SteamOS, Linux Graphics Made An Exciting Holiday

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 December 2013 at 02:28 PM EST. 1 Comment
The launch of the SteamOS 1.0 Beta and the continued Linux graphics improvements and new hardware were among the most exciting content on Phoronix for December 2013.

Earlier today I shared the most popular Phoronix stories of 2013 while in this post are the most popular Phoronix articles of this month.

Published on Phoronix this month were 36 full-length articles, including Linux hardware reviews, multi-page performance analysis articles, etc. On top of that there were 255 news postings! That's more than one full-length, multi-page article per day and an average of over eight news articles per day.

I mention these stats since if you appreciate this enormous amount of open-source and Linux (hardware/enthusiast oriented) content that often can't be found anywhere else on the net, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium or consider a tip or at the very least don't browse Phoronix with AdBlock. 99% of the articles each and every month are written by myself.

Even with the holidays and having devoted the past two weeks so far to major Phoronix Test Suite 5.0 developments, there still was an enormous amount of content on Phoronix with my dedication to enriching the Linux hardware experience. Every day this year regardless of health, holidays, wedding, I am here to work on Phoronix and have been doing so now going on the tenth year. You can keep up with all of the Phoronix happenings via Facebook or Twitter with @MichaelLarabel and @Phoronix.

With that out of the way, the most popular news items this month included:

SteamOS Compositor Details, Kernel Patches, Screenshots
Here are more details on the innards of SteamOS along with some screenshots of the GNOME-based desktop environment outside of the Steam Big Picture Mode.

SteamOS Has Its Own Graphics Compositor
More details regarding the Debian-based SteamOS are emerging. There's also a SteamOS installer now available but the server is getting slaughtered at the moment by those trying to download SteamOS.

Free Software Foundation Endorses Its First Laptop
The Free Software Foundation today has come out for "the first time we've ever been able to encourage people to buy and use a laptop as-is." The Free Software Foundation now backs one laptop model as respecting the customer's freedoms, but are the hardware specs any good?

Activision Is Preventing A Game From Coming To Linux
A game studio has shared publicly that Activison is preventing a new game from actively being made for "that platform", a.k.a. Linux.

Former NVIDIA, Microsoft Developers Doing Lots Of The SteamOS Work
A former NVIDIA engineer joined Valve some months ago and is responsible for lots of the work on SteamOS and their Linux support. A long-time Microsoft employee is also involved in designing SteamOS. Here's also a few other bits of information in my SteamOS adventures this evening.

GNU Octave 3.8 Has A GUI, Uses OpenGL
GNU Octave, the open-source high-level language for dealing with numerical computations and largely compatible with MATLAB, has a graphical user-interface with its new 3.8 release

Running The SteamOS Kernel On Ubuntu Linux
It is possible to install Valve's SteamOS modified Linux kernel onto an Ubuntu Linux installation, but I would recommend against doing so, at least for now.

The "Most Beautiful & Performant" Linux Distro Failed
At the beginning of 2013 I wrote about an ambitious Linux distribution that set out to create what its lead developer called would be the most robust, beautiful, and performant Linux operating system out there and ultimately aspired to take on Ubuntu. Well, that distribution is now a matter of the past.

The most popular articles meanwhile included:

SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 NVIDIA Performance
For those NVIDIA gaming customers running Microsoft Windows 8.1 that have been thinking about giving Valve's SteamOS Linux-based gaming platform a try, here are some early benchmarks of the SteamOS 1.0 beta that compare the performance to Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64 on multiple NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

The First NVIDIA GeForce Benchmarks On The SteamOS Beta
A comprehensive performance comparison is underway at Phoronix that pits SteamOS against other desktop Linux distributions, but for those anxious to see some performance numbers, here are benchmarks done so far this weekend from seven NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards on the public SteamOS 1.0 Beta operating system. In this article are early benchmarks from seven NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards running Valve's Debian Linux based SteamOS on an Intel Haswell system.

Acer C720 Chromebook Delivers Fast Ubuntu Performance
The Acer C720 was recently released as the latest Google Chromebook selling for just $199 USD. I have been running the Acer C720 Chromebook recently but not with Chrome OS and instead Ubuntu 13.10 Linux. This Chromebook with a Haswell-based dual-core Celeron CPU runs Ubuntu Linux rather nicely. Here are the first thorough benchmarks from this low-cost laptop.

27-Way NVIDIA & AMD Graphics Card Benchmarks On Linux
After last week delivering a 21-way graphics card comparison on Linux using the open-source Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA (Nouveau) graphics drivers, this week at Phoronix we have a 27-way graphics card. This time around all of the graphics cards were tested using the closed-source/proprietary AMD Catalyst and NVIDIA graphics drivers.

SteamOS vs. Ubuntu 13.10 Linux Benchmarks
Complementing the SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 performance benchmarks published earlier in the week, here are more NVIDIA OpenGL Linux benchmarks when comparing Valve's Debian-based SteamOS performance to Ubuntu 13.10.

Quad-Monitor AMD/NVIDIA Linux Gaming: What You Need To Know
The multiple monitor experience on Linux traditionally was very arcane and difficult; it would involve editing text configuration errors, trial-and-error, picking the right Linux GPU driver, and various other steps to get a working multi-monitor desktop. Since then there's been RandR 1.2+ and major improvements to all of the important Linux desktop graphics drivers -- both open and closed-source. How is the Linux multi-monitor now when using a modern distribution and the latest graphics cards that can drive four monitors simultaneously? Let's find out! Up for testing today are NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards using both the open and closed-source drivers while using DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI displays.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 Looks Great, Performance Is Great
Red Hat this week released the first beta to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. RHEL 7 is based upon improvements and other work that happened over the past few release cycles in Fedora and is riding on its new enterprise Linux 3.10 kernel. In this article is a first look at RHEL 7 Beta 1 along with our first benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 comparing the results to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.

Intel Pentium G3220 Haswell
The Intel Pentium G3220 is just a dual-core budget processor but the performance of this Haswell-based CPU has proven to be decent from the Lini PC, especially when it comes to the Intel HD Graphics on Ubuntu.

Expect more in 2014! Any requests for Phoronix in 2014? Let me know via the forums or on Twitter. 2014 will mark the 10th year that has been around and covering Linux gaming, Linux graphics drivers, Linux hardware reviews, and much more.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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