Steam OS has been released to the masses in beta form this past week, and Steam Machines featuring the OS have also shipped to the 300 selected volunteers - unfortunately I was not one :(
But that hasn't stopped us, using the full instructions that Valve provided on the beta release page, here at CCL I have successfully managed to install it onto my test bench and I am looking forward to actually giving it a go.
The requirements of the OS are quite low by most PC standards, just needing items from the below list of components:
Processor: Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
Memory: 4GB or more RAM
Hard Drive: 500GB or larger disk
Video Card: NVIDIA graphics card
(AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon!)
Additional: UEFI boot support
USB port for installation
The full installation steps are writted down over at http://store.steampowered.com/steamos/buildyourown with the required installation files. It is available as a recovery installer which images a complete SteamOS onto your hard drive, the second way -the one we were successful with- is a bit more in depth and uses a Linux installer to do a clean installation, this way then requires you to run a few commands to finish the installation off.
Whilst we attempted both installation methods the only time we were successful was when the custom installation was used, but this itself was not without some issues.
From our first impressions, the Operating System appears to be a customised version of Steam's Big Picture mode, which is not unexpected considering Big Picture Mode was created for the same purpose on the original version of Steam.
There are lots of people currently expectifng this to be the Windows killer, but it is easy to see that this is not designed to be as such, but if/when Valve release a fully working Linux Steam Client it could certainly be the beginning of something interesting.