Installing SteamOS natively was a real pain in the rear during the alpha. You had to do a lot of fiddling to get it working, and it didn’t have very good hardware support. The most successful virtual-machine installs were on VirtualBox at the time. I managed to get that working but it required a lot of linux/unix experience. Far beyond what most people would want.
Valve, however, just released SteamOS Beta last month. I downloaded a copy and it’s much, MUCH easier to install. That, and it seems to install ok in VMware (which has much better hardware support than VirtualBox).
There’s still some gotcha’s. Upon trying to run Left4Dead2, I get errors about unsupported OpenGL extensions, but I am using VMware’s hardware drivers. I still have some experimenting to do – maybe I can get it working properly. But the BigPicture and all the other experience is there.
Here is the procedure (wrote this up around midnight – so forgive the typos. I’ll clean it up later):
- Download the SteamOS Beta iso from this link. Valve has done a nice job here in already packaging it as a bootable iso file. So no more needing to use 3rd party tools to create bootable iso files or boot off usb sticks after writing them via special programs.
- Set up your VMware system using the following settings:
- Custom (advanced) setup
- Hardware compatibility: Workstation 10.0
- Select a guest operating system: Debian 7 64-bit
- Processors: 2 processors, 2 cores per processor (4 total)
- Memory: 4096MB
- Hard drive 500MB (40MB minimal)
- Save your settings and close the VMware application.
- Go to the file location where you created the virtual machine in Step 2
- Open the .VMX file associated with it and add this line to the end:
firmware = "efi"
- Start VMware Workstation back up.
- Set the virtual machine’s cdrom drive to point to the iso you downloaded in step 1.
- Start up the virtual machine and you should get the steam installer started
- Follow the procedure for the install as normal. Nothing special needed. It will reboot when finished.
- Here’s where things might diverge. If you have an nVidia card, odds are good you won’t have issues, but for those with ATI cards, you might.
- Upon reboot after install, I got a delay then Debian started up in fallback mode.
- Either way, complete the steam install by agreeing to the licensing terms.
- You’ll see the steam platform update itself. Log into Steam using your Steam account.
- You should have a steam client up after logging in.
- For those with ATI cards or the dreaded blank screens after reboot, do this step to install VMware tools BEFORE rebooting.
- Open a terminal prompt.
- Click on the ‘Install VMware tools’ option on the bottom of the VMware window, or select VM->Install VMware Tools option from the top menu.
- On the desktop, open the CD-ROM drive that appears and copy the VMwareTools-x.x.x-xxxxxxxx.tar.gz (x’s will be the latest version number).
- copy the tarball to /tmp via:
cp VMWareTools-x.x.x.xxxxx.tar.gz /tmp
- log in as the ‘desktop’ user. SteamOS has two accounts: ‘steam’ and ‘desktop’. You need to be ‘desktop’ to issue any sudo commands.
su - desktop
- The default password for the ‘desktop’ user is ‘desktop’. You need to be logged in as desktop to have su privileges.
tar -xvf VMWareTools-x.x.x.xxxxx.tar
cd VMWareTools-x.x.x.xxxxx.tar (correction: cd vmware-tools-distrib)
sudo ./vmware-install.pl -default
- Answer yes to the prompt and VMware tools will install.
- When it’s complete, reboot:
- When your system reboots, you should be in SteamOS big-picture mode! Log in and enjoy!
Initial setup instructions for VMware with pictures