After Valve released v1.0 (Alchemist) of its Linux-based SteamOS this morning, we managed to take a quick look and give a brief roadtest. As the developer has repeatedly cautioned, it is very much beta and a work-in-progress, so features are pretty thin on the ground at this early stage.
We did have encounter a few hurdles trying to navigate the rather limited hardware requirements of this initial build, but managed to get it up and running, playing several games, supporting a wired Xbox 360 controller, with audio and other system devices working surprisingly well out of the box.
By default, the SteamOS system boots directly into the Steam Client, which is both visually and functionally very similar to Steam's Big Picture mode on Windows, with some additional OS hooks. If you then enable the option to exit to the desktop, you can quit the client and drop out to a traditional Gnome Desktop Environment. To save yourself the hassle of navigating the install process to see a brand new bare-bones operating system, check out this pair of videos we captured of the current SteamOS user interface experience below.
If you do still want to download it yourself, you can find out local download links here in this post
Download SteamOS "SteamOS v1.0 Steam Client" Direct Feed Video
Download SteamOS "SteamOS v1.0 Desktop" Direct Feed Video
A an added bonus, click the thumbs below for three wallpaper-sized images found within the debut build of SteamOS. The first one is the default wallpaper in the SteamOS desktop environment, the second the splash screen seen during boot, and the third is from the installer.