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steamOSSteam OS, the operating system behind Valve’s upcoming Steam Machine consoles, is available for download by people interested in spending their weekend installing a new flavor of Linux developed by the Bellevue-based game company.

The launch also brings some new tidbits about the new operating system: it’s based on Debian 7.1, and it boots directly into Steam. It will be possible for users to open a Linux desktop, though that will require logging into a different user account, at least for now.

As Valve said earlier this week, at this stage, Steam OS is not for the faint of heart, or those people short on hard drives. According to Valve’s system requirements, installing the operating system requires a blank hard drive with at least 500 GB available (one installation method requires a 1TB drive), and a Nvidia graphics card. At the moment, cards from ATI and Intel aren’t supported, though Valve says that will be coming in the future.

Still, for people who weren’t among the 300 lucky souls to be included in the testing of the Steam Machine, this is the only way to get an early look at how Valve is going to try and break away from Windows with its own console.

The latest Steam OS installer can be found here, and the operating system’s source code can be found here. For more information about SteamOS’s capabilities and installation instructions, check out Valve’s FAQ.

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