NA May 28 @ 4:35am
SteamOS as a Primary Desktop OS
What if I wanted to use SteamOS as my primary desktop OS?

For the leanest performance for games, while using desktop mode for all other purposes?

I currently use Ubuntu Linux. I use my PC primarily for gaming, as well as surfing the web, and a bit of art creation. While it's lean, I imagine SteamOS is even leaner for gaming, offering less bloat and higher performance.

Say I wanted to install all of my favorite desktop programs through repositories: Firefox, GIMP, Inkscape, MyPaint, LibreOffice, Simple Scan, Rhythmbox, Synaptic, etc. Would there be anything impeding me?
How about installing a new desktop environment?
Will the Debian desktop be too 'bare bones' compared to the veneer and polish I'm used to with Ubuntu or GNOME shell?
Would it lack simple, convenient background utilities I currently take for granted?
Would I miss the handy Ubuntu Software Centre?
Could I use it for office type things, like scanning and printing over a network?
Would the OS be any less secure or more vulnerable than what I have with Ubuntu?
Would there be a conflict of interest if Valve 'competed' in desktop-oriented distros?
Would I do better to simply dual boot Ubuntu alongside SteamOS?
Could this become the desktop arrangement for the high performance gamer of the future (over -- or alongside -- Windows)?

Eager to hear any thoughts on this!
Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
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Zyro May 28 @ 5:52am 
Debian provides KDE, Gnome, and probably many other desktop environments and after you've enabled Debian's repositories, you can install all those and all the programs you need. You won't notice a big difference. Question is if this will be much "leaner" or whatever than your current desktop...
ProChaser [Linux] May 28 @ 6:32am 
Well, you probably first read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distribution Linux is just the Kernel and SteamOS will use it too. SteamOS is just nothing else like a customized Debian distribution with some game-wise contributions of Valve. Sure, you can run everything on it, if SteamOS stays open.
Rainbows and Kittens May 28 @ 8:22am 
DO people really use MyPaint ? huh
Golmore May 28 @ 9:28am 
It honestly isn't worth it right now IMO. I get the same performance on Ubuntu running Steam as I do with SteamOS with much less headache. I would wait for the final product unless you want to do some beta testing.
phillippi2 May 28 @ 10:36am 
SteamOS will probably not include a standard desktop environment once it's out of beta. It's aimed at gaming in the living room with a controller. The main reason it has one right now is to help develop it/migrate people over before SteamOS officially launches.
Kranky K. Krackpot Sr. May 28 @ 11:05am 
SteamOS is a slightly tweaked Wheezy, as far as I can understand, and already has Gnome desktop.
DrZann May 28 @ 2:55pm 
It's probably not the best choice as is. But I'm sure some wisenheimer will spin a new desktop distro from SteamOS in time.
m0zone May 28 @ 3:01pm 
i use kubuntu i droped win7 and 8 and just game on linux now i dont want a goofy overlay and kubuntu has a nice desktop if u have a amd video card or need help setting up msg me on here . i just like idea of not haveing unityish desktop
Fibbles May 28 @ 4:24pm 
Originally posted by Blacksmith:
DO people really use MyPaint ? huh

Yes, it's a very good digital painting tool if you have a graphics tablet.
mearo May 31 @ 12:47am 
Originally posted by DrZann:
It's probably not the best choice as is. But I'm sure some wisenheimer will spin a new desktop distro from SteamOS in time.
I think this is the best thing to wait for if you're unsure about what choices to make when creating a lightweight environment. Let someone else put together a good combination of software for you.

If you just go installing the same bloated software and desktop manager onto SteamOS that you're using in Ubuntu then you're not really going to get the most out of it.
Last edited by mearo; May 31 @ 12:48am
NA Jun 14 @ 11:25am 
I just remember Valve talking about achieving 'significant performance gains' with SteamOS, particularly with regards to input latency, if I remember correctly. That's what makes me consider using it over Ubuntu.
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