So the guys and gals at Valve have decided to break open the seal on SteamOS and release it to gamers to try out. While I haven’t had a chance to install it yet, I have already downloaded it via unofficial (but on Steam’s site) torrent. What is amazing is that over the course of the past few hours I have already managed to upload 3.3 GB of a 960 MB file, which means that the demand for it is beyond insatiable especially considering that I only have a 5 Mbps upload on TimeWarner.

The official FAQ answers a ton of questions, including the fact that it is a fork of Debian GNU/Linux. It will also require an Intel or AMD processor with a minimum of 4GB of RAM, 500GB of hard drive space and an Nvidia graphics card (AMD and Intel support is coming soon). Your motherboard also needs to have UEFI boot support and a free USB port for installation. Hopefully the 500GB requirement isn’t coded into the OS so that people with SSDs smaller than 512 GB (which are still pretty expensive) can still use SteamOS if they want to.

The easiest method is an image-based install using CloneZilla. You will need to create a SteamOS System Restore USB stick to perform this install. The image provided here requires at least a 1TB disk.

  • Format a 4GB or larger USB stick with the FAT32 filesystem. Use "SYSRESTORE" as the partition name
  • Unzip the contents of SYSRESTORE.zip to this USB stick to create the System Restore USB stick
  • Put the System Restore USB stick in your target machine. Boot your machine and tell the BIOS to boot off the stick.
  • (usually something like F8, F11 or F12 will bring up the BIOS boot menu).
  • Make sure you select the UEFI entry, it may look something like "UEFI: Patriot Memory PMAP"
  • Select "Restore Entire Disk" from the GRUB menu.
  • System Restore will proceed automatically. When it is complete it will reboot into your freshly re-imaged SteamOS

Steam also has an EULA that they’ve posted in Github as well as an issue tracker any issues that you have that you can post.

In addition to not supporting AMD or Intel GPUs, there is also no music, tv or movie support in this build. So don’t go and install this to your HTPC quite yet unless you’ve got an extra hard drive laying around.