It's Been Four Years Since SteamOS Began Shipping With Not Much To Show
Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 14 December 2017 at 09:29 AM EST. 37 Comments
It was four years ago this week that Valve began shipping SteamOS, their Debian-based Linux distribution intended for Steam Machines and those wanting a gaming-oriented Linux distribution. While Valve still technically maintains the SteamOS Linux distribution, the outlook at this point is rather bleak.

For our coverage from four years ago when Valve began shipping SteamOS 1.0 based on Debian Wheezy, see SteamOS Compositor Details, Kernel Patches, Screenshots, Former NVIDIA, Microsoft Developers Doing Lots Of The SteamOS Work, and The First NVIDIA GeForce Benchmarks On The SteamOS Beta.

Four years on, SteamOS Beta updates are rare and mostly come down to driver updates and security fixes from upstream Debian... It's been a long time since last hearing of anything promising on the SteamOS front and no clear roadmap from Valve about any ambitious plans they have for it in the future, likely just maintaining the status quo for now in case the outlook changes for Steam Machines in the future or if they need to apply pressure again to Microsoft. Or maybe we'll see some renewed attention when they have SteamVR support in better standing and have finished up the long-awaited Steam UI redesign?

Even for build-your-own living room gaming PCs I wouldn't recommend SteamOS right now as it doesn't really have any unique advantages over Ubuntu, Arch, openSUSE Tumbleweed or other Linux distributions that are better maintained and often updated with better drivers in a more expedited manner than rare SteamOS beta updates. At least Valve continues contributing to the upstream, open-source Linux graphics driver for improvements at large, but on the SteamOS front there sadly isn't a lot going on.

Are you holding out any hope for SteamOS or Steam Machines in 2018? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.
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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 or contacted via

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