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Welcome to the SteamOS wiki!
SteamOS is designed primarily for playing video games in the living room. Users will be able to stream games from their Windows, Mac or Linux computers to one running SteamOS, and it will incorporate the same family sharing and restrictions as Steam on the desktop. Valve claims that it has "achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing" through SteamOS. The operating system is open source, allowing users to build on or adapt the source code, though the actual Steam client is closed.
Since SteamOS is solely for playing games in the living room, it does not have many built-in functions beyond web browsing and playing games; for example, there is no file manager or image viewer installed by default. Users can, however, access the available GNOME desktop environment and perform tasks like installing other software. Though the OS does not, in its current form, support streaming services, Valve is in talks with streaming companies such as Spotify and Netflix to bring their features to SteamOS. However Steam does have full length films from indie movie makers available from their store. The OS natively supports NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD graphics processors.
Valve stated has added support for movies, television, and music functionality to SteamOS, however the video content is only from Steam's store which has a small amount of films, while music playback only supports local music collections. It should be noted that recently, Netflix, and other DRM protected content, now function in the latest beta client and beta OS revisions of SteamOS via the native built-in browser1.
You can find out more about SteamOS, Steam hardware, and all other topics, over at the Steam Universe portal page.
Video: What is SteamOS? (Click to play)
Picking the right Steam Machine
Video: Picking the Right Steam Machine (Click to play)
About this wiki
Contributions and documentation are very welcome. This wiki is very much community-driven by awesome folks like you. Please see the contribution guidelines for advice in contributing to this wiki. Most primary resources are located in the table of contents sidebar to your right. While the Steam for Linux community page has a guides section, Steam Universe does not.
Alternate community versions of SteamOS
On the Getting Started wiki page, you will find information regarding community efforts to improve SteamOS and modify SteamOS. Two notable efforts are Stephenson's Rocket and VaporOS. These efforts are not officially tied to, or supported by Valve. However, changes and improvements from these efforts sometimes may make it into the official release. Efforts to also supplement SteamOS functions and software installations can also be found via GitHub projects such as SteamOS-Tools.
Ready to begin?
Head on over to the Getting Started wiki page. There you will find some good information on installing SteamOS. Be also sure to check out the link on the right side, including several How-To's, the hardware wiki, and FAQ pages.