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Not sure why you think an Ubuntu release that boots straight to Steam (no desktop), provided by a company that likes and recommends Ubuntu, is going to "kill Ubuntu". It's the complete opposite.
Nope Steam OS is the Ubuntu Slayer!! not based on ubuntu at all some developers have even gotten to look at the guts of it
Steam OS, the operating system is a highly modified Debian Linux stripped to bare, with all its non-essentials tossed out, and proprietary multimedia CODECs added, along with fonts, runtime environments, and in-built drivers for popular GPU, sound card, and gaming-peripheral brands.
Now thats a Big Work STAND ALONE NOT BASED ON UBUNTU!!
Some random website claims that it's based on Debian without providing any proof. I suppose that's enough for LinuxGamer.
Besides SteamOS will be aimed at entertainment: playing games, listening to music and watching movies TV shows. Seriously you really think that it will be multi-purpose operating system because that would be stupid.