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SteamOS beta now available for download

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Valve's Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, is now available for download. The release of the new operating system is timed with the launch of Valve's Steam Machine hardware beta, which is going out to 300 lucky testers this week.

The SteamOS beta is aimed at "intrepid Linux hackers," according to Valve's Greg Coomer. "At this point the OS itself is not yet a finished product for a non-technical user," he wrote on the company's website.

"SteamOS Beta is an early, first-look public release of our Linux-based operating system," Valve explained on the operating system's website. "The base system draws from Debian 7, code named Debian Wheezy. Our work builds on top of the solid Debian core and optimizes it for a living room experience. Most of all, it is an open Linux platform that leaves you in full control. You can take charge of your system and install new software or content as you want."

Valve also published an extensive FAQ on SteamOS, explaining how to install it, what the OS is capable of, what hardware you'll need — SteamOS only supports Nvidia graphics cards right now, but AMD and Intel support is inbound — and much more. If you're looking to build a Steam Machine of your own to run SteamOS, Valve has information on that too.

The current SteamOS beta installer weighs in at about 960 MB and can be downloaded from Steam.

Valve announced SteamOS, Steam Machines and the Steam controller in September, with an expected 2014 launch date.