When the Steam Machines launch on November 10, it is still not really known which operating system the gaming machine will come with, although there is hope out there it will be the new SteamOS 2.0, since Valve announced SteamOS 2.0 is now stable. Valve does not really want people to be worried or concerned about which operating system will be sitting under the hood, but Valve has been prepping version 2.0 for this launch, making it appear 2.0 is going to be the Steam Machine launching version, although it still has not been confirmed as of yet. Valve is currently getting its ducks in a row for 2.0 and the launch.
The Valve Steam Machines will be in GameStop retail stores on November 10, and it looks like these Steam Machines will be running software which is based from the Debian 8 “Jessie” which is good news for those who want to get this new Steam Machine. SteamOS version 1.0 was released near the end of 2013, and was code named “Alchemist” and it was based on Debian 7.0 “Wheezy.” Back on version 1.0, Valve’s Steam Big Picture was the default interface and it used AMD and Nvidia graphic drivers. The new Steam Machines are going to be running off more sophisticated drivers and technology, and Valve is putting it out there that 2.0 might be ready for an official launch.
Ever since 1.0 first hit the scene back in 2013, Valve continued to develop the operating system, but now SteamOS 2.0, which goes by the code name “Brewmaster” is the latest operating system to hit the market. In June 2015 the first preview version of SteamOS 2.0 was released, although the final version of SteamOS 2.0 has not been released yet pending the Steam Machine coming out. Valve said that SteamOS 1.0 Alchemist would be considered the stable release, but now it appears 2.0 is going to be the stable release as the company is making sure the ducks are being lined up in order to make this happen. For Valve, prepping version 2.0 has to be done quickly, since in a month the Steam Machines will be launching, and with a lot of anticipation too.
Valve said that there is no way to upgrade from SteamOS 1.0 to SteamOS 2.0, except for simply wiping out the system and then reinstalling with the new version. For now, Valve said that it will continue to provide support and updates for version 1.0, although at some point in the near future, that will stop and only SteamOS 2.0 Brewmaster will be supported. It is not known yet just when version 1.0 will become obsolete and when people will have to upgrade to 2.0, but it will be probably within the next six months.
You might be wondering what the difference is between SteamOS 1.0 and SteamOS 2.0? Well the first difference is that SteamOS 2.0 is using an upgraded Linux kernel and there is also newer and better graphics drivers being used. In terms of hardware support and performance, both of these will be improved and upgraded with the new operating system, and there will also be less glitches and bugs with version 2.0. SteamOS 2.0 also has “a custom graphics compositor” which then will provide a smoother transition between the games, Steam’s Big Picture Mode, and the main SteamOS overlay.
SteamOS 2.0 also is going to have automatic updates from the Valve repositories, and this will allow the system and software to continue to stay up to date. When looking at SteamOS 2.0, there is also going to be a steamos-autorepair service, and through this, any system problems that might happen will be able to be fixed and repaired automatically. This is a great thing for SteamOS users who are not that into technology and cannot go through and fix the errors themselves, as now it will be automatically done for you.
On October 5, SteamOS version 2.37 was released which fixed various issues with the Xbox 360 controllers, and also added support for the controller models.
This latest news about Valve making all of these updates to SteamOS 2.0 makes it seem that version 2.0 will be going with the Steam Machines at launch, especially since the FAQ does list the current version of SteamOS as Brewmaster 2.0. Whether SteamOS 2.0 comes with the first wave of Steam Machines remains to be seen, but the features and updates that have already been coming for the new version are surely being aimed at the Steam Machine to allow for a more graphically-intense gaming experience. Considering Valve said 1.0 would be obsolete soon and support would stop, most gamers believe 2.0 will be the Steam Machine OS when it ships out.