy -c . | docker import - wheezy
    $ docker run wheezy <command>

    Easy way (public images):

    $ dnf install docker-io
    $ docker -d &
    $ docker pull tianon/debian:wheezy
    $ docker run wheezy <command>

    So you are able to run all Linux distributions on any distribution you like.

    $ docker pull base/arch
    $ docker run base/arch cat /etc/os-release
    NAME="Arch Linux"
    ID=arch
    PRETTY_NAME="Arch Linux"
    ANSI_COLOR="0;36"
    HOME_URL="https://www.archlinux.org/"
    SUPPORT_URL="https://bbs.archlinux.org/"

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