SteamOS beta now supports non-UEFI systems and dual-booting

By on January 22, 2014, 1:30 PM
valve, steam, bios, beta, uefi, gaming, steamos

A new version of Valve’s SteamOS beta has hit the web. The latest release potentially broadens the pool of testers for the living room-friendly operating system by adding support for older, non-UEFI systems and dual booting, although the company still warns this is a work in progress intended for advanced users.

The features were implemented with help from a pair of developers known as directhex and ecliptik, from the Ye Olde SteamOSe team that initially provided a BIOS-ready SteamOS fork. The new dual-boot and custom partitioning options can be found within SteamOS's "Expert Install" screen and essentially mean you don't have to dedicate a whole drive to SteamOS, but rather run the OS alongside Windows.

Keep in mind Valve says it has conducted very little testing on this build and, in their words, you shouldn’t  “install it on any machine you are not prepared to lose.” If you do decide to take the plunge, other key features you can expect to find on this build include recovery and DVD install support.

SteamOS is a fork of Debian GNU/Linux. A first-look public release arrived last month lacking support for Intel and AMD GPUs, though an initial update days ago sought to address this while fixing various other issues. Pre-built Steam Machines covering a range of specs, price points and form factors are due out later this year.




User Comments: 9

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tonylukac said:

This is super. I bet Techspot got this for us.

fimbles fimbles said:

Anyone enlighten me on why UEFI bios is becoming a compatibility issue with non UEFI bios?

I thought Bios settings were bios settings regardless of the input method?

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) (pronounced as an initialism U-E-F-I or like "unify" without the n) is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware. UEFI is meant to replace the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface, present in all IBM PC-compatible personal computers.[1][2] In practice, most UEFI images provide legacy support for BIOS services. UEFI can support remote diagnostics and repair of computers, even without another operating system.[3]

Without UEFI, SteamOS will need to interface differently with the system Firmware.

Edit:

I was confused as well, which is why I looked up wiki to see what they had to say.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Still pointless, AFAIK there is no way to stream games yet, and there's 'nothing' native to Linux yet. Unless you want to tinker, stick with WIndows.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm gonna wait a bit longer before I decide to drown myself in an unknown OS. I am definitely anxious about the potential SteamOS has to offer. Only time will tell, if Valve makes that milestone.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

That milestone for me is:

  • 80%+ of the controller-based games I want to play available natively
  • Ability to use just a controller for the entire OS would be nice.
  • Native controller support for Xbox 360 pad, PS4/Xbone controllers.
  • Ability to easily have media playback options: video/audio codecs play fine.

It's got a long way to go.

2 people like this | 9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Anyone enlighten me on why UEFI bios is becoming a compatibility issue with non UEFI bios?

I thought Bios settings were bios settings regardless of the input method?

UEFI was a standard agreed upon about 6+ years ago. Most motherboards are already running it. But I think a few hold-outs, like Gigabyte, didn't support it until 2011. For the most part, I think this allows beta testers to install on those older first generation Intel Core processors.

UEFI is all around better than the old 16-bit BIOS. You want it for faster boots, improved integration with your OS, support for larger hard drives and memory, and pre-OS executable applications.

But, as for compatibility issues, mostly that's found under a Windows 8 dual boot box where people are running UEFI in secure mode. The secure mode requires a digitally signed OS and helps against malware attacks. This made issues for GRUB 2 since it's open source and not digitally signed.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This made issues for GRUB 2 since it's open source and not digitally signed.
This is what Linus Torvalds was complaining about last year.

[link]

No one, but no one, in the Linux community likes Microsoft's mandated deployment of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot option in Windows 8 certified PCs. But, how Linux should handle the fixes required to deal with this problem remains a hot-button issue. Now, as the debate continues hot and heavy, Linus Torvalds, Linux's founder and de facto leader, spells out how he thinks Linux should deal with Secure Boot keys.

Torvalds was mad as hell with proposals to place Secure Boot keys and their management into the Linux kernel itself. Torvalds called the idea "moronic."

<snip>

I had forgotten all about that, until you mentioned it again.

1 person liked this | penn919 said:

Still pointless, AFAIK there is no way to stream games yet, and there's 'nothing' native to Linux yet. Unless you want to tinker, stick with WIndows.

Streaming is at least somewhat functional. It has to be enabled somehow, but the code for streaming capability is already baked in. Proof:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b6xsA2oxtw

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