Gaming on Linux has always been a bit of an afterthought but a while ago the creative geniuses at Steam (www.steampowered.com) have changed all of that by partnering with Canonical (the backers of Ubuntu) and have not only built out a Gaming OS but are also about to release a line of “Steam Machines” that will run the core bits of an OS that is dedicated to Linux Gaming and bringing a new power of both entertainment and gaming to the living room and competing against the Xbox and Playstation juggernauts…all with an OpenSource Platform that enables you to change the “shell” of the device you are displaying to fit your own personality and style:
Sure looking at the options available…it does mean that you will pay far more than you would for any of the mass marketed gaming machines but just because these are some of the options presented by www.maximumpc.com this does not mean that you need to…repurposing an older computer or even investing in a lower powered but still capable device, a refurbished office machine or get frugal and build one that fits your budget…this becomes a real option, one that you don’t[ have at all when it comes to using an Xbox or Playstation…you get what is offered and that is it.
Today I am going to take a look at the OS itself, aptly called SteamOS and how easy and configurable it is. Installing in the automated roll did not provide any satisfaction as it would only boot to a blank screen so I reran the installer in Expert Mode and that changed everything…in a very DRAMATIC way. The “expert” install was more like the standard Ubuntu Installer with just a few clicks and the system was setting itself up to the way that I was directing it…the installer though, unlike that of Ubuntu was a tad bit on the slow side taking nearly 25 minutes to complete its full configuration.
After a substantial update on the first boot, the system was up and running a modified Gnome3 Desktop that was both elegant and slick…one that I would actually like on my regular desktop.
The fact that it is a full Desktop OS means that it can be setup either as a Media/Gaming Console or as a fully functional gaming desktop/laptop and this is something that I can not only get behind…I really liked.
It defaults to full widescreen, looks great on monitor or TV alike and the interface was definitely built to work in the living room unlike previous iterations of a Linux Media Player!
Full access to not only all the Desktop Applications available through Ubuntu and Debian but also the full Gaming repository of Steam is a true thing of beauty and overall the ease of setup to not only access the online content of the Games but also my internal network of Movies, TV and Music…well Krispy just found a new toy to play with…and now it is time to start shopping for a true Media Server Setup for the Living Room…I am thinking a Cube like this: