Rumours and murmurings about a Steam-based games console, currently referred to as the Steambox, have rather piqued my interest lately. Back when Steam was new and I was doing my A-levels it, well, it sucked. These days though it’s a fantastic service that rarely gets any complaints from me. If anything I wish other content providers would learn from it.

I’ve not used the recently introduced Big Picture mode particularly (I’ve launched it but that’s about it) but it goes a long way to making a PC a replacement for a console. In my next flat I may well hook up a HDMI cable to my 32” 720P TV and use it for gaming using Big Picture mode.

Back to the Steambox – it’s supposedly going to be Linux-based which isn’t all that surprising given Gabe Newell’s recent negative comments regarding Windows 8. I’ve also not tried the Linux version of Steam but I will do eventually. Some of you may recall that I used to run Linux as my primary OS – this changed when I got a PC that could run the latest games without overheating immediately. However I miss the operating system and find Windows to be clunky as all hell.

I also miss how straightforward it was to rip video footage. I’ve got various video ideas I’d like to play around with but at the moment editing them is a nightmare. I’m hoping in the next year or so that’ll change but it may take another three.

However the concept of a Steambox running Linux entices me and also makes me think that the ancient cliché of The Year Of The Linux Desktop might actually one day come to pass. We’ve now got Android on mobiles worldwide, servers running it, supercomputers, and soon some additional hardware like games consoles. Perhaps we won’t see it in the way that was once expected but it seems we’re getting ever closer. I’m now not surprised when I see games offering Linux support – especially on Kickstarter. The Humble Bundles have helped on that front too.

Now if we factor in games being ported to a Steambox console then it’s quite feasible that normal Linux versions would be just around the corner. It seems a bit hopeful but it seems the gap between optimism and realism is closing at long last.

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