SteamOS coming to a HTPC near you!


Steam will soon be releasing it's own flavor of Linux dubbed SteamOS.  Not only will Steam be embedded in it at it's core, the entire OS is rumored to be 'enhanced' for gaming.  This allegedly means better performing drivers and attention given to the GPU and it's drivers, many of which are left in the hands of every day dedicated fellas (IE not nVidia/ATI/Intel etc) who try to recreate Win-based drivers for the linux experience.  Steam is also working with content providers to possibly bring anything from tveristy/xbmc-style systems to your HTPC as well as direct 1st party inclusion (no details, but others seem to infer they mean tv networks and the possibility of bringing 'live' streaming tv in some form, very sketchy details).
    Here's where I get on my podium, fellas, and why I bring this to your attention - No, Steam isn't paying me, rofl, so don't fret..
    I use Linux.  For those who know or care, mostly Fedora, Debian, Mint and I just launched an Ubuntu box to see what all the fuss was over their latest GUI (first time Ubu user, simply stunning gui btw).  Like 99% of the world though, there are just far too many 'daily' tasks I can only do on a Windows machine.  Gaming is largely one of those things.  The problem with Linux is also it's best feature.  It's free, and ANYONE can contribute to it.
     How's that bad??  Okay.  Take this example, and remember I'm not biased, I strongly dislike Apple, in fact, but this example is golden.  Apple is so successful for various factors, but the strongest reason is one they don't mention often.  Design.  No, not pretty, shiny cases.  I mean, like a console gaming system, a specific version of an Apple product IS identical to every other one made.  This is why there are TONS of accessory gadgets for iPads and iPhones, even though Android offers it's SDK for FREE and is completely open-source.  A developer/company cannot promise 100% compatibility across ANY android phone, because of the open standard.  Program it for an iPhone however, and you almost guarantee 100% compatibility.  The same is true, for the most part, with their computer line.  Sure, you can make small "alterations" to your Apple custom order, but nothing like the world that is rest of the PC world.  Why does this matter, you ask?
     Companies, game companies specifically, but ANY company who wants to offer a product across multiple platforms are reluctant to release on linux.  Unlike Apple, or even Microsoft, releasing on the Linux platform means supporting well over 200 "versions" of linux.  Now, many versions fall back onto a handful of "flavors" (Knoppix, Ubuntu, Gentoo, RPM, Slackware, etc).  Each version of every flavor was designed because someone didn't like the way the main 'flavor' was going, and wanted to branch off and do their own thing.  Luckily, the popular ones use only a handful of GUI experiences (Gnome and K being two popular ones, but Mint and the newer Ubu's have equally popular ones now).  So while the linux experience is free to the user, right, it also becomes a nightmare to any serious developer.  While many flavors/distros of linux are similar there's no way a developer can realistically ensure compatitability, which means generally they pass on the option to release a game to Linux, even though the PC running it is certainly capable.  
     About a year ago, Steam released a cleint for linux, and slowly built up a small group of companies willing to port some of their titles to the linux platform.  I would speculate between this occuring and them (Steam/companies) noticing the problems between linux flavors as well as the whole Windows8 thing, it would appear Steam decided to take matters into it's own hands and work on their own version of linux to "avoid" these problems, or at least, to throw another flavor of linux into the world.  
     Ever since Win8 came out, actually BEFORE it came out, several companies went up publicly and fought some of the "enhancements" that Microsoft deemed necessary for the success of Win8.  Steam was one of those organizations and now we see what they are doing about it.  It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how things turn out down the road.  
    Several industry sites claim "the PC is dying", I strongly disagree, though I do see it's daily focus changing to meet today's needs.  They claim everyone clammours to tablets and their smartphones - And I do, too (use them, that is), but there are far too many tasks, and files, which belong right here on my PC.  The question is what operating system will be on it, not whether I have one or not!  If Steam gets the support they are looking for, they 'could' be the force that reckons with the big juggernaut Microsoft to impact on an uncountable number of home PC's.  Or, like so many brilliantly thought out linux distributions, they could simply shatter taking on so much, and just add another fragment to the linux realm.

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