Slightly over 3 years ago, Valve unleashed the initial Beta release of SteamOS onto the world, in an effort to provide a ‘console-like’ PC gaming experience for the living room, to what turned out to be a fairly mixed reception from gamers, developers and reviewers alike. In 2017, it appears that while the user base of SteamOS is still small, it has done a lot to help spur demand for Linux ports of games and indeed many developers are stepping up to the task, with over 2000 titles in the Steam catalog also supporting Linux as of November 2016 a huge jump from the 273 recorded days after Valve released SteamOS into the wild.
This said, since the player-base is still fairly limited, with Linux players making up merely 0.87% of steams current player-base. Granted this isn’t indicative of just how many Steam users are using Linux, just the amount when compared against the user-base as a whole, though this still shows Linux players are a significant minority even when compared to Steam users gaming on OSX which is why a recent tweet, spotted by Phoronix, by Intel developer Arjan van de Ven is somewhat surprising.
— Arjan van de Ven (@fenruspdx) December 29, 2016
If you don’t follow the various Linux distributions in development, Clear Linux is Intels distro which is predominantly focused on Workstation and Server performance, though a recent Games Bundle addition may show that Intel are looking to branch out further with Clear. Indeed, Clear does offer support for Vulkan, thanks to the inclusion of the Mesa stack, though it currently only supports accelerated graphics via Intel”s own hardware, meaning no support for discrete GPUs by either AMD or Nvidia out of the box or even via driver packages from either manufacturer for that matter, since the Radeon stack isn’t packaged for Clear and Nvidias drivers don’t appear to work either.
Still, for a nice low power gaming box, this could serve to give more options for the Linux gaming crowd other than using Steam OS or rolling their own.