Will Valve's SteamOS beat XBox, Playstation and Nintendo?

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Today in Open Source: Valve announces SteamOS. Plus: Linux and asteroid mining, and Fedora turns 10!

SteamOS Versus Traditional Consoles

Valve announced its new SteamOS operating system today. SteamOS is geared toward the living room and television set. Valve also promises that it will be available as a free download soon, I'm looking forward to checking it out.

The company notes that it is working to include music, TV and movies in SteamOS. And it notes that family sharing, in-home streaming and family options will also eventually be part of its new operating system.

Finally, you don’t have to give up your favorite games, your online friends, and all the Steam features you love just to play on the big screen. SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to the best games and user-generated content available.

In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.

More at Steam

I have to wonder how this will affect Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony over the long term. Will SteamOS challenge Playstation, Nintendo and XBox in the living room? It's really too early to tell, there's far too much we don't know about SteamOS.

But take very careful note of that second paragraph in the snippet from the article. It sounds like Valve is polishing SteamOS carefully to get the maximum amount of graphics and overall performance from any hardware that runs SteamOS. This could be very bad for Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony if it's a precursor to a Steam Box for the living room.

I'd at least be wondering and I'd possibly be a bit worried if I were an executive at Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. The traditional consoles have already been swamped by the explosion in mobile device gaming (plus it's onslaught of cheaper but very fun games), and now here comes Valve to drive another nail in their coffin with SteamOS.

Linux and Asteroid Mining

Just when you thought that Linux had filled every niche possible, ZDNet has a story about Linux being used for asteroid mining. Yes, asteroid mining. Talk about out taking Linux out of this world!

At the same time, Planetary Resources wants to mine asteroids on the cheap. So according to Allen, the company plans to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware to make low cost, highly reliable spacecraft. Once these spacecraft become commodities, they can rapidly be modified to keep pace with modern technology. In addition, the failure of any one spacecraft will not be catastrophic. Ramadorai explained, "This approach is crucial to commercial space exploration and development, and is a key part of the Planetary Resources strategy."

A COTS spaceship's computer is also much cheaper. Today, a standard deep space probe uses a 133Mz PowerPC RAD750 with 128MBS of RAM, and 256K of EEPROM memory. At a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars this radiation-hardened computer is "insanely expensive." Allen believes that "We can use something like an 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor at 1/200th [of] the cost."

Linux and open-source software fits in because it saves the company the costs of reinventing the wheel in many basic system functions and is much cheaper than traditional spacecraft software. "Traditional missions cost hundreds of millions or even billions," said Allen. They're very risk conservative. They use VxWorks or other commercial RTOS (real-time operating systems) to create a unique operating system for each space vehicle."

More at ZDNet

Of all the possible uses for Linux, I have to admit that I'd never considered asteroid mining. Who'd have thought of that? Still, best wishes to Planetary Resources. I hope they succeed in their space-based project with Linux.

Fedora Linux Turns Ten!

Softpedia notes that it's time to celebrate ten years of Fedora Linux. Happy birthday, Fedora! Wow, has it been ten years already? Sheesh.

Dear Fedora fans, it's time to celebrate 10 years of Fedora Linux, as ten years ago, on September 23, 2003, Michael K. Johnson announced the birth of the Fedora Project, which produces the Fedora Linux operating system.

With this occasion we took the liberty of listing all the Fedora Core releases: Fedora Core 1 (Yarrow), Fedora Core 2 (Tettnang), Fedora Core 3 (Heidelberg), Fedora Core 4 (Stentz), Fedora Core 5 (Bordeaux), and Fedora Core 6 (Zod).

More at Softpedia

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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