Steam Machines in the News, New User Systems

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 12, 2015

Steam Machines became available yesterday and folks are talking, including some from our own community. Elsewhere, Jon Gold ranks distributions on their newbie friendliness and Bruce Byfield discusses more on new user desktops. Ubuntu Community Council election approaches and Wayland is now default in Fedora Rawhide.

Steam Machines have been teased for a couple of years now and yesterday the first became available. I'm not a console person, but a lot of folks are excited. FutureMark ran a comparison of different models yesterday publishing benchmarks, features, and final rating. Alternate - Steam Machine Ultra scored the highest in given benchmark testing and Syber - Steam Machine K was deemed the best value so far.

Fedora GNOME developer Christian Schaller wrote today that "you should get one!" (Exclamation point his). He said that Steam Machines are meant to compete with Xbox One and PS4, but for Linux folk they're so much more. He said, "They are an important part of helping us break into a broader market by paving the way for even more games and more big budget games coming to our platform. Playing computer games is not just a niche, it's mainstream, nd not having access to games on our platform has cost us quite a few users and potential contributors over the years." He added that folks have recommended the Alienware Steam Machine. FutureMark hasn't completed testing and Alienwares are still pending.

Liam Dawe from GamingOnLinux wrote today that the Steam Controllers are fun but buggy. He said he stood in line for the midnight release of these controllers and found them "weird, very weird." He also noted the high quality and found it easy enough to adapt. It was fun in some games but lacking precision for others. In the end, it was the bugs that bugged Dawe. He said sometimes it would just "suddenly lose the will to work properly" and "just generally act weirdly." Dawe concluded that the new controller makes his games more fun, but he's hoping for some software updates to fix the stability and interaction issues. "I love it."

Jon Gold posted a slideshow yesterday rating Linux distributions (and one free *BSD) on their ease-of-use for new users. Ubuntu gets a big thumbs up while Debian less so. CentOS is said to "reasonably" newbie-friendly and Arch is NOT. LXLE, openSUSE, and Manjaro are, FreeBSD not so much.

Speaking of new users, Bruce Byfield is back with some more thoughts on choosing a desktop for beginners. He begins by saying GNOME and Unity threw simplicity out of the window trying to simplify the workflow. "The Cinnamon, KDE, LXDE, MATE, and Xfce desktop environments are all classic desktops that should be easily learned by anyone." He discusses some of the aspects of these desktop before saying, "If I had to choose a single recommendation, it would be a recent Cinnamon or MATE release with KDE installed."

In other news:

* Fedora Rawhide Enables Wayland By Default, Where Supported

* Community Council election 2015

* Stallman: Applying the Free Software Criteria

* Valve Launches A Massive Sale Of SteamOS (Linux) Titles

* First Beta of antiX MX 15 Based on Debian 8.2, Still Uses SysVinit